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10 Best School Supplies for Going Back to School in 2019

last updated May 05, 2019

At the start of every school year all students will need supplies. This means that you will need to make a list and get things ready for their first day. Whether your student is in high school or entering the first grade the supply list will contain some of the same things. These items are needed across the board for all students. Now, some of the items will vary, but they all need the basic supplies. We have created a list of the best school supplies for going back to school for students. From grade school to college school supplies are school supplies. The list includes items that are always needed.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 258 hrs of research

icon
JanSport Superbreak Backpack
97/100 our score
Design
99
Ease of Use
95
Value
97
JanSport Superbreak Backpack
Why is it better?

One large main pocket with a small second zipper pocket

Adjustable shoulder straps

Over 100 different colors/patterns to choose from

Durable polyester fabric

Can hold weight and many items

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
JanSport Superbreak Backpack
Test Winner: JanSport Superbreak Backpack
Researched Sources
15
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
785
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
258
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Jessica Mentzer
By Jessica Mentzer:

Each of the school supplies on this list has been reviewed and updated. Each of the criteria sections have been reviewed for details along with ensuring each of the products is current with the market place.

Sorting Options
Design Ease of Use Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97
Design
99%
Ease of Use
95%
Value
97%
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.05.19)
$25.00
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.7
Design
94%
Ease of Use
96%
Value
91%
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.05.19)
$7.21
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.3
Design
95%
Ease of Use
91%
Value
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.05.19)
$6.15
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
Design
88%
Ease of Use
86%
Value
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.05.19)
$12.49
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.7
Design
84%
Ease of Use
88%
Value
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.05.19)
$11.84
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.3
Design
84%
Ease of Use
87%
Value
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.05.19)
$9.99
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.7
Design
80%
Ease of Use
81%
Value
84%
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.05.19)
$14.06
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
77.3
Design
75%
Ease of Use
79%
Value
78%
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.05.19)
$9.67
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75
Design
75%
Ease of Use
78%
Value
72%
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.05.19)
$13.50
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75
Design
74%
Ease of Use
80%
Value
71%
Price Comparison Last Updated (19.05.19)
$29.98
In depth review top 10
  • JanSport Superbreak Backpack
  • Avery 1.5" Durable View 3 Binder
  • Paper Mate InkJoy 300RT
  • AmazonBasics Pre-sharpened Pencils
  • Avery 8-Tab Binder Dividers
  • Mr. Pen- 15 Pcs Compass Set
  • Oxford Ruled Index Cards
  • Five Star Spiral Notebooks
  • JAM PAPER Plastic 2 Pocket
  • Enfain 16GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive,10 Pack
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best School Supplies Reviewed

1. JanSport Superbreak Backpack

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97
JanSport Superbreak Backpack
Design
99
Ease of Use
95
Value
97
best offer for today
$25.00

One large main pocket with a small second zipper pocket

Adjustable shoulder straps

Over 100 different colors/patterns to choose from

Durable polyester fabric

Can hold weight and many items

Customers report issues with zipper over time

Send your child back to school in style with the JanSport Classic Backpack. With one main compartment and a smaller front storage pocket, your child will have plenty of room for all of their school supplies. Composed of a 600-denier fabric, this backpack is designed to go with your child from grade to grade.

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Design

Not only is the fabric highly durable but it is also water-repellent so your child’s supplies will be safe if the bag accidentally gets wet. With over 100 different colors/prints to choose from, you can easily pick out a backpack that will fit your child’s taste. It’s practically impossible for your child to outgrow the design as the bag is one plain color and features the JanSport logo in the middle.

Ease of Use

The adjustable straps will provide a comfortable fit as your child grows. The built-in carrying handle gives your child the option to either wear the bag on their back or carry it in their hand. Both pockets are secured with a zipper, thus making it easy for your child to open it by themselves.

Value

JanSport backpacks are very popular for students in all school grades, but they still provide the opportunity for individual expression with the numerous options for colors and patterns.

2. Avery 1.5" Durable View 3 Binder

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.7
Avery 1.5" Durable View 3 Binder
Design
94
Ease of Use
96
Value
91
best offer for today
$7.21

Holds up to 375 pages

2 pockets for loose papers on each cover’s inner side

Three rings compatible with 3-hole punches

Customizable front cover

Rings can be operated with one touch

Some customers report the rings won’t close all the way after some use

This three-ring binder is great for storing sheets of paper for one or more classes. It is coated with a film to promote a smooth appearance and texture. The 1.5-inch binder rings can hold up to 375 sheets.

