Why Are Card Savers So Expensive?

why are card savers so expensive

If you recently shopped online for protective plastic sleeves for your collectible trading cards, you might be shocked at the current prices. Why are Card Savers so expensive?

Worldwide inflation and a global shipping crisis that raised prices for many consumer goods produced in China such as Card Savers. Limited supply coupled with increased demand had a direct impact on Card Saver prices.

Here’s what to know about card saver costs, if Card Savers are good, whether Card Savers will scratch your trading cards, and which type of Card Saver to buy.

Why Are Card Savers So Expensive?


The registered trademark brand is the most popular type of semi-rigid trading card holders among collectors today.

Decreased Supplies

Card Savers are currently so expensive due to supply and demand. Card Saver production and shipment has slowed due to underlying circumstances from China. As basic living expenses skyrocketed during the pandemic, you might also have seen items like Card Savers double in price. By mid-2020, Card Saver costs jumped from a relatively inexpensive price of $15.00 to $20.00-$60.00 for a box of 200 holders.

As shipments return to normal, you might see prices go back down. Amazon, in particular, has a variety of Card Savers available in a wide price range. Keep in mind that with the current inflation, more expensive Card Savers may be here to stay.

Increased Demand

Card Savers also saw a price hike due to increased demand. More people are sending in their trading cards for grading. Whether due to more free time during quarantine or a financial need to check out trading cards’ value, collectors began buying more Card Savers last year.  

Grading Guidelines  

Card Saver 1 is the number one recommended card holder for grading. Since 2008, Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) has accepted top loaders, but advises collectors against submitting cards for grading in top loader’s hard acrylic cases. This preference means that Card Savers run at a premium for grading.

Are Card Savers Good?

Card Savers is a good option to protect your collectible trading cards. If you are stuck between deciding whether to use top loaders or Card Savers, here are a few things to consider.  

  • Cards don’t shift in Card Savers in the mail (provided that you select the correct size).
  • Card Savers offer more protection than other types of holders.
  • Card Savers are the preferred cover when submitting cards for PSA grading.
  • Card Savers are easy to remove without damaging cards. 
  • Card Savers keep your cards organized and secure while in storage.

Do Card Savers Scratch Cards?

If used correctly, Card Savers should not scratch your cards. If you plan to mail your trading cards to PSA for authentication, it is a good idea to select the correct size card so that your card travels safely. Never force a card into a sleeve that is too small since this can cause warping or creasing. 

It’s also advised to not use a Card Saver that is too large. A Card Saver that is too big can cause your card to slide around and cause scratches.

Some users find it difficult to insert certain cards into Card Savers. You can check out YouTube tutorials here or here that show how to correctly insert trading cards without scratching them.

If you are shipping your cards, just slip the Card Saver into a penny sleeve to avoid points of contact or rubbing at the corners.

What’s Better, Card Saver 1 or 2?

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A Collector’s Favorite  

Most collectors have favored Card Saver 1 since the brand’s genesis in 1991. The great thing about Card Saver 1 is that it can fit many different types of cards, from a 1950s Topps or Bowman, to a small Leaf Bowman, tobacco and strip cards, or modern-sized cards.

Grading Recommended

If you plan to send your cards in for PSA grading, it is best to send them in a Card Saver 1. PSA is generally not responsible for losses or damages if cards are sent in any type of holder other than a Card Saver 1.

If you use Card Saver 1 sleeves, your cards are more likely to be processed sooner and less likely to be mislaid. Card Saver 1 is also preferred if you are using the SGC or Beckett grading systems.

To check the current price and availability of Card Saver 1 Sleeves, click here to view the selection on Amazon.

What Is the Difference Between Card Saver 1 and Card Saver 2?

Here are a few of the top reasons why many collectors favor Card Saver 1 over Card Saver 2.

Card Saver 1 Pros 

  • The one-size holder can fit most standard-sized trading cards. They can also fit some larger cards.
  • They are easier and safer to remove without damaging the card.
  • They are semi-rigid, which offers more protection than a flimsier holder.
  • They are generally less expensive than Card Saver 2s.
  • They don’t take up much space.
  • They are the only card sleeves that PSA and BGS recommend.
  • You can make a Card Saver 1 fit thicker cards by bending it slightly to break it in.  

Card Saver 1 Cons

  • They may not fit longer cards such as Joe Namath rookie.
  • They can if warp stored singly rather than in a stack.

 Card Saver 2 Pros

  • They fit standard size baseball, football, and other kinds of trading cards.
  • They work well for smaller types of cards such as tea, tobacco, or candy cards.

Card Saver 2 Cons

  • Card Saver 2s won’t work for thicker cards.
  • They are more expensive than Card Saver 1s.
  • A lot of modern card sizes, such as National Treasure, Flawless, or Exquisite won’t fit into Card Saver 2 holders.
  • Most collectors don’t like them because they are less accepted and versatile than Card Saver 1.

Final Thoughts

While the pandemic, increased grading, and popularity made Card Savers more expensive, Card Savers are still the top-recommended choice to store or ship your trading cards.

Card Saver 1 is a good option due to its clear, semi-rigid case that offers protection while adhering to PSA standards. Card Saver 1 also gives collectible cards a minimalist and straightforward presentation.

By choosing the correct Card Saver size and inserting your card correctly, you will ensure that your favorite and most valuable cards are kept in mint condition for many years to come.

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