A classic design, this option has fine construction to withstand years of page-flipping.
Book-inspired design features raised cover and intricate border stitching. Holds 300 4x 6" photos for weddings and similar events. Spine has a lay-flat design so you can flip through pages leisurely. Available in several colors.
If you don't have too many photos to store, it may be pricey.
Simple and affordable, this option fits 200 photos and comes in a wide variety of colors.
Simple design to match a collection. Photos remain protected and intact, thanks to chemical-free pages. There is space to write notes next to every photo. Bidirectional pockets are ideal for horizontal and vertical photos.
Has clear sticky pages you have to remove to add photos.
Dedicated to dogs, it holds 80 pictures and has blank lines to transcribe memories.
80 4 x 6" photos holds pictures, leaves room for writing notes, and includes slot to hold DVDs. Durable construction with wipe-clean cover and well-made binding. Front photo cutout is a favorite feature among buyers.
Plastic that holds photos isn't as too durable.
It holds up to 17 4 x 6” photos and has a tear-resistant design.
Clip-on design is easy to attach to bags and strollers. Book is soft with rounded edges for safe handling. Label set for further customization. Colorful yet neutral design. Album includes baby mirror at the back as an added bonus.
Some reports that the album arrived with a strong chemical smell.
A modern option, it has an attractive cover with a sentimental message.
Large album holds 200 4 x 6" photos with 2 per page. Safe and free of acid, lignin, and PVC. Includes margins around photos so you can write messages or include scrapbooking-inspired artwork. Attractive cover stitching.
Some photo slots run small. Album has an odd odor initially.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Hands up if you're guilty of taking snaps on your phone or digital camera, storing them in the cloud, or adding them to your social media feed and then never looking at them again. Yup, us too! But a quality photo album is a great way of storing your photos in a physical format, making you more likely to bring them out and look at them.
First, you need to procure yourself a photo album to start storing those photos, but which one to buy? You'll find several different varieties of photo albums on the market, not to mention different sizes, materials, paper types, modes of organizing, and designs. If all these choices are leaving you confused, you've come to the right place for some assistance.
Our in-depth guide to photo albums will give you all the information you need to find the best vessel in which to store those precious memories. And if you just want to buy one, check out our favorites.
Slip-in photo albums
Perhaps the most common variety on the market, slip-in photo albums feature fixed pockets in which to put your photos. It's quick and easy to store photos in a slip-in album and allows for easy rearranging of your snaps. But, on the downside, all the pockets are orientated the same way, which makes it difficult to store a mixture of portrait and landscape photos. You can do it, of course, but you'll need to turn the album to look at a portrait photo on a page of landscape snaps, which detracts from the viewing experience. It's also impossible to be creative with the layout of a slip-in photo album, since the pockets are fixed.
Self-adhesive photo albums
Self-adhesive photo albums have sticky pages covered in a clear sheet of plastic. To affix photos to the album, you peel back the clear plastic and stick your photos directly to the adhesive page, then stick the clear plastic back over the top when you're done. What's great about self-adhesive photo albums is that it's easy to be creative with the photo layout and it’s quick to stick photos in place. However, once the photos are affixed to the page, you generally can't peel them off, so you need to get the layout right the first time. The other drawback is that the adhesive yellows over time and can be damaging to the photos, so this isn't the best type of photo album for passing down the generations. You can also trap dust, hairs, and other things under the plastic, which is especially problematic if you have furry pets around.
If you like the idea of being free to place your photos anywhere on the page and in any orientation, but don't want to stick them down permanently, a quality album with photo corners is your best bet. While they allow you total flexibility of layout, and the option to switch and reposition photos later, it does take longer to fix photos in place using photo corners.
You can find photo albums with a range of different binding types. Some look neater than others and some are more durable.
Case-bound photo albums look like hardback books and appear neat and professional. Case-bound albums can further be divided into glue-bound and book-bound options.
Wire and spiral-bound photo albums feature pages mounted on a wire spiral, much like a reporter's notebook. It's easier to lay a spiral-bound album completely flat, but they don't look quite as neat on a bookshelf as case-bound options. This can be remedied, however, by choosing a concealed wire-bound album, which looks from the outside like a case-bound book, but spiral binding is hidden inside.
Although they're not as popular, you can also find ring-bound photo albums. These let you open the binding to add new pages, remove pages, or rearrange pages if you decide the snapshots would look better in a different order.
Number of pages
Photo albums should list the number of pages they contain — these are sometimes referred to as sides. A 40-page, or 40-side, album has 20 double-sided pages, so essentially 40 useable pages. Choose an album with an appropriate amount of pages for the photos you want to display. You don't want to be left with a load of blank pages you'll be unlikely to fill, but you don't want to run out of space, either.
Choose a quality cover material and your photo album will last longer. Some photo albums feature thick card covers, which is perhaps the least durable option. More common are either fabric-bound or leather-bound options.
In today's market, photo albums bound in real leather are uncommon. The majority of "leather-bound" photo albums are actually bound with faux leather, which is almost as durable, cheaper, and suitable for use by vegans and people who avoid using certain animal products for religious reasons. If you don't particularly like the appearance of leather, fabric-covered photo albums are a durable alternative.
Photo albums come in a range of sizes, from compact albums large enough to hold a single, standard (four by six inch) photo per page, to huge A3 or A2 tomes. Though you want to pick a photo album that's large enough to hold all the snaps you intend to put inside, it shouldn't be too large to fit on your bookshelf. In our experience, albums too large to fit on a shelf are stored away in attics or basements and rarely looked at.
You can find small, basic photo albums for as little as $5 to $10. These often hold just a single photo per side and may be made from materials that damage photos over time. Mid-range photo albums cost around $10 to $30. You can find a wide range of sizes and options in this price range. High-end photo albums cost between $30 and $80. This includes true archival albums, large albums, and those made from top-quality materials.
Q. Are photo albums designed for long-term photo storage?
A. Most photo albums will keep your photos in decent condition for a few decades, but if you want your great, great, great-grandchildren to be looking at these albums in 100 years, you'll need a true archival photo album. Pick an album that's acid-free, lignin-free, and PVC-free for long-term storage.
Q. Do all photo albums have white pages?
A. While many photo albums feature white pages for you to stick your photos on, some have black pages for contrast or brown craft paper pages for a rustic look.
Q. What should I consider when storing old photos?
A. If you're making an album of vintage family photos, made sure you use one with acid-free pages to preserve these delicate snaps.