What you need to know about Discbound vs. Ringbound
Discbound or Ringbound?
A tale as old as time, do you choose discs or rings? When joining the planner community, or just looking for a change, you may find yourself asking this very question. We are going to cover the differences between the two planner styles and give you the confidence to make this decision.
Key Differences: Let's dive in, and start by talking about what each style of binding really means.
Discbound planners are loose planner items, such as pages (also called inserts), planner dividers, a planner cover, and other accessories that are bound with smooth round discs. These discs provide you with the unique opportunity to turn your planner pages completely around, 360 degrees, to hold the planner one handed, or lay it folded over on your desk.
Ringbound planners feature a binder style cover with two sets of three metal rings (to make up six total rings) that clasp closed. To add and remove pages you press the ends of the binder mechanism to open the rings and then squeeze them together to close them.
Now we will discuss main features and how each of these binding styles differs.
Capacity: The amount of planner product you can store in your planner:
Discbound planners' capacity will vary depending on the size of discs you choose. Discs are available from .25 inches all the way up to 2 inches in our shop. The larger the discs, the more pages your planner will hold.
Just like with discbound, capacity for ringbound planners will vary depending on the size of the rings in your binder. The larger the ring diameter the more pages your planner can accommodate. Our ringbound planners feature 30mm rings, which is on the larger size for binder style planners.
The key difference here is that with discbound, if you decide you want smaller or larger capacity, all you have to do is change out your discs. To make this change with ringbound, you would need to purchase a new cover or go through the lengthy (and not-recommended) process of changing out the binder mechanism in your cover.
Portability: How portable your planner is will be more or less important to you depending on how busy your life is.
You will find that both styles of binding can be quite portable, depending on the size of planner you choose. Smaller planners will, of course, be much easier to tote from place to place. We recommend choosing the largest size planner you are comfortable carrying around. It's better to have too much space than not enough. Discbound planners are available in a larger variety of sizes than ringbound, but both have plenty of options for most people to choose from.
Security: Keeping your planner closed, and all of your items safely inside, is extremely important if you take your planner with you on-the-go.
Discbound planners have one small downside in this category. Due to being able to add and remove items with ease, if you are exceptionally rough on your planner, pages may occasionally come out. This isn't an issue for the discbound fan though, as you can just put them right back in.
Ringbound excels in this category as pages won't come out unless the binder is open and the binder mechanism is depressed.
Both planner options come with ways to secure your planner and keep it closed, and we recommend using one of these methods no matter which planner style you choose.
Personality: A little personality and a lot of style. Your planner should be a reflection of your personal taste.
Both planner styles have ample opportunity for creating a planner that feels like you, however there is one key difference. If you choose ringbound styles, for every time you add and take items out, you'll have to open that binder mechanism we discussed, which over time can cause them to come apart or wear out.
Discs don't wear out, and metal discs will never break, which means if you plan to change things out of your planner regularly, discs would be a better choice. Discbound has so many different options and while yes, technically you can get the same type of options in ringbound, the ease that you can mix and match and change things up (as often as your mood changes if you wish), we really think discbound shines here.
Ease of use: Is your planner easy to use, or does it feel like work?
This is a topic we don't see enough conversation about in the planner world. It doesn't matter how pretty your planner is, if the thing is hard to use, you'll avoid it.
Ringbound looks luxurious, the pages stay in and feel secure, and the binder covers are generally more functional with a larger amount of pockets. The downside is that you need to use it on a surface of some sort. The binders must lay flat open for you to use the pages properly. It's not a great choice if you are left-handed, due to the rings being in the way. If you are right-handed and plan to use it on a table or desk primarily, you won't find any of these things to be an issue.
Discbound on the other hand, features so much ease of use, it's the clear winner in this category. If you want to use your planner one handed while you walk around, there really isn't a better choice. It's the clear winner for any left-handed planner babes and with so many ways to make it your own, and make it functional, we find discbound to be the better of the two contenders for "ease of use".
Cost: Ok, but how much is it going to cost me??
This one is a bit tricky to judge. Both binding styles have a large variety of options available in a large variety of price ranges.
In regard to starting costs, they are about the same if you are fairly conservative. The covers for ringbound are usually a little more pricey, but they include the binding mechanism. When you purchase a discbound cover, you'll also have to purchase discs as well and this may make the cost higher than purchasing a ringbound binder.
Long term cost, we find that discbound is a better choice because you can replace individual pieces more easily, however once you see the large variety of options available to personalize your planner and make it your own, self-control may be necessary to stay within your budget.
Conclusion: Final thoughts about this dilemma.
I think it's clear we lean more heavily toward the discbound side of this fight, but there are some people that just hate discs. Don't ask us why... perhaps they purchased inferior discbound products and that's all they know? Not all planner companies are run the same, and depending on the shape of the punch and the quality of the materials, the experience can be vastly different from one person to another, and that's true for both discbound or ringbound options.
Our materials are luxurious. We use heavy weight paper and we selected the shape and style of punch and discs to make sure they provided the best experience for our customers (and ourselves!). The vegan leather you find in our shop is premium and feels like the real thing. We are picky, because you deserve quality.
If discs aren't your jam, or if you really want your planner to be the most secure, you can feel confident we've got your back with ringbound. If you want the most functional planner that can change its look and vibe often, discbound is your best bet.
Still not sure which way to go? We are only an email away. Reach out and we'll chat. Our free consultations are just an excuse for us to talk about a subject we love: planners!
Yes to rings for us planner folks that use it on the go. Hospice nurse here and it is necessary to have a sturdy and efficient planner system. I just ordered your cream colored planner. I would recommend a choice of a zippered version as well. I love what I have ordered in the past – dashboards. Love your shop. Beautiful art and it really makes the day brighter using elegant tools. Thx
Titika Stevens said:
I have to vote for rings as well. I do home health care, so my planner goes in and out of my bag all day long and takes a real beating. Multiple other planners that are advertised as being very tough have fallen apart. Is there any way you can just send an order unpunched for those who don’t want discs? I really like your selections otherwise, and am looking forward to the new offerings you are preparing. I really want a weekly vertical hourly spread starting on Mondays, and a monthly spread with at least 7 lines per block, that also starts on Mondays. Thank you!
I’ve been a planner person for almost 4 decades… yep, my first one was a stone tablet and a chisel, haha. I’ve used both ringbound models and discbound systems. As much as I love discbound notebooks for my writing projects and note-taking, I have to say I prefer ringbound for my planner. I like to be able to tote my planner in my purse or backpack, and exposed discs on the spine of a planner makes that awkward at best. I like the way a ringbound planner just slips so easily in and out of my bag, and doesn’t get caught up with other items in my bag the way that disc planners do. And I’ve yet to see an elegant and efficient way to keep a discbound planner nicely closed in transit, without buying a separate ringless cover for it, which you don’t (yet!) carry. So I have to disagree that both styles are equally portable, I think the ringbound is the clear winner there. And I’ve never had any trouble with ringbound mechanisms wearing out or coming apart. You forgot to list another perk of ringbound systems: no matter how many pages you choose remove and get out of your way as the months fly by, your planner stays nice and stable and neat looking, no annoying ‘wobbly disc syndrome’ that needs to be fixed by switching to smaller discs (and then back to larger ones at the new year). So my verdict in ringbound! But if you start making vegan leather ringless covers for your discbound system (hint hint), I may have to reconsider my verdict!