cool school stuff

The Best Notebooks on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

Photo: Courtesy of the Retailers

Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy (like pillows), but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ‘em) products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve written about some of our favorite notebooks before (here and here), we wanted to see what the very opinionated Amazon reviewers had to say. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)

The best leather notebook

Moonster Leather Journal Writing Notebook

“This is seriously THE most beautiful notebook I have ever seen in my life. The leather is undoubtedly real and is so soft to the touch. It has a subtle earthy, leather scent that sets the mood for your journaling or writing time! The wraparound-closure string on this notebook gives off really retro vibes. Just looking at the notebook makes me want to write! The pictures don’t do it enough justice. The paper on this journal is of unbelievable quality. The pages are thick and borderline clothlike, and writing in them makes me feel so inspired. They are a more cream color than straight-up white like the pictures show, which I personally prefer because it looks so much more vintage and romantic.”

The best vegan leather notebook

SohoSpark Sunrise Faux Leather Journal

“This. This is the most perfect, most beautiful notebook EVER. I absolutely love this journal! The fact that it comes with an extra journal (two journals, one [faux] leather cover) was more than I was expecting and quite the pleasant surprise. I use this journal at work, and it brings me so much joy. If you love leather, get this. If you love classy things, get this. If you love a notebook, journal, or diary that opens easily and lies flat, BUY THIS!!! You need this journal in your life. Seriously, I could hug this thing. The details on the cover are well-done, and the entire journal is a pleasure to have and write in … I love it! I am so glad that I bought this. You will not regret this purchase!”

The best bullet-journal notebooks

Scribbles That Matter Dotted Journal Notebook

“I’ve used Moleskine, Leuchtturm, and Scribbles for bullet-journaling, and this is hands down my favorite. It has all the essentials: dotted; A5; pen loop; elastic band; two ribbon bookmarks; soft-to-the-touch hardcover; preprinted index, key, and pen test pages; and numbered pages. The paper: smooth, a joy to write on; thicker than both the Moleskine and LTs I’ve used at 100 gsm; very little ghosting; absolutely no bleeding (pens tested: Sharpie pen, Staedtler Fineliners, Faber Castell PITT artist pens in brush, medium, superfine, and extra superfine; and Paper Mate Flair felt tips). At this point, this is my choice for the standard in bullet journals.”

BooQool Bullet Journal 2-Pack

“I LOVE THESE! I cannot say it enough! I highly RECOMMEND these to any and EVERYONE all the time. The thick paper is incredible and withstands profuse coloring and watercolor painting. The pocket in the back and page marker are convenient. The pages are a warm cream color and the book lies flat, which is a great plus when drawing. The dots are semi-dark, noticeable even after writing (see pictures). For the incredible quality, the price is unbeatable, especially compared to the Moleskin that I previously used.”

Leuchtturm1917 Medium-Size Hardcover A5 Notebook

“Awesome, awesome, awesome! I use this as my bullet journal and I love it! I love the dots and how it is so very easy to make little tables and charts without a ruler! This beats Moleskine in every way … I love that it is wider, that the pages are numbered, that an index is included at the front. Guess what??? Fountain pen friendly!! If you want this kind of notebook or journal, you won’t find one better … honestly!”

The best A5-size notebooks

Miliko Transparent Hardcover A5 Size Dot Grid Spiral Notebook 2-Pack

“Wow. I absolutely love this little notebook. It’s nice and slim, lightweight. I love that there is a spiral so that when I journal, I can open the notebook flat. The clear covers are also my favorite. The cover plastic is nice and durable-feeling, and when I draw on the first page, it makes an awesome cover. The paper quality is amazing. All in all, great price, great notebook, great quality; will definitely buy again.”

Minimalism Art Soft Cover A5 Notebook

“Beautiful! So soft! Love the dotted grid lines, great for drawing, bullet-journaling, anything really. So PERFECT!!!!! I kind of collect journals, just can’t get enough of them, and this one is AMAZING! Highly, highly recommend!!”

The best elementary-school notebook

Mead Primary Composition Notebook

“I am a teacher! I have used these books for several years now with my students. This year, I will be teaching third grade. Now, I know they are set for use by children in grades kindergarten through grade two, but children in third grade still need guidance in their writing. Therefore, I ordered one book for each child in my room. We will use them for journaling and for penmanship practice. The guidelines in these composition books are awesome for helping children to write. LOVE these composition books!”

