15 Jul 2015

bound planners vs ring binder planners

When I first started blogging, I was a bit of a Filofax-obsessed fan. Ring binder planners were something that I never thought I would move away from and in fact, I used them for a solid five years before moving to a bound planner this year. I flirted briefly with a Moleskine back in 2011 for six months but inevitably went back to a Filofax. Then in 2012, I purchased a Smythson binder and my love deepened for ring binders.

Anyway, as someone who has now turned into a bound planner fanatic and with someone asking for my thoughts on bound vs ring binder planners on Twitter, I thought it would be an interesting post to write.

Bound Planners


  • Lighter in terms of weight.
  • You can have a new one every year (or even every six months with some undated planners!).
  • Look good on your bookshelf after the year is up.
  • Can be cheaper compared to a ring binder - prices and range from very cheap to very expensive (such as some of the beauties by Smythson!).
  • There are so many cute ones out there (especially from East Asian companies!).
  • Undated planners mean you can start using one whenever.
  • Available in a wide range of layouts and designs.


  • Not very flexible in terms of layout.
  • Have to re-write in information every year.
  • Limited by what you can have in it - probably not possible to have your address book in there too!

Ring Binder Planners


  • Flexibility in what pages you choose to have in it.
  • You get to choose what sections you have in your ring binder: don't want monthly planning pages? Not a problem, don't put them in. Tabs can be inserted or taken out to your fancy.
  • There is the option to design your own inserts and print them onto high quality paper.
  • No need to re-write in essential pages each year.
  • A leather ring binder feels very luxurious.


  • Limited diary layout choices.
  • Some of the paper quality out there is debatable (but at the same time, there are some very good ones out there too!).
  • Can be very heavy, especially if overstuffed.
  • Potential ring issues!
  • The worry of damaging the leather.
  • Expensive initial cost depending on what brand and model you opt for. Inserts also cost extra!

Overall, I think the main thing to consider is what you want to get out of it. If flexibility is a deal breaker for you, a bound planner probably won't be something you'll get along well with. If you've never tried a ring binder before, it might be worth starting out with a cheaper (possibly non-leather) model to see how you get on with it for a few months. Even though I'm more of a bound planner girl now, I still have my Smythson and Filofaxes stored away safely in case I decide to go back to them (which I may well do in the future - who knows!).

What are your thoughts? Are you one or the other? Or do you constantly flit between the two? Do you use both types simultaneously? :)


  1. I definitely have started to use a ring binder at the same time as a bound planner. I find that it's easier for me to plan my everyday stuff in a bound planner as I can take it out and about much easier. But I also love my ring binder planners for things such as lifestyle planners/keeping track of finances, etc.
    Loved this post Angela. Hello from a new follower!
    Jade x

    1. Hello! :) With you on everything you've said! I love ring binders but they're just so heavy :( My bag is ridiculously heavy as it is. I'm not at home enough to have one on my desk and one for my bag sort of thing. Lovely to hear that you're getting on well with your planner x

  2. I've always used bound planner but this year I've tried a double approach: on google calendar all the fixed appointments like lectures while on a Moleskine I've used a bullet point approach, day by day. For the next year I'm planning to switch to a ring planner.... have you ever used DIY fish inserts? It look sooo great!

    1. Sounds like a good system! I've never used the DIY inserts - hope you get on well with them :) x

  3. I'm considering going bound planner after using my filofax for many years just to change things up a bit. I've been eyeing the Ban.do planners. :)

    1. I've just had a look at the Ban.do planners and they are gorgeous! What have you done, Mai! Haha. x

  4. Flexibility is my deal breaking. I do take bound planners apart to make some of my ring bound pages, though.

  5. Hi! I'm from Australia, in Sydney. Where I live, it's pretty hard to find good stationery! But I go to a store called Smiggle(smiggle.com.au) usually and they sell pretty good stationery! You can purchase online, but I'm not sure if they have international shipping. But I like your blog! lol I'm just reading from the very beginning so I don't miss anything... >u<

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.