There are so many reasons why I love ring bound planners. For starters, there is a ring bound planner for every budget. I love that I can pay $100 if I want to invest in a beautiful planner that will last years and years, or I can spend $20-40 and pick up a pretty ring bound planner at my local Michaels. The truth is that the point of a ring bound planner is that you can purchase it once, and then just purchase new refills for your ring bound planner each year. I am obsessed with how versatile ring bound planners are and how I can add things to them as I need, and get creative with dividers, clips, and more. Today I’m sharing what are, in my humble opinion, the best ring bound planners that you can get.
This post contains affiliate links. See our full disclosure policy, here.
What is a ring bound planner?
Ring bound planners are small binder planners. They have binder rings, similar to what you’d find in a regular 3 ring binder from the school supplies aisle. However, they are smaller, and more compact to carry on the go.
While a lot of planners are coil bound, the ring bound planners have binder rings that you can open to remove pages, add pages, and rearrange things. When you are looking for a ring bound planner, it is important to get one that is quality enough that your rings are going to last and allow you to reuse the same planner year after year, just purchasing new refills in your planner size.
Just like in a 3 ring binder, you can also find dividers that fit your planner to create sections and organize everything.
Pro Tip: Always make sure to use the push buttons to open your binder rings in order to make sure you don’t pull them out of place.
There are so many planner sizes now. I remember when everyone was just using A5 planners. Now, there is personal, personal wide, A6, A5, B6, pocket, pocket, plus, and more. However, there are three main size that I like to use and create things for. They tend to be the most popular planner sizes, and it is going to be easy to find supplies for these sizes. We will talk about them smallest to largest.
Pocket size planners and inserts are small, the refill pages you write on for this planner are just 3.25 x 4.75 inches. They are super compact and can fit in even the smallest bags. These are great if you are just keeping track of a few things, like appointments and notes. Although, there are a lot of people who keep track of a whole lot of things in their tiny pocket size planners.
Pocket plus is a variation of the pocket size planner. I’m also a big fan of this size. It is slightly bigger, 3.5 x 5 inches for the inserts, giving you just a smidge more room to write. Not all pocket size planners are big enough to fit pocket plus inserts, so it is important to measure.
Personal size planners are bigger than the pocket size, but smaller than the A5 size. They are your middle of the road planner size, but still plenty small enough to carry with you on the go. The refill pages for this planner measure 3.75 x 6.75. These are my second favorite size planner.
The personal wide inserts are a variation of the personal size inserts, and they measure 4.75 x 6.75 so they are the same height, but an inch wider than the standard personal size. Again, you get more room to write but you’ll want to test some or measure to be sure they’ll fit in your specific planner.
Finally, the A5 size planner is my favorite planner size. The A5 planner is larger, and the inserts measure 5.83 x 8.27. You may see interchangeably A5 size/half letter size inserts. Half letter size inserts are created to fit inside A5 planner binders, and this is the size I create my A5 inserts. They are actually 5.5 x 8.5 inches, so they vary just slightly from the A5 size, but work perfectly in A5 binders. This planner may be harder to take on the go, depending on the size of your bag, and they’re commonly just used as a desk planner.
Do I need to spend a lot of money on a ring bound planner?
To get started with a ring bound planner, you do not have to spend a lot of money. There is truly a ring bound planner for every budget. Also, the smaller the planner you purchase, the less it will cost. The cost also depends on what materials are used to make the planner, some companies use leather, which is understandably more expensive than other materials. Often, different planner brands often have a range of planner types and prices.
Best Ring Bound Planners
If you are getting started on a budget, there are two planners that I recommend for you to purchase.
Carpe Diem Planner
The Carpe Diem planner is sold in a lot of different places online, including Amazon, and then online and in stores at Joann and Hobby Lobby. I feel like these are the highest quality, lesser expensive ring bound planner that you can buy. They have great rings. I have used Carpe Diem planners for 5+ years and they’re still in great condition today. They retail for $30-40, but if you are shopping at Hobby Lobby or Joann, they often offer 40% off coupons that you can use. These planners are available in A5 and personal size.
Creative Year Planner
The Creative Year planner is a really inexpensive option for a ring bound planner. While I do see a quality difference with these, this isn’t something that has deterred me, and I own several of them. These planners sell for $20-30 at Michaels and they also offer frequent discounts from 20-40% off a single item that you can use. I love all of the color choices with these planners, and they are available in personal size and A5 size.
First, a disclaimer that Filofax is going to be both on my budget list and my investment list, because depending on the planner style they have a wide range of prices. On the lower budget end for Filofax, one of my favorite less expensive Filofax styles is the The Original Filofax. These Filofax planners range from $40-80 and come in all 3 sizes- pocket, personal, and A5.
Continuing on with Filofax, in the more of an investment list of planners, one of the most popular Filofax planner styles is the Filofax Malden, and I consider it to be more of an investment, but I know people use their Maldens forever. The Malden ranges from $100-150, depending on the size.
My next favorite investment priced planner is the kikki.K. I’ve owned and sold a couple of these, but haven’t bought one in a long time, and looking back on them now, they’re less expensive than Filofax, but more than the others, ranging from $70-80. They have pocket (kikki.K small), personal (kikki.K medium), and A5 (kikki.K large).
Other hard to find, expensive planners
There are a few other brands that I know of that are expensive, and amazing, but expensive, and kind of hard to get your hands on. For example, the Louis Vuitton agenda is very expensive, but comes in the PM (pocket), MM (personal), and GM (A5) sizes. These range from $500+ and people often find them in resell groups and sites. If designer is your thing, this might be the planner for you.
There are so many planners available, but these are my favorites in a broad range of pricing, styles, designs, and sizes. I hope that this post was helpful for you, if you are looking for a ring bound planner to use. Also, if you find a ring bound planner that you love that I don’t have listed, be sure to share in the comments!
Also, if you are looking for refills for any of these planner sizes, I have printable planner refills and physical planner refills that I make and ship to you here on Etsy.
Also be sure to sign up for my newsletter to get access to my library of free printables.