Hardcover and Softcover Journals • Composition Notebooks • Spiral

All the Sizes: A5 • B5 • A6 • B6 • and more

Updated: November 22, 2019

You need the perfect bullet journal notebook.
I’m here to help you find it!

In my quest to find the perfect bullet journal notebook I ended up buying 24 notebooks …. uhhh… sorry, that number is now up to around 48 different notebooks!  I keep buying more and more notebooks! Someone help me! I might need a journal intervention. But you’re in luck! My obsession with stationery will help YOU choose the perfect notebook, too.

Even though we’re up to 48-ish notebooks right now, I’ll be adding to this review page as I continue to collect more (because you know I won’t stop shopping anytime soon, right?!).  You’ll find most of the well-known brands that many journalers talk about, but there are also a lot of notebooks brands that are lesser-known. And because so many folks have requested journal types besides just the standard A5 size that most bullet journals are in, I’ve added a whole range of different sizes and notebook types.

We’ll cover B5 or composition notebook size down to the smaller notebooks in B6 and A6 sizes. There are even spiral-bound notebooks in the mix. But it doesn’t stop at notebook sizes, of course. I’m exploring the world of paper weights – everything from 70gsm in Moleskine up to 100gsm in Scribbles That Matter and 120gsm in Lemome and even the ultra-thick 160gsm in Archer & Olive notebooks. I hope to help you better understand the notebook brands you already know about and maybe introduce you to some brands you’ve never heard of before.

So grab a pot of coffee (you’ll need more than a cup) and a snack and let’s dig into these reviews. We’ll look at pen test results, count dots, measure lines, compare paper color and weight … and endure lots of nerdy commentary about all these notebooks. Ready? Let’s go!

Navigating This Epic-Sized Journal Review Page

There’s a lot here and you might need a map to navigate this page. Besides the actual journal reviews below, I’m also going to cover my method for reviewing and choosing my favorites as well as a list of the pens I used and also a little vocabulary lesson. Each notebook will obviously fit into more than one category, so pay attention to the section titles below to find the features of the journal you want.

Let’s start this Bullet Journal Notebook Review already!

And now the mega bullet journal notebook review, in alphabetical order by brand name. As a reminder, this is an unbiased, unpaid, unsponsored, no-BS review of these notebooks. If you see any mistakes or oversights as you’re reading through it, give me a shout and I’ll take a look and make corrections.

Let’s talk about sponsorship

This is NOT a sponsored review … but you can still support me

I want to be very clear about this part before we dive into the reviews. This post is NOT sponsored by any notebook manufacturer, brand or seller. Nobody paid me to write nice things about them. Everything here is my honest personal opinion. 

The vast majority of notebooks here are ones I purchased myself with my own hard earn (and quickly spent) money. Of the 48-ish notebooks here there are 4 journals that I did not purchase but rather they were sent to me for free from the company who sells them. None of those companies required me to write and publish a review in exchange for those free notebooks – they simply asked if they could send me products to try. I am choosing to include those reviews here because I felt they were worthy enough to include. 

In the interest of full transparency with my reviewing process, I have updated all the reviews in this series to include a notation of how I acquired the notebook. I will tell you if I paid for it with my own money or if the notebook was sent to me for free. If you have any question about this notation or if anything is unclear, please reach out to me and ask. My promise to you is that everything you read here is honest, true, raw and real.

 Why am I so passionate about this aspect of Stationery Nerd? Because I was duped by reviews that were not completely honest about the reviewer’s connection with the brands and I wasted a lot of money buying recommended journals that didn’t live up to the hype those reviewers conveyed. I’m taking the opposite approach with this series of reviews (and the entire website in general).

Honest. True. Raw. Real. 100% of the time. I promise.

Buying excessive amounts of stationery supplies can get expensive. But in the interest of supporting my stationery hoarding habit, some of the links in these reviews are actually affiliate links to Amazon or elsewhere. That simply means that when you click on those links and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission on those purchases at no additional cost to you. To put it into context, if you purchase a notebook that costs $15, I will earn about 58-cents or so.

You are not obligated to click on any link I include here, but if you do, thank you! Every little bit helps me to purchase more and more stationery supplies so I can continue providing in-depth nerdy reviews here for you.

For more information about sponsored content, affiliate links, and advertising on this website to read the full affiliate disclaimer policy.

Notebook Specs We'll Review

Notebook & Journal Specs

Before we jump in I want to tell you what the criteria were as I was searching for a notebook as I was on my initial quest to find the perfect notebook for myself.

This all started when I started carrying a notebook with me everywhere about seven months ago. I’ve always carried notebooks but suddenly it had become an everyday necessity. I had developed my own task management and life organizing system over the years, but one day a friend point out that what I was doing was called “bullet journaling,” which sent me down a rabbit hole of discovery. So I started calling my journal a bullet journal (even though I didn’t play by all the rules – see my Hybrid Bullet Journal System here) and continued to use my journal to keep track of my daily tasks, thoughts, interesting tidbits or quotes, and even for taking notes when I listened to a podcast (another obsession of mine) or read a book. The journal I was carrying was just one I already had in my stash and just pulled off the shelf and started using it (the Green Inspired Journal in the photo below also has a full review on the list). Then at the end of May, I made a purchase of a Galen Leather handcrafted notebook cover. By the first of June, the first notebook has been purchased and the pen testing began!

We’re NOT going to discuss my obsession with leather in this post. But let’s just say that it’s real. Just look at this notebook cover. I’m sure you can understand the obsession.

I knew my next journal needed to meet a specific set of requirements to even make it to my shopping cart. Since I was spending my own money on these, I needed to be highly selective in the notebooks I purchased to test. The list of requirements for my perfect notebook are:

  • SIZE – It needed to be an A5 size to fit the new leather notebook cover.
  • LINES OR DOTS – I prefer a lined notebook as opposed to a blank sketchbook or dot grid. Although I do love dots in certain circumstances, so dots weren’t completely out of the running if something caught my eye. It’s interesting that I started this search looking exclusively for lines but ended up choosing a dotted notebook as the winner for my own use.
  • COVER – A beautiful cover is a bonus. If it’s something that I enjoy holding in my hand for the next several months, it’d have a better chance of being chosen. We’re not talking color here, this is about how it FEELS in my hand, the material from which it’s made and how sturdy the notebook construction might be over the time I use it.
  • PAPER – The biggest and most important factor is the paper. High quality, smooth paper that doesn’t show any ghosting or bleeding is essential. I don’t want to be restricted by which pen I use, so the paper needed to deal with any of my most trusted pens (we’ll talk about those in a minute).

