Notebooks have been around for centuries and for a good reason. While it may be tempting to simply take notes, jot down ideas, draw, and more on our phones and computers, there are many benefits to using a notebook, including better memory retention and no chance of running out of batteries mid-thought.
Notebooks and journals are a great item to give as a gift to yourself or someone else. Not only are notebooks a timeless present, but they are also a valuable item to use every day. Using a pen and paper and writing in a notebook can help to boost memory while also enabling people to better understand concepts compared to taking notes on a computer or phone. In a study done with college students, those who took handwritten notes were able to retain the information they learned in class at a higher rate than those who used laptops. Not only did the students experience immediate heightened retention, but they were also better able to remember and understand the concepts at a later time when trying to recall what they learned.
In addition to helping with memory, we like that using a notebook allows us to disconnect. Whether taking notes in class or a meeting, writing down goals and ideas, or reflecting on the day, using a journal compared to a computer or phone provides a quiet space that is free from the distraction of instant messenger, emails, texts, and phone calls, which can interrupt the flow of writing.
Notebooks are also great to use when traveling, as you don’t have to worry about their battery running out or using data while abroad.
Some notebooks we’ve included on this list are lined and perfect for a daily journaling practice. Some are made for travel, others are a grid format that’s great for design. We love that all of them provide a space that is perfect for when inspiration strikes.
1. Moleskine Classic Hard Cover Large Notebook
One of the most recognizable names in notebooks around the world, the Moleskine Classic Hard Cover Large Notebook features the classic leather-like cover and elastic closure that has become a trademark of the international brand.
Pros: The Moleskine features the company’s durable, leather-like cover and elastic band, which helps keep the journal and any added loose items secure, perfect for those looking for a book to travel with. The inside of the journal includes a storage folder, and the blank ivory pages are lined and perfect for any kind of notetaking. Each journal contains acid-free paper that is fountain pen-friendly and an attached ribbon bookmark. The large Moleskine can lay flat at 180 degrees and features an In case of Loss section for personal information at the front of the book.
Cons: The Moleskine is on the pricier end of notebooks.
2. Lemome Thick Classic Notebook with Pen Loop
The Lemome Thick Classic Notebook with Pen Loop is a durable faux leather hardcover journal with a classic style and extra thick paper that won’t bleed or easily rip.
Pros: Made with high quality, extra thick paper that won’t bleed and can withstand rough erasing, the Lemome is a classic and durable lined notebook. Like the Moleskine, the Lemome can lay flat, has an elastic closure for added safety, and has an expandable pocket for loose papers. The Lemome is the only notebook on our list that comes with a convenient pen loop.
Cons: Pen loop is susceptible to stretching.
3. The SELF Journal By BestSelf Co.
A favorite among entrepreneurs, including Shark Tank’s Daymond John, as well as students, business owners, athletes and more, the SELF Journal By BestSelf Co. guides users through a 13-week course of daily, weekly and monthly goals.
Pros: The SELF Journal is designed to guide users through their goals, including spots for goals, daily targets, gratitude, lessons, and more. Designed for 13-week goals and with unspecified dates, the journal can be started at any time. The SELF Journal includes sections that ask questions that spur reflection to inspire an increase in happiness and productivity. Measuring 8.25 x 5.5, the hardcover journal comes with a fabric bookmark, and like the Moleskine, the SELF Journal is fountain-pen friendly.
Cons: Introduction section is somewhat annoying.
4. URSUNSHINE Dotted Grid Notebook
An alternative to your standard lined journal? A dotted grid. It’s perfect for those who like to think and design outside the box. It’s made with premium thick paper and a 100% faux leather durable cover. The paper is acid-free and made to prevent light and air damage over time. The dotted grid is perfect if lined pages tend to bug you, and the professional-looking notebook is great for bringing to meetings and presentations.
Pros: Grid format is easier to draw and design on, high-quality construction, professional-looking cover.
Cons: The book’s spine is not as flexible as other brands and it’s harder to have it lay flat.
5. Simply Genius Travel Journal 6-Pack
This 6-pack comes with A5 travelers notebooks with rounded corners for easy stowing during transit and stitched binding that will stay intact on the road. These journals are simple with blank pages so you can use them for anything including sketching, writing and drawing. They’re also made with eco-friendly ink and the grey-lined paper is made without harsh chemicals. The paper is also no bleed-through, a major plus when trying to cram as many ideas as possible into a small notebook.
Pros: Durable construction, small, compact notebook size, eco-friendly materials, no-bleed through paper.
Cons: The soft covers make them more susceptible to folding.
6. Paperage Lined Journal Notebook
This hardcover journal is built to store and protect all of your best ideas, thoughts, limericks and other written material. It includes rounded corners and high-quality 100 gsm acid-free paper in a light ivory color that’s lined to make organization easy. The cover of the journal is vegan, water-resistant leather and the thread-bound notebook is designed to lay flat easily. This journal also comes in a variety of colors so you can pick and choose which one you like best, or choose separate ones for different written subject matter.
Pros: Water-resistant cover, high-quality construction, lined paper for writing.
Cons: The hard cover makes this notebook heavier than other brands.