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10 Best Writing Journals in 2022 (Moleskine, Leuchtturm1917, and More)

Are you looking for a new journal to write in? Whether you're a student hoping to take lesson notes, a writer planning their next novel, or someone hoping to journal their life, there is a journal for you. Journals come in a variety of sizes and paper styles so finding the right one for you can be tricky.


That's why we've done the research and found our 10 best writing journals. We picked the Classic Notebook by Moleskine as our favorite due to the quality of the paper, how the journal lies flat, and its durability. We also have a buying guide to help you make your decision.

Last updated 09/26/2023
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Table of Contents

How to Choose Writing Journals

You want to pick a journal that fits your needs and preferences. Here are some things to keep in mind in trying to pick the right journal for you!

1

Get a Binding Style That's Easy to Use

Get a Binding Style That's Easy to Use

Some bindings are sturdier and more durable than others, and some will allow pages to lie flat when you're writing on them. Typically, journals are bound by having their pages sewn, glued, or stapled together. 


Of these options, stapled journals are the thinnest and lightest, making them the easiest to carry around with you on a daily basis. They usually will lay flat but can become easily bent or damaged due to their thinner covers. While glued bindings are also durable, you can trust sewn journals to last you a long time without papers falling out. 


Journals that are either glued or sewn together usually have thicker and heavier covers than stapled journals and can offer a greater number of pages. They're more durable but may not lay flat as easily as stapled versions.


One further option is spiral-bound journals. These are very easy to use as you can flip this journal open with one hand. You can tear pages out and the covers are often sturdy enough to write on. However, they tend to be bulky due to the metal spiral, and paper strips can be left around the spiral when you tear them out. Look for spiral-bound journals with perforated pages to avoid this.


The majority of journals have their bindings on the left-hand side of the journal. This makes them easy to use for right-handed people, but some of the more tightly-bound journals can be tricky for those that write with their left hand. If this is you, look for journals that lie flat or can be used backward. By flipping the journal over, you can put the binding on the right, making it easier to use.


Spiral-bound journals can be bound either on the left or at the top, and some writers might find a top binding to be the easiest to work with. With the spiral at the top, you'll have easy access to the pages from both the left and right-hand sides.

2

Choose a Size That's Practical for You

Choose a Size That's Practical for You

There is a large variety of sizes available when it comes to journals. They can range from the small Micro, which is 2.75 inches wide by 3.5 inches long, to the Grande, which is 8.25 inches wide by 11.75 inches long. 


A Micro journal is an ideal size for putting in your pocket and taking notes while you're out and about, whereas a Grande journal is excellent for remaining in one place and getting the most out on the page. For many writers, the best size is in the middle. This is why the majority of journals are the Midi size, which is roughly five by seven inches and is internationally known as A5. This size is the best combination of portable but roomy. 


You should also consider how thick the journal is. The thickness of the journal is affected by both the number of pages it has and the material of the cover. A lightweight journal that has fewer pages and a thinner cover is easier to take with you than a journal with hundreds of pages and a heavy cardboard cover. If you're looking for a journal that will never leave your desk, however, then you can go as thick as you need.

3

Pay Attention to the Paper Style and Quality

The paper's quality can also affect your journaling experience! Check the paper's thickness, brightness, and color. 

Blank, Ruled, Dotted, or Graph Paper

Blank, Ruled, Dotted, or Graph Paper

There are plenty of paper styles to choose from, and they all have different functions. For writing your next best-selling novel or writing a diary, you might find a lined journal to be the best option as it will keep your writing neat and orderly


You can choose either narrow or broad lines, depending on which suits you best. Narrow lines will allow you to fill pages with lots of information but might not be convenient if your handwriting is large and messy.


If you're planning or studying, then you might prefer blank pages that allow you to write however you like. You can draw mind maps, diagrams, or illustrations more easily on a blank page. Kids might prefer blank pages as they can let their imaginations run wild and fill the pages as they like.


If you're studying something more scientific or mathematical, then graph paper will be the best choice. You can neatly write formulas or draw graphs and tables with this type of paper. For people who love to bullet journal, then dotted pages are the most popular. These give you guidelines for making your own layouts without getting in the way.

