Best zipper binders

Laura Duerr

Zipper binders, which keep schoolwork neat, organized and secure, are a popular back-to-school item.

Zipper binders

Remember the Trapper Keeper? Part binder, part filing system with Velcro closures and unique designs, the original Trapper Keeper by Mead was a classroom icon of the ’80s and ’90s. While the Trapper Keeper is still around, these days, many students choose zipper binders, which are designed to be sturdy enough to get your student through the school year, with padded covers, zipper closures and additional storage features to suit the modern classroom. Below, learn more about this essential back-to-school supply, plus find out the best zipper binders and organizers available right now.

Zipper binder features

Not just great for school, zipper binders can be useful for the office, too. There are a few factors to keep in mind when selecting a zipper binder.


Most, though not all, zipper binders close with zippers, so there’s no need to worry about smaller supplies falling out and getting lost. Young children who struggle with zippers and those with sensory disorders will be able to find some alternatives to zippers and Velcro closures.

Storage pockets

Zipper binders provide a variety of interior storage options, usually including a built-in three-ring binder, mesh pouches and tabbed expanding organizers for folders. Make sure you choose a model that will keep any pens, calculators, art supplies or other necessary items organized and easy to access.


Not all zipper binders have handles, while some have straps that can convert the binder into a backpack. Consider whether you plan to carry your organizer with you or store it in a locker and only take out what you need.


Zipper binders are available in a wide spectrum of design choices ranging from colorful and whimsical to professional black. While some office environments may prefer muted styles, much like luggage, a colorful zipper binder is a great way to ensure it won’t get lost or mixed up in the classroom.

Best zipper binder for high school

Case-it Universal 2-inch 3-Ring Zipper Binder: available at Staples and Amazon

Our take: This sturdy organizer can almost replace a backpack with its padded laptop pocket, zippered binder enclosure, interior and exterior storage pockets and shoulder strap.

What we like: It’s available in three colors. The padded exterior pocket can hold laptops and tablets up to 13 inches in size.

What we dislike: It could benefit from additional storage for writing implements and small supplies.

Five Star Zipper Binder Carryall: available at Amazon

Our take: The sophisticated design of this binder is great for older students or the office. It has a large zippered exterior pocket, four tabbed organizers and a removable writing board that can be taken out to use as a portable writing surface.

What we like: It’s available in two chic neutral color combinations. The full-size interior pockets are large enough for items like folders or even tablets. Five Star offers a guarantee that their school supplies will last through the school year.

What we dislike: The only pen loop is on the exterior, where it’s easy to lose. Some users wished the other exterior pocket had some kind of closure.

Case-It Mighty Zip Tab Zipper Binder: available at Staples and Amazon

Our take: With its 600-sheet capacity, five-pocket expanding file and multiple zipper pouches, this binder lets you carry pretty much everything.

What we like: This organizer is one of the largest available, as well as one of the most durable. It has a carrying handle plus a shoulder strap for portability.

What we dislike: Its large capacity can make it difficult to fit inside a backpack. A few users reported their zipper breaking.

Best zipper binder for middle school

Five Star Zipper Binder: available at Staples and Amazon

Our take: Made with water-resistant fabric and a plastic interior, this binder lets you get organized and keep all your supplies in one place while keeping them safe and dry.

What we like: It’s available in four colors and offers lots of organizational options, including a three-pocket expanding file, pen loops, compartmentalized exterior zipper pouch and large interior zipper pocket.

What we dislike: There isn’t enough room to use both the file folder and the binder to capacity. The zipper pockets are a little too snug to fit a lot of items.

Best binders for elementary school

Mead Zipper Binder with Expanding File: available at Amazon

Our take: Its bold colorblock design disguises exterior folder pockets, while its interior offers tabbed organizers, a three-ring binder and additional storage pockets.

What we like: It’s available in three vibrant color choices.

What we dislike: The zipper leaves a gap through which smaller objects can fall out. Some users had trouble fitting everything they wanted inside the binder, and while many users appreciated the binder’s durability, others felt it didn’t last as long as it should have.

Case-It Open Tab Monster Eye Binder: available at Amazon

Our take: A cute monster face opens up to reveal a five-pocket expanding file, three-ring binder and separate storage pouch.

What we like: This binder offers plenty of storage options, including pen loops and zipper pockets inside and out. The Velcro closure keeps belongings in place. Available in two designs.

What we dislike: Some users have concerns about the quality of the materials used.

Mead 2-Inch Round Ring Buckle Closure Binder: available at Amazon

Our take: This open-sided binder is a great option for students who need alternatives to zippers and Velcro, or who need the extra accountability of having their papers visible.

What we like: It closes with a buckle strap instead of Velcro or a zipper. There’s a three-ring binder and a four-pocket expanding file inside and a small zipper pouch from the outside. It comes in three colorful design choices.

What we dislike: The exterior pouch is the only portion of the binder that fully closes.

Laura Duerr is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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