18 of the Best Notebooks Out There

A Rhodia notebook sits on a plaid blanket with a camera lens and lens cover

Your notes are important. There’s a reason you’re writing them down.

For you paper lovers out there, a tangible, physical notebook is what you need to store your notes in, yet it’s one of those stationery items that you find yourself constantly on the hunt for.

That perfect notebook to contain your thoughts and musings, organize your ideas and tasks, keep you focused and get you through convoluted meetings, or simply allow you to jot information down in a pinch. You need them for the long term (to memorialize information) and for the short term (no need to keep the information beyond next week).

Sure, you always have the option to type out your notes on the electronic device of your choosing, but writing notes by hand is really valuable and worthwhile to do. Studies show that while people taking notes on a computer can take more notes (it’s just so much faster and can be easier to read, we get it), their comprehension is worse compared to people who take notes by hand. 

We’ve compiled some of the best notebooks out there right now to fit your different and varying needs. We hope this post will end your hunt for the best notebook!

The best notebooks for capturing the everyday 

From elusive thoughts and information you’ll never be able to remember, to ideas you have in a flash of brilliance, you need a notebook for all of those random jottings; just one notebook that you can go to to store a variety of information. 

If you have a designated notebook for these sorts of things, just the one, you’ll still be able to remain organized and keep things together. 

Our picks for you: 

  • Ink+Volt hardcover or softcover notebooks. Just like our flagship planner, the Ink+Volt Notebooks are made with high-quality materials like our signature bright white, super smooth paper and classic soft-touch smooth covers. These notebooks lay flat (a must!) thanks to the fine craftsmanship and top quality binding we've tested and trust. They have the quality and performance you have come to expect from our planners and journals, which are made right here in the U.S.
  • Kunisawa Find Slim Notebook is a sleek option that can pack a lot of information. Boasting fold over binding, a flexible cover, and buttery smooth paper, this notebook is a no-brainer.
  • If you prefer a hardcover and a notebook that has a ribbon finder, the Kunisawa Find Note Hard Notebook fits the bill.
  • A professional, spiral bound notebook, the Kunisawa Find Ring Note - Spiral Notebook also utilizes beautiful, easy to use grid lined paper for flexible note taking.
  • The Leuchtturm1917 Composition Notebooks are another favorite; with perforated edges and the option to choose between blank or lined paper, it comes in softcover, hardcover, and a hardcover slim option. Being able to tear out the pages is a great option for those short term notes you don’t necessarily want to keep.

All of these brands give you the flexibility to note take in the way that works best for you, with a quality that you’ll appreciate whether you use pencil or pen. 

The best notebooks for productive work and meetings

You’re invited to meetings for a reason, so keeping up with your notes is essential. But note-taking during meetings can be challenging, especially if the agenda gets derailed or it’s just not a well organized meeting. It could also come down to your note taking abilities; if they’re not your strength, having a notebook that can guide you through the beginning and end of a meeting is super valuable to your sanity and career.

We’ve outlined the elements of a work/meeting notebook that are the most important to consider below: 

Binding. Look for binding that will make your note taking life as easy as possible. Spiral binding allows you to fold over one half of your notebook, perfect if you have meetings in offsite locations where you’re standing or have limited table space to write on, but tough for left-handers. Lay-flat binding is great if you need continuous space from the left side of your notebook to the right, and works great for lefties. And fold over, flexible binding is ideal if you need a light, non-bulky notebook option. 

Covers. Hardcovers give you durability and structure of course, but soft covers are lighter, travel easily, and have some flex. Think about the weight too and whether you’re on the go with your notebook or sticking to just in one place.

Keeps you organized. To stay organized during meetings, it helps to have a designated section specifically for the meeting details, such as date, time, place, attendees, etc. so you don’t have to rely on your memory or remembering to write down what date that meeting was on.

Similarly, great meeting notebooks have clearly separated spaces for notes, questions, action items, and/or conclusions. And if the notebook has perforated pages, you’ll scan or recycle with ease.

Our picks for you:

The best notebooks for brainstorming and visualizing your next big move

Some notebooks are better at wrangling ideas and evaluating their weight than others. Brainstorm, formulate and build up your ideas and goals by using a specific notebook meant just for that task, one that will help you move an idea along from the beginning to execution, whether it’s personal or professional. 

Our picks for you:

  • The Hatch Notebook is a great option in this category, with helpful prompts and questions to evaluate the merits of an idea, reminding you to consider the constraints of reality. The Hatch Idea Bank is smaller in scale and more travel friendly, but similarly meant to help you “hatch” your next best idea. 
  • If you prefer blank space to brainstorm or sketch out what you’re seeing, seeking less structure, the Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal has lay-flat binding, three ribbon finders, and easy-to-use dot-grid pages, which brings efficiency and simplicity into your life. 

The best notebooks for when you’re on the go

When you’re on the go or need something small to go next to your bed, compact dimensions are the name of the game.

Our picks for you:

  • The Leuchtturm1917 Pocket Jottbook is so cute and fits perfectly in small spaces. But the paper is no joke and is the quality you expect to see, and use, from this brand. It has 60 numbered and lined perforated pages, ready to tear out when the time comes.
  • A little smaller than the Neon Pocket Jotters, the Small Rhodia Webnote comes with a ribbon finder, elastic band closure, inner expandable pocket, and 96 lined or dotted pages. These features are great when you need to stick a small notebook in your purse or car and can’t risk the pages getting caught or loose. 
  • The Compass Notebook is a hardcover notebook that's bound at the top. Its pages are buttery soft and lined on one side, dot grid on the other, *and* perforated.

The best looking notebooks 

Sometimes you want something cute and fun on the outside of your notebook — a design or color that is not all business all the time — but still functional and made of quality materials. For those notes and days when your eyes are drawn away from monotone colors, we think you’ll like these picks:

Our pick for you:

  • This notebook set from Rifle Paper Co. is the kind of beautiful product with a stunning design that brighten the room and makes people ask where you got it from. You won’t be able to help smiling when you go to write in them.

Finding the best notebook 

The options are endless, but your search doesn’t have to be. We’re recommending these brands and products for their quality, but also their ability to meet your note taking needs for any situation that comes up in life. What is your favorite notebook?

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