Staples Arc Notebook System and Levenger Circa Comparison

Staples Arc System To Do Pages

Staples Arc System To Do Pages

I’ve had a few reader questions recently about the Staples Arc system as compared to the Levenger’s Circa notebook system.  In this review we will take a quick look at the Staples  Arc system and then compare these To Do pages to Levenger’s as well as take a look at the paper quality on both.

Staples Arc System To Do List Writing Sample

Staples Arc System To Do List Writing Sample

Comparing the Staples Arc and Levenger Cirica paper size

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Here we have a writing sample with various pen and ink types in the Staples Arc system notebook paper.  The To Do lists come printed on both sides, with 26 lines that measure about .7cm wide, and about 4 1/32″ long.  The overall size of the page is 8″x5″.  In the scan (click it to enlarge it) above you can see that of all the pens that I wrote with on this paper they all performed very nicely.  Each wrote smoothly with no skipping, feathering, or noticeable spreading of the line of ink.

Staples Arc Compared to Levenger Circa Front

Staples Arc (Left) Compared to Levenger Circa (Right) Front

 

Staples Arc and Levenger Cirica Compatibility



A comparison of the Staples Arc System to the Levenger Circa pages showed that they are almost identical in size.  The Staples version of the pages are about 1/64″ wider but it does not impact their functionality at all.  The mushroom shaped punch outs used to bind the paper to the discs are also different sizes on both brands.  The stem of the mushroom appears to be the same size on each but the dome of the mushroom is larger and wider on the Levenger paper.   The Staples Arc and Levenger Cirica pages and discs are definitely interchangeable with only very minor differences in how tightly they attach to the discs.

 

The Staples Arc system To Do sheets have 26 total lines for your tasks compared to the Levenger sheets that have 31 lines.  The lines on the Staples Arc paper measure .7cm high, and 4 1/32″ long and the Levenger rulings measure .5cm high and 3 1/16″ long.  The only other differences are the layout of the top section where you would write the date and title, and the fact that the Stalpes Arc system has one check box per line, while the Levenger Circa pages have one check box for every two lines.  Writing on each sheet with the same pens felt extremely similar. Unless you are SUPER sensitive to the surface texture of your paper you probably wouldn’t notice that the Staples version seems to have a very slightly smoother finish to it.  This is probably what results in the Staples page having a significantly longer dry time for the ink I tested on it.

 

Staples Arc Compared to Levenger Circa Back Showthrough

Staples Arc (Right) Compared to Levenger Circa (Left) Back Show-through

 

Staples Arc System vs Levenger Circa Cost and Quality

The next scan shows the results of the writing sample on the reverse side of each sheet.  Sorry for the confusing scan, I swapped sides on this scan as compared to the previous scan that showed the fronts of each paper.  The caption on the photo has it labeled correctly on each.  The results here might be the deciding factor for many of you, because as you can see, the Staples paper actually resists the show-through better than the Levenger paper.  I pretty much never have an issue with the show-though on the standard Levenger Circa notebook paper.  In this case if you wanted to use both sides of the paper the Staples Arc paper definitely showed better results in my test.   For what its worth, the Staples Arc refills are significantly less expensive at about 1/2 the price.  This is definitely an interesting new line from Staples.  Based on what I saw from the previous Rollabind line that they carried the quality here is significantly better.  The Staples Arc System is definitely worth a closer look so expect more reviews here from us.

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Comments

  1. 1
    Pj says:

    Fortuitous post, I discovered your blog this evening while looking for affordable circa refill paper. I go through a descent amount of paper so I’m looking for a way to spend less than $35/300 sheets. Also, I’ve designed forms that meet my needs. Usually I just punch heavier loose leaf, plain and graph paper (I do have a punch, one of the old model, yes I’ve been using Circa that long). However junior size loose leaf 5.5 x 8.5 is no longer easy to find. Three ring binders for that size abound, but the loose leaf filler is darned near impossible to find. I have half a dozen circa notebooks in use but if the price of filling them becomes prohibitive, I’ll replace them.

  2. 2
    Tom Oddo says:

    Staples doesn’t run into any legal issues duplicating the Circa system? Does the Arc page fit into the Circa discs?

