Browse > Home / Strategy / Articles / Deck Box Review ($5 and Under Category)

Deck Box Review ($5 and Under Category)


Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Max Protection Shuffle Tech
  3. Max Protection Deck Armor
  4. Ultimate Guard Deck Case 80+ and 100+
  5. BCW Deck Case
  6. Ultra Pro Side Load Deck Box
  7. HCD Side Load Deck Box
  8. Legion Deck Box
  9. Ultra Pro 100+
  10. Ultra Pro Art (Relic Knights)
  11. Meta-Discussion
  12. Awards

Introduction

Deck boxes might be the most important Magic accessory. If we are going to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on a Magic deck, we want to make sure this investment is going to last. We want to play with the cards years later, or make sure they stay in good enough condition that we can sell or trade them to get other cards we want. Having a deck box is a crucial part of this process. 

Apart from buying an actual, honest-to-god deck box, our options are limited. The classic "rubber band around your deck" technique will definitely damage your cards over time. No one wants to be the guy who shows up to a Legacy GP with his deck in a Ziplock bag. Thankfully, there are several deck box options that are relatively inexpensive. In fact, today we are going to talk about deck boxes that cost $5 or less. 

The problem is, how do you know which deck box to buy? Low-end deck boxes often look the same. What is it that separates one brand from another? Well, we got our hands on nine different deck boxes, each costing less than $5, and ran them through various tests. How many cards can you fit single sleeved? What about double sleeved? How comfortably do the cards fit? Can you easily get the cards into (and out of) the box? Is the box durable? What happens when you drop, shake, or scratch it? What art options are there and how durable is the artwork itself? 

After testing we ranked several characteristics of each box on a scale of one to ten and handed out an overall grade. Finally, we wrap up with some comments about the $5 and under deck box segment as a whole, hand out some awards, and make some recommendations. Basically, you are going to learn everything you could possibly want to hear about inexpensive deck boxes. 

Max Protection Shuffle Tech

Comes only in a "premium pack" with a set of Shuffle Tech sleeves and Perfect Fit sleeves. 

Cost: $10.50 (comes with 100 Shuffle Tech sleeves and 100 Perfect Fit sleeves). 

Fit: Single Sleeved - 90 (tightly). Double Sleeved - 80 (packed full). 

Special Features: Velcro top. 

Styles: One (pictured). 

Aesthetics: 1/10. This is one ugly deck box. Not only does it read like an advertisement for Max Protection, but it also has a chrome patten look that reminds me of the back of a run down pickup truck. While I'm not too picky when it comes to art, I wouldn't want to be seen carrying my cards in this box... unless you are playing Magic at a truck stop, in which case the Shuffle Tech is likely the best choice.

Durability (Box): 5/10. While the box stood up well to various tests, it is made out of an inexpensive plastic that feels brittle. Kind of like if you squeezed it too hard it would splinter in your hands. While it is likely to stand up to every day use, if the worst case happened (say, getting dropped and stepped on), I would have very little faith that my deck would survive in mint condition.

Durability (Art): 8/10. Unlike some other boxes, the "art" on the Shuffle Tech seems molded into the plastic. It seems very unlikely to have problems with chipping and wearing off. Barely a scratch showed when I attacked it with the edge of a quarter.

Ease of Access: 2/10. Shuffle Tech has this unique, no-hinge design, where the top of the box is all one piece with the back of the box. Hinged deck boxes (e.g. Ultra Pro, Ultimate Guard, and BCW) have a little cut out spot in the back that allows you to reach inside and get a solid grip on your cards to pull them out. Unfortunately, the Shuffle Tech deck box is missing this feature so you pretty much have to flip the box upside down and scatter the cards into your hand to get them out of the box. 

Drop Test: 5/10. The good news is that, when dropped from average table height ten times, the deck box only opened once. The bad news is that when dropped on its back or top, not only will the box open, but it opens completely, spewing cards everywhere. 

Shake Test: 10/10. Thanks to the Velcro top you can shake the Shuffle Tech deck box around, throw it in the air, and do just about anything else without the top opening and the cards falling out. 