Thin Paper Is Lightweight, Heavy Paper Prevents Bleeding

Thin Paper Is Lightweight, Heavy Paper Prevents Bleeding

You should also check the paper's thickness. This is measured in pounds in the US, but nowadays you'll often see GSM, which stands for grams per square meter. The higher the GSM, the thicker the paper and the less likely to allow ink to bleed through. Not every journal lists this, but you will find many that do.


The most common GSM for journal paper is around 70 to 80gsm. This is fine if you plan to use your journal just for writing with pencils, ballpoint pens, or gel pens. This type of ink shouldn't bleed through pages of this thickness.


However, if you're looking for a journal that you can use pens with heavy ink with, then even 100gsm might not be thick enough. Fountain pens and colored pens such as markers or highlighters will more than likely bleed through 100gsm, so you should look for journals of at least 120gsm, or even 160gsm. This is also the case if you want to add lots of illustrations or collages to your pages.


You can also check reviews to see what previous purchasers think of the paper as judging it online can be very tricky. If ink bleeds through the pages, you can be sure that reviewers will make note of this in their comments.


Recycled paper is generally not as high quality as virgin paper but can still be a great choice. It's especially suitable for a pure writing journal that doesn't need bleed-proof pages. If you just want a journal that you can use a ballpoint or gel pen in, then why not help the environment and buy a journal with recycled paper?

Pick a Color and Brightness That Appeals to You

Pick a Color and Brightness That Appeals to You

Not all journals specify their brightness and whiteness rating. The brightness of the paper can be measured between zero to one hundred. The higher the rating, the brighter the paper is. Much like the brightness, the paper whiteness uses a rating from zero to one hundred. The higher it is on the scale, the closer it is to neutral white color.


If the product listing doesn't specify where on the brightness scale the paper is, it can be tricky to tell just from product photos alone. The brightness you see on your screen can easily be affected by both your screen and the camera used to take the photos, so you may want to check product reviews again to see how bright the paper is.


If maintaining color and brightness is important, look for acid-free paper. This type of paper will last longer without becoming discolored and will preserve your writing for many, many years.

4

Seek a Cover Material and Design That Suit You

Seek a Cover Material and Design That Suit You

Taking time to think about your journal's cover matters because a journal should last you a while. You can choose between hardbound or softcover, and materials like leather or plastic.


A journal with a hardbound cover is sturdier and more durable. These are usually made of thick cardboard, often covered with materials such as faux leather, genuine leather, or cloth. However, journals like this can be heavier and bulkier.


Leather is a sturdy material, but you should also be careful in handling it because sharp materials can easily damage it. A treated leather journal can be water-resistant, however. If you want a lighter journal that can be carried around, soft covers might do better for you. These journals are sometimes made of paper or card stock. 


A softcover will allow you to comfortably fit your journal in your purse, pocket, backpack, or suitcase. However, journals like this are more prone to being damaged when wet and torn when mishandled.


You can customize your paper journal cover by drawing or doodling on it. But paper-bound journals are also susceptible to getting accidentally drawn on and marked. Some journal covers can be made of plastic. These notebooks are great because they can protect your journal well from water and stains and they're lightweight.


When it comes to a waterproof journal, you do have some options. There are journals that even have fully waterproof pages, but it's more common to find journals with waterproof covers. As we just mentioned, plastic-covered journals will protect your pages, as will hardboard covers that are laminated with a thin layer of plastic.

5

Consider Extras That Suit Your Writing Needs

There are a few other features that you should consider when choosing a journal as these can make your life even easier.

Bookmarks, Pockets, and Pen Holders for Easier Use

Bookmarks, Pockets, and Pen Holders for Easier Use

Some additional features include an expandable pocket folder that can hold your notes, receipts, business card, and other materials. There are also journals with pen loops to keep your go-to favorite pen for journaling nearby and ready.


Many journals have a ribbon attached to the top of the binding that can be used as a bookmark. This makes it easy to keep your place in the journal and find certain pages quickly and without problems.

Refillable Options for Avid Writers

Refillable Options for Avid Writers

Some journals allow you to refill the journal once it is full. These are usually binder-style and allow you to remove completed pages and refill with fresh, new, blank pages when you need to. This type of journal often has very beautiful and elaborate covers that you'll want to keep for years.


Another type of refillable journal has a cover that is used in a similar to a dust jacket on a hardback novel. Instead of just refilling pages, you change the entire journal. The inside journal will have a soft and plain cover and this slips inside the decorative outer cover.

