Binding Types: Which is Best for You?

Planners come in all shapes and sizes but there are really only three types of bindings – spiral, perfect and ring.  If you want to add items to your planner, the binding is important because it may limit you. How and where you’ll use your planner are also important when considering binding.

Spiral Binding

Planner spines to show binding types

A spiral bound planner is bound similar to a notebook with metal or plastic rings. Spiral binding is great for both laying out flat and folding over to view just one page at a time. An issue with this type of binder are that it is hard to put additional information in your planner. You can purchase specialized punches that allow you to punch a page to fit within the rings, but planners with spiral binding don’t usually have a lot of extra space in the spiral. Many also have pockets on the front and/or back which you can put additional information in. These planners generally come with a January start, a July start (mid-year), or undated.

Perfect Binding

examples of perfect binding in planners

Perfect bound planners are bound like a text book. This is great if you carry your planner with you and don’t lay it open often. They don’t tend to lay out flat when opened, but their binding won’t catch on other things in your bag. The only way to put additional information in this type of planner is in cover pockets (if they exist) or stuck in between the pages (but these tend to fall out so be careful). Like spiral bound planners, these generally come with a January start, a July start (mid-year), or undated.

Ring Binding

Rings in a binder

A ring bound planner is my personal choice because it is the most flexible type of binding for planners. This type of planner is put in a ring binder. There are lots of ring configurations (3 rings, 6 rings, 7 rings) and sizes to choose from. Make sure when choosing this type of planner to consider the filled thickness and how you will use the binder.

Ring bound fillers are available for January start, July start, and undated like the other planners. They are usually also available for the start of any quarter. Many companies also offer undated one month packs to bridge the gap between purchase and the start of your pages. Another advantage to a ring bound planner is that as long as you don’t change the size of your pages, you only need to buy the binder (the most expensive part) once. You will only need to buy refills each year after that.

Ring bound planners are a perfect fit for people who want to add additional information to their planner. In addition, you don’t have to carry all of the daily pages which can make them lighter than other binding types. There are also a lot of additional forms, dividers, folders and other add-ons available for ring bound planners. Just make sure that the add-ons you want come in the size and hole configuration you are planning on getting. And remember that add-ons add to the weight and thickness of the planner.

I hope this helps you determine what type of binding is best for your planner.

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  1. There is another type of binding: discbound. A few popular disc planner companies are Arc, Tūl, Levenger, and Happy Planner.