I’ve bought many planners to try for the 52 Planners in 52 Weeks challenge – most of which are Plum Paper Planners. A lot of people rave about Erin Condren Planners but not so much Plum Paper. Both planners are quite similar so if you’re trying to choose between the 2, here is a detailed comparison:
Erin Condren has 4 layouts:
- Their signature vertical (3 sections per day)
- Horizontal (see how I used it in week 6 of the 52 Planners in 52 Weeks challenge)
- Hourly (see how I used it in week 9 of the 52 Planners in 53 Weeks challenge)
- Teacher planner (which could be used for daily planning if you covered up the teacher specific elements with stickers or washi tape)
Plum Paper has many different layouts (I may or may not have 6 of them…)
- Me Planner (7 sections per day)
- Morning, afternoon, evening – vertical (3 sections per day vertical layout similar to the Erin Condren vertical)
- Horizontal (1 page with the days of the week, checklist and large notes section for the week)
- Fitness planner
- Student planner
- Teacher planner
- Homeschool teacher planner
Related: Plum Paper Planners Haul & Review
Both Erin Condren and Plum Paper offer monthly planners as well as lined notebooks also with the choose your own cover option.
Winner: Plum Paper – there are far more weekly layouts to choose from!
Week Starts on…
Both planners have the week starting on a Monday.
Winner: Tie. Although it would be good if both companies also offered Sunday week start versions!
Both planners are a similar size.
- The Erin Condren is 7 x 9 “
- The Plum Paper Planner is 7″ wide (17cm) and slightly more than 8.75″ high (22.4cm)
Both feature the same height / size of lined writing space (for planners that have lined writing space).
Plum Paper planners have the option of letter size (8.5 x 11″) for most of their weekly planners, whereas Erin Condren only offers this size for their teacher planners and lined notebooks.
Winner: Plum Paper as there’s 2 size options
Features of the Plum Paper Planner (pulled directly from their website) include:
- Divide week into 7 custom sections
- Start planner in ANY month
- Choose from 12-18 months
- Month & Year-at-a-Glance Pages
- Monthly Highlights Pages
- Monthly Notes Pages (2/mo)
- Double Sided Pocket Folder
- Durable Aluminum Binding Coil
- Durable Mylar Coated Tabs
- Paper Weight: 70lb text
- Paper Size: 7″ x 9″
- Tear proof & water resistant cover with a clear plastic protective sheet
Features of the Erin Condren Planner:
Winner: Tie. Both companies include monthly notes pages, dividers with tabs, and pocket folders.
The Erin Condren planner has 1 lined notes page at the start of each month.
For their 2017 – 2018 planners, they appear to have updated this to a similar layout as the Plum Paper with goal setting and list making space – love the new layout – so functional!
Image from Erin Condren
The Plum Paper planner has 2 lined notes pages for each month (1 at the start and 1 at the end), as well as a monthly planning page with:
- 3 goals for the month
- Things to Remember
- Space for 2 lists for anything you like e.g. monthly cleaning tasks, school assignments, books to read etc
If you don’t like some / all of the pre-filled titles, they can easily be covered up with some header stickers. I shared a tutorial on how to make them in this post: How to make your own custom Erin Condren (or any planner) header title section planner stickers (step by step video tutorial)
You could also cover them up with notes page stickers.
Add on pages
Erin Condren doesn’t allow you to add on any extra pages – you can only choose the weekly spread layout.
Plum Paper has plenty of add on pages to choose from, plus you can choose from a combination of a couple of these:
- My Home Planning Section
- Fitness Tracking Section
- Direct Sales Planning Section
- Blog Planning Section
- Wedding Planning Section
- My Class Planning Section
- Baby Tracking Section
- Meal Planning Section
- Budget Planning Section
- Notes Pages
- To-Do List Pages
- Bill Tracker Pages
- Monthly Cleaning Pages
- Checklist Pages
- Contact Pages
- Party Planning Pages
As of 2017, most of these add on’s cost $4.50USD.
