• 10 Best Notebooks in 2022 (Stationery Blogger-Reviewed) 1
  • 10 Best Notebooks in 2022 (Stationery Blogger-Reviewed) 2
  • 10 Best Notebooks in 2022 (Stationery Blogger-Reviewed) 3
  • 10 Best Notebooks in 2022 (Stationery Blogger-Reviewed) 4
  • 10 Best Notebooks in 2022 (Stationery Blogger-Reviewed) 5

10 Best Notebooks in 2022 (Stationery Blogger-Reviewed)

Everyone needs a good notebook, whether it's for your to-do lists, college classes, or taking notes during meetings. Some people want a notebook for bullet journaling, or practicing calligraphy with a fountain pen. And others have a specialized need, like taking field notes or recording their travel adventures.


Whatever your need, you'll find a lot of notebooks to choose from. We consulted Pam Tremble, the Stationery Nerd, for her top pick, and she helped us choose Dingbats' Wildlife Hardcover Notebook. It's our favorite because it has thick paper, a strong binding, and offers a choice of paper patterns. Check out the other great products on our list, and don't skip the buying guide, so you have the information you need to choose the right one for you.

Featured in this article

The Stationery Nerd
mybest US Editors
  • Last updated: 08-16-2022
Table of Contents

How to Choose a Notebook – Buying Guide

There are many, many ways to stick together a few leaves of paper. We could barely keep track of them all ourselves, so we invited the Stationery Nerd to walk us through everything with her insight.

Pick Between Page Designs Depending on Use

Pick Between Page Designs Depending on Use

Notebook paper can be lined, dot grid, graph, or blank. Notebooks with no lines at all are great for doodlers and artists.


In America, the most common forms of line-spaced notebooks are narrow- or college-ruled. Narrow-ruled, with lines spaced at 6.4 millimeters, is for people with tiny handwriting, or who need to fit a lot on a page.


Medium, or college-ruled (7.1 millimeters), is your run-of-the-mill, all-purpose paper. For kids, there’s wide, or legal, ruled (8.7 millimeters).

Then, there are books with dotted grids. Recently, bullet journaling, where you write in short, quick notes and symbols, has become popular. Dotted grid notebooks, because you can connect the dots and use the page however you want, lend themselves beautifully to these. You can also draw pictures, diagrams, and graphs.

The Stationery Nerd
Stationery Blogger
The Stationery Nerd

Bullet journaling is a huge trend right now, and I see most people wanting to use dot grid. However, I’m also seeing a trend toward the square grids; it’s more closed in and easier to draw straight lines that way. 

Select a Binding for Your Notebook

There are two main ways notebook paper is bound: on spiral rings or sewn and glued together. Each comes with advantages and disadvantages that may seem small at first, but magnify over time.

Spiral-Bound Notebooks Are Great for Jotting Down Notes Outside the Home

Spiral-Bound Notebooks Are Great for Jotting Down Notes Outside the Home

Ring- or spiral-bound notebooks work well in small spaces. If you’re using a small desk, sitting on the bus, or standing by the curb, just fold over the page and flip the book over to write more. But if you stack enough spiral-bound notebooks together, the rings get caught on one another.

There are also steno, or stenography, pads, which are small notebooks with spiral binding along the top. Secretaries and journalists used to dictate in them using shorthand. They were built for speed.

There’s a line running down the center of most steno pads because it takes time to move your hand from the left-hand side of the page all the way to the right and back again. If you stop at the center line, you halve the distance your hand has to travel. These could be a good choice if you need to quickly take notes for work.

The Stationery Nerd
Stationery Blogger
The Stationery Nerd

I think that there’s a pretty big market for spiral-bound, especially because a lot of day planners and calendars are in this format. Most often, you find spiral-bound notebooks with lines, so they’re really good for journaling or taking notes during class


As for steno pads, I don’t see them very often in school settings; I almost always see them in association with a corporate setting or office setting.

Sewn Notebooks Are Sleek, Ideal for Lining Up Along a Shelf, and Durable

Sewn Notebooks Are Sleek, Ideal for Lining Up Along a Shelf, and Durable

Pages can also be stapled, glued, or sewn and then glued. Staple-bound notebooks are thin, light, and cheap. However, sewn notebooks are the most durable.