So now that the requirements were settled I started searching. I watched review videos on YouTube, I read reviews on individual notebook listings on Amazon, and I even scoured all of the bullet journal guru websites to find out which journal they were using.

What I found was that almost universally everyone was using the Leuchtturm1917 dotted notebook and they loved it beyond measure. In fact, the creator of the Bullet Journal system, Ryder Carroll, even had a special edition version of the Leuchtturm1917 with the Bullet Journal branding on the cover. So I took a closer look at the brand and specs of that notebook. I was skeptical because the paperweight didn’t seem to be good quality at 80 gsm. And seeing pen test results online concerned me because of the ghosting and bleeding. But I decided to give it a try anyway. My full review is below.

That’s where things started going downhill. I trusted the Bullet Journal gurus to tell me the truth. But when I saw the results of my own initial pen tests, I realized that those gurus were probably being paid to say nice things about a notebook that had really bad paper and was overpriced for such poor paper quality.

Then I fell victim to the same notebook “experts” who were raving about UberWorks notebooks. YouTubers and bloggers were so excited about how great these notebooks were, so I jumped on that bandwagon too. My full review of Uber Works is also below.

I kept being disappointed whenever I listened to someone else’s review of a notebook. I was tired of being duped. So I dug in and did what I did best. I researched, tested, evaluated, compared, and bought more notebooks than any one girl could use in a lifetime …. and here we are now.

After a couple unhappy starts to my notebook hunt I decided to get serious about specs. From here on out I was not going to try any notebook that had less than 100 GSM paper. I found several that meet the requirements and started placing orders. What I have for you below is a comprehensive review of all of the notebooks that I have collected, where they came from, how to find them yourself and what details you need to know about their quality and usefulness as a  bullet journal, art journal, or writing journal.

Vocabulary and Glossary of Terms

Welcome to Vocabulary School…

I want to make sure we all know what we’re talking about before we get too far into this review. So let’s start with some vocabulary.

  • GSM – grams per square meter – this is a measure of the paperweight. The higher the number, the thicker the paper.

  • GHOSTING – when you can see the writing from the previous page on the next blank page. Sometimes ghosting is minor and unobtrusive. Often it’s a major problem and can interfere with the writing you put on the following page. Some people aren’t bothered by ghosting, Personally, I hate it. I want a clean, fresh, unblemished page to write on.

  • BLEEDING – when the ink from your pen or marker soaks through the paper and appears on the following page or stains the next sheet in the notebook. Bleeding is always bad. I don’t know anyone who says they like or tolerate bleed-through.

  • FEATHERING – when the ink spreads along the fibers of the paper and creates a feathered appearance along the line you drew. This usually happens when you have uncoated (matte) paper.

  • COATED PAPER – this term is one used in the paper manufacturing industry and is different than the same term used during the printing process. When paper has been coated by a polymer mixture to change the quality of the paper itself that impacts the weight, surface gloss, smoothness or reduced ink absorbency. Coated paper range from very glossy to only slightly glossy – the level of coatedness (is that a word?) directly impacts how the ink behaves on the page. Heavily coated paper won’t let the ink soak into the fibers of the paper that would create feathering and bleeding. However, because the ink doesn’t absorb into the paper, it sits on top of the paper and needs to dry on its own before it becomes permanent – which is what caused the ink to smear easily. Uncoated paper allows ink to soak in and dry quickly. Think of newspaper as uncoated but a glossy magazine as coated.

  • NOTEBOOK vs. JOURNAL – for the purposes of this review, I’ll be using these two terms interchangeably. If you want to get technical about the etymology of the words, journal is derived from the French term jour – meaning day. So a notebook is a blank book whereas a journal is a notebook that you write in each day. But that seems like splitting hairs here, so we’re just going to pretend they mean the same thing for now. Okay?

Pens and Markers and Highlighters! Oh, My!

Let’s talk about pens. I’m a “black pen” type of gal. I don’t use colors pens or markers in my journal…. Well, I do once in awhile, but not often. I like a dark black ink – not heavy or wet, but true black. I also use highlighters in my journal. Usually just pink and green (you can learn more about why highlighters are so important in my journaling process by checking out the Pastel Highlighter Showdown).

Each journal in this review was put through a pen test to find out how well the paper stood up to a variety of ink types. This includes a collection of the pens I use regularly along with the two highlighters I’ve used in my journals that have the wettest, heaviest ink coverage:

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Hardcover Notebooks

Because this review is so epic – no really, it’s truly amazing! – I had to split up the full journal review into two main sections. Hardcover notebooks and soft cover notebooks. Each hardcover bullet journal notebook I’ve purchased and reviewed is listed here – just click on the picture and it will open a new window with the full review. You can read the all of the reviews in their epicness, or you can take the road of sanity and only jump to a specific brand you’re considering. Or feel free to skip all the individual reviews and jump to the bottom where I tell you which notebook I finally decided to use for my everyday bullet journal … and what I’m going to do with all the other ones.

Softcover Notebooks

Because this review is so epic – no really, it’s truly amazing! – I had to split up the full journal review into two main sections. Hardcover notebooks and softcover notebooks. Just click the photo of the journal you want to learn more about and it will open the full review in a new tab. The softcover section is much smaller than the hardcover, but there are some really good options in this section. In fact, two of my top five notebooks have soft covers. Definitely, give them a fair shake if you haven’t tried one of these yet.


Whew! We made it to the end. Finally! I’m curious to know if you read the whole thing or if you skipped around and only checked out the journals you were specifically interested in (drop me a comment below and let me know!). I had to go back and look at my Amazon receipts, but I can confirm that between the time I bought my first journal in this quest to the date I’m publishing this review – it’s been a long FIVE MONTHS! So now let’s do some wrap-up and announce the winners of this epic journal review.

The Winner is Crowned!