My personal favorites are the habit tracker / workflow (they call them checklist pages).
For any add on pages that you choose, they also add a tabbed divider – love this!
There’s also a generous limit to how many pages you can add. Adding add on pages didn’t increase shipping costs by much either.
Erin Condren do send some extra labels with their packages but to be honest, they’re not something I’ll use. I’d rather they weren’t included as the cost of them would be built into the price you pay – I’d rather pay less for the planner.
Winner: Definitely Plum Paper – far more options for customising the planner to suit your needs!
Tabs & Dividers
The plum paper dividers are cardstock with laminated tabs. So far they’ve held up well. Note that my planner usually stays on my desk so doesn’t get thrown around or shaken up in my handbag. The covers are wider than the planner pages so they cover the tabs to prevent them for getting damaged.
The Erin Condren tabs stick out from the planner (at least they do for the 2017 planners I purchased). The dividers of the Erin Condren are the same paper used throughout the rest of the planner with just the tab part in cardstock and laminated.
With both planners I don’t like that they use the backside of the monthly calendar (Erin Condren) or monthly notes page (Plum Paper) as the part where the laminate covers the planner can’t be written over the top of. It would be better if the planners had separate dividers / tabs for each month.
FYI: The Happy Planner does the same thing as well 🙁
As for the dividers: the Erin Condren planner features a different quote / design each month, whereas the Plum Paper just uses different colors with the same pattern. I wish the Plum Paper used a different color for each month, rather than similar shades of the same colors – the dark purple is also really dark so it’s hard to see what you’ve written on planner pages with that color (January).
Winner: Plum Paper tabs are more sturdy but the Erin Condren dividers are a prettier design and have distinctly different color shades for each month.
Length of the Planner
With Plum Paper planners you can choose when the planner starts and you can also add additional months for an extra $2 – bargain! Planners start are 12 months but you can up to an additional 6 months (so the planner would end up being 18 months).
Erin Condren planners start either in January (calendar year) or July (academic year). You can’t choose any other start month for your planner.
Winner: Plum Paper
If you’re after a lot of color customisation, Erin Condren planners are the way to go. You choose a cover design then customise the colors of that design from numerous options to create custom color combinations.
They have a variety of covers but some of them just aren’t my style. I prefer simple patterns like the ones Plum Paper offers.
Plum Paper have less cover designs and you can’t create custom color-ways of the patterns – you can only choose from the color options they have. For example, their basics covers have a stripe pattern but it’s only available in a few colors.
However, you can choose the frame style as well as font style for the front cover, and whether you would like a subtitle box. You can choose frame colors so you can create custom color-ways this way.
Winner: The patterns and colors of the Plum Paper covers is more my style – this one is really personal preference
The Erin Condren covers have thick lamination while the Plum Paper Planners have a thick cardstock cover with a clear cover to protect it. For durability, the Erin Condren planner wins. While the laminate is not as stiff as it should be in my opinion, it’s more durable than the Plum Paper covers.
Winner: Erin Condren
Interchangable Covers & Dividers
Both companies offer interchangeable covers. The Erin Condren covers are easier to switch out than the Plum Paper. The cover that you purchase with the Plum Paper planner is not interchangeable so I tend to add any interchangeable covers I purchase to the middle of the notebook and use as dividers instead.
Erin Condren have ‘dashboards’ where you can write on the back and use it for notes, reminders, lists etc. while the Plum Paper covers repeat the same pattern as the front.
Winner: Erin Condren
Sales & Discounts
Both companies offer regular sales. Erin Condren has a $10 credit if you refer new people.
Plum Paper announce their sales via Instagram so make sure you follow them if you’re eyeing off one of their planners.
Erin Condren heavily promote their sales via Instagram, Facebook and via their mailing list.
Erin Condren do numerous promotions but typically only on selected products. For example, accessories for 20% off. This is ok if you live in the USA where shipping is much cheaper, but international shipping is really expensive so the only time I ever place an order with Erin Condren is during their Black Friday sales.