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Design

The binder’s spine measures 2.1 inches when closed. The binder panels are designed with a width large enough to cover all sheets or tabbed dividers. There are two interior pockets for loose paper, one on each inner cover. The binder’s rings can easily be closed and opened with one touch. The front cover can easily be customized by sliding a paper behind the plastic film.

Ease of Use

Binders are a great way for students to keep hundreds of pages of notes and other materials together in one book. Many teachers will pass out papers with three holes, and binders are the best way to store them for accessing later. Some teachers will even require them for certain presentations or class projects.

Value

The clear slip on the front cover allows students to customize the binder with a title if they choose to.

3. Paper Mate InkJoy 300RT

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.3
Paper Mate InkJoy 300RT
Design
95
Ease of Use
91
Value
94
best offer for today
$6.15

Ink will flow immediately

Writing doesn’t require much pressure from the hand

Writes clean, thin lines without smudging

Comfortable rubber grip

Comes with black, blue, and red pens perfect for school

Some customers report an uneven flow of ink

Not every assignment will require the use of a No. 2 pencil. With the eight-pack of the Paper Mate InkJoy ballpoint pens, your child can be prepared for the ones that don’t. This set includes three black, three red, and three blue ink pens.

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Design

The rubberized grip makes writing and grasping the pen super-comfortable. With minimal pressure required, your child will have no problem writing with these pens. The fine tip provides crisp and clean lines with every letter written and doodle drawn.

Ease of Use

Not only will the pens easily fit into your child’s backpack, but they can also be clipped to their pants or notebook using the attached metal clip. Your child’s fine-motor skills will increase as they grip and write with the pens. Whether your child is writing on notebook paper or in a workbook they won’t have to worry about the ink bleeding through.

Value

With three different colored ink pens included in this set, your child can be fully prepared for every assignment. The rubberized grip will provide your child with a comfortable grasp, thus allowing them to finish the most lengthy assignments with ease.

4. AmazonBasics Pre-sharpened Pencils

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
AmazonBasics Pre-sharpened Pencils
Design
88
Ease of Use
86
Value
90
best offer for today
$12.49

Latex-free, smudge-free rubber eraser

Chemical Free

Strong medium-soft lead

Satin-finished round hexagonal build for a comfortable grip

Pencils come pre-sharpened

Customers complained about the point breaking when trying to re-sharpen

Break out those SAT Prep books; you’ve got enough #2 lead in this 150 pack pencil set to take the test several times over (not that you’d want to). This AmazonBasics product arrives with the pencils pre-sharpened and is PMA certified non-toxic.

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Design

The erasers are latex-free and smudge-free, making it easy to correct your mistakes. With the medium-soft lead and a traditional hexagonal design for comfortable, easy grip, these are the true definition of a classroom classic.

Ease of Use

When you are a student on the first day of school or starting a new subject can be stressful enough so buying pre-sharpened pencils can help eliminate at least one stressor. This set of 150 pre-sharpened pencils is ready to go right out of the box. The pencils have been sharpened just right and have the perfect point for creating the best handwriting possible.

Value

A 150 pack of pre-sharpened pencils means no hassle for your child or their teachers and classmates; they’ll always have something ready-to-write completely handy.

5. Avery 8-Tab Binder Dividers

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.7
Avery 8-Tab Binder Dividers
Design
84
Ease of Use
88
Value
85
best offer for today
$11.84

Tabs come with compatible inserts to easily label

Each divider is punched with 3 holes

Large tabs provide more space to write labels

Different color tabs help to categorize

Tabs are designed to secure labels in place

If pages are in plastic page protectors between dividers, the tabs won’t stick out visibly

This set of insertable dividers is a great organizational tool for students who use binders. Each divider is punched with three holes, compatible for binders or pronged folders. There is a strong gold plastic material lining both sides of the dividers where the holes are punched, to provide durability and prevent against tearing the holes.

Read more

Design

They come with insertable labels to slide into the colorful tabs. The tabs on these dividers are 1.5 times larger than others, to provide more space for writing or typing labels.