Just in case you didn’t see mention of it above, there are a couple winners in the group of journals I reviewed. Based on the original requirements I named earlier (size, lines or dots, cover quality, and paperweight) I have some favorites. There are two categories of winners here — journals I’m already using for something and journals I love and I’m searching for a reason to use them. And the winners are …

Journals I’m currently using

  • Tekukor – my everyday carry bullet journal
  • Lemome cork cover – work journal
  • UberWorks LUFT – my handwritten diary
  • Green Inspired – my learning and notetaking notebook

Journals I love and will use soon

  • Pentalic Traveler’s Notebook – I think the lined journal will be my next handwritten diary
  • Daycraft – my next bullet journal will be a lined journal, this might be the pick when I’m done with the Tekukor
  • Lemome –  if I don’t go with DayCraft for my next journal, it might be the Lemome Cork

Journals I recommend for bullet journalers like me

I know a lot of you struggle with finding the perfect journal. I hope this massive review has helped you decide. But if you still can’t make up your mind and you just want to know how I rank the journals that I like and recommend, I’ll give you some help here. After this little experiment (ha! I said “little”) I don’t believe I will ever buy a notebook with anything less than 100gsm paper (with only a couple rare exceptions noted below).  Yes, that means I’ll never by a Leuchtturm1917 or even the special edition Bullet Journal Leuchtturm1917 designed by Ryder Carroll — if that makes me lose my bullet journalist card, so be it.

100gsm weight paper

  • Green Inspired Notebook – available locally at Target (110gsm)
  • Lemome Bullet Journal
  • Peter Pauper Press Essentials Notebook
  • Scribbles That Matter
  • Superior Maker Executive Notebook
  • Tekukor Dotted Notebook
  • Daycraft Signature or Inspiro Collection

120gsm weight paper

  • Lemome Classic (suede) Cover
  • Lemome Cork Cover
  • Pentalic Traveler Pocket Journal

80gsm and 90gsm – exceptional exceptions

  • Clairefontaine Basic Notebook (90gsm) – a dream to write on!
  • UberWorks LUFT or GAYA (80gsm) – but only with the right pen, no heavy ink here

What did I miss?

I already know that there are some popular notebook options that didn’t make the list. Some that you might want me to review in a future post, maybe. Here are a few that I already know you’ve asked for and why they aren’t on this list.

  • NUUNA — this European notebook looks like an absolute dream! The covers are fun and I hear the paper is amazing. But here in the United State, these notebooks aren’t easy to come by. If I were to order from the company’s website, the total price would come in around $30-45 … not exactly budget-friendly. Also, the sizes of these books aren’t in line with normal A-sizes. They are sized at 6.5 x 8.7 inches (165 x 220mm) — much too large for my Galen Leather cover. So this brand was out.
  • Rhodia — I know a lot of people are raving about the new Rhodia Goal Book right now and I’ve been tempted to give it a try. But the Rhodia paper comes in at 90gsm and after a while, I made the rule that I’d never buy any notebook with less than 100gsm at a minimum. So the Rhodia didn’t make the cut. If you’d like to see a good pen test review of the Rhodia paper, check out this one by Heart Sprinkle.
  • Citrus Book Bindery – Fran McKay over on the Etsy shop for Citrus Book Bindery does a beautiful job with her handcrafted journals. She uses at least 130gsm paper (or heavier if you need something for art journaling or multi-media pages) and hand makes each of her journals to your specifications. I haven’t ordered one yet. But I drool often. I’m sending you over there so you can drool too. One day I’ll have one in my hands and I’ll tell you all about it!

All Done! Your Turn…

So that wraps up this epic, crazy-long, ridiculously wordy journal review. If you’ve made it this far, let me know and I’m going to send you a gold star for your bullet journal! You’re amazing!

Drop me a comment below and let me know which journal you’re going to try out from this list. Or let me know if you agree, disagree or think I’m completely off my rocker for some review I’ve written above. I’d love to hear what you have to say!


  1. Stephanie

    Great review! I have the Peter Pauper Press and feel your review was spot on for it. I love it, although I’ve been thinking about trying Dingbats or STM next time. I wish PPP had more cover options for dotted/grid. I looooove the copper LT but don’t think I’ll ever buy one because of the ghosting and bleed through, that would drive me nuts.

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Stephanie: I keep getting tempted by the Dingbats (I think I’d go for the red kangaroo). I’m a little concerned about the size though – I wonder if it’d fit in my A5 leather notebook cover since it’s almost a 1/2″ wider than true A5. I think that’s what’s held me back from trying it out. But they sure are adorable!

      • Stephanie

        I like the grey with the elephant 🙂 I don’t have a cover at the moment, but I’ve thought about getting one so that’s something to consider.

        • Megan

          This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!! Thank you so much for going through all this trouble to crown the best journals out there. I’ve been doing my own research as well and would be interested to hear about what you think of these brands: Archer and Olive – have something ridiculous like 160gsm paper but only around 120 pages per book; Mossery – cool customizable covers but mixed reviews on paper; and Compoco – for those who are looking for a really eccentric cover.

          • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

            Megan – I’m so glad I could help you find the right journal for you. And yes, I’ve got more coming. LOTS more (I’m so behind!). I’m working on a head-to-head comparison of six different 160gsm paper notebooks and Archer & Olive is one of those. Look for that soon! I haven’t heard of the other two you mention (off to investigate).

      • Jamal

        Personally i encourage using a Dingbats Notebooks for having masteted an exceptional quality

  2. Julia Johnson

    I read the whole thing. I want to chuck my Walmart notebook in the trash and get that gold pentalic beauty. I don’t even have good notebook habits yet! Thanks for the review! I’m now a loyal reader and fan!

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Julia: You’re going to LOVE LOVE LOVE that Pentalic Gold. Don’t worry about having good notebook habits yet, just take it one page at a time (and you might as well have good paper while you’re learning too!).

  3. Journallings by Sara

    Thanks for the review – yes I read it all the way. Some hard work you have done! Love your blog by the way. 🙂

    I also thought the stone book is ridiculous when I saw it advertised. They marketed it as eco-friendly, but in comparison to paper books I dont see the eco there. The leftover powdered stone would be better used in stone like resin composite materials, and how could that book be recycled?

    The review on Leuchtturm raised my eyebrows a little bit. I use a black Leuhtturm and I absolutely love it, and it is one of the most often used books, so it cannot be that bad? It has some nice qualities which were not the focus of this review. It truly opens flat and stays open. (The post does not mention how flat the books open for all revuewed books.) It has 2 ribbons, with different colours and durable material. I am not bothered about ghosting – I think ghosting is somehow beautiful. It does not bleed through with the pens that I use: Tombow Fudenosuke, Crayola Supertips, Mildlibers, Pentel Energel, Pilot Frixions, Pilot G2, etc. So, for someone who only uses rollerball ink pens for writing it is great.

