Which Toploader Will Protect Your Cards, Not Damage Them.

When protecting your sports cards, choosing the right size toploader is key. You don’t want a top loader that causes the card to shift around too much, but you also don’t want one that is too snug.

And with so much variety in card thickness in sports card products today, it can be difficult to remember which top loaders to keep in stock.

Here’s a quick guide on which top loaders to use for which products.

Protecting Your Cards With 35 Point or “Standard Size” Toploaders

Find 35 point toploaders on eBay

First, remember that we measure top loaders in thickness in millimeters. You should be able to find a number on the outside of the package of top loaders you have in stock. That number is the millimeter thickness of the toploader.

toploader

A 35 point or “standard” (as is it often labeled) top loader is the thinnest top loader you can find. You can use these for any standard, paper base card (i.e. not chrome) in almost any product.

You can purchase this type of top loader here or here.

Use 35 point top loaders for any paper base card in products like:

  • Bowman baseball
  • Contenders (any sport)
  • Topps Baseball Series 1 & 2 & Update
  • Donruss (any sport)
  • Rookies & Stars
  • Score
  • Upper Deck Series 1 & 2
  • Hoops basketball
toploader contenders basketball
Use 35 point toploaders for thin paper cards like Contenders. (Image via Beckett)

Note: do not try to jam chrome or Prizm cards into a 35 point toploader. This action may damage the card and seriously hurt the chances that the card will grade well or sell for a high price on eBay. 

Protecting Your Cards with 55 Point Top Loaders

Find 55 point toploaders on eBay

You can use this size top loader for all chrome cards, including base cards, Prizms, and autographs. The extra width provides enough room for any “warp” or “bend” that may exist in any card.

top loader 55 point

You can purchase these toploaders here and here.

Use 55 point toploaders for any cards in products like:

  • Topps Chrome or Bowman Chrome
  • Prizm or Mosaic (any sport)
  • Donruss Optic (any sport)
  • Select (any sport)
  • O-Pee-Chee Platinum
  • Leaf Metal Draft
bowman chrome top loader
Use 55 point top loaders for all chrome cards. (image via Sports Collectors Daily)

Protecting Your Cards With 100 Point Toploaders

Find 100 point toploaders on eBay

Some mid-end or high-end products have thicker base cards that will require a 100 point top loader. Also, most jersey or memorabilia cards will fit into a 100 point toploader, but save the thicker, “patch” memorabilia cards for the thicker toploaders.

100 point top loader

Use 100 point toploaders for any base cards and most hits out of products like:

  • Absolute football
  • Topps Triple Threads
  • Panini Certified
  • Panini Prestige
  • Leaf Ultimate Draft
  • XR, Phoenix, Obsidian, Illusions football
  • Any single color jersey or memorabilia card from base heavy products

You can order your 100 point toploaders from here.

Protecting Your Cards With 130 Point Toploaders

Find 130 point toploaders on eBay

Most mid-end or high-end products will have thick base stock and will need toploaders at least 130 points or higher. You should follow the same advice with base cards and hits.

Note that for 130 point top loaders and higher, you will also need thick penny sleeves. The toploaders can be purchased here. You can get thick penny sleeves here.

Use 130 point toploaders for cards in products like:

  • Immaculate
  • National Treasures
  • Inception
  • Spectra
  • Some Flawless and Impeccable hits

Protecting Your Cards With 180 point toploaders

Find 180 point toploaders on eBay

The thickest card stock out there can usually be protected with 180 point toploaders, though there are some exceptions.

The thickest card stock out there can usually be protected with 180 point top loaders, though there are some exceptions. You can pick them up on Amazon.

Use these toploaders for the super thick patch and memorabilia hits, including those high-end rookie patch autos you’ll find in products like:

  • Immaculate
  • National Treasures
  • Flawless
  • Upper Deck The Cup
  • Impeccable
  • Topps Five Star

How to Protect Your Ultra-Thick Cards?

Not many products have cards that go beyond 180 point stock, but occasionally you will come across some ultra-thick cards that are hard to protect. These are usually cleat, glove, helmet, or ball cards that you cannot protect with a standard toploader (even the thick ones).

For these, you can use snap shut or slide cases that are meant to hold up to 50 cards at once (1500 mm or more). Just make sure there is a little room above the card. It shouldn’t be “jammed” in the case, but make sure it is snug and not sliding around.

Just keep in mind that removing the card from the case without any damage should be possible.

 

Alex Daugherty

Alex Daugherty

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