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The Ring Debate for Ring Bound Planner Users

If there is one issue that comes up quite frequently in the planner community, it is the issue of gaps in the rings or rings being misaligned with ring bound planners. Some ring bound planner brands you may be familiar with are Filofax, Franklin Covey, Day Timer, Day Runner, kikki.K, Kate Spade, Gillio, Van der Spek, and Color Crush Planners. There are also cheaper brands such as those by Paperchase and Barnes & Noble's Punctuate Planners.

How can we know if this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed? It is something that you can bear with or should it be returned?

Let's look at some things that we need to take into account. First, the type of ring mechanism used for the planner itself. Are they of high quality? One way to look at it is the quality has been average, depending on what brand you use of course. The more expensive, high end planners are Gillo, Van der Spek as well as higher end brands such as Louis Vuitton and Kate Spade. Then, we have the rest which I think are very comparable to each other (Filofax, Franklin Covey, kikki.K, etc). A cause to this issue is that many of these planners are shipped with the inserts included which may cause the rings to get damaged during transit. Also, some planners are improperly packaged with not enough protection/ padding to prevent damage.

Next, to ensure you don't damage the mechanism, always use the tabs to open rings and use gentle pressure on both sets of rings to close them. DO NOT pull apart the rings to open them. This is a common mistake that I have seen.

This is not an isolated issue with any one company - Color Crush Planners or Filofax, which they are both well aware of. I have used every brand out there and this is just something that all ring bound planners all across the board might have to deal with -- possible ring gaps and ring misalignment. The issue is that people are not reporting them. Companies won't know of these issues until they are reported. It can be frustrating to receive a product which you believe paid good money for, only for it to be faulty. No one wants to deal with customer service.

Before you panic, my advice to anyone who has questions regarding the rings on their planner is to first ask yourself, is this planner useable? Can you turn the pages without it getting caught in the rings? Usually, if the gap/ misalignment is not on the top/bottom most ring, the planner is still usable. Have you opened and closed the rings a few times. Sometimes this simple gesture helps to realign the rings themselves. If you have answered these questions and still feel that you have faulty rings, then by all means please contact customer service. I would recommend contacting the retailer you purchased it from first, and also the manufacturer.

For more information, check out this great blog post done by


  1. Great post Jennifer. I've done a more detailed post on the inner workings of the ring mechanism, and discovered how to fix them!

    1. Thank you, Steve. You've always been a great mentor of mine! =)

  2. I've never had a ring issue. (Now that I typed that, I'm probably jinxing myself.) I wonder if I just not picky or if I've just been lucky. Honestly, I would think that I would be picky, knowing my personality!

  3. My Kate Spade binder has finicky rings. The top 3 all have gaps, but the bottom 3 are fine. Strange. Fortunately, my pages don't get stuck. Every so often, I switch out with my FC Compact. I've used FC binders for 20+ years and have never had a problem. So when the rings on the KS give out, I'll somehow get FC rings in there; small ones so my FC inserts stay nice and neat.

  4. I tried the above link that was a fix for the ring issue and it worked for me.


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