    I prefer thinner pages also because it gives the option to have a lot of pages in a relatively compact journal. So I do not want to opt to thicker pages in a larger journal or same size with less pages. LT maximises the pages in a compact journal. I have a Nuuna as well, but definitely prefer Leuchtturm and will buy it again when the current bujo ends. Nuuna has the same number of pages but is 1 cm thicker than LT with its 90g Munken paper. The pages are slightly bigger but it is 300g heavier than LT. That’s a lot of space and weight in my back pack with laptop and other stuff I need to carry.

    So, I wouln’t suspect that there is a marketing conspiracy behind the positive reviews – many people simply love their LTs. I have never received a free journal or money for my opinion.

    Moreover, in addition to A5, LT offers a full A4 size journal with 249 pages – something that is insanely difficult to find in other brands (I think does not exist). That would be great for a student who wants to gather all study notes in a single book, or someone doing a PhD.

    However, I am on the same page with you that I probably would not trust the recommendations of a heavily monetized, marketing oriented blog.

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Sara: Thank you for your thoughtful and in-depth comments. I truly appreciate your feedback and insight. Comments like these (and the others here) demonstrate exactly the reason I’ve started this website. I want a place where we can all get detailed information about the products we want to use without feeling like we’ll be attacked or looked down upon for our own opinions. I’d like to address a couple of your points:

      I believe I may have unconsciously judged Leuchtturm more harshly than some other brands and most likely because the expectation had been set SO high by all those sponsored endorsements that I was expecting a product made from 24-carat gold plated magic. So when the ghosting turned out to be so bad I was shocked and dismayed. I know there are a lot of people who are not bothered by ghosting and some who actually love it. I suspect those people are in the minority. I do understand that there are those who are not bothered by ghosting, so the paper choice doesn’t make as much of a difference for them.

      Regarding the lay-flat design of LT1917. I actually found that virtually all hardcover journals with a sewn binding opened flat and stayed put. Some might require a bit of breaking in or massaging, but there wasn’t any hardcover book that I recall having a problem with not lying flat on the desk. So yes, LT does open flat, but so do almost all of the others. In fact, I think Lemome books (suede and cork covers) get the top prize for that feature.

      Yes, LT1917 has a lot of pages and that’s great for people who want to extend the life of their notebook for an entire year or longer. But also remember that there are several brands that have high page counts with exceptional quality paper – Scribbles That Matter comes to mind with 201 pages. Personally, page count isn’t a major factor for me because I love notebooks and seem to collect a lot of them (oh wait, I’m sure you already realize that. LOL!) so I want to use up as many as I can. I also get bored with notebooks and want something new once I’ve been in one for a few months – I’m already feeling that way about my Tekukor. Not because I don’t like my Tekukor or my bullet journal inside of it, but because I know I’ve got a massive lineup of amazing books waiting to be used and I’m itching to try a new book soon.

      I agree that the field of A4 (or even U.S. letter-sized) notebooks with good quality paper and high page count are hard to find. I’m so glad that Scirbbles just came out with their new size options and seem to be releasing new products at the speed of lightning based on what their customers want and need. That might be a research project for me at some point in the future as I believe there’s a real to uncover those hidden gems of that size.

      Thank you again for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate you!

      • Journallings by Sara

        Dear Pam, thanks for your reply. Of course it is natural be more critical if expectations have been high and the perceived quality is not up to it. But you made clear in so many instances that this is your subjective analysis and open up your reasoning in a transparent way, so that is more than fine.

        On a last note on the LT topic, I just want to add that people who are critical/disappointed on a product tend to be louder in publishing complaints (certainly not talking about you here) and so it might give the impression that most people are bothered with the ghosting and very few people like it. But it could be that the people who love it, keep writing to their books happily ever after, not posting to social media about it. When someone asks, I tell how happy I am with my LT, but I don’t start a post about it, and often do not comment, because getting involved in discussions take time.

        I also think that if I cannot feel “planner peace” with a bit of ghosting, that would exclude a lot nice notebooks and paper pads that are otherwise nice. I choose not be restricted by that. I just bought a note pad with paper that is only 60 gramms and not coated, but had the other (very very nerdy) important specs I had. 😀

        Many people praise STM and Dingbats over everything. Those are not sold in Northern Europe where I live, and they look like perhaps they speak to the US market more. Just speculating here. Those might be great, but I am this nerdy black book lady who does not want any funny creatures in my notebook when I want to look serious at work. ;D

        Regarding pages, the difference between 200 and 250 pages is huge to someone who fills in the book economically (like me), it could mean 3 or 4 four months extra in the lifecycle of that book. Then I meet other people who want to finish their book quickly to be able to start a new one. We are all different!

        I was just looking for a book in a brick and mortar shop, and I found many books that did not open fully. I made a brief observation about them, and it looks like if the sewn papers are glued from the spine to the hard outer back of the book, it does not open flat. LT and Nuuna and Victoria’s journal that I have used, are not glued to the back, but separated on the spine.

        Just to add, I was not trying to look down on anybody or anything in my comment, I am not a native english speaker and cannot always finetune the nuances in my text. I am a research and cannot avoid that nature in me even with my hobbies. Perhaps should put a disclaimer before every comment!

        Yours truly,
        A fellow stationery nerd

        PS my blog at is still a bit under contruction, but will definitely put you blog to my blog roll once I figure out how to do it in WordPress. Keep posting!

        • Jay

          I feel the same way 🙂 the ghosting dosent bother me at all and i love that the pages are thinner. My first LT almost felt like a first love haha. STM dosent appeal to me at all to be honest, I don’t like the outside or the fonts in the inside.


  4. beckiejay

    this whole post is amazing. i’m coming close to finishing my first bullet journal, which I started in a brand that even I can’t remember the name of – it did the job and I hate to waste a purchase, so i’m taking it to the end despite some pretty drastic ghosting and bleeding with my pens. i’d been so confused for a long while as to which I’d get next – like an LT1917?? – because everyone raves about them, so they must be good, right?!

    i think this post and your spreadsheet will be like my bible when deciding what book to get next. honestly, it’s between a Rhodia or STM… though I loved that Pentalic Metallic Journal, dismayed to find out the one I wanted (in copper) only came in blank. ah well…!

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Beckiejay – thank you so much for your kind words. You can’t go wrong with Scribbles or Pentalic. I haven’t tried the Rhodia, so not sure how that stands up to the others. Let me know what you decide on though!

