Here’s a Genius Tool to Tell You What Size Top Loaders and Magnetic Holders You Need


Sports cards are like people — they come in all shapes and sizes. Picking clothes is usually pretty easy since we know what size we need. Cards are a little more complicated. They don’t tell us how big they are, at least not directly.

So when it comes to getting out the appropriate top loaders and magnetic holders, some trial and error might ensue. And if you don’t have a card shop nearby where you can run out and try them all, you might have some sweet, albeit massive, card sitting in a make-shift case or out in the open on your desk. Neither situation is ideal.

Finally, someone has come up with a simple tool that makes it dead simple to figure out exactly how thick a card is and what the corresponding top loader and magnetic holder is.

How Thick Is Your Trading Card?

BCW Supplies has released a downloadable card-sized gauge that shows various thicknesses their sports card holders come in. Simply print off the PDF and keep it handy. The sheet has four of them so you can print it once and cut out one for your card area, one for the wallet, one for the car and one for wherever else you might open some packs or mail.

BCW Card Gauge

If you have a desk full of cards, you might want to save a copy of the file on your computer and have it handy so you can simply hold the cards up to your screen. Just remember to have the zoom on the PDF set to 100% so that the sizing is accurate. This should also work on your phone as well.

To use the gauge, hold your card up to it starting at the top. If your card is thicker, keep moving down until you get the right size. Remember, some memorabilia cards stick out a bit so you’ll want to take that into account.

Top loaders and magnetics do come in different sizes. But, like cards, they’re measured in points, which is a language most of us don’t speak or have a ruler to measure. Consider the BCW card gauge that ruler.

Further details on the gauge are posted on BCW’s website.


Ryan Cracknell

A collector for much of his life, Ryan focuses primarily on building sets, Montreal Expos and interesting cards. He's also got one of the most comprehensive collections of John Jaha cards in existence (not that there are a lot of them). Got a question, story idea or want to get in touch? You can reach him by email and through Twitter @tradercracks.

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  1. Jonathan 18 May, 2016 at 13:23

    I did this with The2Buds website a long time ago, and it’s always worked for me.

  2. Casey Bice 21 August, 2017 at 14:27

    Is there any way yall could email an actual card gauge? I know I can print one off but Id love to have an actually hard cardboard card gauge. Thank you.

    • Ryan Cracknell 21 August, 2017 at 17:27

      @Casey – Print one off, cut it out and glue it to an extra card or a piece of cardboard?

  3. Edward 23 May, 2018 at 12:33

    Finally no wasting money guessing. I just down loaded it and then when need opened the file. Put the card up to the computer monitor , bam !

  4. robert 23 October, 2018 at 20:58

    I’ve made 2 improvements. I printed it off and glue-stick’ed it to a dummy Panini blank card so it would be thicker instead of flimsy like paper.

    I also took an exacto knife and cut out the darkened thickness areas (printed in black and white, not color) because I found it a pain sometimes to compare the thickness of the card to the indicator gauges. I just have to slip the edge of the card into the gauge until I find a gauge that fits the card but isn’t too loose.

  5. Tommie 30 January, 2019 at 19:06

    My husband was told that the value of a card was dependent on whether or not the card/corners were square, and on the shade/depth of color of the ink used to print the card. Is there a tool for this?

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