The 12 Best Notebooks on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers


As days get shorter and temperatures cool, it’s also time (eek) to start thinking about going back to school. To help you get a jump on the best school (and school-related) supplies to buy for fall, we’re running a series called Cool School Stuff, in which we’ll sniff out the best backpacks, best dorm supplies, and best bento boxes, among many, many other things.

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

Wanderings Leather Notebook Journal
$25, Amazon

4.9 stars, 656 reviews

“The journal was very well packaged, there was a beautiful gift box with the logo on it. Star three, the journal. Inside, I discovered a beautiful leather journal with the logo discreetly placed. There was no chemical smell. The journal also has a well-placed leather fob on the elastic closure. With a Midori, you have to purchase your own at an extra charge. It was in a sealed plastic bag, and underneath, a nice post card. Classy touch! The journal also included three inserts!!! Stars four and five! My 17-year-old daughter already tried to steal it! And I JUST bought her an Erin Condren life journal. Needless to say, I’m keeping my wonderful Wanderings leather travel notebook!! Keep up the great work.”

The Best Vegan Notebook

Scribbles That Matter Dotted Journal Notebook
$20, Amazon

4.9 stars, 508 reviews

“Love this journal! Not only does it have everything the more expensive journals have, but it costs less and is so much cuter! I bought the pink one and always get lots of compliments on it. The dot grid paper is thick enough that most pens don’t bleed through. Each page is also numbered, which is something not all journals have. The two ribbon bookmarks make finding my place easy. A convenient index page, key-code page, and pen-test page are nice touches. The pen loop and inside pocket are bonuses! Seriously couldn’t ask for more in a journal.”

The Best A5-Size Notebook

Unni Classic Notebook
$10, Amazon

4.9 stars, 243 reviews

“A longtime Moleskine loyalist, I have purchased a great deal of journals over the years. I probably should own stock in Moleskine. I have loved my red Moleskines, which is why it saddens me to write this review of my shameless affair with Unni … I received the Unni with its sleek, red leather cover and its thicker, sturdier pages, and I cannot deny, there was a strong attraction. Same size, same color, such an easy transition — coordinates well with my hoards of shelved red Moleskines. Better quality and lesser price. Thanks for all the memories and I wish you well, but I’m gonna ride with Unni from now on …”

The Best Elementary-School Notebook

Mead Primary Composition Notebook
$5, Amazon

4.6 stars, 283 reviews
“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 Notebook

Cambridge Business Notebook
$9, Amazon

4.5 stars, 214 reviews

“I take a lot of notes for my science and math classes, so I’m pretty specific in what I want in a notebook. This is great because I don’t need to use a desktop or clipboard in order to write in it. The covers are hard, so I can write on it anywhere. I’m definitely buying them again; I just wish that they came in different colors. I’m always afraid that I am going to grab the wrong one for class, since they’re all black, so I bring both to each class to be sure I’m not taking the wrong one.”

The Best Pocket-Friendly Notebook

Northbooks Notebook
$9, Amazon

4.5 stars, 1,286 reviews

“This is my first purchase of a Northbooks notebook. It will not be my last. I am using this in my traveler’s-style notebook. The first thing I did was turn to the back pages and test several of my varied writing and drawing tools … The paper in the Northbooks performed beautifully! Only one bled through. The paper is smooth and did not create any drag on my pens.”

The Best Bullet Journal Notebook

Leuchtturm1917 Medium-Size Notebook
$20, Amazon

4.6 stars, 1,508 reviews
“I’ve been looking to start a bullet journal for a while now, and I started off with a Moleskine. I switched to Leuchtturm after reading some reviews, even though I was skeptical about the minute differences between the two. I have to say that I am extremely impressed with the attention to detail in this lovely little journal, and I am 100 percent behind it. The pages are great quality and have less bleeding than other notebooks I’ve used. The hard cover lies flat on a table, so I don’t have that awkward hump to write over in the middle. It has two bookmarks for organization, along with numbered pages and an index right up front. All of these are little qualities that I am extremely thankful for now, and I won’t be going back to any other brands. This is a great journal for beginners or enthusiasts alike. Great investment, and great quality.”