Summary: Marketed as a "free" deck box you get for buying a package of $10 sleeves, the Shuffle Tech Deck Box by Max Protection is serviceable and nothing more. Unfortunately, the deck box isn't free. You can buy Shuffle Tech Sleeves for around $4 and Perfect Fits (by Shuffle Tech) for $1.50, so you are paying about $4 for the box itself. This means the Shuffle Tech is in reality the most expensive low-end deck box on your list. While the Velcro top is a plus, the ugliness of the box makes it difficult for me to imagine choosing it over other cheap deck boxes. If you are looking for the convenience of getting two packages of sleeves and a deck box all at once, the Shufle Tech by Max Protection is fine. I just wouldn't trust it to hold more than an inexpensive Standard deck. 

Overall Rating: 3/10. 

Cost Aesthetics Box Durability Art Durability Ease of Access Drop Test Shake Test Overall
$10.50 (w/Sleeves) 1 5 8 2 5 10 3

Max Protection Shuffle Tech on Amazon.com

Max Protection Deck Armor

Shiny. 

Cost: $1.70. 

Fit: Single Sleeved - 90 (snugly). Double Sleeved - 75 (comfortably).  

Special Features: Includes one card divider, Velcro top. 

Styles: Two solid, metallic colors (black and blue) and twelve different art designs. 

Aesthetics: 7/10. Probably the best word to describe Max Protection Deck Armor is sleek. Its shiny, black finish and gold lettering conjures images of a Lexus commercial. This is only in reference to the black box pictured above - I can't really speak to the art versions.

Durability (Box): 5/10. Deck Armor held up to being dropped without a problem. It will scratch, but the bigger problem is fingerprints. After only a few minutes of handling Deck Armor, I could see finger print smudges, especially under light. It definitely detracts from the glossy finish. 

Durability (Art): 7/10. No art to speak of. Only the gold lettering, which appears to be fairly durable. 

Ease of Access: 2/10. Deck Armor has the same unique, no-hinge design as the Shuffle Tech. You pretty much have to flip the box upside down and scatter the cards into your hand to get them out of the box. Either that or jam your fingers in behind the cards uncomfortably. 

Drop Test: 5/10. The good news is that, dropped from average table height ten times, the deck box only opened once. The bad news is that when dropped on its back or top, not only will the box open, but it opens completely, spewing cards everywhere.

Shake Test: 10/10. Thanks to the Velcro top you can shake the Deck Armor deck box around, throw it in the air, and do just about anything else without the top opening and the cards falling out. 

Summary: Deck Armor is a souped-up version of the Shuffle Tech box we talked about earlier. Thankfully, the Deck Armor boxes look much nicer, which was one of my biggest complaints about the ugly Shuffle Tech. However, the same fatal design mistake (no hinge) makes it nearly impossible to get the cards out of the box in a reasonable manner. It's hard to give Deck Armor a high overall score. 

Overall Rating: 3/10. 

Cost Aesthetics Box Durability Art Durability Ease of Access Drop Test Shake Test Overall
$1.70 7 5 7 2 5 10 3.5

Max Protection Deck Armor on Amazon.com

Ultimate Guard Deck Case 80+ and 100+

A clean, simple design with sixteen color options available. 

Cost: $1.50 (80+). $2.50 (100+).

Fit (80+): Single Sleeved - 100 (if you stuff it to the brim). Double Sleeved - 85. 

Fit (100+): Single Sleeved - 130. Double Sleeved - 115 (packed uncomfortably tight). 

Special Features: Includes one card divider. 

Styles: Sixteen different colors, ranging from white to black and just about everything in between. 

Aesthetics: 4/10. Not much to write about really. Deck Case 80+ and 100+ are solid color deck boxes with the name written across the front and the Ultimate Guard logo on the top, back, and underneath the flap. Three "write-on strips" located on the top and on either side of box allow you to write your name (or deck name) on the box. It is a fine, clean looking design, but nothing special. Basically, it's not going to make your opponent concede from its ugliness (like the Shuffle Tech deck box would), but it isn't going to garner you any compliments either. 

