3-ring binder ring sizes | The Dimensional Group

Before you order 3-ring binders you need to know about ring sizes and how much you can fit into each binder.

Are you stuck with this dilemma:

I need to order binders but I’m not sure what size binders I need?

You’re not the only one. 3-ring binder ring sizes aren’t general knowledge to the every-day consumer but we’re here to help.  What do you see when you think of a binder? Your standard 8.5” x 11” binder is what pops into most minds. It’s typically the go-to because it fits the three-hole punch paper we so often use. Binders however, come in many shapes and sizes. What you choose is dependent on what you are using it for.

Regardless of how big or small, the ring size of your 3-ring binder ultimately determines how effective they are. The bigger they are, the more your binder can hold. Of course the smaller they are, the less you’re going to fit.

Study the chart below that lays out some of the most common 3-ring binder ring sizes and the amount of materials – in inches – that can fit in each:


The above chart provides an estimated amount of room inside each 3-ring binder dependent on the type of materials inside the binder.

The capacity of a 3-ring binder tells a different story than what’s actually available in terms of space. There are few things worse than ordering new custom binders that are too small for what you’re trying to do.

Many companies will show you capacity, or the number of sheets of paper, that can fit inside each different ring size. For example, you can roughly fit 350 sheets of paper in a binder with a 2” ring. However, if you need tabs and dividers, the chances of fitting 350 sheets are slim-to-none. Instead, we suggest that you have a rough estimate of how thick the materials will be inside each binder and request a ring size that best suits your needs.

Below is a list of some of the more common things that influence the ring size for your 3-ring binders:

  • Type of paper
  • Amount of paper
  • Tabs
  • Dividers
  • Folders

To begin the process of determining the binder ring size you need, first you’ll need to know how to measure the size of the ring. With 3-ring binders there are a few different types of rings: round rings, d-rings, and slant d-rings. For round rings, take a ruler and measure from one side of the ring to the other. On a binder with d-rings, measure the straight edge of the binder ring.

Too many of the items above will make for a bad experience! Stacking too many items on one ring can put stress not only on the ring mechanism but also your papers, dividers, folders, etc… Have you ever loaded a binder over capacity only to try to flip a page and then the page rips?

Save yourself the trouble. Take the time to determine the best ring size for your 3-ring binders with one of our sales reps.