Which Binding is Right For You?

Ring - Disc - Spiral - Book - Travelers Notebook

I have favourites when it comes to the binding of my planner. But.. We are all different. Some of you can't live without your travelers notebooks, others love their book bound planners. Me, I can go with any of the other three styles mentioned above but I do keep going back to my 6 ring personal Filofax. Let me nut out the pros and cons of each style for you.

6 Ring Planners

6 ring planners include those from Kikki-K, Filofax, Louis Vuitton and you'll pick them up at your local K-Mart. They come in a range of sizes from as small as pocket up to A5. Different manufacturers may alter the ring layout so be aware of this when you are considering purchasing one.


  • As mentioned above, they come in a range of sizes. The pocket one does not take up too much room if you are using it on the go. A personal sized ring planner fits quite comfortably in your handbag (unless you have a small handbag) and the A5 works for those of us who prefer more space to write.
  • Inserts are easy to find. From Etsy to your local stationery shop, you can find inserts that will fit 6 ring binders. If you are a little bit more adventurous you can purchase printables and print, cut and punch your own.
  • In addition to the inserts you can find plastic sleeves or pockets and other accessories.
  • You can add or remove pages or dividers as you need to. When you change your planning style, you don't have to get an entire new planner, just the pages.
  • Not only are they available in multiple sizes but there are many different colours and materials to choose from. 
  • Most come with built in pockets at the front and the back which are handy for any number of things.
  • Most come with a pen holder, which makes life much easier.
  • You can get years out of one binder.


  • The rings get in the way when you're writing, although this is also true for other planners, they seem a bit bulkier when writing in ring planners. However, for those of you with more patience than me, you can remove the pages to decorate with stickers, washi tape and to write in.
  • The good quality ones come with a hefty price tag
  • If you make your own inserts, life will be easier if you purchase a 6 hole punch as well, otherwise you will spend the remainder of your life using your single hole punch to punch pages. (I use the Rapesco one and it's fine)



Disc Bound Planners

For those of you who are completely new to the world of planning, look at the image above to see what a disc bound planner looks like. There are not many out there - Arc and MAMBI Happy Planner are the two that come to mind there are some Australian suppliers of the Happy Planner. The discs on the planner above are from one of the MAMBI Happy Planners, the inserts are my own (shameless plug for Blue Gum Lane). As you'll read below, this a a very versatile style of planner but only if you are prepared to get a little crafty yourself.


  • Like the ring planner, these planners are flexible in that you can change the pages as needed.
  • You can purchase the discs in a variety of sizes to suit your needs. If you only wanted a small, thin planner, you would use the smaller discs.
  • You can purchase discs in different colours.
  • It lays flat.
  • You can fold it back on itself (as in the photo above).
  • You can change covers - there are tutorials on how to make your own if you are that way inclined.
  • You can re-use the discs
  • If you purchase the punch and make your own covers and inserts, you can make it any size you want.
  • This is probably the most versatile design of all the planners listed here.


  • Depending on the size of discs you have and how much paper you have in your planner, the discs can still get in the way when you are writing.
  • If you don't like the layout you will have to make or purchase your own inserts.
  • If you'd like to make your own inserts and covers you will need an Arc punch. They are super expensive and heavy. Shipping to Australia is also very expensive.
  • I find that none of the layouts suit me and I have to make my own inserts from scratch.
  • The covers that you can purchase are limited in style and colour options.
  • I hate carrying even the small version in my handbag because the rings get caught on everything.


Spiral Bound Planners

These are readily available in your local stationery store, but for those of you who are looking at the big players - Erin Condren Life Planners, Plum Paper, Whistle and Birch (Australian and beautiful quality, I'm using one for my teaching job this year) are a few.


  • The coil is secure and sturdy.
  • They are readily available.
  • I find them more comfortable to write in than ring or disc planners.
  • You can fold them back on themselves.
  • Some companies offer a level of customisation.


  • They are not versatile. You get what you get and are stuck with the layout for the life of the planner.
  • The good quality ones are expensive, particularly for those of you in Australia looking to purchase a US based planner.
  • If you love your stickers, adding them to your spiral bound planner will cause them to bulk up and become difficult to handle.




Book Bound

Book binding refers to planners who have pages glued into a cover - like a novel or a text book.


  • These are readily available from your local stationery store, newsagent or retailer such as K Mart or Target.
  • Generally speaking, they are the most affordable option, although you can purchase more expensive versions such as the Moleskine brand.
  • You can purchase them in a variety of sizes.
  • They are super portable.
  • They are super sturdy.
  • There is no coil or disc system to deal with so they are much easier to write in.


  • It won't lay flat unless you break the spine and holding the pages flat whilst writing can be a nuisance.
  • If you love accessorising, this is not the planner for you. It is difficult to add a planner charm to this style of planner.
  • If you use lots of stickers perhaps you might look at another style because it won't take long before your planner will no longer close comfortably.
  • You can't add or remove inserts. You are stuck with the layout that you get for the life of the planner.




Travelers Notebook

I'm going to put a few of you offside here because I'm just not a fan of this style of planning. Having said that, it's because many people that favour the travelers notebook (TN) are more creative and enjoy journalling more than I do. This system involves a cover (like the Foxy Fix ones pictured above) with an elastic system that holds notebooks. You can have as many notebooks as you can fit into your TN. This is one of the more popular styles of planning at the moment and one worth exploring if you think it will suit your style. Keep in mind that they can be expensive so perhaps start of with a pre-loved version.


  • You can have one notebook for each aspect of your life.
  • You can remove notebooks as you finish with them and replace them.
  • You can change your style as often as you'd like (there are quite a few You-tubers out there who have done plan with me videos - it's worth doing a google search to take a look).
  • You can design your own cover with different colour leathers, elastic and personalisations.
  • They are portable.


  • They can be quite expensive so shop around to see if you can purchase a cheaper version to begin with before investing in the more expensive ones.
  • They don't lay flat
  • They don't feel organised to me, they feel chaotic but this could just be the way my weird brain works.
  • There are so many sizes it's hard to keep track of.


I hope you found that useful - feel free to let me know your own thoughts and any pros and cons I missed.

'Til next time





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