Spiral-bound notebooks have perforations for the wire to loop through, and the little strips of paper around the ring wear out over time. You don’t have that problem with threads running down the spine.

Also, staple-bound and sewn notebooks have sleek spines. If you need to carry multiple notebooks around, or you want to line your notebooks along a shelf, you’ll find that these can rub shoulders and they won't tangle the way spiral-bound books do.

The Stationery Nerd
Stationery Blogger
The Stationery Nerd

Most journals are actually sewn and then glued together. It helps with making sure that they lie flat on your desk when you have them open—and they'll actually last longer


If you have just a glue binding, it’s easier for the pages to fall out as you open and close the notebook more often. And the notebooks don’t lie flat when you open them on the desk—and you don’t expect them to last long. 

Find a Cover Color and Material That Suits Your Situation

Find a Cover Color and Material That Suits Your Situation
You may want to choose a cover simply by how it looks. For example, if your notebook is for journaling, you could get something with a fun design or an inspirational quote. For business use, most people prefer a neutral and plain cover. For school, notebooks in different colors can make finding the right one faster on your way out the door to class.

The materials the cover is made of are important, too. A hardcover will allow you to take notes while standing or not at a desk. Soft covers can get more beat up if you throw your notebook in a backpack a lot, but they weigh less. Some soft covers are plastic, which is waterproof and more durable than the common cardstock.


Fabric covers are tactile and look nice when new, but are more susceptible to picking up smudges and dirt over time. If you like fabric, a dark color would be better if your notebook will be exposed to rough treatment. Leather looks beautiful, feels nice, and any scuffs and scratches simply make it look well-loved!

Check the Paper for Weight and Quality

Unfortunately, when you shop online, you can’t feel the paper or rub it between your fingers even though that’s the best way to check for quality. So, the next best way is to learn some paper terminology.

Get Thick Paper With High GSM So It's Not See-Through

Get Thick Paper With High GSM So It's Not See-Through

Paper density is measured in pounds or GSM, which stands for grams per square meter. The higher the number, the denser the paper is. The pound scale is based on 500 sheets of said type of paper in its uncut size, which makes it difficult to convert to GSM directly. GSM is more standardized; it measures one sheet that's one meter square.


We’d say 100 GSM is the threshold for good notebook paper. You get less ghosting, which is when you can see through the paper. 70 GSM works fine for less inky pens like ballpoints. In the U.S. Basis Weight scale, 20 pounds is standard for notebook paper.

The Stationery Nerd
Stationery Blogger
The Stationery Nerd

GSM is a pretty good indicator of the thickness of paper but is not the actual weight of it. Notebooks that contain high GSM paper are not heavy because you're sacrificing pages. You give up pages to get the same size notebook that weighs about the same. To me, it’s worth the sacrifice to get better paper.

Buy Coated Paper So That Inky Pens Don’t Bleed or Feather

Buy Coated Paper So That Inky Pens Don’t Bleed or Feather

What is coating? It’s a kind of material, often clay, that’s put on the paper to add shine, smooth over a fibrous surface, or keep ink from soaking through paper. The more heavily coated a paper is, the less ink it will absorb.

Your writing will also take longer to dry. That’s why you want heavily coated paper only if you use fountain pens; if you have a regular ink pen, get lightly coated or half-coated paper, as it’s a lot easier to work with. Graphite doesn’t take well to coating, so you don’t want coated paper if you use pencil.


Coated paper may be best for journaling, where you can spend time on your writing and you care about how it looks. It's probably not necessary for simple note-taking during college classes or meetings.

The Stationery Nerd
Stationery Blogger
The Stationery Nerd

Feathering is when the ink absorbs into the paper, and the fibers grab the ink and spread it out into a spiderweb-type thing. So you’re not going to have feathering on something that’s coated. Paper can be like 52 GSM, but it’s got a coating—so nothing bleeds through, and nothing will feather on that paper.


But 52 GSM is very thin, so you basically only get to use one side of the paper. You can’t really write on the back side because you can see everything through it.