The best college-ruled notebooks

Mead Spiral Notebook 1-Subject College Ruled, Pastel Color (Pack of 6)

“I am in love with the colors and the simplicity of these notebooks. They’re very cute, and can give school supplies a little jazz. They’re college-ruled paper, so if that is the line size you prefer, then I would totally recommend purchasing these. They are a decent price for six, all in different colors of pastel, which is helpful due to having five college courses, and then I have an extra for emergencies!”

Cambridge Stiff-Back Wirebound Writing Pad

“Greatest note pads around. I’m a lawyer and constantly order these. Although I get office supplies at work, I buy these and bring them to work because they are the best. The perforated sheets are so great — I write my notes about cases and then tear it out neatly and put it in each case file. The stiff back is also great because it allows you to write in a variety of locations without issue. Love these.”

The best pocket-friendly notebooks

Moleskine Cahier Journal (Set of 3)

“These have been my travel pocket notebooks for decades. Brown cover, stitching binding, and paper pages are the highest quality. I use them for all my foreign trips to prerecording references like exchange rates, climate date, metric and centigrade conversions, language tips, ‘identify the body’ tips, insurance info, and quick-glance itinerary. Then during the trip I record favorite places to sleep, dine, etc. Nice little pocket in the back of the journal for business cards. Quicker for on-the-run reference than my phone, and doesn’t have to be recharged every night!”

The best artist's sketchbook

Leda Art Supply Softbound Sketchbook

“After purchasing both the three-by-five-inch and five-by-eight-inch versions of this sketchbook, I am completely, utterly, and resolutely sold on this sketchbook. These are easily the finest sketchbooks I have ever had the good fortune to use — far beyond anything Moleskine, Leuchtturm, or Rhodia has to offer. The quality is impeccable, the price unbeatable, the craftsmanship superb. Once my next paycheck comes in, I’m ordering ten more of these. I absolutely cannot lavish Leda with enough praise. After spending almost a decade trying to find the perfect sketchbook, I have, at last, succeeded. Thank you, Leda.”

The most durable notebook

Rite in the Rain All-Weather Top-Spiral Notebook

“The first thing anyone does when receiving a Rite in the Rain piece of paper is, of course … stick it under the water! So, after that, usually a first-time user will crumble it to see if anything happens. This paper will still work after you’ve machine-washed it (tried). Amazing. Once, I took it down with me while scuba diving to see if it was working — it did (of course you don’t use paper while diving to take notes — you use a plastic slate — but then, I was curious). This is a true outdoor product — when you need to take notes while it’s raining, or the weather is excessively damp and humid, there is no substitute for it. I live in Colombia now, and I bought this specifically to be used in the rain forest, where normal paper just doesn’t cut it. This does.”

The best spiral-bound notebook

Black N’ Red Notebook

“I’ve been a project manager for 20 years. I’m a little old-school in that I rely heavily on a notebook for organization and task management. This is BY FAR the best notebook I’ve ever used. When I walk into a meeting and see someone else with a Black n’ Red, I immediately suspect the person has at least a modicum of intelligence. Buy one and you’ll see what I’m talking about.”

The best notebook with perforated pages

Dingbats Wildlife Medium Notebook

“I have used notebooks professionally and personally for more than three decades, and I’ve tried them all, and until last year was convinced that the German-made Sigel Conceptum notebooks were the best for daily use. Nope. The Dingbats notebook is by far the most well-made, best-looking, and best-performing product I’ve ever used, period. It is an absolute joy to write in with its perfect dimensions, heavy light-cream paper and writer-considerate lines, how the micro-perforated pages lie flat, and the sharp-looking stamped, textured cover – plus pen loop and back pocket. Fountain pens and highlighters don’t bleed through, and even inexpensive decent pens like the Pilot Precise V7 lay down ink beautifully (especially the black ink). If you’re into the art of handwriting — meeting notes, journaling, bad poetry, or cartoons — you MUST try a Dingbat. You’ll love it.”

The best grid-ruled notebook

Lemome Grid Paper Notebook

“I don’t know that I’ll ever buy a different notebook. Exceeded my expectations. Love the color of the page (won’t miss the white pages). Like others have said, the lovely leatherette feel for the cover is a lovely bonus and the pen holder is useful. THE BEST part of it all is the quality of the paper. Thick enough that I have no bleed. The feel of the pen on this paper is simply incredible for the price of the notebook. So much so that even notes that I would normally use the laptop for I find myself reaching for the Lemome, as the writing experience is simply addictive. Thanks, Lemome, keep on doing what you are doing. Don’t compromise!!”

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultra-flattering pants, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

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The 16 Best Notebooks on Amazon, According to Reviewers