Whether you want to get more done every day—have you heard of bullet journaling?—or are trying to be more organized at work, school, or home, a notebook you cherish can be the difference between a happy hum of productivity and, well, watching another episode Boston Legal.
There are notebooks of all shapes and sizes laying around our office. We’ve got a passionate group over here, with strong preferences for certain pages, bindings, and paper weights. Some like dotted pages, others want those straight ruler lines. A smaller faction prefer the rigid structure of a grid. Seeing as this morning I walked into a heated debate about which type of notebook is best, I thought I’d round up a few of our favorites for you.
The 5-inch-by-8.25-inch Moleskine is a classic, one that makes you think that you’re an expat writer in continental Europe in the 1920s. This one has a lush, soft leather cover, 192 ruled pages, and comes with an elastic band to keep it closed. Use the attached ribbon as a bookmark and the inner pocket to business cards or other loose papers. The paper weight is 70 grams per square meter. $17.
This minimalist, lined notebook is the typical letter size (8.5″ x 11″) and comes with 140 wire-bound pages. The covers are made of 100% recycled chipboard. $14.
These notebooks’ pages are made of limestone, so they’re smooth, tear-resistant, and totally waterproof. If you spill anything on it, you can just wipe the liquid off. It has an elastic band to keep the notebook shut and a pocket inside. $50.
The Rhodia Black Dot Grid Webnotebook measures 5.5 inches by 8.3 inches and has 192 pages. The ivory paper has a pale gray dot grid. Let’s talk for a minute about dot grids: devotees (like the person who wrote our overview of the bullet journal system) like this style because it offers the freedom of doodling and lettering (the major appeal of a blank notebook) as well as gentle dot guides to keep your writing straight or your graphic elements aligned. This particular notebook comes with an elastic band to keep the notebook closed and a ribbon bookmark. $17.
These notebooks are the new favorites of the bullet journaling community. They’ve got a dot grid, pre-numbered pages (important for indexing), and a weighty paper that makes bleed-through almost impossible. Remember how Moleskine’s paper weighed in at 70 grams per square meter? The paper used for Scribbles That Matter notebooks rings in at 100 grams per square meter. $20.
Leuchtturm 1917 is a journal darling. It’s a bit pricey, ringing in between $21 and $24, but users ballyhoo about the quality of the paper (80 grams per square meter), the numbered pages, and the built-in index. It also comes in a variety of juicy colors. $21.
Here’s a cheaper—but still excellent—dot-grid notebook. It comes from the Japan-based retailer Muji, which is known for its brand- and label-free products of considerable quality. (The name of the store comes from a compound phrase Mu-jirishi, which means “without brand.”) The dots on this notebook are very light, which is great for doodlers and free-spirited journalers who are not quite ready for a totally blank notebook. $12.
This laboratory research notebook has 192 sewn and numbered pages with a 0.25-inch block grid. The cover is made of a 1.6mm cardboard stock to keep the pages protected. Included in the notebook are an instruction page and 16 pages for a table of contents to keep your notes organized and clear. $16.
This smart notebook can be placed in the microwave to erase the ink on the pages. These Pilot FriXion pens turn clear at 140 degrees and vanish from the page. You can microwave the notebook up to 5 times. For people that don’t care about keeping physical copies of their notes, this is a neat option. The Rocketbook app connects to your smartphone and you can upload your notes to the cloud or your computer. $27.
The Rite in the Rain all-weather notebooks have 100 water-resistant pages, which means it’ll stay intact if you get caught in the rain or if you spill your glass of water. The 4-inch-by-6-inch pages are bound together on top with wire. You can use any kind of writing utensil, but all-weather pens and pencils that don’t use water-based inks work best. $13.
Compact notebooks are great for jotting down bursts of inspiration you have on the subway or out running errands. This set of ruled small (3.5″ x 5.5″) orange notebooks have 48 pages. $11 for 3.
With all our product stories, the goal is simple: more information about the stuff you’re thinking about buying. We may sometimes get a cut from a purchase, but if something shows up on one of our pages, it’s because we like it. Period.