Last updated: August 6, 2021

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Although a lot of things are digital nowadays, it can still happen that paperwork piles up in different places in the home. This quickly becomes confusing and looks unattractive. A letter tray can help to organise documents on the desk and find them more quickly, or to deposit mail in the entrance area of the home.

There are countless models of letter trays that differ not only in design but also in function. We have compared different letter trays and show you what you should look out for when buying. In this way, we want to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the right model for you.




Summary

  • A letter tray is a filing system for papers that contains several compartments and thus facilitates the organisation of various documents.
  • Depending on the model, letter trays consist either of stackable boxes or a system of fixed compartments or drawers. They can be placed on the desk or hung on the wall.
  • There are letter trays made of plastic, wood, metal and steel mesh in a wide variety of shapes and for every need.

The Best Letter Tray: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for letter trays

To help you find the letter tray that best meets your needs, we have compiled the most important criteria for you. When buying a letter tray, you should pay attention to the following:

In the following, we offer you a brief explanation of each of the purchase criteria mentioned. This should help you to make a well-informed purchase decision.

Format

An important criterion is the size of the storage compartments. Most boxes or drawer systems are suitable for A4 and C4 formats. If you need the letter tray for larger formats, a stand for vertical filing of papers can be a good alternative for you. If it is open at the sides, you can also place larger documents in it.

Number of compartments

With classic filing boxes, you can stack the desired number of boxes on top of each other. With permanently installed systems, the number of compartments is usually three or five.

Some models also have an even number of compartments or drawers. Here, too, you should think carefully before buying about the purpose for which you will use the storage unit and how much material you will use it for.

Storage type

There are the classic boxes that can be stacked in any order and in which you can file papers in portrait format. Systems in which documents are stored in landscape format have the advantage that the letter tray does not protrude so deeply into the work surface of the office desk.

In addition to stackable boxes, there are boxes with fixed compartments or with drawers. The advantage of drawers is that they are closed and therefore do not get dusty. With other models, you put the documents in vertically instead of laying them down. Here it depends mainly on your personal preferences.

Hanging device

Classic letter trays are placed on the desk. However, there are also some models that can be hung on the wall. A hanging letter tray makes sense, for example, if you have a small desk and prefer to organise your documents on a wall, which is much more space-saving.

Material

Letter trays are available in many different materials. Whether plastic, wood, steel grid or metal: the material always has an impact on the look and is primarily a matter of taste. In any case, always pay attention to the quality of the material and good workmanship.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about letter trays answered in detail

In this section you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about letter trays. This information should help you to make the right purchase decision.

Who is a letter tray suitable for?

If you still often have papers and letters on your desk at home or in the office despite the progress of digitalisation, you may find a letter tray very helpful. It not only helps to sort the papers and find them more quickly, but also eliminates the visual chaos from the office desk.

Schubladenboxen mit beschrifteten Etiketten

Depending on the material, it can be difficult to label letter trays with normal labels. Labels from a label printer often stick better. (Image source: stux / pixabay)

A letter tray can also be very practical in the entrance area of the home, for example next to the coat rack. This way, incoming mail from the letterbox can be deposited in the entrance, sorted according to the people in the household.

What types of letter trays are there?

The classic, which most people probably know, are the stackable boxes in DIN A4 format. In the meantime, however, there are many other types of letter trays. There is small furniture with fixed compartments or boxes with drawers. There are also stands for vertical storage of magazines and documents.

Some of these systems can also be placed on the table or otherwise hung on the wall. All types of letter trays can be used as an alternative or supplement to classic standing files.

What does a letter tray cost?

Letter trays are not only available in a wide variety of shapes and materials, but also in a wide range of prices. There are functional products in every price segment. The choice of designs increases as the price rises.

Price range Available products
Low-priced 2 - 10 €) Mainly stackable bins made of plastic, individually or in small series
Medium-priced 10 - 20 €) Stackable bins in series and individual other filing systems in various materials
High-priced from 20 €) High-quality boxes with compartments or drawers made of various materials

Can different letter trays be stacked on top of each other?

The classic letter tray model consists of boxes that are open at the top and can be stacked on top of each other. Despite the same principle, boxes of different models cannot usually be stacked on top of each other. The reason for this is that there is no uniform fit that would make all models compatible with each other.

How can letter trays be labelled?

Labels do not stick well, especially on smooth plastic. If you still want to label your letter tray, you can try using labels from a label printer, which often stick better. Otherwise, you can use a waterproof felt-tip pen or apply labels with double-sided tape.

Conclusion

Letter trays are practical filing systems that serve to sort and store paperwork on the desk. On the one hand, this helps to avoid chaos on the work surface and, on the other hand, to find the documents you are looking for more quickly. A letter tray at the entrance to the flat can also be practical for the post.

There are many different letter trays in different sizes, designs and materials. You can also distinguish between letter trays for placing on the desk and stands for hanging on the wall. The most important purchase criteria are the size and the number of compartments.

(Cover picture: 123rf / Olga Yastremska)

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