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Welcome! I’m curious… What journal are you using now?

  5. Ellen

    Wow this is awesome! I recently was trying to decide on a journal for my very first bullet journal and did a lot of online research…if only I had had this! Ended up going with a rhodia after seeing paper tests of the lt1917 and how much ghosting it showed! I’m totally with you on that, why would I want my previous page to show up on my next?? Anyways, I’m very happy with my rhodia (very very minimal ghosting/no bleeding) but I may try one of these suggestions for my next one! Thanks for all the hard work on this! Also would love to see your review of rhodia sometime 🙂

  6. mamamiau

    I only recently heard of the Tekukor (sp?) notebooks but I will definitely be checking them out. I have used both LT1917 and Clairefontaine Essentials, both gridded. I really enjoyed the Clairefontaine notebooks, but be advised the Essentials do not have the bright white paper you get with the Basic.

    For 2018, I bought an Enigma from Taroko Design. It has 68 GSM Tomoe River paper, which holds up to watercolor (I’ve given it a workout in a pocket-sized notebook) and displays a level of ghosting with fountain pen inks that is acceptable to me. The paper is white, which became increasingly important to me over the years. I believe I can make it last for an entire year.

    If the Enigma disappoints, I will go looking for the Tekukor. It appears to have the white paper I crave, I’ve learned to adapt from square grid to dot grid, and I like the pre-numbered pages.

    Thank you for all this work!

  7. Nolwenn

    Thank you for your thorough review! Many brands are not available in Europe or not easily but if I need a separate journal for whatever (writing, learning a language,…), I’ll try one of the brands you recommend ?
    I would like to chime in about the Leuchtturm. I am halfway through my first one and already have two others waiting for me ? I love the colourful hard covers, I love the index, the numbered pages, the paper colour and quality, the fact that the binding doesn’t break despite everything I do with it, the many pages and that the LT doesn’t take too much space in my bag. Usually I prefer real white to ivory/cream colours but I find the creamy paper much more pleasing to the eye and not so “harsh”. Yes the paper is thinner than other journals but I don’t mind ghosting. (My) life is not perfect, nor should my journal be! I feel it looks more “lived in”, what I did in the past has consequences on my present/future ? I even use watercolour without paying attention to the amount of water I use and I am very pleased with the result (paper wise not artistic wise ?). People criticise the “bad paper quality” of the Leuchtturm, I would like to point out that the paper thickness and the paper quality are two very different things. The paper itself has a really good quality (e.g. I can use a fountain pen as a lefty and not smear!). The thickness is like regular printing paper, so nothing out of the ordinary.
    Of course choosing and loving a journal depends on your preferences and your criteria, the LT is obviously not your first choice and of course it’s fine. But there are people who are not paid for raving about the Leuchtturm and genuinely love it ?

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Hi Nolwenn – thanks so much for your insight and sharing your experience with your LT journal. I like what you said >>> “What I did in the past has consequences on my present/future.” <<<< what a great way to explain your love (or tolerance) of ghosting on the page of your journal. I absolutely understand that there are major fans of the LT notebooks and that they will defend them to the death (very similar with Apple products and their fans).

  8. Vivian

    Thank you so much! I’m using a moleskine at the moment, but I want to start a new journal in 2018. I’ve just ordered the pentalic art traveler journal 🙂 And yes, I read the whole article. It’s awesome!!!

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Vivian – how do you like your Pentalic Art Traveler? Have you had the chance to start using it yet?

      • Vivian

        Hi! I accidentally ordered the a6 equivalent instead of the a5. I didn’t love the paper though, it looked almost white.. So I went with a scribbles that matter instead and I love it! ?

  9. Lauren

    While I appreciate that you don’t like ghosting (neither do I), could I recommend trying to find a Tomoe river 64gsm notebook? Available on Etsy or through Hippo Noto, I brush letter, use wet writing fountain pens without any issues. Better than LT (although I do enjoy them) and better (for me anyway) than STM. Don’t go for the 52gsm paper, although it is wonderful for single side use like letters to show off inks, but it’s a fountain pen paper that really is worth a try. If you don’t want to commit to a large notebook, fountain pen retailers have smaller A5 notebooks so you could give them a try.

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Lauren – yes! I absolutely want to try Tomoe River paper. I’ve just purchased a new fountain pen and a few ink varieties and plan to play with this new medium. I’ve read a lot about Tomoe River paper and how to acts with different types of inks from fountain pens. I’m definitely planning to do some testing and experimenting. I’ve heard a lot of people say that they use their Tomoe River paper as one-sided paper because the ghosting is so terrible. I guess I imagine that paper being a written journal or diary rather than a full blown bullet journal. I personally think I’d go for a pack of loose leaf paper in the 64gsm and make my own notebook. But we’ll see how it all shakes out and I’ll definitely report back once I give it a try.

  10. Sara Andrea Vera

    First of all, thank you for your thorough review. I read it all! I’m a Nuuna <3 gal myself and I don’t see myself switching to another brand unless I can get my hands on an Artebene notebook. The 120 gsm Lemome sounds quite good but I’ve got used to Nuuna’s 3.5 mm dot grid so the 5 mm grid looks “too wide” for me.
    I started bullet journaling in a Leuchtturm and I got very disappointed very quickly. I hate ghosting!!! I must admit that LT’s are very well made notebooks but the paper is atrocious. Also initially I thought I was going to like “cream” paper better but when I started to use my Nuuna I realized I preferred white paper because pens and pencils looked true to their colors.
    Again, thank you for the review and I’m looking forward to read more.

  11. Shawn Evans Crawford

    Thank you so much for your review! I appreciate all the insights you gave for ALL the journals. I also appreciate the humor you included. I am currently using an LT1917 and do like it, but am very interested in some of the other journals you reviewed (Lemome, Notebooks Neo-Dot and Superior Maker). I am glad you included the information about the gsm. I plan to use that information for future purchases.

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Thanks for checking out the review! Let me know which one you decide to try next and how you like it.

  12. Tracey

    Slightly of topic. I currently use a Bondibook from Amazon. I didn’t see it in your list but for my first official bujo it’s a perfect a5 for me. No bleed, minimal ghost with some pens.

    I’m actually curious if you have any leads on a leather a5 cover? I’ve searched all over. Yoh seem to have your finger on the pulse!

