Whether you are spending your days and nights studying for the bar exam, you’re already a practicing attorney or you simply like lined notepads for jotting down ideas or making notes for your history class, legal pads are a great asset to anyone who still practices the art of the handwritten word.
Measuring 8.5 inches by 11.75 inches and typically sold in a light yellow color, legal notepads are a staple in any law firm and in many classrooms. The pads are available in a variety of colors but many prefer using the traditional yellow as it’s considered less abrasive to eyes than bright white paper.
Legal pads don’t have a cover like a traditional notebook and they are bound along the top and not on the side, which can make it difficult to flip through them quickly. On the other hand (literally), left-handed writers will likely enjoy using legal notepads since they won’t have to compete with a spiral binding.
Legal pads are not appropriate for all types of notetaking but when it comes to making notes on an important case or jotting down ideas for a project or essay, legal pads could be your preferred pad of paper. These are the best legal pads to buy right now.
1. TOPS The Legal Pad
Not all notes are created equal and that’s why we like the TOPS The Legal Pad set that includes a full-size legal pad and a matching Junior pad. Each pad includes 50 lined yellow sheets and the set comes with 12 pads of both sizes. The matching Junior size measures 5 inches by 8 inches and all the sheets are perforated for easy detachment.
Pros: Tops also sells their legal pads in legal size, which measures 8.5 inches by 14 inches.
Cons: Fountain pens may leak through onto the paper below.
TOPS The Legal Pad
2. Ampad Evidence Dual Ruled Pad
Write longer notes and file them easily using the Ampad Evidence Dual Ruled Pad. The legal pad is available in white or standard canary yellow (shown here) and the pads are SFI-Certified. The 15-pound sheets are all three-hole punched for easy filing in binders. The extra strong chipboard backing provides a stable writing base.
Pros: The Ampad is double the size of a standard legal pad and has 100 sheets per pad.
Cons: The Ampad comes with the biggest price tag.
Ampad Evidence Dual Ruled Pad
3. Roaring Spring Enviroshades Recycled Legal Pads
If you need an easy way to differentiate between several ongoing projects, we recommend the Roaring Spring Enviroshades Recycled Legal Pads. The set of six legal pads comes with orchid, blue, green, ivory, pink and grey, creating a simple way to visually categorize each project. Each pad has a heavy chipboard backing for stability. The 20-pound paper is the thickest on our list and the least likely for the ink to bleed through.
Pros: The pads are made in America from 30% post-consumer waste.
Cons: The perforation is minimal and it can be difficult to cleanly tear off the page.
Roaring Spring Enviroshades Recycled Legal Pads
4. AmazonBasics Legal Wide Ruled Pad
Whether you need multiple pads for a classroom or office or want to ensure you’ve always got a backup, we recommend the AmazonBasics Legal Wide Ruled Pad. The pads are sold in a set of 12 and each pad contains 50 traditional-style legal-sized pieces of paper. The wide-ruled paper makes it easy to take large notes and the top of each sheet is perforated for convenient detachment.
Pros: The paper is 16 pounds, making it one of the thicker sheets on our list.
Cons: The cardboard backing is very thin and used alone does not provide a stable surface for writing.