  3. 3
    Anonymous says:

    Hey Tom. I don’t think there are any issues anymore. I know a while ago there was a lawsuit over the licensing of the disc binding design between Levenger and Rollabind I think that was settled, but I’m no lawyer and 35 page long legal briefs can only keep my attention for about 30 seconds. :) I know that Myndology is also out there making similar products too.

    Also, sorry for not covering the question in the review, but the Arc pages definitely fit the Levenger discs. I think I was so into the details that I overlooked the most basic question, so thanks for asking!

  4. 4
    Anonymous says:

    Welcome to the blog. Personally I think your best bet (which you have covered) is using the Levenger punch to make your own, then you can always be sure that you have the exact paper you want, and over time if you are using a lot, it certainly will cut down on your costs.

  5. 5
    Tom Oddo says:

    Thanks, OSG! I’ll check out staples to find some of those Arc pages. I feel sick now after seeing how much they’re selling the leather cover notebooks for ($15-$20). I spent like 4X more for my bomber leather Levenger. Ugggggh. Wonder if the quality is similar. I’m guessing it has to be since they probably get them from the same factory in China.

  6. 6
    Anonymous says:

    I wouldn’t worry too much about what you bought from Levenger, personally I have the bomber jacket covers too, and the Arc stuff doesn’t even come close in terms of looking as nice. The Arc leather covers looked OK, but to me the Levenger ones just look a ton nicer.

  7. 7
    Aaylor says:

    I haven’t seen a paper punch for the Arc products. I am guessing that I’ll have to get one from Levenger at about $70.00 ? Anyone else handled this issue?

  8. 8
    Aaylor says:

    I haven’t seen a paper punch for the Arc products. I am guessing that I’ll have to get one from Levenger at about $70.00 ? Anyone else handled this issue?

  9. 9
    Judy says:

    Almost everyone who has left comments on staples.com has requested a punch AND blank, printable paper. Please add your request, as well! http://www.staples.com/M-by-Staples-Arc-Customizable-Leather-Notebook-System-Black-6-3-4/product_886234?cmArea=SEARCH

    I’m very glad to hear that the Levenger punch works, though I think I’m personally going to wait a bit for Staples to respond to their customers.

  10. 10
    Jhglynn says:

    Arc System: Does the dated weekly/monthly calendar come with monthly tabs?   This is a nice feature on the Levenger one. Is there a perforated tab at the bottom for easy access to the current week?  Are address, perforated sheets available?  Thanks for your review, it is a big help.

  11. 11
    Anonymous says:

    Not dumb at all. You just pull the paper off the rings. Since the holes in the paper are not a closed loop, they just pop on and off the rings. I hope that explains it?

  12. 12
    Stephanie says:

    Do the arc accessories fit the Levenger notebooks?  I was thinking about buying the black arc notebook, but I like the discs that Levenger offers.  However, I still might just break down & buy the Levenger.  I have had my eye on one of the Levenger leather notebooks for awhile now.  They just look so nice, and I’m afraid that the quality of the arc notebook might not be as good if it’s only $20. Does anyone have any thoughts?

  13. 13
    Michelle says:

    Levenger has 25% off $50 or more through Monday, November 28, 2011.  The Arc leather looks and feels as inexpensive as you’d expect for that price.

  14. 14
    hagranger says:

    Any local print shop should be able to cut the 5 x 8 sheets for you … just take a sample of the size you want to the shop.  I have a small notebook 3.5 x 6 inches that I use and the print shop cuts and drills the holes for me. 

  15. 15
    Greydane says:

     I have been using discs and punches from each interchangably with no noticable difference.

  16. 16
    Greydane says:

     Staples does have a punch for ARC.  it holds 10-12 sheets rather than Circas 8 sheet model.

  17. 17
    Sue says:

    where can we buy the desk top punch in the UK and how much does it cost
    we have bought a notebook at Staples

  18. 18
    Jaycee says:

    can you use the circa punch for the arc system??

  19. 19
    Dow says:

    RE: 8.5 x 5.5 paper. I use a paper cutter and cut regular 8.5 x 11 paper in half. Works great. Granted, you can’t do gobs of sheets at a time, but my paper cutter handles 10 sheets pretty well. Also, I used a 20% off coupon to buy my arc punch at Staples on Tuesday of this week. They had a sale on the arc system notebooks and fillers as well this week. 40% off. I believe that it ends on Saturday, 5/4/2013. Hope this helps somebody.

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