First, let’s start with a bombshell- there are no 5” ring metals manufactured in the United States. If the 5” ring doesn’t exist, then technically there is no such thing as a 5” binder! Before you tune me out, let me lay out the facts. You may have seen 5” binders in an office supply catalog or on the shelf at a local supply store. Okay, that’s technically true, but upon closer review of the spec.’s, you will find that the 5” measurement doesn’t refer to the ring capacity. Instead, it refers to the approximate width of the outside spine of the binder. You may say, what’s the big deal about that? Well, the big deal is, the distributors that call their largest binder a 5” (and therefore measure binders by the outside spine) do NOT use this same measurement standard for their smaller binders. For example, the ½” binder has a ½” ring, the 1” binder has a 1” ring, the 1.5” binder has a 1.5” ring and the 2” binder has a 2” ring. Then something odd happens; their 3” binder has a 2.5” ring. In essence, they are selling you a 3” binder based on the irrelevant measurement of the outside spine. They are charging the price for a 3” binder, while only giving you a 2.5” ring capacity. The trend continues as they sell 4” binders containing 3” rings, and the infamous 5” binder that only has a 4” ring. Of course they are trying to sell a small ring binder for a larger binder’s price. How confusing to consumers! Why would someone measure some binders by the ring capacity, and others by the outside spine? There should be a consistent method of measuring so the consumer knows what they are ordering, and the manufacturer understands what is being ordered.
So, what IS the appropriate way to measure a binder? Regardless of the size of the ring, the measurement of the binder should reflect the size of the ring, not the outside spine. The largest ring capacity available is a 4” Angle-D locking ring. It is a huge ring that holds at least 800 sheets of standard copy paper. The next time you stop by your local office supply store, find the “5 inch binder” on the shelf, and measure the INSIDE straight edge of the “D-Ring.” You will find it measures 4”. Again, they are selling a 4” ring capacity binder as a 5” binder.
So, as a consumer, how do you know what you should be ordering? Click HERE to review sheet count for various ring capacities.