The ARC and TUL are two very similar discbound brands, so if you’re trying to decide between the two I’ve put together a detailed comparison (similarities, differences, pen testing, page sizes, discs etc.)
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ARC versus TUL Discbound Brands
ARC on the left, TUL on the right (both in the poly cover version)
Both brands offer:
- Disc binding
- A compatible discbound punch
- Similar disc sizes
- Smooth paper that’s great to write on
- The same cover materials – poly and leather
- Disc colors – both offer black
- Refill pages – both brands offer refill pages – weekly, daily, graph, checklist
- Accessories – limited options however both offer page flags, tabs, task pad, pocket folder
- The ARC has A5 and A4 page sizes. The TUL comes in half US letter and US letter
- The TUL is more readily available on Amazon, while the ARC was a Staples brand but seems to be increasingly hard to find (at least it is here in Australia since Staples became Winc)
- Disc sizes: TUL comes in 1″, 1.5″ and 2″ while the ARC comes in 1″ and 1.5″
- Price: TUL ranges from $20 – $36 USD while the ARC ranges from $13 to $30 USD
- TUL offers personalisation (monogramming) on selected notebooks through Office Depot, ARC does not offer cover personalisation
- TUL offers colored refill pages, ARC only offers white pages
- TUL offers pre-punched top bound pages if you want to use your notebook like a sketchbook
- TUL offers gold, marble, pink and rose gold blush discs, the ARC does not
- TUL offers more refill pages – yearly overview, goals, project planner
- TUL has a limited range of planner stickers, ARC does not have any stickers
- TUL has interchangeable pattern covers
I haven’t tried the TUL punch but it looks similar to the Levenger. The Levenger and ARC can both punch through laminate so I assume the TUL punch can as well.
Are the disc holes, size and spacing compatible?
Yes. Just note that the page sizes differ. The ARC comes in A5 and A4 page sizes. So if you want to interchange pages between the TUL and ARC the pages won’t align perfectly.
Here’s the ARC A5 in the TUL half US letter:
And the TUL half US letter in the ARC A5:
Note: the ARC punch has a slider so you can switch between A4, A5, half US letter and US letter page sizes.
You can technically use half US letter size pages in A5 and vise versa with the covers, just make sure you check the pre-printed refills are in the page size you want. The different page sizes only becomes an ‘issue’ if you want to mix pre-printed refills with printables. E.g. if you’re in the USA, you’re printing half US letter pages but you buy the ARC’s A5 refill pages, then the pages won’t align if you mix them in the same notebook.
I don’t have the TUL leather cover to compare, but it looks much the same as the ARC’s leather cover just available in different colors. I’ve had my ARC notebooks for 8 years now and no issues with the leather covers bending, getting indented or any other damage to them.
I prefer the ARC leather covers to their poly covers (nicer colors and they’re a lot more sturdy)
I have A4 and A5 size ARC planners. The TUL planner is available in US letter size and half US letter size.
ARC A4 and A5 planners
Both brands offer a poly material cover and as you can see in the photo below, they look exactly the same:
The ARC discs come in 1″ and 1.5″
TUL discs comes in 1″, 1.5″ and 2″
ARC disc sizes
Both brands have smooth bright white paper that is great to write on.
Ghosting and bleed through
There is hardly any ghosting (except for highlighters) on the ARC pages.
Ghosting is more obvious on the TUL paper – especially for highlighters and marker pens.
ARC versus TUL: which is better?
The ARC was the first discbound system I ever tried so I tend to always choose it. I’m located in Australia where our standard page sizes are A4 and A5 so I can print printables without having to resize them and add to the ARC (I just do 2 per page printing and cut the page in half). I can’t do this with the TUL, I have to do custom page resizing as the TUL refills comes in US page sizing.
Related post: How to print any printable at any page size
TUL has more accessories, disc colors, disc sizes, interchangeable covers and refill pages. There’s much more variety than the ARC so if I lived in the USA and used their page sizes, I would choose the TUL over the ARC.
If you live in the UK or Australia, I recommend the ARC. If you’re in the USA, I would use the TUL.
More discbound planner comparisons
- Where to find discs to make a discbound planner or notebook (downloadable comparison)
- MAMBI Happy Planner Discbound Punch versus the ARC (are they compatible?)
- Guide to Discbound Planners & Frequently Asked Questions
- ARC by Staples versus MAMBI – Which discbound system is better?
- How to make your own DIY discbound bullet journal, notebook or planner
Planning tips and ideas
- 5 Planner supplies you never knew you needed
- 8 Ways to use highlighters for Bullet Journal Spreads
- 3 pen brands that have lasted more than 3 years
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