Product Brand Test: Which Binder is Better?

How do Blue Summit Supplies binders stack up against the competition? We put our binders to the test against two comparable competitors. We completed 6 thorough brand tests to assess binder ease of use, strength, and durability.

So, which brand came out on top? Let’s find out.


 

Blue summit supplies binder

Brand Test Introduction

Our various binder tests were designed to compare our 3” Blue Summit Supplies binder with the equivalent of two widely used brands: Office Depot and Staples. We chose these brands because they are well-known across our customer base, and they carry a comparable product at a similar price point to our own. 

We had a hunch our product was of a similar (or perhaps higher) quality, but we wanted to know for sure. We aim to provide office supplies that demonstrate equal or higher quality than the most used SKU for any given product category at a better price point. As an authority in office supplies, we wanted to gain an honest, up-close perspective on our own binders and how they compare to other options available to our customers.


 

How We Tested

Our product team had a lot of fun testing the binders and channeling our frustrations into binder destruction. We chose a total of six tests that evaluated the products for ease of use, strength, and durability. 

The six tests completed:

  • 100 times open test
  • 500 sheet test
  • Window throw test
  • Spine drill test
  • Tear test
  • Bend and rip test

Product Specs

Before we jump into test conclusions, let's get to know each of the products a little better. There are a few key differences to take note of.

  • The Staples binder had a different type of ring with an easy-open-tab.
  • Plastic and board width varied slightly across all three products.
  • The Blue Summit Supplies binder has the lowest price by two dollars, followed by Staples and then Office Depot.
  • Both of the competitor brands have their binders made in Mexico, whereas Blue Summit binders are made locally in Alabama, US.

Brand

Price

COO

Rings

Plastic Width

Board Width*

Product Number

Staples

$9.50ea

Mexico

D-ring (easy-open tab)

0.22mm

 3.22mm

 

56265

 

Office Depot

$9.89ea

 Mexico

 O-ring

0.21mm

 2.51mm

 209-233

 

Blue Summit Supplies

$7.50ea

Alabama, USA

O-ring

0.3mm

3.23mm

92588-603

 

* All plastic covers were glued to the cardboard, offering better quality.


 

Test 1 – The 100x Open Test

The main action a binder endures is the opening and closing of its clasps. When this action is stiff or tricky, it can make using the binder frustrating. We opened and closed each binder 100 times to determine which was the easiest to use.

The Results

1st — Staples (easiest to open)

2nd  — Blue Summit Supplies

3rd — Office Depot (most difficult to open)

The Staples binder was notably the easiest to open. The D-ring easy-open-tab is definitely convenient. If you need to open and close a binder over and over again in short succession, or if you commonly struggle to open binders, Staples has the best product in this category. In second place was the Blue Summit Supplies binder, followed by Office Depot’s product.


 

Test 2 – The 500 Sheet Test

Can the binders hold 500 sheets of paper? We piled the pages high, filling each binder with 500 sheets, to see how easy the binders were to fill and whether or not they could hold up to 500 sheets. 

1st — Staples (easiest to fill)

2nd — Blue Summit Supplies

3rd — Office Depot (could not hold all 500 sheets)

The Staples brand was again the leader here, holding 500 sheets and being the easiest to fill. In second place was Blue Summit Supplies. Office Depot came in last place since it wasn’t able to hold all 500 sheets.

500 sheets of paper

 

Test 3 – The Window Throw

The window throw test might have been our favorite—it was at least the most amusing for our product team. We wanted to see just how durable each of the binders were and how they would hold up being bumped, banged, or dropped. We threw the binders out a second-story window five times each to see how they withstood rough treatment. Each binder was put in a book bag before being dropped.

1st — Blue Summit Supplies

2nd — Office Depot

3rd — Staples (most damage)

The Blue Summit Supplies binder showed the least damage after the 5 second-story drops. The Office Depot binder came in second, and the Staples brand finished in last place for this test category, showing the most damage after the drops.


 

Test 4 – The Spine Drill

The metal spine on a binder needs to stay sturdy and secure in order for the binder to function properly. Our product team attempted to remove the metal spine from each binder to test for spine durability.

1st — Blue Summit Supplies

2nd — Office Depot

3rd — Staples (easiest spine to remove)

The Blue Summit Supplies blinder came in first place, proving to be the most difficult to dismantle. Office Depot placed second, followed by Staples in third place.

binder drill test

 

Test 5 – The Binder Tear

After a lot of use, binders have a tendency to tear, especially when they are filled to the brim or transported frequently. Our product team attempted to tear the binders apart any way they could to test the durability of each binder. We took out any and all of our frustrations on the binders for maximum destruction.

1st — Staples

2nd — Blue Summit Supplies

3rd — Office Depot 

The Staples binder proved to be the most difficult to tear or rip. Blue Summit Supplies came in second place, followed by Office Depot in last place.



 

Test 6 – The Board Bend and Cover Rip

For our final test, we continued to destroy the binder in any way we could. We continued the destruction to test for resilience and durability. Our team bent the binder board and ripped the covers of each binder as best we could.

1st — Blue Summit Supplies

2nd — Staples

3rd — Office Depot

The Blue Summit Supplies binder fared the best in this last test. It was the most durable when it came to our final push of destruction. The Staples binder was the next most durable, followed by the Office Depot binder.


 

Bottom Line: What We Learned

We can’t say there was a clear winner to our binder testing, but we were happy with how our Blue Summit Supplies product fared. Our binder placed first or second in every test we performed. 

Here are some of the insights we gained:

  • The Blue Summit Supplies binder placed 1st in 3 of our tests.
  • The Staples binder placed 1st in 3 of our tests.
  • Notably, the Office Depot binder didn’t place 1st in any of our tests.
  • The Staples binder placed 1st in our ease of use test, and it was the easiest to fill with 500 pages.
  • The Blue Summit Supplies binder placed 1st in 3 of the 4 durability tests.

 

binder test

How to Choose the Binder That’s Right for You

The binders made by Blue Summit Supplies are strong, durable, and long-lasting. They will hold up under wear and tear and withstand considerable damage (including being thrown out of a two-story window.) 

If you’re solely looking for the easiest binder to open, the Staples brand provides an easy-open-tab design that is simple to open and easy to fill.

While we believe quality and durability are important, price is also an important factor to consider. Blue Summit Supplies binders are the thickest and cheapest of the competition. They provide the best bang for your buck, coming in at $7.50 per binder compared to $9.50 for Staples and $9.89 for Office Depot.

We also think it’s important to note that our product is made locally, right here in Alabama. We believe in supporting local businesses and providing our customers with products that are made in the US.


 

larry says

Did you know you can test products for money? There are many US product testing companiesthat provide free products and additional rewards when they need market research. Do you think they have any doggie treats that need testing?

 


 

More From Blue Summit Supplies

💡 How a Binder Sizes Chart Can Help You Choose the Right Binder for You

💡 DIY Binder Dividers: Free Printable Templates

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jordan's passion for travel led her to design a career as a remote content marketer. Nearing 1000 published articles, she's spent the past decade using her interdisciplinary education to research and write content for a wide variety of industries. Working remotely, Jordan spends half of the year exploring different corners of the world. At home, she's content exploring fictional lands—Spark an immediate and detailed conversation by mentioning Game of Thrones, Red Rising, Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings.

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