Choose the best trading card sleeves is like choosing your very first starter Pokemon, it’s either a great decision or a bad one.
The Retro Dodo team has been collecting trading cards for well over 20 years now and we’ve had our fair share of bad trading card sleeves aswell as great ones.
Most of these come down to personal preference, but you’ll see the odd familiar brand keep popping up because at times quality is far better than affordability especially if you’re sleeving your rare Pokemon cards or sports cards.
We’ll also take you through the different types of sleeves in this article, because you may find that you need to sleeve and also protect with another piece of trading card equipment. Nobody said this was a cheap hobby okay!
Heck, we’re even tempted by that new Collectors Cabinets that houses your PSA graded cards in a museum grade container that can shock thieves.
These peripherals and card protector products are booming right now, and its for good reason!
Table of Contents
1. Ultra Pro Penny Sleeves
The first and best purchase you can make for your trading card collection is penny sleeves. Now, not many companies like to call them penny sleeves, because due to inflation and the ever growing demand, they no longer cost a penny.
But still, many of us in the trading card community still use it as its name. These sleeves are the cheapest of them all, but have so many uses.
They are typically the most flexible, safesty and most affordable way to sleeve your cards. They’re known for not scratching your cards upon sleeving, are fully transparent, and incredibly flexible allowing for not tension or movement when changing around your deck.
These are also used for when you send your cards to be graded to PSA or Beckett. These companies ask for you to sleeve them in penny sleeves before shipping, allowing for protection in the mail, and easy removal for the grading team.
This is why they are so popular, they’re easy, and bigger card collectors who like grading prefer them when buying their cards on eBay so they don’t have to be resleeved.
The less touching of cards, the better. These are a mandatory investment for any current or upcoming trading card collector.
2. Dragon Shield Trading Card Sleeves
Dragon Shield have been in the game for some time, but over the last couple of years many trading card collectors have only spoke highly about these incredible sleeves.
The team behind it are dedicated to creating the best trading card sleeves for both collectors and players who use their cards regularly.
When using cards for the game on a regular basis, wear and tear is a big thing, you don’t want your sleeves ripping, or getting slippery as this could case damage to your trading cards.
Dragon Shield have created a sleeve that isn’t much different to its competitors, but have created a long lasting, durable sleeve with a brand that has a bunch of beastly dragons as their “colour code”.
What’s nice aswell, is that their sleeves come in a little box allowing you to easily get in and out a sleeve should you need to when you open a lot of packs, or make YouTube videos.
Dragon Shield are the up and coming trading card sleeve makers that are rivalling Ultra Pro.
3. Quiver ARTEMIS Sleeves
Quiver have been creating some phenomenal trading card sleeves over the past couple of years, and although they are hard to purchase outside of the USA, they are certainly worth considering if you want to play with the best of the best.
Quiver sent us over a wide range of samples, but one of my personal favourites is the Artemis Sleeves.
These are thin, slippery, erfectly cut sleeves that I use on my low value cards that I like to play with. The high gloss material used makes it easy to move around boards and even easier to shuffle with, making them a great choice for those that play in tournaments.
One feature I did notice is that the cut is so accurate that the card sits in perfectly, just 1mm away from the top, allowing easy access to your card.
Some of you may not like this as the card could poke out of the top if handled heavily, but for me it makes the card look that little bit sleeker.
4. Titan Shield Pocket Protectors
Trading card sleeves come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes sleeving all of your cards indidiually can be a task intself, especially if they are not deemed as “rare” or “collectible”.
So, we use the Titan Shield 9-pocket protector in a binder in order to store our common and uncommon cards in bulk. These are high clarity, 120mc thickness pages for your binders that can hold sleeved or non-sleeved cards.
These typicall last longer than traditional pages, you’ll find yourself having these for longer and the material used has a high sense of clarity. They won’t fade overtime, and it takes a lot to rip the corners should you take your collection everywhere you go.
The major feature we noticed is that the edges have a strong welding formation, meaning you’ll rarely get cuts in between the slots, this is something old cheap page protectors have, but not these!
So there’s a look at some of the best trading card sleeves around, we are currently in the process of reviewing and testing more, so we’ll update this article when we do!
5. VaultX Soft Card Sleeves
VaultX have been around for a few years, not as long as many on this list but they’re certainly moving in the right direction to appeal to trading card enthusiasts of all ages.
Typically they are well known for creating some of the best trading card binders, in fact we have a few of there’s and we cannot fault the quality, the same goes for their best trading card sleeves, which in my opinion is their “soft trading card sleeves”.
What we noticed straight of the bat when testing these sleeves was the clarity in which the plastic is transparent. It’s as if the sleeve didn’t exist, yet it does, coming in at just 40 microns thick, making it the perfect sleeve for storage or even sending in for grading.
It’s a cheap, high quality sleeve that we trust using, even with our most valuable cards. VaultX are really pulling out all of the stops to build their brand into a reputable place for TCG players to shop.
6. Ultra Pro Top Loaders
Some may say top loaders aren’t technically trading card sleeves, but we disagree. Ultra Pro top loaders are thicker, more protective sleeves that house your cards in a way that can be easily stored without damage.
They even feature in our best trading card top loaders article, at first place!
These top loaders can also house sleeved cards, and that’s typically the correct way to use them. Traditionally you sleeve up your cards with penny sleeves, and then put the sleeved cards into a top loader for the ultimate protection.
We use these for every single one of our rare non-graded cards and then house them in a protective box for storage.
We’ve even seen top loaders with small stands on the back of them, making it easy to display them should you want that, but typically top loaders are used for protective storage.
The only downfall with top loaders is that sometimes, and not often your cards can move around significatnly inside, especally when they’re not sleeved correctly. We’ve found that penny sleeves move around a lot in top loaders, so using pro-matte or thicker sleeves is advised.
These are affordable, protective and a the best way to store your cards comfortably, and effectively.
6. Ultra Pro Pro Matte Sleeves
Our second favourite trading card sleeves is the non glare Pro-Matte sleeves from Ultra Pro. These are typically targetted to those who actually play the trading card game because of their non-glare and non-reflective material.
This simply helps with viewing the card under light, and allows other players to get a good view of the card too. But for us, that’s exactly why we like sleeving our collection in them. To see the cards as visibly as possible.
We have created a YouTube channel called Break The Seal dedicated to Pokemon Cards, so having sleeves that dim our studio lights and prevents reflection helps with making our cards more visible in our video content.
These sleeves are also acid free and feature no PVC prolonging the life of your card, and preventing any damage from happening if you were to use these sleeves for a lifetime. They also come in a lot of different colours, allowing to colour coordinate your sets, perhaps you want your rare Pokemon Topps cards in a different colour than the TCG?
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A 31 year old British fella that’s had a Gameboy ever since he was a child. Brandon is the founder of RetroDodo and has created a YouTube channel with 260,000 subscribers dedicated to retro gaming products. He now wants to create the No.1 site to showcase the latest retro products from around the globe.