Spiral Notebooks You’ll Want to Take Everywhere

A hand holding a spiral notebook above a laptop with a black pencil and a cup of coffee.

There are few pleasures as good as a brand new spiral notebook. 

Being a journalist means I always have a notebook handy, and breaking out a new one is among my favorite things. Because I usually have to manage interviews on the fly, I typically stick with a spiral notebook that fits nicely in the palm of my hand, but even when I have a scheduled sit-down interview, I often reach for the same spiral notebook that I can easily flip through. 

Binding that allows pages to move 360 degrees is a game-changer for students or professionals who find themselves on the go or needing to effortlessly manage pages. 

Not only do you not have to worry about breaking or damaging the binding, you can focus on one single page instead of looking at an entire spread. 

Of course, there are lots of other reasons to love a spiral notebook, even if you aren’t asking hard questions at a press conference. Spiral notebooks are great for every profession or student because they come in so many options: wide-ruled paper, perforated pages, big spirals, small spirals. 

There’s a spiral notebook for everybody. 

There’s never a wrong time to pick up a new notebook to journal, brainstorm, doodle or inspire better note taking. No matter what your end goal is, it’s likely that a spiral notebook can get you there.

Try some of these spiral notebook suggestions the next time you head to class, a meeting or when you feel the need to doodle, create or write.

Side binding versus top binding

Spiral notebooks typically come bound either at the top of the page or to the left side of the page, and everybody seems to have their preference. 

Top spirals stay out of the way when you’re trying to handle a notebook in a busy situation -- and they work well for left-handers who often have to deal with the discomfort of their wrist resting on the spiral in a side spiral notebook. However, side spirals are ubiquitous for a reason -- they are versatile and easy to use everywhere from the classroom to the boardroom.

The Maruman Mnemosyne Inspiration notebook measures 6.3 inches by 8.3 inches and is technically bound at the top of the page, making it a wide notebook that can easily be used for drawings or notes where you might need more horizontal space. This grid-lined notebook would be great for designers of all kinds or anybody who needs open space for technical notes.

The Reporter Notebook is a classic top-bound notebook that isn’t just for reporters. It’s for anybody who needs a notebook that fits neatly in a bag or back pocket. They measure 4 inches by 8 inches, so holding them is easy (that’s the best part about these ones!) You’ll be able to take notes whether you’re sitting at a meeting or running down a hallway after an elected official. I’ve used mine in both scenarios. Beyond the obvious pro that they’re easy to carry around, they typically come in bulk, which is helpful since you’ll scribble through them pretty quickly.

Those Reporter Notebooks can look pretty utilitarian, so if you’re opting for convenient and small but want a more stylish look in a similar type of notebook, get the Kunisawa Find Pocket Note - Mini Spiral Notebook. Ink+Volt sources these modern notebooks straight from Tokyo. The best part about these notebooks is that they are made with fountain pen users in mind, so the paper is amazingly smooth!

Bigger notebooks that have side binding are terrific for all kinds of note-takers. They work well for organizing thoughts, making different kinds of notes or even just brainstorming. 

You don’t have to feel guilty about using a lot of paper when you pick up a recycled notebook from Decomposition. The paper is printed with soy ink, and each of the 80 sheets are 100% made from post-consumer waste. Good for your notes, good for the planet. The Decomposition notebooks give you the minimal feel of a composition notebook but with spiral binding and recycled paper.

Perforated pages

Perforated page notebooks let you tear out a piece of paper without the edges getting completely scraggly. Nothing feels quite as good as a perfectly-torn notebook page, right? 

Not all notetakers love a perforated page, but sometimes they come in handy, especially if you’re the person who is always up for helping out others who’ve totally spaced note taking supplies. 

The classic elementary school-style notebooks are the ultimate choice for perforated pages because they’re pretty minimal, but they come in a lot of color options, like this bright Mead 5-subject spiral notebook.

Smart spirals 

Yes, we’re living in the 21st century, so sometimes a notebook is a convenient option, but it’d also be really great if we could automatically transfer those notes onto our electronic devices. Fortunately, there are lots of options now that allow that and aren’t distracting or hard to use. 

An option that allows you to seamlessly transition between those two worlds is the Black n' Red Twin Wire Poly Cover Notebook, which is super durable and features a heavy bright white paper that helps to prevent ink bleed. Scan the pages with the SCRIBZEE app to keep all of your notes electronically, too.

More than writing

Spiral notebooks are the definition of simple office supplies that go really far, so look for something minimal but sturdy, especially if you’re using them for a bunch of different activities. These handcrafted notebooks from Etsy are customizable, and make for the perfect sketchbook with blank pages and the ability to only work on one page.

Multi-use spirals 

Whether it be for work or play, the simple spiral notebook also ends up being quite versatile. 

The TUL Custom Notebooks, found at most supply stores, are a go-to for so many students and professionals because they have a unique binding (they’re very wide instead of the typical narrow spirals) and the pages are separated into three sections with pocket folders. You’ll be able to use these notebooks for multiple classes or projects and still feel really organized.
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