I had placed my completed pages temporarily in a Pioneer album, and had been disappointed at how rickety the album was. I also had trouble finding extender posts (you can order them online but they seemed a little pricey to me), so I bought some from Recollections that Michaels carried, and they worked okay except I had to replace the whole post since the Pioneer ones won't thread with the Recollections ones. With the extender posts, I was able to jam 31 standard Memory Protectors sleeves plus 13 photo storage pages (similar to Project Life style sleeves) in the Pioneer album, but as I previously mentioned, the album seemed a little rickety. I also hated that you really couldn't use the bonus expansion back (it covers the album's spine) until you had fully completed your album and were positive you wouldn't be adding more pages, since once you hole punched it for a certain size, you couldn't really change it without the first punched holes being visible. Overall, not really happy with the Pioneer album.
I just took out my CTMH album, and the first thing I noticed was how sturdy the cover is. It's probably twice as thick as the Pioneer one. The album wasn't assembled and there were no directions, but it seemed pretty self-explanatory, so I got to work. The album comes with three album posts (Pioneer only has two, another drawback in my opinion), and each one ends with a screw that has a flip out handle to make it easier to screw it back into the post once your album is assembled. After struggling with the screws on the Pioneer and Recollections posts, this was a huge plus in my book!
I noticed the posts were a little tough to push through the holes in the album cover and was prepared to be bugged by that, but then I thought it might actually add to the overall sturdiness of the album if the posts didn't have lots of wiggle room. I started adding pages, and managed to transfer all the Memory Protectors and photo storage pages I had had in the Pioneer album into this album. It's a little thick, but even with three spine expanders (the little plastic insert to properly space your pages and make sure your album lies flat), I still had no trouble slipping the back cover onto the posts and fastening the screws, which went on like a dream. For those familiar with my scrapping style, I usually have a little dimension on every page, so that gives you an idea of what can fit in these albums. CTMH doesn't offer extender posts, and the Recollections ones don't fit on the CTMH posts, so you are stuck with the size as is, but I honestly think any thicker and you wouldn't be able to lift the dang thing! The hardest part of the assembly was sliding the spine cover into the openings on the ends of each cover (the fit is pretty tight), but at least I'm assured the spine cover won't slip off, right? One last observation: the covers of the CTMH album are about an inch wider than the Pioneer one, so my page are completely covered, verses the Pioneer one where they were right up to the edge and, due to the rickety nature of the album, even tended to hang out a little as the album shifted around.
So there you have it, fellow scrappers, a comparison of Pioneer and CTMH albums. I have to say, very pleased CTMH brought back the colored albums, since they win hands down for quality and ease of use in my book!