Durability (Box): 5/10. While the box holds up to normal use and abuse, the top will loosen over time, which could become problematic. Also, the solid color scheme tends to show scratches quite easily, so when the box gets beat up it will look beat up as well.

Durability (Art): 6/10. No art to speak of. The white lettering and logo will wear over time, but this is less of an issue with a simple box like the Deck Case than some of the art boxes offered by other companies. Having your Griselbrand art chip away makes your deck box look horrible. Having some wear on your Ultimate Guard logo isn't going to be that noticeable or problematic. 

Ease of Access: 5/10. Just like other boxes, you can get the cards out of your Deck Case +80 or +100 without any real difficulty. However, I do worry about pulling back too hard against the hinge that holds the top on. 

Drop Test: 7/10. After being dropped from an average table height ten times, the deck box never opened all the way up. However, most of the time the top became loose. It makes me worry that, as the hinge loosens from normal wear and tear, a drop could eventually send your deck scattering.

Shake Test: 2/10. Deck Case doesn't take much to open and send your cards flying everywhere. Even a slight mistake like picking the box up upside down could lead to disaster. 

Summary: A nice, simple deck box. While it has the same issues common among inexpensive deck boxes, especially the hinge issue, it does what it says it will do (hold 80+ or 100+ cards), although the claim that the 80+ will hold 100 single sleeved cards is questionable. It is technically true, but you have to jam the cards in uncomfortably. It's disappointing that for the 100+ you have to squeeze to fit a Commander deck plus tokens in (assuming your cards are double sleeved). It's also troubling how easy it is for the cards to fall out when picked up upside down. Regardless, it's hard to complain much about a deck box that costs between $1.50 and $2.50. While it's nothing special, it is serviceable for its price. 

Overall Rating: 6/10. 

Cost Aesthetics Box Durability Art Durability Ease of Access Drop Test Shake Test Overall
$1.50 4 5 6 5 7 2 6

Ultimate Guard Deck Case 80+ and 100+ on Amazon.com

BCW Deck Case

The same as Ultimate Guard's offering, but with a cool dragon on the front. 

Cost: $1.60

Fit: Single Sleeved - 90 (comfortably). Double Sleeved - 75 (comfortably).  

Special Features: Comes with one matching card divider.

Styles: Five colors (black, green, blue, red, and white).

Aesthetics: 4/10. Basically this is BCW's version of Ultimate Guard's Deck Case 80+. It has a solid color design with a dragon logo on the front and three write-on strips located at the top and on both sides. Not ugly, but not pretty either, this entry-level deck box is clearly more for function than fashion. 

Durability (Box): 5/10. While the box holds up to normal use and abuse, the top will losen over time, which could become problematic. Also, the solid color scheme tends to show scratches quite easily, so when the box gets beat up it will look beat up as well.

Durability (Art): 7/10. No art to speak of. Just minimal black lettering which will likely wear over time.

Ease of Access: 5/10. You can get the cards out of the Deck Case without any real difficulty. However, I do worry about pulling back too hard against the hinge that holds the top on. 

Drop Test:  7/10. Dropped from average table height ten times, the deck box never opened all the way up. At times it would open half way, but not far enough for the card to fall out.

Shake Test: 2/10. BCW's Deck Case doesn't take much to open and send your cards flying everywhere. Even a slight mistake like picking the box up upside down could lead to disaster. 

Summary: As you probably gathered from my copy and paste review, there is literally no difference between the BCW Deck Case and the Ultimate Guard Deck Case 80+. They are made of the same material, have a similar design, and performed about equally. If it weren't for the different brand names on the box, I would challenge anyone to spot a difference. I wouldn't be surprised if these boxes were made in the same factory and just stamped differently. As such, BCW's Deck Case gets the same overall rating as the Ultimate Guard Deck Case. 

Overall Rating: 6/10. 

Cost Aesthetics Box Durability Art Durability Ease of Access Drop Test Shake Test Overall
$1.60 4 5 7 5 7 2 6

BCW Deck Case on Amazon.com

Ultra Pro Side Load Deck Box

The only inexpensive side-loader featuring official Magic: the Gathering artwork thanks to Ultra Pro's licensing deal with Wizards of the Coast 

Cost: $2.50

Fit: Single Sleeved - 90 (tightly). Double Sleeved - 75 (comfortably).  