Winner: Erin Condren
Color Options for the Cover
In terms of customisation, there are far more color options to choose from for the Erin Condren overs. Both Erin Condren and Plum Paper have colorful and neutral versions of their planner layouts:
I use the neutral hourly planner for week 9 of the 52 Planners in 52 Weeks Challenge
Plum Paper recently released neutral color ways of their planners (which I’ll definitely be getting in my next order!)
Both companies offer interchangeable covers. The Erin Condren ones are easier to switch out – the cover you purchase with Plum Paper is fixed and can’t be pulled out so the interchangeable covers I purchased I’ve been using as dividers within the planner.
Color options for inside the planner
Erin Condren has better color options for the covers, but the colors used inside the planner are better in the Plum Paper.
The colors of the Erin Condren are, in my opinion, gross. Dark purple and grey? Yellow and green? Who thought those colors looked good together?! At least it looks like they’ve picked nicer colors for the 2017 – 2018 planners!
Both companies offer a neutral option of black. This definitely looks better than the colorful inside layout
Plum Paper do 1 color per month, rather than a combination. There is less color on the page, especially at the top of the week. So you don’t feel like the planner stickers you use clash with the colors for that month.
Winner: Plum Paper – the colors are nice for both their colorful and neutral options
Both planners have spiral binding. The coils of the Erin Condren planner are fatter to allow room if you do sticker spreads each week (which really does make your planner quite fat!)
The Plum Paper’s coil is a more snug fit – if you did stickers every week it’d be a very tight fit by the end of the year. It does prevent you from shoving random papers in the planner and over-stuffing the pockets, but a slightly bigger coil would be ideal.
Plum paper coil binding
Winner: Erin Condren
Update: Erin Condren has released hard-bound versions of their planners for 2017 if you prefer that style to coil binding. I personally cannot stand glue bound planners and notebooks – they never lay flat and stay open!
In terms of paper quality, I’d have to say Plum Paper wins. There’s something about the paper in their planners that so smooth and luxurious and easy to write on.
The Erin Condren paper feels more textured and a lot more ‘rough’ (note that they’ve changed their paper in 2017 so it may be nicer now!)
Winner: Plum Paper (at the time of writing this in early 2017)
The only pens that bled through on both planners were Sharpies. I did detailed pen testing in this post.
Pen testing in the Erin Condren
Pen testing in the Plum Paper
Winner: Tie. Both planners didn’t have any bleed through, but the Plum Paper is nicer paper and easier to write on – the pen just glides across the page!
Erin Condren have various accessories which coordinate with the planners including:
- Dry erase insert (click here to learn how to make your own for just a few dollars!)
- They also have other stationery such as mouse pads (I couldn’t resist ordering one)
- Planner stickers
- Pen holders
- Elastic pens to keep your planner closed
Plum Paper Planners have no accessories except for some planner stickers – there’s only a couple of designs and they aren’t that great.
Winner: Definitely Erin Condren
Both planners companies could capitalise by offering more planner accessories (like the Happy Planner does – they have SO MANY cute accessories and are bringing out new sticker books all the time – you’d need a bottomless bank account to keep up with all their new releases!)
Most planner stickers on Etsy etc. are sized to fit the Erin Condren planner since it’s so popular.
While my stickers are designed for the Erin Condren planner, you can use them with Plum Paper – both have similar sizes for their 3 section vertical layouts. With the Plum Paper the boxes are slightly longer – if you use a strip of washi it’ll cover up the gap.
Related: Week 17: Using the Plum Paper Vertical Weekly Planner
Vertical Erin Condren size stickers also work well in the vertical happy planner.
I’ll be doing a future post showing how Erin Condren size planner stickers fit in other planners. Click here if you want to be notified when that post is published! (you’ll also gain access to the free printables library)
Both planners feature a similar layout. The colors of the Erin Condren planner feel more ‘kiddish’ than the Plum Paper. I think sticker kits don’t look as nice in the Erin Condren unless you cover up the monthly colors. The colors they choose for the months tend to clash with, well, any type of stickers other than neutral colors or stickers created with the same colors as the months.
