When it comes to the ‘ultimate’ protection of a trading card, you will have two options available to you; card savers and top loaders. Which one is going to be best?
Generally speaking, in most cases, card savers will be better than toploaders. This is because they do not take up as much space, and they allow the card to bump around inside a lot less.
The only real issue with card savers is the fact that it is hard to get cards into them. We will talk about that soon.
What is a Card Saver?
You can think of a card saver as a small, hardish plastic wallet. They come in a variety of different sizes, including comic book size. However, they are mostly used for cards.
The fit inside a card saver is very tight. This is to ensure that once the card is put inside, it is firmly rooted into place. This prevents it from knocking around which could cause damage to the card.
As we said before, there is a major issue with card savers. This is the fact that it can be a bit tough to get the card in initially due to the tight squeeze. This means that you have to be gentle to avoid causing damage to the card.
We recommend these card savers by Cardboard Gold. They are specifically recommended by the PSA and BGS respectively. They will fit all standard sized trading cards as well as some over-sized cards.
What is a Top Loader?
Top loaders are hard plastic cases. As the name suggests, the card is loaded in from the top.
These provide a lot of protection for cards, but they have a downside in that, unlike card savers, they cannot be sealed at the top. This means that cards can fall out if you are not careful.
If you want to go with a top loader, we recommend these top loaders by Ultra PRO. Ultra PRO is one of the oldest and most reputable trading card accessory companies around. Their products are, for the most part, very high quality.
The Differences Between Card Savers and Top Loaders
Well, they are both made from plastic, but different thicknesses of plastic. Card savers save space. They are a fraction of the depth of a top loader. In fact, they are barely thicker than your average trading card.
Toploaders, on the other hand, are thick pieces of plastic. They cannot be bent. Or, at least the quality ones cannot be bent.
Card savers tend to have a little less wiggle room once the card has been loaded inside of it. This is because the plastic of the card saver can ‘squeeze’ onto the trading card, holding it in place. Toploaders cannot do the same because they are thick pieces of immovable plastic. Therefore, if you put a card into them, it will move around, and that will cause damage to the card.
The major difference, and the one that concerns most people, is the fact that card savers can be sealed up. This means that once the card has been loaded into a card saver, it is not going to fall out from the card saver. This is why they are used for shipping.
You do not get to enjoy the same benefit with a top loader. The top is completely open. There are people that will tape up the top of the top loader to prevent the card from falling out. However, you will be taking a major risk doing this. After all, if you do not tape it up properly, then the card will just be banging against the adhesive.
Which Option Offers the Most Protection for Your Trading Cards?
To be honest, it depends on what you are doing with the card.
If you are planning on shipping the card out, then we would only ever recommend that you use card savers. This is because the card cannot move about inside the card saver. In fact, the PSA will only allow trading cards to be sent in for grading if they are in card savers. This is because they know that if cards have been shipped in top loaders, the sides will end up becoming damaged.
If the card isn’t being moved around at all, then both card savers and top loaders will offer roughly the same amount of protection.
Some people will tend to opt for a toploader when their cards on display, though. This isn’t so much for the additional protection that it provides, but more for the fact that it just looks better to display the cards in them.
Both options are going to provide way more protection than your traditional card sleeve, especially penny sleeves, though.
In almost all cases, you should try to store your trading cards in card savers. When you are shipping cards, you won’t find anything that offers a greater level of protection.
In fact, the amount of protection offered by card savers is so high that the PSA will refuse to grade anything that isn’t loaded into one.
Therefore, that will almost certainly be the best option for most people. Top loaders are great, but more for display purposes.