Best trading card sleeves

Hobby & Collectibles

The first-ever trading card sleeves were completely clear and released in 1995 by the Ultra Pro company. Opaque sleeve backs later became popular because they allowed the fair use of worn or damaged trading cards.

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The best sleeves for trading cards

There is plenty of variety when it comes to trading card sleeves. Of course, not all sleeves are the same quality and do not all serve the same purpose. Before purchasing any trading card sleeves, be sure that they would fit your cards and suit the purpose you have in mind.

Quiver Time Artemis Sleeves are efficient protective sleeves with a solid matte finish and features that make them easy to shuffle and play with while preventing any bent corners or damage. 

What to know before you buy trading card sleeves

Do you need sleeves for protection or play?

While all trading card sleeves offer varying degrees of protection, you should first determine if you will be handling the sleeved cards to play a game or not. If your goal is to protect valuable collectibles adequately, you could opt for rigid, clear sleeves. If you need sleeves for play, they have to have a certain degree of flexibility so you can carefully shuffle your deck. 

The back surface of play sleeves also needs a certain amount of friction so that you can handle the cards easily and they can stack without sliding. Also, keep in mind that some tournaments will have rules about the types of sleeves you can use. It is generally best to use plain, single-colored sleeves that do not have a clear back to be safe. The purpose of this is to prevent players from cheating by marking cards or sleeves.

What size trading card sleeves do you need?

Different trading cards produced by different companies have differences in size. Larger sleeves that could fit standard cards and smaller ones too are fine for the sake of protecting a valuable collectible from bumps or scratches. However, you should fit your sleeves for active play and your cards’ actual sizes. Trading card games like “Magic: The Gathering” and “Pokémon” are standard-size cards, while many Japanese trading card games have smaller cards like “Yu-Gi-Oh!” or “Cardfight! Vanguard.”

How many different types of sleeves will you need?

Depending on the trading card game, you may need more than a singular set of sleeves. For example, your extra deck in “Yu-Gi-Oh!” should have visibly different sleeves than your main deck. The relatively new “Cardfight! Vanguard OverDress” format features a separate “Ride Deck” of a few cards that cannot have the same type of sleeves that you use for your main deck either. Depending on what types of trading cards you plan to sleeve, you may need to have multiple different varieties of card sleeves.

What to look for in quality trading card sleeves

This section should detail the primary features available in different models of this product, both fundamental features and optional features (upgrades). On average, expect to have three to six features. If a few key players are synonymous with the product type, cover their key points of differentiation.

Durability

All sleeves will increase the durability of your cards to some degree, but you should consider the durability of the sleeves themselves. Not all sleeves hold up to the same level of force, nor will they all stay in top condition for the same amount of time. Some materials like PVC can cause chemical damage to your cards if left in the sleeve for extended periods. Be sure that your sleeves are non-PVC and can stand the test of time.

Functionality

Top-quality trading card sleeves should protect your cards and allow them to hold up to shuffling and use. It is best for oils and dirt from hands to not come in contact with trading cards, but good card sleeves do not compromise the functionality of a trading card for the sake of protecting it. Sleeving a card to store in a binder or elsewhere safely does not require functionality in the card sleeves, but you will need playable card sleeves if you intend to play with your trading cards.

Style

Your trading card sleeves can reflect something about you or the cards you collect. Sometimes that is as simple as picking sleeves of your favorite color. Some sleeves have unique designs that are even more personalized. Just remember that trading card sleeves may be regulated for tournament play to ensure a fair experience for all participants. That should not prevent you from finding sleeves that you enjoy for non-tournament use, though.

How much you can expect to spend on trading card sleeves

For decent trading card sleeves, you can expect to spend at least a couple of cents on individual sleeves. For sets of a few hundred sleeves, you can expect to spend around $10-$20. 

Trading Card Sleeves FAQ

What are Penny Sleeves?

A. That term is just used to describe trading card sleeves in general and refers to the inexpensive cost of such protective gear for trading cards. Whether cards you plan to play with often or cards that are valuable collectibles, providing them some protection for a couple of cents is usually worth the small investment.

What type of sleeves do I need for a tournament?

A. If you are looking for protective trading card sleeves to use at a local or regional event, you will need to check the official rules on the subject since it varies from one tournament to another. If your card sleeves are the same color, from the same brand and in the same condition overall, it should be acceptable for tournament use. Some tournaments will have specific requirements regarding sleeve regulations, so check any official trading card game rules first. 

What’s the best trading card sleeve to buy?

Top trading card sleeves

Quiver Time Artemis Sleeves

Quiver Time Artemis Sleeves

What you need to know: These standard-size card sleeves with plain matte backs are perfect for personal or tournament use to protect your cards.

What you’ll love: The sleeves come in multiple different colors. They measure 66 by 91 mm to fit any standard size trading card like “Magic: The Gathering,” “Pokémon” and more. A portion of the profits goes to charity, providing for kids in need.

What you should consider: These sleeves are only available in reasonably large quantities. You certainly get your money’s worth, but if you do not have a large or growing collection, it may be way more individual sleeves than you need to protect the decks you currently use.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top trading card sleeves for the money

Pro Support Trading Card Penny Sleeves

Pro Support Trading Card Penny Sleeves

What you need to know: These clear sleeves are great for safely storing or showcasing your collection.

What you’ll love: The clear sleeves make it easy to see the condition of each card. They are sized for standard trading cards and they also work well for double-sleeving your cards for extra protection. They use non-PVC material, so even if you store your cards inside for a very long time, the plastic cannot release any harmful chemicals into your cards.

What you should consider: Without additional sleeves with opaque backs, the entirely clear backs of these sleeves are not suitable for tournament play.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Trading card sleeves worth checking out

TitanShield Small Card Protection Sleeves

TitanShield Small Card Protection Sleeves

What you need to know: These smaller card sleeves with thick backs are great for trading cards that use smaller sizes than the standard.

What you’ll love: They come in multiple colors, and the sleeves are sized for Japanese trading cards, so they are perfect for “Yu-Gi-Oh!,” “Cardfight! Vanguard” and more. They have a non-slip finish that makes them easy to handle, and the sleeves have 140 microns of thickness, which is 40% thicker than most sleeves available.

What you should consider: These will only fit small-sized cards, so if you collect various trading cards, you may need different sleeves for cards in your collection of a standard size.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Elliott Rivette writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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