Hobby vs. Retail. Which Should You Buy?

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One of the most debated topics in the sports card world is whether one should buy retail boxes or hobby boxes when buying cards. The answer is…

It depends on you. There are a lot of factors to take into account when considering what sports card box or pack configuration that you should buy. But first, let’s cover the basics.

What is a Hobby Box?

Hobby boxes are a type of configuration that typically contains more cards, better odds, and can’t be bought at big box retail stores like Target or Wal-mart. Hobby boxes are geared more towards serious collectors. You’ll find that hits (autographs, memorabilia cards, etc) are much more common in hobby boxes. However, the luxury comes at a high cost. Most Hobby Boxes are $100+. Even the lower-end hobby boxes start at $50+.

2019 Legacy Football Cards Hobby Box (Cost ~$80)

Why Buy Hobby Boxes?

  • Guaranteed autographs/relics in boxes
  • Better odds for hits
  • Support your LCS

There are many good reasons to buy hobby boxes. Almost all of the hobby products out there today typically guarantee at least one autograph or relic in a box. There’s also way more inserts, parallels, and numbered cards in hobby box configurations vs retail.

Hobby boxes are only sold through hobby shops (aka your local card shops). Buying boxes from your LCS supports small local businesses. You’re helping to keep them open, provide food for their family, and jobs for the employees. For some reason buying a blaster from Target doesn’t give me a warm and fuzzy like supporting my LCS does.

What Are Retail Boxes?

Retail boxes or retail products are anything that you would find at your local Wal-mart, Target, etc. Blaster boxes, Hanger boxes, loose packs, you name it.

2019 Score Hanger Box (~$10 cost)

Why Buy Retail?

  • Cheaper Prices
  • Wider Availability

The main draw for retail product is that it can be bought for much cheaper prices than hobby boxes. Hobby products typically start around $100 where the average price of retail is only about $20 for a blaster box. There’s also the option to buy $1-2 loose packs of retail product and ~$10 hanger boxes. You can still pull amazing cards from retail product too. The chances are just significantly lower. Most of the time with

The other main perk to retail is that you can get it easier. Target, Walmart, etc all carry retail product. As for hobby products, what if you don’t have an LCS in your town? Then you’re stuck ordering hobby products online and waiting. You can’t beat the availability of retail product.

In Conclusion…

Hobby boxes are great for those who have the cash and are serious about finding and collecting premium cards. Retail product is great for low budget collectors or those new to the hobby who just want to rip packs and maybe get something awesome. Both have pros and cons and both provide the opportunity to collect some awesome cards.

What do you typically buy? Have you had any amazing hits from retail product? Brag in the comments below!

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