Binder Basics: the best binder for the job

Struggling to pick the right type of ring binder for your needs? Use this basic guide to choose the best binder for the job.  Polypropylene, vinyl and paper over board ring binders are explained to allow you to make an informed choice.


Vinyl ring binders are made by welding PVC over cardboard. The ‘outer’ of the ring binder can have individual pockets welded into place or an “overlay” of clear vinyl wrapped over the top to create pockets on the front, back and spine.

Printed sheets can be trapped behind a layer of clear vinyl to give a professional looking bespoke ring binder.  It is also possible to print directly onto the PVC, as well as use techniques such as blocking, embossing and stitching for decoration.  However, the print will not go over the outer edge of the binder, as there is a weld running around the periphery.

This type of ring binder is durable and long lasting. They can be used and reused, again and again. At the end of their life each element of the ring binder can be recycled. Their plastic coating means they are great for protecting documents from water, dirt or grease. They can easily be wiped clean. At temperatures around zero, vinyl ring binders will crack if knocked sharply.  As a result they are not suitable in cold temperatures. This phenomenon is called “cold crack”.

Paper over board

This type of ring binder is manufactured using one piece of cardboard covered with printed paper. The printed sheet is usually laminated for protection and then stuck to the board. The ring binder is then creased into shape and the mechanism fixed in place to complete the product.
Paper over board ring binders are massively versatile. They can be printed with any design, using any specialist paper finishes or materials, and the print can go over the edge of the binder.  They are available in an enormous range of sizes and represent a highly creative cost effective option.
As with any laminated paper product, these ring binders are difficult to recycle, and even if a biodegradable laminate is used, the glue used in the process means they will not biodegrade. They are not intended for high intensity use which will soon make them look tatty.


To make a polypropylene ring binder, a sheet of polypropylene is cut to size, creased into shape and a ring mechanism is riveted in place. Polypropylene is a flexible and durable material available in various thicknesses; primarily 475 micron – lightweight, 750 micron – medium weight and 1100 micron – heavy weight. We usually recommend thicker materials for larger binders.  There are a variety of clear, tints and opaque colours that can be screen or litho printed and foil blocked.  The print can go right to the edge of the binder but not over the edge.

Polypropylene is a cost effective alternative with the protective properties of plastic.  It will protect documents from spillages and can be wiped clean. This modern looking material can be recycled and is a popular choice for promotional ring binders.

Polypropylene ring binders are less rigid than board binders, so they will not ‘stand’ on a shelf unless they have a flap to close them. The material has a ‘memory’ and once fixed in a position it will retain that position.

24th November, 2016 at 11:37 am | Blog | No comment

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