Ease of Use

Dividers can help kids with a multiple-subject binder easily find the information they are looking for based on the categories they create. When it comes to studying, efficiency is an important habit that can be fostered with a proper organization such as with tabs. If students have a thick binder with lots of pages and information, it could be chaotic to search for a certain page without dividers and tabs.

Value

Using dividers helps kids organize their materials in a binder or folder in a way that works best for them, using labels that work best for them.

6. Mr. Pen- 15 Pcs Compass Set

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.3
Mr. Pen- 15 Pcs Compass Set
Design
84
Ease of Use
87
Value
85
best offer for today
$9.99

Includes 15 different tools for geometry and other math subjects

Can be used over multiple years of schooling

Comes with a pouch to carry and store tools

Includes a mechanical pencil and compatible lead

Has numerous applications

Plastic screws for compasses can loosen affecting the ability to draw perfect circles

Some customers report the carrying case too small for all items

Mr. Pen’s 15-piece compass set will turn your child into a geometry wiz. This set includes a study compass, graphic compass, metal divider, extra lead, three pencils, ruler, set squares, and two protractors. All of the pieces come inside a clear pouch, which can be used as a storage case. Both the compasses and the protractors are easy to use.

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Design

The compasses will help your child draw perfect circles and the protractor will help create accurate arcs and angles. All of the measuring tools feature centimeters and inches. If this is your child’s first geometry class and you’re about all the tools being overwhelming, don’t be. Your child will learn how to use each tool in class. Each measuring tool is durable and designed to withstand several math classes.

Ease of Use

The tools included in this geometry set can help students better understand the concepts learned in class. Often, being able to draw out a question helps students visualize the shapes being discussed with words. With subjects such as geometry or calculus, this can greatly improve comprehension and understanding for students.

Value

These tools can be used for many levels of math, but can also be used creatively to draw different shapes and forms with specific angles and edges.

7. Oxford Ruled Index Cards

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.7
Oxford Ruled Index Cards
Design
80
Ease of Use
81
Value
84
best offer for today
$14.06

Ideal for studying

One blank side and one ruled side

3x5 inch cards

1,000 cards included (10 packs of 100 cards)

Some customers desired thicker cards

Studying is something that all students have in common. When perfecting a studying plan often teachers will suggest that students use a method that includes index cards, though they have many other uses the most common for students is flash cards. This is a set of 1000 flashcards that come in packs of 100. So there are 10 packs of 100 flashcards that have been wrapped together for easy handling and transporting.

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Design

They are also great for taking notes on. Each card is ruled on one side for taking legible notes on and the other blank for creating easy to read large letters. The cards are 3 inches by 5 inches in size, which is the classic index card size. Durable enough to be carried around by any student these index cards have been constructed from a premium weight paper. They have been made in the USA and are ready to hit the classroom today.

Ease of Use

These index cards are a student’s best friend when preparing for a test. Schools often test kids based on memorizing definitions of concepts. Students can, therefore, write the definition of a word on the ruled side and the word on the other side, and then later flip the cards to test their knowledge.

Value

Index cards with one blank and one ruled side are ideal for studying as it doesn’t get confusing which side of a stack has the definitions and which has the concepts.

8. Five Star Spiral Notebooks

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
77.3
Five Star Spiral Notebooks
Design
75
Ease of Use
79
Value
78
best offer for today
$9.67

Notebook and all pages are punched with 3 holes

Durable front and back covers

Inks won’t bleed through pages

Double-sided pages

Perforated pages assist in clean tearing out

Storage pockets won’t fit standard 8½ x 11 paper, only the notebook paper pages

This pack of 5 subject notebooks comes with two 200-page notebooks, each divided into five sections with pocketed dividers. Each notebook and all its pages are 3-hole-punched, allowing them to be stored in a binder or folder. The pages are college ruled and have perforated margins to easily tear out pages with a clean, straight edge.

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Design

Pen ink won’t bleed through the pages, and they are double-sided which maximizes writing space. The notebook is thick and durable, designed to protect the inner pages for the entire school year. The front cover is made with a water-resistant thick plastic, and the back cover is made with a coated natural Kraft material. The spiral’s wire is designed to prevent coil snags and keep form even when transported in a bag or backpack.

Ease of Use

This notebook provides an opportunity for students to organize their school supplies in a compact way using one notebook for five different subjects or classes’ notes. For some students, this might be desirable so as to keep their locker or backpack simple. It is actually quite convenient to only have to remember one notebook rather than five separate books, especially if kids have split-day class schedules.