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Tracey – I’ve looked at the Bondibook on Amazon… it keeps popping up for me (thanks Amazon!). But unfortunately it’s got 80gsm paper, so it’s one I don’t want to purchase. I’ve made the decision to only buy journals with at least 100gsm paper since I hate ghosting so badly. I’ve looked at some pen tests on the Bondibook and know it’s not one that I’d enjoy. I’m glad you like it though! As for leather covers…. I LOVE mine from Galen Leather. It’s gorgeous leather and such great craftsmanship.

  13. sbpoet

    I have been journaling – not bullet journaling, just journaling – for decades. I use Levenger disc-bound notebooks, for the lovely leather covers and ease of moving different size pages from one notebook to another. I hope that at some point you’ll take a look at other kinds of notebooks.

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      sbpoet – I will be writing about my migration into a discbound book for my business planner. I already have all the supplies because that used to be my main journal style. I love the flexibility of disc system books.

  14. Cheryl

    Thanks so much for all your hard work on this. I read the whole post.

    I just finished using a Rhodia Webnotebook and started a Leuchtturm. There is a big difference between the papers in the two. The only thing I didn’t like with the Rhodia was the fact that it didn’t have numbered pages. But I loved the paper; it is smooth and ghosting is minimal. The dots are just dark enough to see without being obnoxious. The LT paper is thinner, so ghosting is more of a problem. It is also less smooth, and the dots are harder for me to see. I use fountain pens almost exclusively and I really prefer the smoother paper. I will be choosing between the Scribbles That Matter and the Tekukor for my next BuJo. How does the smoothness of the paper compare between those two brands?

    • Cheryl

      I meant to subscribe to comments and forgot, so that is what this comment is for.

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Hi Cheryl:
      I’ve heard the Rhodia Webnotebook is really great. I’ve picked up a Rhodia dot grid pad and I’m playing around with the paper and various pens. I definitely like it. The paper is so smooth! The Scribbles paper is very similar to Tekukor – I think of them both as smooth, but not as silky as Rhodia.

      • Cheryl

        Hi Pam, Thanks for the reply. Do you think the Scribbles paper and the Tekukor paper are smoother than the Leuchtturm paper? Those are the only papers I have and can compare to. Thanks!

        • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

          LOL! I just pulled out all three of my journals — LT, Tekukor, Scribbles, and my Rhodia dot pad — and fondled them all to figure out who had the smoothest paper. LT is definitely the roughest – it’s got major tooth (I never realized quite how much more rough it was than others). Both Tekukor, Scribbles, and Rhodia are smooth compared to LT. Super smooth! In fact, I’d say that those three are equally smooth. I can’t really tell of any difference in the three.

          • Cheryl

            Great – thanks so much! That was exactly what I was hoping, because I really like the smoothness of the Rhodia paper. That still doesn’t help me decide between Tekukor and Scribbles, but I guess you can’t really make that decision for me. LOL!!

            I actually like the fact that the Tekukor doesn’t have a pen loop, because I made a fabric pen holder that I put over the front cover that lets me put more than one pen in it. I think I just figured out that I would prefer the Tekukor (although I love the colors of the Scribbles). Thanks for helping me figure that out. LOL!!!

  15. Beth

    What is the best refill paper?

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Hi Beth: I’m not sure what you mean by “refill paper” — the journals in this article are all hardbound notebooks that don’t typically have the ability to be refilled. There are lots of other journaling / planning systems that will take refills – such as the Travelers Notebook or Discbound or even a 3-ring notebook. Look for paper that’s heavy weight (100gsm) so your pen or markers don’t bleed through.

  16. Melissa

    I just found out about this new company Scrivwell that looks super promising! Acid-free 100gsm paper, 240 pages, A5 size and for a low price point of about $12 USD! Right now on amazon they are only shipping to the US and Canada, I believe, BUT I just messaged the company and they said they plan on selling overseas on amazon starting this summer. In the meantime, they said their etsy shop would probably ship worldwide right now! Would you be willing to do a review of it?

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Hello Melissa! Thanks for your comment … I’ve had my eye on the Scrivwell journal for a while but kept resisting buying yet another journal (I’ve got so many!). But I finally caved and made the purchase. I’m SO impressed with that notebook. I need to do some testing on the paper and run the specs for the full review, but look for that journal to be added to the list of options in this blog post soon.

  17. Lisa Lemons

    I just found your blog and can I just say I really enjoy your voice?! It’s really easy to keep on reading. Though I confess I skipped to the goods once I got to the list of notebooks. I plan to go back through in more depth later though!

    I wanted to say, if you’re looking at it for long-term heavy use, Lemome isn’t a good choice. I came to this page because I was looking for a notebook that could stand the beating I plan to put it through.

    I broke the binding of my Lemome 3 months into using it. To be completely fair, I use my notebook a lot. It’s in and out of my laptop bag constantly. I take a ton of notes. I have way too many interests and meetings. It’s why I started bujo in the first place!

    Personally, I like to use every inch I possibly can before I move onto my next volume. I “fixed” the binding with some precisely laid packing tape and am still using it as if nothing happened. For the price, I’m not even mad. I just wanted to help others avoid that disappointment.

    Sidenote, my fiance is from the 989 too. We live over in Grand Rapids. Happy to see another Michigander on the internet!

    (When you subscribe to your newsletter because of legal stuffs MailChimp reveals your biz location, that’s the only reason I know :))

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Hello Lisa! Nice to see another Michigander online (I peeked at your portfolio – great work!). Thank you for the comment about enjoying my voice – I totally get what you mean and it’s something I’ve been working on over the years and feel like I’ve finally found my groove. Thanks also for weighing in on the Lemome notebooks. I am totally finding the same thing across the web – lots of people are dealing with broken spines and journals that are falling apart. I need to update my reviews to make those notes.

  18. Ben

    Hi Pam, great review you’ve covered some great notebooks, a good chunk of which I’ve got sat on my shelf at home :-). I’d love to introduce you to our new brand Perfectly Penned,, we’ve just launched in the Europe, but are getting some cracking reviews so far and would love to hear what you think.

  19. CassieMarie

    I dont see the FREE A5 JOURNAL COMPARISON SPREADSHEET section. Please let me know where i need to put my email address in to be able to download this link. Thank you, Cassie

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Hi Cassie: The link to sign up for the free spreadsheet download is right in the article – it’s in there twice. Just look for the big blue box with a picture of the spreadsheet on it.