Closures to Keep Your Journal Secure

Closures to Keep Your Journal Secure

You will want to keep your journal closed and protected if you bring it around with you. To ensure that it is, you have to pick a closure that will do the job for you. An elastic band is easy to use and will prevent your journal from suddenly coming open and having important loose papers fall out of it.


You can also opt for a metal or magnetic clasp that will secure your journal while making it look elegant and beautiful. However, this kind of closure might not do well if you like to stick many extras in your notebook. If too many paper scraps or stickers are added, the magnets might misalign and the closure will not be secure.

Was the Buying Guide helpful?

10
Best Writing Journals Ranking

Here are the best Writing Journals, ranked according to 10 Best Writing Journals (as of 11-04-2022). The products are ranked independently by mybest.
Popularity
Products
Image
Click to purchase
Key features
1

Moleskine

Classic Notebook Soft Cover

Moleskine Classic Notebook Soft Cover 1枚目

Best Journal for Writers

2

Leuchtturm1917

A5 Dotted Hardcover Notebook

Leuchtturm1917 A5 Dotted Hardcover Notebook  1枚目

Best Option for a Large Journal

3

Amazon Basics

All Weather Universal

Amazon Basics All Weather Universal 1枚目

Best Small and Portable Journals

4

KomalC

Hard Cover Notebook

KomalC Hard Cover Notebook 1枚目

Best Handmade and Leather Option

5

Paperage

Pocket Lined Notebook

Paperage Pocket Lined Notebook  1枚目

Best Bulk Option for Students

6

Siixu

Celestial Journal

Siixu Celestial Journal 1枚目

Best Unique and Beautiful Journal

7

More Than Magic

Smart Reusable Notebook

More Than Magic Smart Reusable Notebook 1枚目

Best Journal for Kids

8

S. J. Scott and Barrie Davenport

Locking Journal

S. J. Scott and Barrie Davenport Locking Journal  1枚目

Best Journal With Prompts

9

Scribbles That Matter

Mixed Media Art Journal

Scribbles That Matter Mixed Media Art Journal 1枚目

Best for Bullet Journals

10

Maleden

Refillable Spiral Daily Notepad

Maleden Refillable Spiral Daily Notepad 1枚目

Best Refillable Journal

If you don't see the product you're looking for, you can request that it be listed.
No.1

MoleskineClassic Notebook Soft Cover

Classic Notebook Soft Cover Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Classic Notebook Soft Cover Image 2
Source:amazon.com
Classic Notebook Soft Cover Image 3
Source:amazon.com
Classic Notebook Soft Cover Image 4
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$17.09
Reference price
$17.09

Best Journal for Writers

Pros:

  • Rounded corners prevent damage
  • Storage pocket at the back
  • Lies flat when open
  • Acid-free paper

Cons:

  • Not suitable for heavy ink

If you're looking for a classic and sturdy journal to write in, then for many people, Moleskine journals are the best. The acid-free ivory paper gives you a nice surface to write on and the journal will lay flat when opened. You can keep loose pieces of paper in the pocket at the back and the journal will remain fastened due to the elastic closure.


As several reviewers discovered, this journal is not suitable for colored markers or pens with heavy ink such as fountain pens, as the pages will bleed. Reviewers praised this journal for being sturdy, however, and say it will survive rough treatment and several years of use. Although the pages bleed, reviewers say they are of high quality and are perfect for writing or keeping notes.

Was this Ranking helpful?
No.2

Leuchtturm1917A5 Dotted Hardcover Notebook

A5 Dotted Hardcover Notebook  Image 1
Source:amazon.com
A5 Dotted Hardcover Notebook  Image 2
Source:amazon.com
A5 Dotted Hardcover Notebook  Image 3
Source:amazon.com
A5 Dotted Hardcover Notebook  Image 4
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$36.95
Reference price
$36.95

Best Option for a Large Journal

Pros:

  • Two ribbon bookmarks
  • Index pages at the front
  • Pages are numbered
  • Has eight perforated pages
  • Storage pocket at the back

Cons:

  • Some ghosting with markers and fountain pens

This large 235-page journal has a sewn binding but should be able to lie flat as you work. If you want to keep your work organized this is a great journal to use as every page is numbered and the first couple of pages have an index layout. There is a pocket at the back and the final few pages are perforated, so you can easily rip out a page if you ever need one. 