Value

Although this notebook is thick and relatively heavy compared to single-subject notebooks, the durable front and back covers will ensure that it stays in good shape throughout the school year.

9. JAM PAPER Plastic 2 Pocket

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75
JAM PAPER Plastic 2 Pocket
Design
75
Ease of Use
78
Value
72
best offer for today
$13.50

Assorted color option to sort for different classes

Three prongs in the middle and folders on the sides to hold all kinds of papers

Fits the standard size (8” x 11”)

Sturdy plastic exterior to protect documents inside

Customers complained frequently about receiving the wrong type of folders, or a lesser amount than they ordered

Help your child choose from a rainbow assortment of colors, or opt for a variety pack. Either way, these two-pocket, three-prong plastic folders can assist your budding student in organizing their notes and papers for each class.

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Design

The folder easily fits standard 8” x 11” documents, has a business card slot, and can neatly fit somewhere between seventy-five and one hundred papers in the center, secured by the three prongs.

Ease of Use

Students go through a ton of folders each year. With having to carry papers back and forth each day they wear quickly. These folders have been created from durable and smooth plastic. This allows them to be able to stand up to the daily use that students put them through while also protecting their papers from folds and crumbles. They are great for keeping important papers organized for longer periods of time.

Value

These folders have a stay-put tab that prevent pages from slipping out the pockets through the top of the folder. No risk of scattering pages all over the classroom or hallway with this cool feature!

10. Enfain 16GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive,10 Pack

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75
Enfain 16GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive,10 Pack
Design
74
Ease of Use
80
Value
71
best offer for today
$29.98

USB flash drives for storing and transferring files

Set includes 10, 16 GB flash drive for the total storage capacity of 160 GB

Compatible with; Linux/ Mac OS, Windows 10/ 8/ 7/ Vista/ XP/ 2000/ 98/ ME/ NT operating systems

Features 360 degree rotating the aluminum case

Carry and attach with eyelet hole in the aluminum case

Speed of transfer is more like the 1.1 speed than 2.0

Labels do not stick well to the case

Student responsibilities just don’t stop when they leave school so it is important that they are able to work on documents and projects at any computer. Using a flash drive is one of the best ways to make this possible. Students are able to save information, pictures, and even music to a flash drive and take it on the go everywhere they go.

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Design

This is a set of 10 flash drives. Each of the flash drives is capable of storing and transferring files, even large ones, efficiently. The flash drives each is able to store 16 GB each, meaning that the pack of 10 holds up to 160 GB. Included in the set are labels that make it easy to identify what in on each flash drive. The drives are compatible for plug and play on the following operating systems: Windows 10/ 8/ 7/ Vista/ XP/ 2000/ 98/ ME/ NT Linux/ Mac OS. They are easily plugged into any USB port with 2.0 technologies. To protect the drive there is a rotating cover that has been created from aluminum. It rotates 360 degrees to make it easy to plug and then simple to rotate back around to protect when you are not using it. On the aluminum case, an eyelet hole has been created to give it the ability to attach. When starting school it best to be prepared for the work ahead and this flash drive set will have a student ready to get to work.

Ease of Use

Carrying a homework project around on a little flash drive makes it easy to access, but it is so important to make sure that the work is also protected. The aluminum rotating case on these flash drives does just this. It rotates making it easy to quickly get access to the USB end but then offers the best protection to the components that mean the most.

Value

Great buy! This is the ultimate flash drive set. It includes 10 drives that are sure to be able to transfer and hold everything a student would need or create during the school year. A perfect buy if you have more than one kid entering school.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Design

Here at Borncute, it is always our utmost priority to recommend products that are completely safe for kids to use. We conduct extensive research to hone in on the ideal suggestions for a given topic. In this case of school supplies, it can seem like most of the time they will be safe by default. Typically, this is true, but we always make sure to double-check plastic materials for any potentially toxic ingredients or check certain pen or marker inks for any potentially dangerous chemicals. School supplies most often required by teachers of different grade levels include notebooks, writing utensils, a backpack, and binders, to mention a few.

By themselves, these supplies tend to be safe for students of many ages to use. However, one concern we do consider is how heavy a student’s backpack will be on a daily basis.

