Over the last several weeks, we’ve been reaching out to companies to learn more about their binders and their manufacturing process. In an American Alternative first, we are wrapping up a category without single 5-star rated product. All the companies we reviewed are US-based, but their products all have at least a significant component of the binder, if not the entire thing, made overseas.
Binders are fairly simple products – two pieces of cardboard or plastic that protect papers held in place by what is usually 3-rings. There are always differences in styling, but since functionality is pretty much the same across the board, we’ll recap all our binders in one section.
We have two binders tied for highest rated with 4 stars each – Guided Products’ ReBinder and binders from Naked Binder. Both companies are based in America and do almost all of their manufacturing domestically. The only component made overseas are the steel 3-ring holders, which are imported from China. For styling options, ReBinders come in a functional cardboard color while some of the Naked Binders come with a colored cloth-backed spine.
Not too far behind with 3.5 stars are the binders from Russell+Hazel. With a good portion of their material sourced domestically and assembled in the US, Russell+Hazel offers a different aesthetic from the ReBinder or Naked Binders. Also, all their binders have inner covers that are dry erase boards, which seems really convenient.
Bringing up the rear are the binders manufactured by some rather large corporations. Avery-Dennison is a Fortune 500 company, but their binders get 2 stars from us. Avery has manufacturing centers around the world, so while some binders are made in America, many are made in China and Mexico as well.
ACCO brands’ Five Star binders come in last place. The lowest scoring binder on our list is Five Star’s Poly Binder. This binder is made overseas, but ACCO gets some points for being a US-based company.
ACCO’s Five Star Flex Hybrid Notebinder manages a slightly higher score of 1.5 stars, but it is also very different from any other binder on this list. The binder’s cover is just two plastic sheets held together by cloth, and the rings which are usually 3 metal rings connected down the spine are actually individual plastic rings. Every other binder manufacturer seems to import their metal rings from China, but this simpler style of binder looks like a great candidate for being fully made in America. I don’t think it would be hard to source the materials and mold the plastic rings domestically. Let’s see if somebody out there will take this to heart.
Here’s a complete list of each of our binder reviews where you can find a more in-depth analysis of each company and their binders.