You may find yourself doing most of your writing over email, social media or via a text document these days, but that doesn't make the humble notebook any less of an essential item. Whether using it to plan work projects, write to-do lists or to journal, there's simply nothing like putting pen to paper.
The process of writing by hand allows your brain to ponder what you are writing about whilst "aimless" doodling also has mindfulness benefits, too. Read on for our guide to buying the perfect notebook, alongside the ten best picks high-quality stationers such as Moleskine, Leuchtturm and Dingbats*, easily available from Amazon, eBay and John Lewis.
For those after a quick look, here is our Top 5:
This article's chosen EC site price listings are reflective of its publishing date.
Museums & Galleries
Extra Large Soft Cover Ruled Notebook
Plain A5 Hardcover Notebook
A6 Pocket Wildlife Portrait Hardcover Notebook
Europa Notemaker A6 Lined Notebooks
Safavid Ultra Journal
New York A5 Initial Notebook, B
Metallic Jotta Wirebound Notebook
Matthew Williamson A5 Jade Peacock Notebook
Large Fabric Hardcover Notebook
Floral A5 Notebook
Large 192 Page Notebook for Writing Anywhere
High Quality Plain A5 Pad for Doodling and Journaling
Biodegradable Vegan Leather Notebook
10 Wirebound A6 Notebooks for Study
An Exquisitely-Bound Doublure-Inspired Journal
A Personalised Notebook With Inside Pocket and Lined Pages
Great Value for Students and Writers
Designer Notebook With High Quality 100 GSM Pages
Classic Moleskine Journal for Taking Notes on the Go
Vibrant Notebook Makes for the Perfect Gift
|Size||19 x 25 cm||A5||A6||A6||13 x 18 cm||A5||A4||A5||13 x 21 cm||A5|
|Number of Pages||192||249||192||120||144||168||200||160||240||140|
|Paper||Ivory-coloured, acid-free, FSC-certified lined paper||Plain, acid-free, lined and plain||Recycled paper, lined||Brushed vellum lined paper||Ivory, lined||Lined||Lines||Lined||Ivory-coloured acid-free lined paper||Lined|
|Cover||PU, soft cover||Hardcover||PU hardcover, embossed||Softcover||Decorative hardcover||PU softcover||Paper, softcover||Decorative hardcover||Fabric, hardcover||Decorative hardcover|
|Extra Features||Flat lying design, elastic closure, bookmark, pocket||Elastic closure, pocket, contents page||Animal footprint end sheets, inner pocket, bookmark, elastic closure, pen holder, micro-perforated pages||Wirebound, micro-perforated pages||Flap closure, memento pouch, bookmark||Bookmark, interior pocket, coloured page edges||Wirebound, perforated and hole punched||Foil detail on paper edges||Elastic closure, pocket||Wirebound|
|Best For||Writing||Drawing, writing||Writing, portability||Students, portability, notes, writing||Writing, decorative||Writing, gift||Students, notes, writing||Writing, portability, gift||Writing||Decorative, writing, gift, portability|
Notebooks come in a variety of sizes, making them suitable for different purposes. An A4-size (21 x 29 cm) notebook is a great choice, with plenty of space to thrash out your ideas, they're perfect for work projects, writing notes, journaling and diary-keeping - they also fit nicely into a backpack, too.
If you're pushed for space and often on the go, then A6-sized (10 x 15 cm) pads might be the choice for you. Everyone from on-duty reporters to people doing their weekly shop can benefit from the help of a tiny pad – your note making is sure to be concise and fuss-free!
Some people like the structure of lined paper because it allows you to write in a measured, ordered way whereas others like the freedom of a totally blank page. For work tasks or creative projects that include mind mapping or doodling, a plain notebook is just the thing.
If you're mainly going to be using your notebook for writing and not much else, you might prefer to choose a lined pad. This helps you to maximise the space on the page and make your notes easy to read back and follow.
Bullet journals are also great for jotting down your ideas!
Most notebook paper is somewhere between 70 and 100 gsm, but it can be hard to figure out which is best. If you're going to simply be taking quick notes with a pen or pencil, anywhere upwards of 70 gsm should be fine.
However, if you plan to draw in ink or watercolours, or you want your personal journal to contain luxurious high-quality paper, then consider going for 100 gsm or above.
As well as this, if you're looking for the best, some high-end notebooks are made with acid-free, FSC-certified paper to make the writing experience both more enjoyable and considerate to the environment.
If you want your notes to stay pristine, then a hardcover notebook is the one for you. Other benefits to choosing a hardcover are that it adds a more formal or academic style to your notebook, and is great when you want to write or sketch on a bus or train.
However, if a large pad is what you need, a hardcover could make it too cumbersome to carry around. Instead, a softcover could be more convenient if you don't mind having things getting a little bent and creased.
If you're using your notebook for studying or you just like to be super organised, there are a number of great features that can help. For example, want to find specific notes quickly? Consider a notebook with a contents page and numbered pages. Or, if you want to store your notes elsewhere, perforated or hole-punched pages are really handy.
Aside from what is printed on the pages themselves, there are a few other additions which we think are easy to forget but always worth looking out for. Namely, bookmark ribbons, interior pockets and elastic notebook closures, which are all handy details for a personal diary, journal or writer's notebook.
Love nothing more than stylish new stationary? They also happen to be fun to use and pleasing to the eye, and they come in a variety of colours and vibrant patterns, it all depends on the notebook you choose.
This ranking has been compiled by the writing team at mybest UK via careful evaluation of the points made in the buying guide and thorough research of each product and comparing multiple verified customer reviews across the EC sites used.
|Size||19 x 25 cm|
|Number of Pages||192|
|Paper||Ivory-coloured, acid-free, FSC-certified lined paper|
|Cover||PU, soft cover|
|Extra Features||Flat lying design, elastic closure, bookmark, pocket|
|Number of Pages||249|
|Paper||Plain, acid-free, lined and plain|
|Extra Features||Elastic closure, pocket, contents page|
|Best For||Drawing, writing|
|Number of Pages||192|
|Paper||Recycled paper, lined|
|Cover||PU hardcover, embossed|
|Extra Features||Animal footprint end sheets, inner pocket, bookmark, elastic closure, pen holder, micro-perforated pages|
|Best For||Writing, portability|
Pack of 10
|Number of Pages||120|
|Paper||Brushed vellum lined paper|
|Extra Features||Wirebound, micro-perforated pages|
|Best For||Students, portability, notes, writing|
|Size||13 x 18 cm|
|Number of Pages||144|
|Extra Features||Flap closure, memento pouch, bookmark|
|Best For||Writing, decorative|
|Number of Pages||168|
|Extra Features||Bookmark, interior pocket, coloured page edges|
|Best For||Writing, gift|
Pack of 3
|Number of Pages||200|
|Extra Features||Wirebound, perforated and hole punched|
|Best For||Students, notes, writing|
|Number of Pages||160|
|Extra Features||Foil detail on paper edges|
|Best For||Writing, portability, gift|
|Size||13 x 21 cm|
|Number of Pages||240|
|Paper||Ivory-coloured acid-free lined paper|
|Extra Features||Elastic closure, pocket|
|Number of Pages||140|
|Best For||Decorative, writing, gift, portability|
Written and researched by Melanie McPhail
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