types of binder rings and how to measure

Different types of binder rings and how to measure each

There are a few different types of binder rings you have to choose from. From round rings to slanted rings and d rings, we break each down so you know what to look for and questions to ask the next time you purchase 3-ring binders.

Binder rings were the bane of our existence growing up. Were you ever able to make it a full week in class without either yourself or a classmate taking a trip to the nurse’s office because they snapped a finger in a binder ring? Yeah, neither was I.

Surprisingly enough, binder rings weren’t invented to create a finger death trap for kids regardless of how convinced we all were. Instead, they had a simple job of holding whatever we needed – whether it be loose-leaf sheets of paper or something else – to stay organized and on top of our studies.

Once you’re able to look past your 3rd grade fears of those pesky rings, you begin to appreciate their real job and how you can utilize 3-ring binders to make your life easier.

Types of Binder Rings

You may not know it but there are a few different types of binder rings you can choose from. Your most popular ring – the round ring – is what you’ll find in most binders you purchase from major retail stores. To the every-day consumer, round rings are probably the only binder ring type you’re used to seeing. However, there are more and each one offers something a little bit different.

Aside from your typical round-ring binder, you might come across a slanted-ring binder or D-ring binder. The different types of binder rings are easily identified: round rings are round, slanted rings have a distinct slant feature, and D rings look exactly like backwards capital D.

round-rings, slanted-rings, d-rings for custom 3-ring binders

Another factor you must consider is the size of your binder rings. If you’re ordering your custom 3-ring binders, ask yourself: what are we putting in each binder? Just paper, or tabs and file folders, too?

Ring size is the second component you need to be aware of. Each ring size will provide a different capacity, or the amount you can hold in one binder, that’s tailored to your needs. Note: the size of the spine doesn’t determine the amount of capacity but the ring size does.

So – what’s the real difference between each one of these? Each type of binder ring has its pros and cons, serving a differently purposed depending solely on your needs. If you’re looking for a nice presentation binder to show potential clients a project proposal, only holding a small number of sheets, a round-ring binder will do you just fine. Once you start adding more capacity to each binder you’ll start finding a need for not only a larger ring size but possibly a different type of ring, too. For a more thorough breakdown of each binder ring type, see below:


As stated previously, round rings are the standard rings you find in most binders. Shaped like a circle, round-rings come in sizes from .5” up to 3”. To measure use a ruler to measure the entire width of the ring.


  • Budget-friendly
  • Can be mounted on the spine or back cover
  • Many different size options


  • Can’t hold as much material as other ring options
  • If mounted on spine, must conceal rivets as to not affect the art
  • Pages don’t flip as well when rings are mounted on back cover and it puts more strain on the hinges

Slanted-Rings (Angle-D Rings)

Slanted-ring binders are a favorite for some because it holds a distinct advantage over round rings: the slant of the ring allows for your material to lie flat. More durable than your round-ring binders, slanted-rings can come in sizes as small as .5”-to-5”. Using a ruler, measure the length of the slant of the ring.


  • Holds roughly 10-20% more material than a round rings
  • Allows material to lie flat inside the binder
  • More durable than round rings


  • More expensive than round-rings; not as expensive as d-rings

D-Rings (Straight-D Rings)

Like slanted-ring binders, D-ring binders allow all material inside a binder to lie flat. There are, however, features that set them apart from the other ring metals available.

While D-rings are the most expensive option, they’re the most durable. Anyone planning on a binder(s) that will be opened and closed a lot throughout the day needs to keep that in mind. And your size options are limited, too, ranging from 1”-to-5” binders. Using a ruler, measure the length of the straight side of the ring.


  • Holds more material than both round-ring and slanted-ring binders
  • More durable than round rings


  • The most expensive ring available

Look and feel of a 3-ring binder is just one feature you need to consider. When it comes to the quality, ease-of-use, and longevity of a binder, start considering the type of binder rings needed by using this to guide your way.

Still confused about which direction you need to go? We have sales and customer service reps readily available to help you through the process. While we can help you find the right binder for your project we can’t keep your fingers safe.