Trading cards are popular with a wide range of ages and have been for many years. They can be used to play fantasy games, be traded between friends, or collected as beloved memorabilia. Whatever your purpose for collecting trading cards is, you'll need to buy some protective sleeves if you want to keep them in mint condition.
We've looked at the best trading card sleeves available and chose the Diamond Shield cards in matte silver by Arcane Tinman as our favorites. They will protect your cards and are perfect for use in games with friends or even in tournaments. We've also put together a top 10 list for you to consider and created a handy buying guide to help you make your choice!
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Before buying any trading card sleeves, there are a few points you should take into consideration. To help you with this, we've put together this handy buying guide!
It’s common to see trading card collections kept in binders, but these aren’t always the most convenient way to protect and store them. If you’re looking to protect your cards in a more individual way, then there are three main types of card sleeves.
Soft sleeves are individual sleeves made from thin, clear plastic that are roughly the same size as standard trading cards. They will protect the cards from fingerprints or dust but offer little protection against being bent.
For cards that are often used in games, such as Pokemon or Magic the Gathering cards, these are the best option. This type of sleeve will protect the card during play no matter how many times it is handled but isn't bulky like toploaders. It’s easy to take cards in and out and they’re usually sold in bulk, making it easier to protect an entire deck.
If you're going to be playing in tournaments, you can look at soft sleeves that have colored opaque backs. This will mask the back of your cards, so differences in decks or any marks on the cards won't be seen by your opponents!
These are also individual sleeves made from clear plastic, but they are far more rigid and thick than soft sleeves. They’re usually a little bigger than the standard trading card size and offer more complete protection. Their thickness can be measured in mils, with anything above 10 mil being a strong thickness.
If you have 1:1 cards, signature cards, or art cards, you’ll want the extra protection that toploaders give. They’ll not only protect these cards from fingerprints and dust, but their rigidity gives them protection against being bent.
However, if you looking for the best protection possible for your rare cards, then the best option is to use both soft sleeves and toploaders! Put the card in a soft sleeve first and then insert this - open end first - into a toploader sleeve. The card will be then completely encased in plastic.
These are like the pages you will find in binders, only they’re loose. Typically they have nine pockets that are standard trading card size and are of a similar quality to soft sleeves.
Sheets can be used to display a set of trading cards. Some cards have special backs that when put together, make a larger picture. A single sheet is a great way to organize these and show off the completed image!
Most cards and sleeves conform to the standard size of 3.5 inches by 2.5 inches. Typically, toploaders are a little larger and are four inches by three inches. However, not every card conforms to these sizes! Even some cards that are the standard size might not fit if they are too thick.
Some trading card collections have patch or medallion cards that are several times the thickness of regular cards, and these will not fit in soft sleeves. They may not even fit in toploaders! Before you buy any sleeves, check that your cards will fit.
When buying soft sleeves for cards to be used in games, sleeves that have a matte finish are better than glossy ones. Matte sleeves will be easier to handle and are also less prone to glare.
Whatever type of sleeve you buy, look for ones that are waterproof. Plastic is naturally waterproof, but if the sleeves aren’t constructed neatly, it’s possible that water could soak through the edges or joins.
UV protection is another feature that will help protect your cards as it will stop them from fading due to the light. It’s also important to look for sleeves that are made out of safe materials. Many are acid-free and non-PVC, and these are the best options.
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Dragon Shield Matte Silver｜AT-11008
Durable Sleeves With Minimal Glare
Toploaders and Clear Sleeves
A Set of Toploaders and Soft Sleeves
Ultra Transparent Standard Deck Protectors
Easy to Shuffle For Smooth Gameplay
9-Pocket Sleeves for 3 Ring Binder
Good Fit and Durable
Soft Card Sleeves
Perfect to be Paired With Toploaders
Standard Size Matte Card Sleeves
Opaque Black Backs for Tournaments
Black Standard Size Board Game Trading Card Sleeves
Cards Fit Neatly Into the Sleeves and are Easy to Shuffle
Pro Support Trading Card Accessories
Perfect Fit Ultra Clear
Durable Sleeves for Smaller Cards
Trading Card Toploader Holder
Thick Toploaders That Keep Cards in Place
Trading Card Storage Pages
Good for Standard-Sized Cards
Dragon Shield card sleeves come in a variety of colors—the pack we've chosen has an opaque silver back. The colored back has a matte finish and the sleeves are suitable to protect your cards for either display or professional play.
A few reviewers received less than 100 sleeves in their box. The matte quality of the back was a little rough to the touch for some, and they say the Dragon Shield silver cards are noticeably different from silver cards from other manufacturers so they can't be mixed and matched.