There are a few complaints from purchasers of the dotted journal that the dots don't fill the entire page. Some other reviewers stated that colored markers and fountain pens can bleed through. However, reviewers confirmed that it does lie flat when opened and that the paper feels nice to write on. They loved the large size of the journal and the quality of the binding.

No.3

Amazon BasicsAll Weather Universal

All Weather Universal Image 1
Source:amazon.com
All Weather Universal Image 2
Source:amazon.com
All Weather Universal Image 3
Source:amazon.com
All Weather Universal Image 4
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$12.34
Reference price
$12.34

Best Small and Portable Journals

Pros:

  • Set of five journals with different designs
  • Each journal has a bookmark and elastic closure
  • Storage pocket at the back
  • Rounded corners
  • 80 pages

Cons:

  • Thin paper

This set of journals is the perfect size to take with you. They will fit neatly into a purse or even a larger pocket so you can take notes whenever you need to. Each journal is lined and has a bookmark so you can keep your place. The cover designs are all different but complementary.


Reviewers stated that the paper is thin, so these are best used with pencils or ballpoint pens instead of heavy ink. Reviewers loved the portability of these and that despite their small size, they still have a pocket and an elastic closure. Several reviewers said they were the perfect size to fit in their bags and take with them.

No.4

KomalCHard Cover Notebook

Hard Cover Notebook Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Hard Cover Notebook Image 2
Source:amazon.com
Hard Cover Notebook Image 3
Source:amazon.com
Hard Cover Notebook Image 4
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$16.99
Reference price
$16.99

Best Handmade and Leather Option

Pros:

  • Handmade journal
  • Available in two sizes and different colors
  • Wraparound cover with leather string fastening
  • 240 pages

Cons:

  • Journals can have a moldy smell

These are handmade journals covered in water-resistant buffalo leather. The paper is hand-sewn into the journal and is both thick and of high quality. The cover wraps around the paper and can be fastened closed with a long leather strap.


Some reviewers commented that the journal smelled a little moldy when received, and there are also a few negative comments about the quality of the paper. Most reviewers reported that the journals look and feel great in their hands and praise the craftsmanship. They said the journal is durable and nice to write in.

No.5

PaperagePocket Lined Notebook

Pocket Lined Notebook  Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Pocket Lined Notebook  Image 2
Source:amazon.com
Pocket Lined Notebook  Image 3
Source:amazon.com
Pocket Lined Notebook  Image 4
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$49.95

Best Bulk Option for Students

Pros:

  • Pack of 10 identical journals
  • Rounded corners
  • Lies flat when opened
  • Storage pocket at the back
  • 160 acid-free pages

Cons:

  • Elastic closure can come loose

For those who do a lot of writing, such as students, this pack of 10 journals is a good choice. The rounded corners of the journals mean they are less likely to get damaged and loose pieces of paper can be kept safe in the back pocket. The journal also lies flat, making it easy to write in.


A few reviewers reported that the elastic closure on the journal came loose and there were also a few comments that the journals weren't as high-quality as some other brands. Reviewers confirmed that the journals do lie open, however, and they said that most pens do not bleed through the pages. For reviewers that quickly go through journals, at either school or in the office, these were a great buy.

No.6

SiixuCelestial Journal

Celestial Journal Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Celestial Journal Image 2
Source:amazon.com
Celestial Journal Image 3
Source:amazon.com
Celestial Journal Image 4
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$14.59
Reference price
$14.59

Best Unique and Beautiful Journal

Pros:

  • 192-page journal
  • Over 96 pages have pretty designs
  • Two attached bookmarks
  • Lies flat when opened

Cons:

  • Linen cover can become dirty or scratched

If you want a journal that can inspire you with every page, then this colorful and artistic journal may be what you're looking for. Over half of the pages in the journal feature pretty watercolor designs in a variety of colors and the cover is bound in plain linen. The cover has a removable sticker and you can keep your place with the two attached bookmarks.


The material of the cover is criticized by some reviewers as it can get easily caught and pilled. A few reviewers also expected more decorated pages than they received. Overall though, reviewers were pleased with their purchase and found the binding to be sturdy and durable. They said that the pages are of good quality and the designs are visible without obscuring their writing. Many found the designs encouraged them to write even more.