Special Features: Comes with one matching card divider.

Styles: Features art from various cards. Officially licensed by Wizards of the Coast

Aesthetics: 7/10. Unlike many other low-end deck boxes, Ultra Pro is licensed by Wizards. They get to use artwork from actual Magic cards on their boxes, as well as the official "Magic: The Gathering" logo. Since there are a ton of options, chances are you'll be able to find one featured piece of Magic art you really love. That sets the Ultra Pro boxes apart from others in this category. 

Durability (Box): 3/10. I literally broke one of the hinges of the box after a few minutes of moderate use. While many inexpensive deck boxes suffer from "the hinge" problem, Side Load deck boxes are worse than normal. In this case the hinge area is much larger than a top loader. On the other hand, the wider base of the Side Loader makes it harder to knock over or accidentally elbow off a table. 

Durability (Art): 4/10. It is well known that the art on these boxes will degrade over time. When "officially licensed art" is the main competitive advantage of your product, this can be particularly problematic. However, when put to test against "the quarter," the Ultra Pro Side Load held up fairly well. I'm guessing the art fading is more of a mid-to-long term problem.

Ease of Access: 3/10. Getting cards out of a Side Load is easy. Maybe even easier than a top loader.  However, getting cards into one of these boxes is quite the challenge. The Side Load design doesn't allow the top to pull back as far as a top loader, which makes it difficult to make enough space to put the entire deck in at once. You either need to put the deck in the box in chunks or use some odd hand contortions to get the top back far enough to load it all at once. 

Drop Test: 7/10. Dropped from average table height ten times, the deck box never opened all the way up. At times it would open half way, but not far enough for the card to fall out.

Shake Test: 0/10. After only a few second of moderate shaking, my Ultra Pro Side Load broke along the back right corner. The plastic just sheered in half. The end result is that the box falls open very easily, meaning it doesn't do its one and only job (protecting my deck) very effectively. 

Summary: Side Load deck boxes seem cool, if only because they are different, but after using the Ultra Pro version for a few minutes, I can't imagine ever wanting to use one again. It is just so much harder to get the cards into the box. The very design of the box seems to reduce its durability and increase the risk of breaking. Basically, you are paying for the "officially licensed Magic art." If you would rather have an inferior, but prettier (at least until the art wears off) deck box, the Ultra Pro Side Load might be for you. If your main goal is to protect your deck, I'd look elsewhere.

Overall Rating: 3/10. 

Cost Aesthetics Box Durability Art Durability Ease of Access Drop Test Shake Test Overall
$2.50 7 3 4 3 7 0 3

Ultra Pro Side Load Deck Boxes on Amazon.com

HCD Side Load Deck Box

Offering non-Magic art boxes in a  more durable side load package. 

 

Cost: $2.99

Fit: Single Sleeved - 90 (tightly). Double Sleeved - 75 (very tight).  

Special Features: Comes with one matching card divider. Velcro top.

Styles: Several art designs, although not official Magic art. 

Aesthetics: 6/10. The art seems comparable to the officially licensed Magic art on the Ultra Pro Side Load boxes. While I'm not the best person to critique various art featuring angels, demons, steam punk settings (usually featuring attractive, large breasted women), the only significant difference in art between the HCD box and the Ultra Pro box is that the latter has been used on Magic cards. This and the fact that HCD art might be slightly more suggestive (but not to the level of some overtly sexual trading card game supplies). 

Durability (Box): 5/10. The box didn't have any trouble surviving various tests. I would expect this box to hold up to normal wear and tear, but not much more. At least it didn't immediately break, like the Ultra Pro Side Load. 

Durability (Art): 3/10. It seems likely that these boxes will suffer the same fate as the Ultra Pro art boxes. Over time the artwork will chip and fade. After only a few seconds of scratching at the art with the edge of a quarter, there were several visible scratch marks that reduced the attractiveness of the box. 