The Plum Paper could use a broader range of colors or different colors for each month to color code – they focus on ‘cool’ color tones and use different shades. Overall, the planner looks more sophisticated.
I like the fonts used for both planners – they’re legible and easy to read.
Winner: Plum Paper – sometimes simple is best!
Both planners are comparable in terms of quality. As mentioned above, Plum Paper has better paper quality but the Erin Condren has a stronger cover. Both planners have a sturdy coil.
Ready to Ship Option
Both companies offer a ready to ship option with a couple of their cover designs to choose from (although it wouldn’t hurt if they had a few more options in their ready to ship ranges).
Plum Paper planners are far more affordable at only $31 for a 12 month planner (up to $41 if you add some add on pages or additional months), compared to the $50 starting point for the Erin Condren. Plus, if you want a deluxe cover with foil letters, or a rose gold coil, it’ll cost you extra.
I bought a cover with silver foil letters and paired with an ombre blue background. It’s nice but I don’t think it was worth the extra money.
Winner: Plum Paper
Again, Plum Paper is much cheaper. I ordered 8 planners and shipping to Australia was around only $40. I ordered 3 planners and a few accessories from Erin Condren and shipping was $40.
Winner: Plum Paper
Shipping & processing times
I placed an order at Erin Condren on Black Friday. While I understand they would have received an influx of orders during their sale, my friend purchased a planner a day before me and received it on 22nd December. On the 23rd of December I received a generic copy and paste email from the Erin Condren team saying my order hadn’t even been processed i.e. hadn’t even been created let alone shipped. They waited an entire month before they bothered to send me a copy and paste email! Not cool!
I ended up receiving my order in mid-January – I was very disappointed in their lack of communication and ridiculously slow shipping times.
I ordered from Plum Paper the same day as Erin Condren (my bank account hurt that Black Friday!) and received it on December 23rd.
Winner: Definitely Plum Paper
Erin Condren charges $40 for international shipping. For one planner. Ridiculous! The reason shipping is so expensive is likely because they put it in a fancy box with lots of crepe paper. That’s nice and all but I’d rather pay half the cost of shipping and receive it in a normal box or in bubble wrap in a post satchel.
Winner: Definitely Plum Paper
Perhaps because Plum Paper is a smaller company they’re more interactive on social media. If you do a post and tag them they almost always like the photo or leave a nice comment. They also send you emails to keep you updated on the status of your order.
In terms of communication regarding emails about dispatching, tracking numbers and order status – Plum Paper are definitely more communicative than Erin Condren. I think Erin Condren is a company that has grown fast and they’re still trying to catch up.
Winner: Plum Paper
Which planner is better?
The planner company I prefer is definitely Plum Paper!
No competition – I much prefer the Plum Paper for a few reasons:
- They have more weekly planner designs to choose from (and more unusual layouts such as the horizontal lined notes with days and the Me planner) compared to Erin Condrens’ basic layouts that you can find from almost any planner company (and which you could find for a lot cheaper!)
- While there’s isn’t full customisation available for the patterns of the covers of Plum Paper Planners, you can still choose text, font style and frame style, and whether you’d like a subtitle
- Both companies offer interchangeable covers, and both have spiral binding
- Shipping is much cheaper through Plum Paper, arrives faster (well it did for me) and I received better customer service from then than Erin Condren
- I prefer the style of the Plum Paper planner – it’s simple and easier to coordinate different colors without them clashing with the colors of each month
This is not a sponsored post. I paid for all planners myself and all opinions are my own.
This post was first published in July 2017 – note that information and cost may have been updated since the post was published.
- Week 17: Using the Plum Paper Vertical Weekly Planner
- Favorite color coding planner supplies for less than $5
- Why I plan my day using planner stickers (and why you should too!)
- Using a planner key and symbols to code your planner (efficient planning methods)
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