The Best Artist’s Sketchbook

Leda Art Supply Softbound Sketchbook
$16, Amazon

4.8 stars, 521 reviews

“I have two of these and love the size, feel, and weight of the paper, and the feel of the cover. Typically, I’ll start a sketchbook and trade off for something else after a short time, but this brand has stuck with me for months. I like the smoother-toothed paper for pencil and pen, and capturing smaller detail with mechanical pencils. It is large enough to freely sketch on without feeling like I’m trying to draw within too small a space, and still the right size if I need to be standing and sketching. It also works well with my 5mm Ultra-Thin USB Power Light Pad when I want to trace an underlay I had happened to sketch elsewhere. It has traveled with me very well, is durable, and fit’s perfectly in my favorite shoulder bag. The light-beige tone of the paper is pleasant and comfortable to view, and black-and-white scans reproduce cleanly (the sketchbook also opens to lie flat on the scanner nicely). I WILL be purchasing more of these in the future.”

The Most Durable Notebook

Rite in the Rain All-Weather Top-Spiral Notebook
$6, Amazon

4.8 stars, 327 reviews

“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. A good old-fashioned pencil is best for writing in wet conditions — that is, until I got the Rite in the Rain pen, which has a pressurized cartridge and works better. 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
$6, Amazon

4.5 stars, 645 reviews

“Anytime you buy a spiral notebook, there’s always the risk of the spiral on either end becoming a sort of ‘knife’ that can actually draw blood, or the serrations are such that the pages come apart easily. Neither is the case with this particular notebook (and maybe why it costs more). I like hardcover notebooks (they tend to last longer, IMO), so this was perfect. I like that just a slight tug on a page doesn’t make the page separate from where it’s serrated. The paper itself is just thick enough that you don’t have see-through issues (though, of course, I’d imagine a heavy black marker would obviously show through, unless the paper was at least 24 pounds), and the pages have a slight sheen to them. I’m a notebook nut (I have a notebook for everything — bill paying; computer-related issues; things to do; daily diary or journal; technology-related matters; my Comcast 24/7 tech support I pay for every month, which pays for itself after just one call; health-related — so I’m pretty picky about my notebooks).”

The Best Notebook With Perforated Pages

Dingbats Wildlife Medium Notebook
$20, Amazon

4.8 stars, 121 reviews

“There are many qualities about this notebook that I enjoy. To start with, the faux-leather cover is quite striking. It feels good in the hand, and one would never guess it wasn’t real leather. The paper is obviously of a high quality. It is creamy and has absolutely no bleed through, even with fountain pens. The micro-perforated pages make removing a page for notes or a letter very convenient, which is something many hardback notebooks lack. Then come the finishing details — the closure, bookmark, and pen loop all function well and seem resilient after being in my bag for a week. I am highly satisfied with this product, and will probably purchase more Dingbats products in the future.”

The Best Grid-Ruled Notebook

Midori MD Notebook
$10, Amazon

4.8 stars, 60 reviews

“This is a lovely notebook. The paper is smooth and holds fountain-pen ink very well; the cover is understated, as is everything else about this notebook. The grid isn’t very bold, but not too faint either, and is a nice pale blue. The paper is a nice pale ivory — again, not too dark and not too stark, like a white Clairefontaine. The pages lie as completely flat as one could get, considering the way notebooks are put together; it’s much flatter than just about all of the other notebooks I’ve tried, which makes writing on the front and back of the notebook much, much easier. I use mine in a lightweight notebook cover and would probably suggest the same; nothing has beaten my Rhoda softcover notebook for durability. All that being said, I can highly recommend this notebook!”

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 12 Best Notebooks on Amazon According to Reviewers