The clipboard. It is one of the most important pieces of equipment in the field but also one of the most ignored. Sure, when on site there are a lot of equipment pieces that are going to garner a lot more thought, attention, and planning but leaving it back at the office can turn the day into a headache. They don’t have to break the bank either. You can easily get away with one of the cheapest clipboards.
It’s not something you want to blow a lot of money on so we are going to take a look at the cheapest clipboards that will still do its job out in the field.
As you read on, we will look briefly at some different components to clipboards that you might need to give a little thought to and then we will look at some clipboard options in different categories.
There are several benefits to having a clipboard or several of them on the job site and this is true even for the cheapest clipboard.
- Mobile storage
- Mobile writing platform
As far as a day in the field, all three of the above benefits are more than enough reason to put some consideration into the type of clipboard you want.
Cheap clipboards buyer’s guide
There isn’t a whole lot of options when it comes to clipboards. They are pretty standard, but there are a few decisions and design styles you might want to consider. Especially if you’re going out on a natural resources survey.
You may or may not care much for what design the clip is on your clipboard. You have the classic, standard clip and then there is a slim profile clip.
Both are going to hold paper well, but the main difference between the two is going to deal with how well they store. The low profile makes packing the clipboard up with other folders and documents easier than the standard clips. Regarding how well they hold paper, we don’t think one is better than the other. There is probably going to be a difference between brands but not styles.
The limiting factor in the clip is going to be the spring. Higher quality clipboards are going to use higher quality springs and often more than one. Cheaper clipboards are going to have springs that warp and lose their shape quickly which means they end up not holding papers as well over time, especially when it’s a stack of papers.
If you’re not happy with the clip but like the rest of the clipboard, there are separate clips available for purchase, and they are incredibly easy to change as the video below demonstrates.
With metal clips, paper can sometimes slip and slide, especially if the clip is not especially strong. Some clipboards will use rubber grips on the clip that helps keep paper more secure.
Another feature that is often employed on clipboard is a hanging loop. These can be pretty useful around the office or out in the garage.
There are different materials that are used in clipboard manufacturing. The material can affect the price, but it also influences how water resistant and durable the clipboard is. Below, we have listed some of the more common materials you will find with clipboards.
- Metal. Very durable but often heavier
- Plastic. Lightweight
- Particle Board. Cheap and quality can be hit or miss
- Recyclable material. Environmentally friendly. Recycled wood fibers or aluminum are usually the material used.
You might have several documents that you need to keep on hand at the site, and a clipboard with a storage compartment can solve this problem. There are clipboards that can hold a few a few pieces of paper and there are clipboards that hold as much as a standard desk drawer.
For clipboards that have a compartment space, you are going to want a sturdy latching mechanism that is going to keep your contents secure in the case of a tumble.
Cheapest clipboards that still get the job done
Bulk Buy Clipboards
If you run through clipboards at a quick pace or are supplying clipboards to your crew, a bulk buy clipboard option might be the most cost-efficient route you can take.
For this category, we have gone with the Office Solutions Direct 30 clipboard pack. These are your classic looking clipboards made from high-density wood fibers that provide a very sturdy writing surface. The finish of the clipboard also provides a nice flat and smooth writing surface.
These use a low profile clip with a very durable spring that is going to allow you to hold up to an inch of paper without wearing out quickly. It also features a hanging loop that will fit over thumbtacks and some smaller nail heads.
The dimensions of the clipboard allow the use of standard industry paper (8 ½ x 11 inches) and smaller sized documents.
The Saunders SlimMate is out choice for the storage clipboard style. This clipboard comes in several different colors, and all of them feature a low profile clip that can hold up to ½ inch stack of papers without putting too much strain on the spring. The clips also feature rubber clip guards that keep the papers from slipping while writing.
The clipboard is made from a plastic (polypropylene) material and gives a very smooth writing surface and also some durability to abrasion and impact. The storage space snaps shut when closed and does not use a manual latch.
This clipboard measures 9×12 inches so it can hold your standard 8 ½ x 11-inch paper. This is a very slim clipboard at ¾ inches thick. This slim profile makes it great for storing in a backpack or desk without taking up much room but will not hold as many documents as other storage clipboards.
Sometimes you want a classic, well-made clipboard for your duties. If that is the case, then the standard clipboard from Officemate offers you those qualities at a great price.
This is a sturdy, USA made hardboard clipboard made from recycled wood fibers. Both sides of this clipboard feature a smooth finish and also rounded edges making it comfortable to carry and work with throughout the day.
This clipboard has the classic clip design with a large 6-inch length that can hold a lot of paper at once with its steel spring. It also features the large diameter hanging hole at the top of the clip.
Not only is this a sturdy clipboard, but it is also large. It is a waybill design with dimensions of 15×20 inches which is great for working for just about any sized document at work.
There might be certain worksites where a metal clipboard seems like a better choice due to higher durability or the need to keep a sterile working environment or perhaps you just enjoy the feel of metal in your equipment.
We have selected the Saunders Aluminum clipboard as our choice for this category. This clipboard is made from recycled aluminum products and provides a durable writing surface that is also lightweight making it easy to carry around throughout the day.
This clipboard is available in two different sizes including an 8.5×12 and 8.5×14 inch model. Both sized models come with a low profile clip, making these clipboards, not a hassle for storing, and also have rubber edge grips on the clip to hold the paper in securely.
The clip features a strong spring that can keep the clip clamped down easily on up to a ½ inch of standard paper. This clipboard also comes with an integrated aluminum hanging hole.
Water Protection Clipboard
If you’re in the field a lot, the weather is not always agreeable, but work must go on. In those cases, the WeatherWriter Clipboard is a way to keep your papers dry and keep the productivity rolling when the rain comes.
The clear plastic cover is spring loaded so when raised, it is going to stay raised, and it provides plenty of room to write beneath the canopy easily. When closed, your documents are sealed inside the protective cover by a long Velcro strip along the bottom edge of the opening.
This is still a great option even if it is not raining. The backside of this clipboard also features a low profile clip that can be used without the protective covering. Both sides of the clipboard can hold up to a ½ inch of standard 8 ½ x 11-inch paper easily.
When in the field or on the job site, the clipboard is a valuable piece of equipment. There’s not a ton of options to think about when choosing what clipboard to carry out with you, we have covered some of the more pertinent ones, and we also provided several awesome cheap clipboard options for different types and styles of clipboards. Hopefully, it this short article has been informational and helpful to you.
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