Ease of Access: 5/10. Here we have a good news / bad news situation. The HCD Side Load boxes use a design similar to the Max Protection top loaders where the top and back of the box are all one piece. On one hand, this makes it easier to get cards out of the HCD box than the Ultra Pro Side Load. On the other, much like the Max Protection boxes, when the box is full there is no cut away to allow you to get your fingers in behind the cards. With the HCD box you have a wider back, and it is slightly easier to remove cards. However, you may still be left with the "hold upside down and shake" method if you stuff the box too full. 

Drop Test: 5/10. The good news is that, when dropped from average table height ten times, the deck box only opened once. The bad news is that when dropped on its back or top, not only will the box open, but it opens completely, spewing cards everywhere. 

Shake Test: 10/10. One thing I've learned in testing these low-end deck boxes is, if your main objective is for the box to stay closed, go with the Velcro top. Having a Velcro top jumps the rating on the shake test significantly and the HCD Side Load is no different. 

Summary: If you are looking for an inexpensive side loader and you like the artwork, the HCD box is likely the way to go. Whereas the all-one-piece design is problematic for top loaders, it actually improves the durability and ease of access of side loaders. Plus, you get the Velcro top, which makes it less likely the box will come open over the course a day. 

Overall Rating: 5/10. 

Cost Aesthetics Box Durability Art Durability Ease of Access Drop Test Shake Test Overall
$2.99 6 5 3 5 5 10 5.5

HCD Side Load Deck Boxes on Amazon.com

Legion Deck Box

With a ton of art options available, Legion produces custom boxes for many of Magic's biggest vendors, including StarCityGames and Channel Fireball. 

Cost: $3.50

Fit: Single Sleeved - 100 (if you squeeze them in). Double Sleeved - 75 (comfortably).  

Special Features: Comes with one matching card divider. Velcro top.

Styles: Tons of different art designs, although no official Magic: The Gathering artwork. Several vendors use Legion deckboxes for their store branded boxes such as Channel Fireball and StarCityGames.

Aesthetics: 9/10. I get the impression Legion is trying to make a name for itself by offering not only a ton of different art options, but the least cluttered design of all the low-end deck boxes. While all of the other brands feel the need to have their name plastered on their deck boxe, Legion is different. The only place you'll find their name and logo is on the bottom of the box. The top and sides is devoted to the artwork, which is a refreshing change. 

Durability (Box): 5/10. The deck box didn't have any trouble surviving various tests. I would expect this box to hold up to normal wear and tear.

Durability (Art): 2/10. In less than five seconds of scratching the box with the edge of a quarter, the art scratched away completely revealing the white box underneath. While this seems to be a common theme with inexpensive art deck boxes, it bothers me more with Legion's deck box because you are paying a premium for the art. 

Ease of Access: 2/10. Legion uses a design like Max Protection where the top and back of the box are all one piece. As a result, when you stuff the box full ("100 sleeved cards" as the box advertises) you are left shaking the box upside down to get your cards out. With less cards this isn't as much of a problem, but it is still harder to get the cards in and out with this design than with a hinged design.

Drop Test: 5/10. The good news is that, when dropped from average table height ten times, the deck box only opened once. The bad news is that when dropped on its back or top, not only will the box open, but it opens completely, spewing cards everywhere. 

Shake Test: 10/10. Thanks to the Velcro top, you can shake the Legion deck box around, throw it in the air, and do just about anything else you want without the cards falling out.

Summary: Legion's low-end offering is a much nicer looking version of the design offered by Max Protection. Legion gets the highest rating for aesthetics, as both the look (when brand new) and breadth of their offerings are unrivaled. However, the fact that the art doesn't stand up to even moderate abuse makes me worry Legion is more concerned with making their boxes look good on the shelf, and not so much about how they will look six months down the road. 

Overall Rating: 5/10. 

Cost Aesthetics Box Durability Art Durability Ease of Access Drop Test Shake Test Overall
$3.50 9 5 2 2 5 10 5

Legion Deck Boxes on Amazon.com

Ultra Pro 100+ Pro

Simple, clean, solid colored, and durable. 

Cost: $2.99.

Fit: Single Sleeved - 120 (comfortably). Double Sleeved - 100 (comfortably).  

Special Features: Comes with one matching card divider. 