Choose a Paper Size Based on Portability

Choose a Paper Size Based on Portability

Think about how and where you’ll be using your notebook. Do you want a huge one to sketch on at home, or a small one to fit in your purse? Most writing won’t need anything bigger than letter-sized paper (8.5 by 11 inches) or its ISO (International Organization for Standardization) equivalent, A4 (8.3 by 11.7 inches).

But those notebooks aren’t super portable. The next size down, A5 (5.8 by 8.3 inches), can just fit into a tote bag or a purse. Go for A6 if you want the notebook to be easily carried. 

If you need to carry your notes around, you can get pocket notebooks. “Pocket” is not a standardized size, but most notebooks have the dimensions of a large wallet. B-sizes, which fit in between the A-sizes, are also an option. They’re just a bit bigger; B4 is 9.8 by 13.9 inches.

The Stationery Nerd
Stationery Blogger
The Stationery Nerd

In the journaling community, people have adapted to international sizing. So A4, A5, A6 are among the most common. And the B sizes are also gaining popularity—namely, B5 and B6. The most common size is A5. 


However, I have seen a trend in the last six months or so going to A6. I think that going a little bit smaller is the trend, but I’m not sure how long that is going to last.

Consider Perforated Pages for Easy Sharing

Consider Perforated Pages for Easy Sharing

If you plan to tear out pages a lot, then micro-perforations are something to look for. Most often, these are found in spiral-bound notebooks.


They make it easier to remove shopping lists, share your notes with a classmate, or get rid of pages you've made mistakes on. Unlike tearing pages directly from the metal spiral, which leaves you with a ton of tiny paper scraps, perforated pages come out cleanly.


You should be extra careful if removing pages from sewn or glued notebooks without perforations. You can do it using an X-acto knife or tear them, but depending on how the pages are bound, you might end up causing the whole thing to fall apart!

10 Best Notebooks

Here’s where we and the Stationery Nerd weigh in with some of our favorite notebooks. Make sure to keep in mind the size, paper pattern, and types of uses when choosing one.


*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Pam Tremble unless explicitly stated so.

Image
Dingbats* Wildlife Dotted A5+ Hardcover Notebook 1

Dingbats*

TOPS Oxford FocusNotes 8.5 x 11 Writing Tablet 1

TOPS

Mead Five Star College Ruled 1 Subject Spiral Notebook 1

Mead

Moleskine Classic Collection Notebook Large Size 1

Moleskine

Portage 4 x 8 Reporter's Notebook 1

Portage

Leuchtturm1917 Medium Hardcover A5 Notebook 1

Leuchtturm1917

Traveler's Company (formerly Midori) Passport Size Traveler’s Notebook 1

Traveler's Company (formerly Midori)

