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The 5 Best Notebooks (2023 Review)

A quality notebook makes writing for work, school, or personal use an enjoyable experience. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the five best notebooks on Amazon to help you find the product that’s right for you. The products included in this article are available at various retail stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

notebook, waterproof notebook Courtesy Rite in the Rain

Whether you need to write pages of notes for a class or make a grocery list to stay organized, a notebook can help. To help you select a notepad that meets your needs, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best notebooks on Amazon. Here are our top five recommendations.

Top 5 Notebooks

Most Versatile: Moleskine Classic Notebook

This notebook can withstand travel and heavy use with a durable moleskin cover, thick ivory pages, and an elastic closure band. It’s available with dotted, ruled, plain, dual plain and ruled, and squared pages to suit your writing, journaling, or drawing needs.

Key Features

  • 240 pages
  • 5 by 8.25 inches
  • Available in other colors and page layouts
  • Bookmark, pocket, elastic band, and other features

What Customers Are Saying

Happy customers felt that this notebook was sturdy, long-lasting, and high-quality. However, some dissatisfied customers said that it had thin pages, causing pen and marker ink to bleed through them.

Best Composition Notebook: Mead Composition Notebook

Like this one from Mead, a composition notebook is perfect for the student who wants a dedicated place to take notes for each of their courses. With sewn binding, this notebook secures its pages without having a spiral spine that can catch items it rubs against. It also has several useful features, including a blank table to write your class schedule and multiplication, conversion, and grammar tables to look at for quick reference.

Key Features

  • 100 sheets
  • 9.75 by 7.5 inches
  • Available in other colors and quantities
  • Multiplication table, conversion table, class schedule, and other features

What Customers Are Saying

Most customers were pleased with this notebook, stating that it had wide margins and worked well with multiple types of pens. However, customers who left negative reviews felt that this notebook was made from cheap materials. They specifically mentioned the cover being thin and flimsy.

Best Notepad: Rite in the Rain Weatherproof Notepad

It can be a hassle for reporters, construction workers, police officers, and other individuals who work outdoors to write in poor weather. However, this waterproof notepad solves that problem by keeping your writing intact through water, grease, mud, and more.

Key Features

  • 100 pages
  • 3 by 5 inches
  • Available in other colors and quantities

What Customers Are Saying

Customers noted that this product was durable, had a compact size, and wrote well with dry ink. However, unsatisfied customers said that the excessive branding turned them off on each page. Others were disappointed that it only wrote with certain types of pens.

Best Spiral Notebook: Five Star Spiral College-Ruled Notebook

This spiral notebook has 200 double-sided, college-ruled sheets, ensuring that you have enough space to take notes for an entire semester. It has thick paper that prevents ink bleeding and perforated edges that are easy to tear when you need a loose sheet. If you plan on using this one notebook for multiple classes, you can separate it into subjects using the dividers with built-in pockets.

Key Features

  • 200 sheets
  • 8.5 by 11 inches
  • Available in other colors and page layouts
  • Pockets, dividers, and other features

What Customers Are Saying

Customers said that there was a lot to like about this notebook, such as its large pages and subject dividers. A common complaint among dissatisfied customers was that the pages ripped easily. Some customers also had issues fitting loose sheets into the divider pockets because of their small size.

Best Color Options: LEUCHTTURM1917 Ruled Hardcover Notebook

This notebook has a blank table of contents, labeling stickers, detachable pages, a fabric bookmark, and other useful features for serious journaling. With acid-free paper, this notebook is compatible with a variety of inks to prevent bleeding. Its durable hardcover is also available in many colors to fit your preference.

Key Features

  • 251 pages
  • 5.75 by 8.25 inches
  • Available in other colors and page layouts
  • Bookmarks, pocket, elastic band, table of contents, and other features

What Customers Are Saying

Customer reviews specifically mentioned this notebook’s wide numbered pages and two different-colored bookmarks. However, some unsatisfied customers claimed that the paper was too thin and that the elastic band that kept the notebook together frayed easily.

Buyer’s Guide

Different notebooks serve different purposes. To decide which notebook is right for your task, consider the following factors.


Some notebooks are designed for specific tasks, such as note-taking, writing, sketching, and journaling. Be sure to choose a notebook that meets your needs.


Common types of notebooks include:

  • Pocket
  • Spiral
  • Composition
  • Subject
  • Diary

Type is usually tied to purpose, with spiral, composition, and subject notebooks being used for note-taking by students, diaries being used for journaling, and pocket notebooks being used on the job.


Smaller notebooks are best for jotting down quick notes or ideas, while larger ones are suited for students who need to take a lot of notes throughout the course of a semester.

You’ll also want to think about how you plan on carrying your notebook. If you need a portable one that can fit in your pocket, consider a small one that’s under five inches tall and wide. On the other hand, a larger notebook will need to be transported in a backpack or drawstring bag.


Most manufacturers tell you how many sheets or pages their notebook has. The term sheet is usually used to describe both sides of the paper, while pages refer to one side. For example, a notebook may have 100 sheets or 200 pages.

In addition to considering the number of sheets or pages, also look at their construction. Are they blank, lined, gridded, or dotted? Are they thick enough to prevent your pen ink from bleeding through?

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of pen writes best in a notebook?

It depends on the type of notebook. If you like to write with a pencil or ballpoint pen, consider a composition or spiral notebook because fountain and liquid pens can bleed easily through the pages on these two types of notebooks. If you prefer to write with fountain or liquid pens, look for a notebook with thick paper.

What is ink bleeding and ghosting in notebooks?

Bleeding is when your pen’s ink seeps through a page and onto the other side. Ghosting is similar, except the ink doesn’t bleed all the way through—instead, you can simply see it from the other side.

What is bullet journaling?

One of the most popular types of journaling is called bullet journaling, which refers to creating lists with bullet points to keep you organized and focused. Bullet journaling can help you create daily or weekly plans, keep track of important information, and establish personal or professional goals.

Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

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