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Erin Condren LifePlanner vs. PurpleTrail Planners

Erin Condren LifePlanner vs. PurpleTrail Planners
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Disclosure: The following product(s) may have been sent to Earn Spend Live in exchange for a review. All opinions are the author’s own.

Having trouble choosing between an Erin Condren LifePlanner and a PurpleTrail planner? Debating between the two is hard. Here’s a breakdown of how the two measure up in the important planner categories: quality, layout organization, and customization.

The LifePlanner is a veteran in the planner world. It’s been around for years and undergone several revisions. For some, it’s a way of life. PurpleTrail, on the other hand, is new and still figuring things out. Even though they’re new, they offer a lot of really impressive features and a large shop for you to peruse. Without further ado, let’s begin.

Round 1: Quality

The quality of a planner boils down to a few things. First of all, the sturdiness of the cover, paper weight, and overall construction. Both companies offer options for the cover of the planner, so this depends on what you choose. The LifePlanner has always been offered in a laminated cover, but now is also available in a thick faux leather. The laminated, interchangeable covers can withstand bouncing around inside your backpack or bag for an entire year, but they have been known to start splitting at the corners. The covers don’t split all the way, but if you’re going to be really rough on your planner the corners will likely split.

Erin Condren LifePlanner

Erin Condren LifePlanner

Erin Condren now offers a permanent Luxe cover that’s faux leather, and this one won’t split at the corners the way the laminated interchangeable covers do. However, since it’s leather-esque, there’s always the risk of it being scratched by the other items in your bag, and the higher chance of it being damaged if it gets wet.

PurpleTrail planners come in several cover designs, several of which are offered in both soft and hard covers. The soft covers are laminated like the Erin Condren covers, and the hard covers are a sturdy cardboard with a matte finish. The quality of both is reliable, but the hard cover can withstand more abuse than the soft. There’s the same risk of scratching the hard cover as with the Luxe cover from Erin Condren.


That being said, if you’re set on a hard cover you have more options from Erin Condren’s LifePlanner. Most of their covers are offered in two sizes. If you want a soft cover, both offer great choices, but Erin Condren’s laminated covers are thicker.

Erin Condren Hard Covers

Erin Condren Hard Covers — Image via erincondrendesign

There’s a big difference in the paper these two offer inside their planners. The paper inside all of the LifePlanners is very thick and doesn’t let ink bleed through, which is a big plus for color coding. PurpleTrail’s paper on the other hand is thinner, and can be seen through if you write with a very heavy ink. Most would prefer the Erin Condren paper.

Winner: This round is a very close call, but the paper weight tips the scales in favor of Erin Condren’s LifePlanner.

Round 2: Layout Organization

These companies are also incredibly similar with their weekly layout options. Both offer horizontal weekly, vertical weekly, and vertical hourly layouts. This makes the choice a little bit harder. However, there are some key differences. First of all, there’s the fact you have size choices with PurpleTrail. This changes the size of each weekly layout if you go with the smaller option. If you want a smaller planner because you don’t write a ton and need it to be lighter, then you’ll want to go with PurpleTrail no matter which layout you choose.

PurpleTrail Planners

PurpleTrail Planner

The really big difference between these two brands is that Erin Condren’s LifePlanner has a column for notes in both of its vertical layouts and PurpleTrail doesn’t. Anyone in need of a formal, weekly to-do list needs to choose the LifePlanner. The horizontal layout also has two designated spots (one lined and one blank) for whatever you choose, while the horizontal layout from PurpleTrail is the standard lined box. For those looking for some actual organization in a horizontal layout, the LifePlanner is a better choice.

The two vertical weekly layouts are also quite different. Erin Condren’s vertical weekly is divided into three sections per column with a small lined space below each day for notes or tasks. This was their original layout and it’s typically used to separate morning, afternoon, and evening. The vertical weekly from PurpleTrail has fully lined columns for each day of the week, with the exception of Saturday and Sunday, which are half columns. Both of these are highly efficient; It just depends on what you really need. If you like lines, then PurpleTrail is for you. If you like free space that can be drawn on and filled with some stickers, and has your days chunked, then Erin Condren is your girl.

Erin Condren LifePlanner vs PurpleTrail Planner

Erin Condren Weekly Vertical Layout vs. PurpleTrail Weekly Vertical Layout

Winner: This round goes to Erin Condren.

Round 3: Customization

Both Erin Condren and PurpleTrail are focused on providing a high level of customization and control to customers. However, they do this in slightly different ways. Both allow you to choose the layout you want, customize and personalize your covers, and even decide the duration of the planner. From there, they’ve each chosen to focus on different levels of customization.

Erin Condren allows you to customize your covers, but the way and extent to which you can depends on the cover you choose. Each one can have your name or initials added. You can change the colors on some of them and even add your own photo if you want. The inside pages also come in two color schemes: Colorful, which is the classic Erin Condren design, and Neutral, which is black and white with touches of blue and purple.

Erin Condren LifePlanner Covers

Erin Condren LifePlanner Cover Customization

PurpleTrail covers are almost completely customizable in comparison. You’re able to choose whatever design you want and adjust the colors and placement of any personalization you add. This is a level of freedom that no other planner company offers. Aside from that, you don’t have control over the color scheme of the inside pages. The inside is a rainbow of colors and a wide range of fun graphics. You do have the power to add up to four add-ons from their list of 17, stickers and a folder, and choose the month you want the planner to start and the duration of the planner. Plus, you choose the size of the planner and a hard or soft cover.

PurpleTrail Planner cover

PurpleTrail Planner Cover Customization — Image via purpletrail

Winner: In this round, it’s really hard to choose a winner because they each offer customization in a different way. For me, I prefer Erin Condren’s options because I like the neutral layout and I don’t mind trusting the company’s choice in cover design. But at the same time, PurpleTrail offers very useful add-ons you can’t get from Erin Condren. I’m calling this round a tie.

Round 4: Price Points

Cost is important when you’re choosing a planner. You want to make sure that the planner you buy is affordable, but also that the quality matches the price you pay. Erin Condren’s LifePlanners start at $55, which includes some customization but not accessories, and some add-on personalization. For the price though, the LifePlanner is what you would expect. It’s high quality and durable.

PurpleTrail’s planners vary in price. The lowest is around $30 for the 6×8 size, and price goes up according to size, cover type, and if you want add-ons, like stickers and tracking sheets. These planners are very well-made and the price is fair for what you get. However, if you want a lot of the add-ons, then your price is going to be much higher than $30.

Winner: Since there’s so much to consider in the price, and both do allow customization even for the lowest price point, this round is a tie.

The Verdict

Erin Condren’s LifePlanner scored higher than the PurpleTrail planners. This doesn’t mean the PurpleTrail planners aren’t good, it just means that some of the features from Erin Condren, like the paper and highly organized layouts, are better because Erin Condren has been around longer. Erin Condren’s LifePlanner has some of the best add-on options, so if you really need something like a bill tracker or fitness tracker, PurpleTrail is the planner you need.

For 15% off your own PurpleTrail planner, enter the discount code EVE2017 at checkout!

Decide if you need more of the extras, or more of the daily organization to choose the right one for you.

Follow Terra on Instagram: @terrabrown3

Last modified on January 3rd, 2024

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