Rhodia Wirebound A4+ Notebook Black Grid 1

Rhodia

Rocketbook Fusion Executive Size Smart Reusable Notebook 1

Rocketbook

Barbakam Lab Notebook 1

Barbakam

Name

Wildlife Dotted A5+ Hardcover Notebook

Oxford FocusNotes 8.5 x 11 Writing Tablet

Five Star College Ruled 1 Subject Spiral Notebook

Classic Collection Notebook Large Size

4 x 8 Reporter's Notebook

Medium Hardcover A5 Notebook

Passport Size Traveler’s Notebook

Wirebound A4+ Notebook Black Grid

Fusion Executive Size Smart Reusable Notebook

Lab Notebook

Features

Best Sewn Notebook With Pages You Can Tear Out

Best for Taking Notes in Meetings and Lectures

Best Set of Notebooks for Students

Best for Travel or Bullet Journaling

Best for Speedy Note-Taking Anywhere, Anytime

Best Notebook That's Well-Organized

Best Fully Customizable Notebook

Best Spiral Notebook if You Tear Out Pages a Lot

Best High-Tech Notebook With Reusable Smart Pages

Best for Science Classes or Those Who Need 2 Copies of Each Page

Price$21.95$15.35$34.46$21.76$11.99$21.95$34.20$12.03$26.24$16.80
BindingSewn and gluedTop spiralSpiralSewnTop spiralSewnStapledSpiralSpiralSpiral
Cover materialPU faux leatherCardboardPlastic front, cardboard backFaux leatherCardboardFaux leather hardcoverLeatherCardboardPlasticCardboard
Available page stylesLined, plain, dot grid, graphCornell note-taking system, college-ruledCollege ruledLined, plain, dot grid, lined/plainNarrow ruled (Pitman or Gregg)Dot grid, plain, lined, graphBlank, lined, graph, dot grid, weekly or monthly plannerGraph, lined, dot gridComes with 7 different stylesGraph
Number of sheets9670100, 6 pack12070, 3 pack125 plus 8 perforated328021100
Paper weight100 GSM20 lbs.15 lbs.70 GSMNot provided80 GSMNot provided80 GSM-Not provided
Coated sheetsYesNot providedNot provided, resists ink bleedingNot providedNot providedYesNot providedNot provided-Not provided
Available sizesA5+, A4+, A6, B58.5 x 11 in.8.5 x 11 in.Pocket, M-XL3.75 x 6 in., 4 x 8 in.A5Regular, passportA4+Executive, letterNot provided
Link

Dingbats*Wildlife Dotted A5+ Hardcover Notebook

$21.95

BindingSewn and glued
Cover materialPU faux leather
Available page stylesLined, plain, dot grid, graph
Number of sheets96
Paper weight100 GSM
Coated sheetsYes
Available sizesA5+, A4+, A6, B5

TOPSOxford FocusNotes 8.5 x 11 Writing Tablet

$15.35

BindingTop spiral
Cover materialCardboard
Available page stylesCornell note-taking system, college-ruled
Number of sheets70
Paper weight20 lbs.
Coated sheetsNot provided
Available sizes8.5 x 11 in.

MeadFive Star College Ruled 1 Subject Spiral Notebook

$34.46

BindingSpiral
Cover materialPlastic front, cardboard back
Available page stylesCollege ruled
Number of sheets100, 6 pack
Paper weight15 lbs.
Coated sheetsNot provided, resists ink bleeding
Available sizes8.5 x 11 in.

MoleskineClassic Collection Notebook Large Size

$21.76

BindingSewn
Cover materialFaux leather
Available page stylesLined, plain, dot grid, lined/plain
Number of sheets120
Paper weight70 GSM
Coated sheetsNot provided
Available sizesPocket, M-XL

Portage4 x 8 Reporter's Notebook

$11.99

BindingTop spiral
Cover materialCardboard
Available page stylesNarrow ruled (Pitman or Gregg)
Number of sheets70, 3 pack
Paper weightNot provided
Coated sheetsNot provided
Available sizes3.75 x 6 in., 4 x 8 in.

Leuchtturm1917Medium Hardcover A5 Notebook

$21.95

BindingSewn
Cover materialFaux leather hardcover
Available page stylesDot grid, plain, lined, graph
Number of sheets125 plus 8 perforated
Paper weight80 GSM
Coated sheetsYes
Available sizesA5

Traveler's Company (formerly Midori)Passport Size Traveler’s Notebook

$34.20

BindingStapled
Cover materialLeather
Available page stylesBlank, lined, graph, dot grid, weekly or monthly planner
Number of sheets32
Paper weightNot provided
Coated sheetsNot provided
Available sizesRegular, passport

RhodiaWirebound A4+ Notebook Black Grid

$12.03

BindingSpiral
Cover materialCardboard
Available page stylesGraph, lined, dot grid
Number of sheets80
Paper weight80 GSM
Coated sheetsNot provided
Available sizesA4+

RocketbookFusion Executive Size Smart Reusable Notebook

$26.24

BindingSpiral
Cover materialPlastic
Available page stylesComes with 7 different styles
Number of sheets21
Paper weight-
Coated sheets-
Available sizesExecutive, letter
BindingSpiral
Cover materialCardboard
Available page stylesGraph
Number of sheets100
Paper weightNot provided
Coated sheetsNot provided
Available sizesNot provided

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have some burning questions about notebooks? We've tried to help you out with some of the most commonly asked questions about notebooks.

Are there notebooks that you can add paper to?

Sure! The main thing you need to think about, in addition to what we've covered in our guide, is what kind of binding you prefer. A traveler's notebook is basically a cover with an elastic band that you can slide booklets in and out of.


Ring binders, like the common three-ring, can be filled with any paper that has the same number of holes punched in it as rings in your binder. Disc binding systems are somewhere between a three-ring binder and a spiral notebook; you can add and remove pages cleanly without opening any rings.