Styles: Comes in five colors (black, red, green, blue, and white).

Aesthetics: 6/10. For a solid color box, the Ultra Pro 100+ Pro looks pretty sharp. As always, Ultra Pro loves to plaster its name all over the box, but you do get a write-in strip on the top. That said, you don't buy a solid color low-end deck box because its pretty; you buy it because it's functional. 

Durability (Box): 5/10. The deck box didn't have any trouble surviving various tests. I would expect this box to hold up to normal wear and tear.

Durability (Art): 8/10. The great thing about solid colored boxes is they hold up better after being used for a few months. Yes, it will scratch. But instead of wearing away the art, this just makes the box looked scuffed up a bit and isn't particularly noticeable unless the area is in direct light.  

Ease of Access: 7/10. Just like other similar boxes, you can get your cards out of the Ultra Pro 100+ without any real difficulty. Plus the larger size of the 100+ makes it even easier to get your fingers into the box to pull out your cards. 

Drop Test: 7/10. Like similar designs (the BCW and Ultimate Guide Deck Cases), the Ultra Pro box will not open when dropped from table height, even repeatedly. The top may losen up a bit, but not enough to lose any cards. 

Shake Test: 2/10. If shook even slightly upside down, all the cards spew out. 

Summary: A simple deck box, but very functional for its price. If you don't mind solid colors and are looking for a box that will function and look just as good a year from now as it does today, the Ultra Pro 100+ is a good option. 

Overall Rating: 7/10. 

Cost Aesthetics Box Durability Art Durability Ease of Access Drop Test Shake Test Overall
$2.99 6 5 8 7 7 2 7.5

Ultra Pro 100+ Deck Boxes on Amazon.com

Ultra Pro Art Deck Boxes (Relic Knights)

Offers a unique, full-length front piece and art that is likely to offend your mother. We review the Relic Knights version, but Ultra Pro makes these art deck boxes for many franchises including Magic: the Gathering, Force of Will, Hatsune Miku, etc.

Cost: $2.99.

Fit: Single Sleeved - 90 (comfortably). Double Sleeved - 75 (tightly).  

Special Features: Comes with one matching card divider. 

Styles: Comes with several art designs based on various franchises like Magic: the GatheringRelic Knights Miniatures, Force of Will, etc

Aesthetics: 6/10. Personally I'm not a big fan of having (mostly) naked women in suggestive poses on my deck boxes or sleeves, but to each their own. Apart from the subject matter, the art looks fine and on par with other Ultra Pro offerings. Note that the art varies based on the franchise. For example, you could get a nice and conservative Liliana, Heretical Healer from Magic Origins.

Durability (Box): 4/10. The box seems made of more brittle plastic than other low-end deck boxes. It makes me think we could have a problem in the worst case scenario (getting dropped and stepped on), although it did hold up well after the various tests. 

Durability (Art): 3/10. As with other low-end Ultra Pro boxes, it doesn't take all that much for the artwork to start to rub away, leaving ugly white spots and causing an unattractive faded look. 

Ease of Access: 5/10. Built like other Ultra Pro boxes (hinged design with cut away at the back for easy access), the Relic Knights deck box has one key difference: the front piece covers the entire length of the box. While this design is helpful in something like a shake test (where this box is much less likely to open), it does make getting the cards in and out of the box challenging (you have to deal with the massive overhang). 

Drop Test: 8/10. Like the Ultra Pro 100+, this box will not open when dropped from table height, even repeatedly. In fact, the longer front piece means it is less likely the cards will come out. 

Shake Test: 10/10. Since the front piece is so long, you really can't pick up the box without naturally holding it closed. You can shake as hard as you want; the box will slip from your hand before the cards come out. 

Summary: If you are buying this box, you are doing so because you like the art work. However, the longer front piece does give the box some natural advantages (the cards are less likely to fall out) and disadvantages (the cards are much harder to get in and out of the box). All in all, I think these trade-offs evens out, making it similar to other Ultra Pro and Legions art boxes.

Overall Rating: 5/10.

