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Do I need a Vinyl Binder or a Poly Binder?

Specialists at Binders, Inc. explain the pros and cons of vinyl and poly binders

This question is best answered by first determining how you want the binder to look visually, the level of day to day use it will receive, and what environmental conditions the binder will be subjected to.

Let’s start with the benefits of the Vinyl Binder.

The Vinyl Binder is, in the opinion of many, the more visually pleasing option. Two pieces of high quality vinyl are sealed around rigid chipboard creating a sturdy, non-flexible cover. We can screen print directly onto the vinyl using 1, 2, 3 or 4+ colors, foil stamp the vinyl in gold or silver or deboss an image into the vinyl. If you choose to have an image debossed into the vinyl, you must select Castilian vinyl, which is thicker than the standard Suedene-Matte or French Calf finishes; this added thickness will give you the best results when debossing.

Another option for a full color Vinyl Binder is the Entrapment method which permanently seals printed sheets under clear vinyl onto the panels of the binder as it is being constructed. The Entrapment method is a great solution for art designs using four color processes under the 1000 qty mark. If you would prefer the ability to insert your own printed sheets into Clearview pockets on the outside panels, you can.

If you like the Clearview concept but need an option(s) not available in the Standard Clearview Binder, Custom Clearview Binders may be the answer. All of these options and methods fall under the heading of Vinyl Binders.

There are many add-on options available for Vinyl Binders including, but not limited to:

  • horizontal inside pockets for holding papers
  • business card holders
  • label holders for the outside spine
  • memory device holders

The most popular ring for a Vinyl Binder by far is a round, 3 ring metal. However, other ring counts such as 6-ring, 4-ring, 5-ring etc. are available too, along with other ring shapes such as D-ring. The standard 11” x 8.5” and 8.5” x 5.5” sheet sizes are standard, but binders can be customized to fit almost any sheet size you have.

Vinyl binders are great for office use and light to moderate handling. If the binders are subjected to very cold conditions, you may experience cracking of the vinyl material. If they are exposed to very hot conditions, you’ll likely see the vinyl sag as it softens in the heat.

Now, let’s look at the benefits of Poly Binders.

Poly Binders are made from a solid sheet of poly plastic that is scored to create hinges. They do not contain rigid chipboard – their flexibility is dependent on the gauge used to construct them.

Poly Binders can be made from a thin poly such as .023 gauge to produce a very lightweight and flexible binder, or the poly material can be a thicker gauge such as .075 to create a rigid binder.

The most common gauges (thickness) offered include .023, .035, .055, .075 and sometimes even a .110 gauge.

Even with the thicker gauges, Poly Binders are still usually lighter in weight than a Vinyl Binder of the same size. Poly Binders are made from plastic and they do look like plastic.

Because of this, they may not be the best choice for a high-end office environment. Also, Poly Binders tend to not stand up alone on a bookshelf very well, especially those made with thinner gauges. This can be a negative if the binder is being housed on a bookshelf.

One very positive aspect of Poly Binders is that they are extremely durable. They can withstand very cold and very hot temperatures, which makes them an ideal choice for manuals that will exposed to extreme conditions.

Poly Binders are also stain resistant and easy to clean. They are great for circumstances that could expose them to various elements as in a shop environment, hospital, school, bakery, on the road, and in many other situations where a binder might be subjected to harsh climates, conditions and handling.

Poly Binders are by far the most durable option – they can withstand being dropped, tossed and handled roughly on a daily basis.

Poly Binders can be screen printed in 1, 2, 3 or 4+ colors. Inside pockets, business card holders, label holders, memory device holders and memory stick holders can also be added.

Please note, with gauges thinner than .055, the outline of some options may show through to the outside cover of the binder.

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Adding pockets to a Poly Binder is more expensive than a Vinyl Binder because of the processing required. Like Vinyl Binders, 3-ring Poly Binders are the most common, but other ring counts are available as well. Ring shapes can be round or D-ring. The standard 11” x 8.5” and 8.5” x 5.5” sheet sizes are offered, but of course a Poly Binder can be customized to fit almost any sheet size you have.

In conclusion, both Vinyl and Poly Binders are constructed of high quality materials and superior craftsmanship. Both have their own specific advantages and disadvantages. Determining how you want your binder to look and in what manner it will be used will allow you to make the best choice between these two great products.

Learn more about both Poly Binders and Vinyl Binders today, including customization options available from Binders, Inc. And if you have any questions or ready to discuss your individual needs, we invite you to contact us, , or call us weekdays at (800) 962-1807.