On the other hand, Dragon Shield trading card sleeves have a reputation for being one of the best card sleeves on the market and most reviewers agree with this. They say the cards shuffle well, have minimal glare, and don't get scratched.
If you're looking to protect your rare variants and special cards, this is a good set for you. There are 100 soft sleeves and 100 toploaders so you can double-wrap 100 of your most important cards.
Instead of receiving a neat box of 100 toploaders and 100 sleeves, many reviewers received four sets of 25 toploaders. The numbers are the same, but be aware that you may not get exactly what is pictured.
Reviewers praise this set and say that the toploaders are good at protecting their valuable cards. They say they are of good quality and durable, and many reviewers comment that they will purchase them again.
These soft card sleeves are slim but protective. They fit closely to your cards leaving them easy to handle while making them more durable.
Reviewers say that these cards are best for thinner cards, such as Pokemon and Magic the Gathering cards. For thicker cards, like the collectible cards from Topps, they can be a little too tight.
Reviewers praise these soft sleeves for being durable and that the cards shuffle easily when in the sleeves. The plastic is clear but doesn't tear or split at the seams.
The sheets have nine pockets for trading cards that all open at the top. The three holes on the side mean the sheets are suitable for any three-ring binder and they are made of PVC and acid-free polypropylene.
According to some reviewers, these sheets are a little thin. They also say that the holes on the side for the binder weren't fully punched through on every sheet.
Reviewers say that the pockets provide a good fit and that cards don't fall out, even if the sheet is held upside down. They say the sheets are good quality, durable, and very clear.
Made from PVC and acid-free polypropylene, these sleeves are both strong and fully transparent. They can be used as they are, but are also recommended for use inside toploader sleeves.
For some reviewers, these sleeves don't offer the snug fit they wanted for their cards and they find that the cards move around inside the sleeves.
Reviewers confirm that these soft sleeves work well when paired with toploaders. The material of the sleeves is thin but durable and many reviewers are happy with the performance of these soft sleeves.
These sleeves have a matte, black back that is fully opaque. The front is clear and both sides have a non-slip grip that makes them easy to shuffle.
Despite the non-slip grip, some reviewers find the front of these cards to be a little too slippery for their liking, making them tricky for some types of games. A few reviewers also had issues with sleeves splitting at the seams.
Reviewers like the backs of the sleeves and confirm that they are opaque, making them a good choice for tournament play. They say that the sleeves are durable and hold up well to shuffling and the general handling that comes with playing a game.
These soft sleeves have been designed with tournament play in mind. They are ideal for games that require frequent shuffling, are 140 microns thick, and are available in five different opaque colors.
A few reviewers report receiving packs that had a couple of ripped or marked sleeves. Some others found a few sleeves separated at the seams after a bit of use.
Reviewers say that their cards fit into the sleeves easily and that they feel good in their hands. They're easy to shuffle and the backs are as uniform and opaque as they need to be.
These soft sleeves can be used on their own or with toploaders to add an extra layer of protection to your cards. They are acid-free and protect against liquid spills and fingerprints.
Reviewers found that for some cards, these sleeves were either too small or fit so tightly that they ripped. This seems to be a problem with sports trading cards more than gaming cards.
For cards that do fit the sleeves (such as Pokemon cards), reviewers say that they do their job well. They report that the sleeves fit neatly, are durable, and do not rip. Reviewers use these both on their own and with toploaders.
These toploader sleeves are 12 mil thick, making them rigid and able to protect even your most valuable cards. They will protect the corners of your cards and prevent them from bending.
A few reviewers found that the sleeves slightly varied in size. Some also report receiving slightly bent or warped sleeves.
Reviewers say these sleeves are durable and solid. They like that the sleeves protect valuable cards well and keep them in place while they're inside the sleeves. Reviewers were able to put cards in soft sleeves inside these without any problems.
These sheets are waterproof and can be easily inserted into a three-ring binder if required. They are fully transparent, made from acid-free polypropylene, and are dustproof.
The openings for the cards to slot into is at the top of the pockets. If you put cards that are smaller than the pockets inside, be careful with how you pick up these sheets as the cards can easily fall out!
For cards that are of a standard size, reviewers say the pockets are snug without being too tight. They like the sturdiness of these sheets and say they are better than many others on the market.
If you're looking for more hobbies you can do from the warmth and comfort of your home, we have some suggestions for you. Whether you're looking for solo hobbies or activities to do with friends and family, there are many options available!
No. 1: Arcane Tinman｜Dragon Shield Matte Silver｜AT-11008
No. 2: Ultra Pro｜Toploaders and Clear Sleeves
No. 3: Quiver Time｜Ultra Transparent Standard Deck Protectors
No. 4: Toupeone｜9-Pocket Sleeves for 3 Ring Binder
No. 5: Ultra Pro｜Soft Card Sleeves
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