Cost Aesthetics Box Durability Art Durability Ease of Access Drop Test Shake Test Overall
$2.99 6 4 3 5 8 10 6.5

Ultra Pro Relic Knights on Amazon.com

 

Meta-Discussion

I learned a few things reviewing these low-end deck boxes:

  • If you are worried about your cards falling out, get a box with a Velcro top. All boxes with Velcro tops performed better in various "will the cards fall out" tests compared to other boxes. 
  • I'm not sure inexpensive art boxes are worth it. While they might look better than a solid color deck box brand new, their art fades quickly. Over time they end up looking worse. 
  • Low-end deck boxes are an either / or proposition. You can either have a box that does a very good job of staying closed, but isn't all that easy to get cards out. Or you can have a box that is easy to access, but opens accidentally. None of the boxes scored highly in both categories. 
  • Take the claims of "holds 100" or "holds 80 sleeved cards" with a grain of salt. While these claims are technically true, some involved filling the box uncomfortably full. 
  • In all honesty there isn't a lot separating these boxes. While some boxes are nearly identical to others (to the point they are likely made in the same factory), your main choices when it comes to low-end deck boxes are: Velcro or not? Side load or top load? Hinged top or one-piece? Artwork or solid color? For me the answer is Velcro, topload, hinged, and solid. Plus, there isn't a single box that hits all four of my check marks anyway. The point is, figure out what aspects are more important to you and make a decision based on your own personal criteria. There really isn't a whole lot separating the $5-and-under deck boxes. 

Awards

Best in Class: Ultra Pro 100+. While on the high end ($2.99) of the inexpensive deck box price range, for me this is the clear cut winner. Its solid color design means it should age well. It actually fits 100 double sleeved cards comfortably, and you can get the cards in and out of the box easily. Just don't hold it upside down an shake it, or your cards will come flying out.

Best Looking: Legion Deck Box. Not only does Legion offer a ton of different art options, they are the only manufacturer that doesn't clutter up the artwork with logos and brand names. If an inexpensive but good looking deck box is what you're looking for, you can't go wrong with Legion. Just treat it with care because the artwork will get scuffed up. Maybe I should invent a deck box box, to keep the deck box art looking good. 

Best Value: BCW Deck Case and Ultimate Guard Deck Case. If your criteria is based on getting a box that is super cheap, but will hold up well over the long haul, you can't go wrong with either of these boxes (they are basically the same). Their solid color design means they should age well after months (or years) of use. 

Don't buy me: Ultra Pro Side Load and Deck Protection Shuffle Tech. I can't recommend the Ultra Pro Side Load because of how it broke so quickly. I understand that $2 deck boxes aren't intended to last forever, but is 10 minutes too much to ask? The Shuffle Tech, on the other hand, is hard to access and by far the worst looking box of the bunch. 

Best Side Loader: HCD Side Load Deck Box. While there isn't a ton of competition for cheap side loaders, HCD tested better than the Ultra Pro offering. While I recommend top loaders, if you're married to the side load design, I would send you HCD's way. 

Least Likely to Drop Your Cards: Ultra Pro Art (Relic Knights). The ultra long front piece scored highly in both shake and drop tests. If your main goal is card security, this is probably the box for you. However, certain versions of art may win the "most likely to make your mother uncomfortable because of its portrayal of women" award. 

Tiers:

Tier One: Ultra Pro 100+, BCW Deck Case, Ultimate Guard Deck Case 80+/100+
Tier Two: HCD Side Load, Legion Deck Box, Ultra Pro Art Deck Box (Relic Knights). 
Tier Three: Max Protection Shuffle Tech, Max Protection Deck Armor, Ultra Pro Side Load

 


More in this Series


More on MTGGoldfish ...

stream highlights

Tron, Tron Everywhere (Eternal Command, Modern) – Stream Highlights

commander clash

Commander Clash S2 Episode 28: Revenge

brewer's minute

Brewer's Minute: More Modern Combos

magic digital next

A First Look at Magic Digital Next!


Next Article

Get Email Updates

Follow Us

  • S
  • S
  • S
  • S
  • S
  • S
  • S

Welcome to MTGGoldfish. We display prices for both ONLINE and PAPER magic. By default, what prices would you like to see?   

Online Paper