How many notebooks do I need for college?

It's tough to generalize. Think about your major and how many notes you expect to take. Will you mostly be using it during lectures, labs, or in the library? A good rule of thumb is one per course, but you can also consider a big notebook with a divider.


If you know your class schedule, you might want to organize your notes by day. Say you have the same two classes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; you could get a notebook with one divider to bring on those days, and a different one for Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Need More Stationery?

Besides notebooks, there are other tools that can help you keep organized or take notes. Check out these useful stationery items!

Amazon's Best Selling Notebooks

Still not sure which notebook is right for you? See what Amazon buyers like to use for their writing needs.

In Collaboration With Stationery Blogger Pam Tremble

The Stationery Nerd
Stationery Blogger
The Stationery Nerd

This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.

Updated by: Susan Lucier-Ogawa, 11/25/2021


  • Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more mybest recommendations! For questions or comments, leave us feedback via a Google Form on our Contact Us page.

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    Have you ever been frustrated when writing with a pen running out of ink, bleeding all over your paper, or felt like it wasn't smooth enough? Japanese gel pens glide over paper, produce beautiful, vibrant colors, and are incredibly reliable. These are just some examples of what makes Japanese gel pens attractive! And nowadays, there are plenty of them on the market today. Even the smallest improvement in design and the faintest sparkling of genius can make a difference between them. However, with so many manufacturers like Pentel, Zebra, and Pilot, as well as brands like EnerGel, Sarasa, and Uni-Ball, it can be hard to know which pen is best for you.In order to figure this out, we ordered the 21 most popular gel pens from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and kakaku.com) and tested them all.We tested each pen for the following:GripFeelSmoothnessDrying speedVisibilityWe then ranked the 10 best Japanese gel pens based on the results of our tests. Keep reading to find out more about the best Japanese gel pens, as well as be sure to check out our buying guide at the end!
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  • 10 Best Reusable Air Pollution Masks in 2022 (Base Camp, Coxeer, and More)
    10 Best Reusable Air Pollution Masks in 2022 (Base Camp, Coxeer, and More)
    Maybe you’re planning a trip to somewhere with poor air quality like China or India, or maybe you’re just gearing up for the next wildfire season. You may even be trying to filter out viruses! In any case, you’re on the hunt for a reusable face mask that will last you a while and protect you from dangerous air pollution, smoke particles, and other contaminants.There are a number of different options available, which can make it hard to choose, but finding the right mask for you can be pretty important. In this guide, we’ll go over the different factors you should look for when deciding on a reusable pollution mask. At the end of the article, we've also included a tip on how to make your own mask! But first, we'll start off with our top 10 favorites, split into Adult and Kid sizes.
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  • 10 Best Mounting Putties in 2022 (Faber-Castell, Gorilla, and More)
    10 Best Mounting Putties in 2022 (Faber-Castell, Gorilla, and More)
    Whether you’re a parent proudly showing off your child’s art or a college student decorating a dorm room, there’s always something new to be displayed. Unfortunately, a lot of times putting things up on the wall also means ruining walls. While heavier items may require some nail pounding, lighter objects like posters and pictures can easily be put up with some mounting putty.However, there are seemingly endless amounts of mounting putty out there, and almost all of it looks the same. So naturally, it can be a pretty tough decision. Luckily, we’ve put together this quick guide to help you find one that works for your needs. We also have a list of our ten favorite mounting putties for you to consider, including our number one choice, Faber-Castell.
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  • 19 Best Tried and True Japanese Paper Towels in 2022 (Lion, Daio Paper, and More)
    19 Best Tried and True Japanese Paper Towels in 2022 (Lion, Daio Paper, and More)
    Paper towels are very useful for anything from cleaning, to drying your hands, and even for unconventional uses like coffee filters - but are you using a brand that's both absorbent and strong?Our editors searched Japanese e-commerce sites such as Amazon and Rakuten for the best paper towels available online. We then picked out the most popular products and tested them.Our tests focused on 2 things:Power of absorptionStrength when wetWe then ranked the products and put what we learned into a buying guide to help you choose the best Japanese paper towels available online.
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