No.7

More Than MagicSmart Reusable Notebook

Smart Reusable Notebook Image 1
Source:target.com
Smart Reusable Notebook Image 2
Source:target.com
Smart Reusable Notebook Image 3
Source:target.com
Reference price
$10.00
Reference price
$10.00

Best Journal for Kids

Pros:

  • Colorful and eye-catching design
  • Includes a colorful pen and stickers
  • Magnetic closure
  • Perforated pages

Cons:

  • Pen isn't of high-quality

This journal is designed for kids. The colorful design of the cover is also replicated throughout the journal by pink margins and a 'kind hearted' logo on each page. Each journal comes with stickers and an equally colorful pen, which can be kept inside the journal thanks to a pen loop.


A few reviewers commented that the pen isn't of good quality, but the journal itself is highly praised. Reviewers said the pages are thick and the color doesn't bleed through. The design of the journal was a big hit with kids and there are many reports of kids eagerly writing in this journal.

No.8

S. J. Scott and Barrie DavenportLocking Journal

Locking Journal  Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Locking Journal  Image 2
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$24.99
Reference price
$24.99

Best Journal With Prompts

Pros:

  • 365 daily prompts
  • Weekly mindfulness themes
  • One page per prompt
  • Designed to keep you journaling daily

Cons:

  • Too heavy and thick to travel with
  • Too tightly bound to lie flat

Beginning a journal can be difficult, so if you need an extra hand to get going a guided journal with prompts can be a great way to start. Each prompt has its own page in this journal so you can write as much as you need. There is a different prompt for each day and the prompts are designed to improve your mood and mindfulness.


Some reviewers found this journal difficult to write in because the binding of the book was too tight to easily write in. They also said that it was too large and heavy to fit in a purse. Reviewers said the paper was good to write on, however, and that the prompts were engaging and thought-provoking. They liked that the journal can be completed in order or at random.

No.9

Scribbles That MatterMixed Media Art Journal

Mixed Media Art Journal Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Mixed Media Art Journal Image 2
Source:amazon.com
Mixed Media Art Journal Image 3
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$19.97
Reference price
$19.97

Best for Bullet Journals

Pros:

  • Numbered pages
  • Index pages at the front
  • Storage pocket at the back
  • Elastic closure and pen loop
  • Large number of color options

Cons:

  • Quality control can be lacking

At 160gsm, the pages in this journal are thicker than any other on this list. This journal is designed mainly for bullet journaling due to its dotted pages, numbering, and bleed-proof pages, but it can be used for any purpose. You can choose from a wide variety of colors and designs and there is a pen loop and elastic closure.


Some reviewers stated that they have bought multiple journals from this company with no issue, but that a more recent journal has been damaged or misprinted. Reviewers confirmed that the thickness of the pages prevents bleeding and is easy to write on. They liked the opacity of the dots and said they're dark enough to see, but not dark enough to stick out when colored over.

No.10

MaledenRefillable Spiral Daily Notepad

Reference price
$10.98

Best Refillable Journal

Pros:

  • Durable PU leather cover
  • Available in several colors
  • Can be tied shut
  • Can be refilled with other styles of pages 

Cons:

  • Quality of the paper included is low

This journal features blank craft paper that works well for writing and drawing. It's refillable, and its cover is made of PU leather to protect your journal when you're outdoors and on an adventure. It's also aesthetically pleasing with a beautiful pattern and two pendants.


Some reviewers didn't like the quality of the paper and found the journal to be smaller than expected. Nevertheless, many other reviewers said that it was just the right size to carry around everywhere. They stated that the cover is very durable and they loved the option of refilling the journal with lined pages as well as blank if they wanted to.

Check Out Even More Great Stationery

Once you've figured out which journal to go for, you might want other stationery items to help you start writing and creating! Here are a few things you can try out. 

Amazon's Best Selling Notebooks and Writing Pads

If you're still looking for some ideas, why not check out the best sellers on Amazon?

Top 5 Writing Journals

No. 1: MoleskineClassic Notebook Soft Cover

No. 2: Leuchtturm1917A5 Dotted Hardcover Notebook

No. 3: Amazon BasicsAll Weather Universal

No. 4: KomalCHard Cover Notebook

No. 5: PaperagePocket Lined Notebook

View Full Ranking
The descriptions of each product are referenced from content available on manufacturer, brand, and e-commerce sites.
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