  20. Marcus

    So all of these notebooks fit your Galen leather cover? It seems on their sit they have different covers for different types ofmnotebooks. Did you have any issues getting the Lemome Bullet journal (black and yellow) into the Galen cover?


    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Yes, the Galen Leather A5 Journal Cover will take all of these notebooks. There are a couple of oddball sized notebooks on this list that wouldn’t be a perfect fit like Dingbats that is wider than A5 and Little More that is shorter than A5. Right now Galen Leather is offering these sized journals: A6, A5, B5, A4. Just pay close attention to the description on the listing to make sure you’re getting the right size. And yes, the Lemomoe Bullet Journal in A5 size will fit in the Galen Leather A5 cover perfectly.

      • Marcus

        Thanks for clearing that up for me Pam. As an up and coming stationary enthusiast, I really appreciate the material you are putting out.

        Good luck

  21. Mariah

    Hello! I really appreciate that you took the time to make so many reviews and so in depth! I thought I had made my mind on my next journal (Dingbats), but I wasn’t super pleased that the paper is cream. I love white paper as well. I did not like the LT at all. I loved my Rhodia, but the cream paper made me wish I had something different. I tried the lemome, but it just didn’t feel as good as the Rhodia. I think the thickness made it feel like it wasn’t a journal anymore and more like flipping boards of wood (a slight exaggeration maybe…, but I really like that book feeling). So now I need your final opinion- I’m choosing between Dingbats (because I really love the green deer), Notebooks Neo Dot (looks like a Rhodia with white paper), Tekukor (because it’s your favorite, although the ghosting looks worse in the picture than the others mentioned), and the Ghost Grid. I think Tekukor is my last choice. I’m in love with the Dingbats cover, but the Neo Dot looks like the better version of Rhodia. Help!
    P.S. You should definitely try the Rhodia webnotebook. It’s a million times better than LT. Ghosting is my worst enemy because I’m an artist and I like to include that sometimes as well in my bullet journals. The Rhodia held up with watercolor, acrylic, prismacolor pencils, tombow, crayola, EVERYTHING. I don’t know how they did it, but they made a thin paper that holds up to artist standard.

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      OMG! Neo Dot is back in stock!!! Thank you so much for mentioning that. I’ve been stalking them to see when their new notebooks are ready. They are a brand new company and ran out of their first run of notebooks but wanted to make some improvements before they manufactured a new batch. I’ve already added the blue one to my cart – I’m so excited!!

      So some context….

      When I was going to start my next notebook after finishing my first Tekukor (btw – the ghosting isn’t bad) I was going to make my new choice the Neo Dot. But they were out of stock so I couldn’t exactly recommend a notebook that nobody could buy. But now that they’re back…. that’s a different story. So yeah, if you love white paper that’s similar to Rhodia and want a book-like feel… then Neo Dot is the way to go.

      Based on what you’ve said you like/don’t like – I am not sure you’ll like the Dingbats paper. It’s more cream than the Tekukor or Neo Dot and doesn’t have the smoothness that Rhodia paper does (I’ve tested their paper in one of the notepads I have). As much as I love Ghost Grid spiral notebooks, I’m not sure I’m in love with the construction of their hardbound books compared to some of the others. The paper is great – I just wish they had covers I liked more. So my recommendation is the Neo Dot (obviously from my excitement above!).

  22. Midrena

    I, too, got duped into getting LTs … and I was so not impressed by the ghosting. Thank you so much for doing all the reviews, it’s difficult to find a lot of these with pen tests and such as well, especially since everybody just defaults to LT. I hate their paper.

    BTW, you don’t have to worry about Rhodia papers being 90gsm (less than the required 100gsm standard you’ve set) especially since you like the Clairefontaine and made an exception for it. That’s because Rhodia uses Clairefontaine paper! 🙂

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Hi Midrena:
      Thanks for checking out the reviews. I’ve actually got more journals coming (I can’t seem to stop buying journals! LOL!) and one of them is the Rhodia. I do love that Rhodia and Clairefontaine are two paper manufacturers owned by the same company (although each of them still maintains their own paper-making formula, they aren’t the same). Both are high quality and always a good choice.

  23. LoLo

    Thank you so much for creating this little notebook tournament! I’m the same way with aggregating and analyzing data points, so endeavor really specks to me! 🙂

    It also led to me to the Superior Maker as my new journal- I love the slimmer, Moleskine-esque width and the gsm is very impressive.

    Quick question- do your Superior Makers (I’m reading that you have two?) have a slight buckling to the pages? I just got one off Amazon and there’s a very slight wave to the pages as a whole. If you look at the pages when it’s closed, there’s a bit of a wave to the lines. Not a big deal, but just curious if they’re all like that. Thanks!

  24. Meagan

    A big thank you for collating all the info on the various journals in one place. I’m very much a spreadsheet nerd (I have created so many in my google drive) and this was an invaluable reference to help pick my next journal as I get near the end of my first one, since I too was disappointed with the Leuchtturm1917 (especially the ghosting). I didn’t read your reviews on every journal as it depended on whether I could obtain it down here in Australia with reasonable shipping costs. Unfortunately most of your favourites had to be struck off the list, but it was a great starting point to help with my google searches.

    I ended up getting the Peter Pauper Press with the Blue Agate cover, which I have just started doing pen tests and I’m pretty happy so far. I also have the Victoria’s Journals Kraft from Aliexpress coming on the slow boat from China 🙂 Its pages are 120gsm but the cover seems to be very, very thick card rather than a proper hardback so I’ll have to see how it holds up once I start using it.

    Thank you again

  25. Karolina | But, First, Tea!

    Thank you for this! I was so pissed today when my Leuchtturm got delivered and I started filling it out. It’s absolutely not what I expected watching all those reviews – just like you said. The pages are thin – basically see through when you write on them. Ghosting and bleeding are major disappointment. After reading your post I ordered the SuperiorMaker – thank you! :))

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Karolina: I’m so sorry about your experience with the LT1917 — I wish I could help more people before they made that mistake. You’re going to love the SuperiorMaker. I just filled up my first SuperiorMaker journal that was my work bujo. It feels so great to finish an entire journal.

  26. Kerry Gibbons

    Do you have plans to review the Archer & Olive? It has 160gsm paper apparently and the covers are cute. I’m really thankful you provided all this info in one place! I’ve been having a hell of a time figuring out all the brands and all the paper weights.