Heavy backpacks are actually a major health concern for growing children. Even when worn properly, they can strain different muscle groups such as the neck and upper back, shoulders, hips, and lower back. Health professionals recommend that backpacks should be a maximum of 10 to 15 percent of a child’s weight, but it can be difficult to stay within that safe window when carrying everything needed for a day in school.

In order to tackle the risk for back issues and other longer-term health conditions associated with heavy backpacks, it is absolutely preferred for students to wear two-shouldered backpacks rather than one-shouldered or cross-body bags. This helps to distribute the weight evenly. Additionally, the five subject notebook we included on our list is a great way to replace five separate notebooks (each with thick front and back covers) to only one bigger notebook.

Ease of Use

Whether it’s a notebook for class or a set of mechanical pencils, we made sure to recommend durable products that will last your child as long as they need to use it. Spiral notebooks can be flimsy with thin wires or paper covers that rip, so we selected sturdier options designed to withstand the duration of time needed to fill the pages. When buying school supplies for the year, we believe that the supplies should do just that…last the year!

Value

All the school supplies on our list are functional for the students who will need to use them. We chose high-quality products that are easily utilized and make sense for kids. For example, all the notebooks on our list will fit into most standard-sized backpacks so students can easily transport them. We quality-checked the products on this list to make sure they will perform well. For example, we researched to make sure ink writing won’t bleed through the pages of a notebook or that mechanical pencil lead won’t break too easily.

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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Parents, Did you Know?

School supplies are something that your child will need at the beginning of the year and throughout the year. It is always a good idea to reach out to the teacher and see if more supplies are needed.

Parents, Did you Know?

Some school create a list that is required for each student to have at the beginning of the school year. Often the supply list is posted on the school website or at the local department store.

Other Factors to Consider

Materials

We composed this list by suggesting a recommendation for very commonly required school supplies. The majority of teachers of all grades will require writing utensils, for example, so we researched to recommend excellent options for pens, pencils, highlighters, and even mechanical pencils as some students prefer this type.

Effectiveness

Many of the items on our list can help students establish organizational skills that can further enhance their success in school. Disorganized students can often end up getting lower grades and making more mistakes which negatively impact their overall success in school. It is therefore important not only to teach students how to better organize their school materials, but it can be equally effective to provide them with school supplies that make it easier for them to keep things organized.

For example, we suggested a pen case that can fit more than just pens and pencils, so students can carry the majority of their smaller supplies all in one place. We also recommended binders, a file folder, and other folders with tabs which can really help students learn how to categorize and organize the numerous papers they will get from all of their classes. It can be overwhelming to search for your homework assignment when your backpack has nearly 1,000 other pieces of paper in it, so when kids have the supplies to create designated spaces for their work it can help them keep on top of everything.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Can my elementary school student handle mechanical pencils?
a:

Yes. Elementary school students can absolutely learn to use mechanical pencils. The only issue that may arise is that younger kids tend to apply more pressure when writing, which may break the lead tip.

q: Will the text written in pen be readable once highlighted?
a:

These highlighters won’t smear pen or printed ink as long as it is dry before highlighting.

q: Does the geometry toolset come with a protractor?
a:

Yes, it comes with a protractor, compass, ruler, and more supplies.

q: Do all folders include 3-pong paper holders in the middle or is that a feature that I need to check for each time I buy folders?
a:

No, not all folders include the 3-pong paper holders in the middle. It is mostly associated with more premium folders. Each brand has their own design and will need to be checked to see if they feature the 3-pongs in the middle to hold the papers.

q: Are all flash drives compatible with computers at home and at school if they have different operating systems installed?
a:

Flash drives are compatible with different operating systems. You could use one operating system at school and another at home while still being able to access the files on the flash drive.

q: Can the binder dividers be put into any kind or brand of 3 ring binders
a:

Yes, 3 ring binder dividers have been created to be universal. The hole pattern in the binder divider should fit any major brand or style of 3 ring binder.

Sources

  1. Real Simple Staff, Back-to-School Supplies Checklist, Checklist
  2. Jessica Samakow, The Dangers Of Heavy Backpacks — And How Kids Can Wear Them Safely, Informative Article
  3. Admin, The Important Benefits of Being Organized for School , Online Article
  4. Indian Youth Staff, New School Supplies Make A Difference, Online Article
  5. ericae staff, School Supplies, Informative Article