    So far, my top contenders for my next notebook are:
    – Archer & Olive
    – Erin Condren (super customizable covers, 118gsm)
    – Tekukor (at your suggestion)
    – Ghostly (I actually found your page when looking for a review of this notebook)

    I want to be able to use a wider variety of my art supplies in my bullet journal. Right now I’m limited to a small variety (for me) of pens and highlighters… I’d love to use my copic markers and/or my watercolors — hence my interest in the mythical 160gsm paper.

    Thanks again! This has been immensely helpful!


    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Hi Kerry: Thanks so much for the suggested list of journals for me to try. I hadn’t heard of Ghostly, so I will investigate that one. I know Archer & Olive journals have been all over the interwebs lately but as much as I love the look of them, I just don’t think they’re an economical choice for me and I don’t need paper that’s 160gsm. If I have the chance to “touch and feel” one in person then I’ll be sure to let ya’ll know what I think. As for Erin Condren – I didn’t realize their journals had paper at 118gsm – the pen tests I’ve seen didn’t look promising. But I’ll take another look at those too.

  27. Stacey Rodriguez

    Thank you for this comprehensive (wow!) review. I came into your article with the Dingbats Wildlife as my favorite (I’m a newbee, this will be my first journal). Like you, paper quality is HUGE – ghosting, bleeding, etc. would drive me nuts! After going through all your favorites, in the end I purchased the Dingbats (through your link). Just wanted to thank you — heading over to your other reviews next!

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Stacey: Thanks so much for stopping by. I’m glad I was able to help you pick the journal you love. Let me know how you like it once you get started.

  28. Tori

    THis is so interesting. You’ve missed my new favorite though. The Hustle Co notebooks you can get on Amazon are just beautiful. Pretty new though so maybe you haven’t seen them. They are definitely worth a look!

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Tori – Hustle Co is on the list for the next round of reviews (coming soon!) I already have that notebook in my hot little hands and my preliminary review is that I like it very much.

  29. Tracy

    Pam–could we be best friends and sit and play with pens and notebooks all day? 🙂 Loved your post and all the work that went into it! I am a pen and paper nerd and have tried the L1917, the picadilly, Moleskine and the Exceed. I love white paper and am grateful you included color in your spreadsheet. Thank you sooo much!

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Yes Tracy…. we can totally be best friends! LOL!

  30. Rheana

    I am just finishing with my first bullet journal, the Leuchtturm1917 and am wanting so much more out of my next journal. Thank you for such a detailed and thorough journal review!! Have you heard/used any of the new Archer & Olive journals? They look so beautiful and their paper is ultra thick 160gsm!!
    For my price point I think I’ll try to Peter Pauper Press next. Thanks again for the great review!!

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Hi Rheana – I’m actually working on a comparison review of several journals with 160gsm paper. I don’t want to reveal any surprises, but if it were me, I’d go with the Peter Pauper Press option you mention instead. Stay tuned for more…

  31. Lyra

    Hello. I’m happy to have discovered this awesome website of yours! I thought I was the only one who had the problem — err…hobby of collecting multiple journal books; the majority of which are still blank. xD

    My first serious journal, which I’m still currently using, is the InTempo Firenze; the black, soft-cover made in Italy. I found my first copy at a T. J. Maxx. Later, I discovered that Barnes & Noble also has that particular journal in stock. So I bought a second copy as I loved the feel of the cover and the texture of the lined paper. I’m curious to know if you have ever used the black, soft-cover InTempo Firenze journal book before and what your thoughts are.

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Thanks so much for checking out the site. And thanks for mentioning the InTempo Firenze journal… I’ve dug up information on it and I’ve added it to my wish list.

  32. Brette

    Thank you! Thank you for your comprehensive list and review videos. I have had an all things stationery and creative obsession since I was a child. I have been “playing around” with mixed media art journaling for the last couple of years and find it very therapeutic (and messy which is the good bit) but I would really like to begin to try to journal in a more “Traveler’s Notebook” type of way. I’m not so much a feelings writer or anything but I love all things Japanese stationary and analog letter writing. I tried the normal TN size and style and thought I would love it – multiple notebook options, folder options etc. I did not. It felt very bulky and not “travel friendly” to me. I felt a couple inches shorter and wider might suit me better. I DID discover a love for the graph paper format for actual writing and some doodling. Actually holding books in my hands though and seeing how they would feel in my bag with some pens and things – I think a softcover A5 is closest to what I would like. The actual address book I was “testing” was 5″ x 8″ even. I found a Minimalism Art Journal in dot grid and I love the soft cover and pink color, but it is a little bigger than I had hoped to find (I like chunky too) and they don’t have an actual grid option…very limited options I guess. – Then I discovered the Paperblanks Flexi Journals in Midi size and they are also turning out to be difficult to get my hands on. I think I need to try to look for better paper as I like my “Fineliners” and Pitt Artist Pens which are India Ink. I would also like to maybe try a bit of dryish watercoloring in small areas of a page if possible….I feel like my wish list must be too long and that is maybe the hang up. Asking too much of a single notebook? If you or anyone else has any thoughts I would appreciate them – I’m really getting search fatigue…LOL! [Your spreadsheet is SOoo me! LOL!]

  33. Barbara Cashman

    Hello! I appreciate your thoughtful reviews as I’m new to (hopefully) consistent journaling and the experience is as important to me as the journaling itself! Just wanted to share that I tried to purchase a Dingbats journal, but ran into fulfillment issues with the company. On a whim, I decided to splurge on the Nuuna because I loved the cover art, and I love it now three weeks in. I received it in less than 48 hours via Amazon, and love the slightly smaller spacing of the dot grid.

  34. Vinny

    I cannot find it either, not even after reading your comment. Could you post the link?

  35. Sophia Azevedo

    Do you know of a 160 gsm journal that has a square grid? Archer and Olive recently sold out and said that they would not be restocking anytime soon, but even if they did your review leaves me skeptical of buying from them. All other 160 gsm journals seem to only have dot grids!

  36. C

    Thanks for this small comparison. I am one of the few who is on the hunt for paper with a little less smoothness to it. I really don’t enjoy writing on ultra smooth paper no matter what pen I’m using (have not tried fountains yet though.) So I appreciate it when reviewers mention the toothiness of the papers.

  37. Susan

    Thanks so much for doing this thorough review. I was a bit disappointed you didn’t focus on where the products are made. I also found it difficult to find if pages were perforated or not, which is another big factor for me! I loved that you were non-biased in your review though, and you clearly took the time to help everyone.

  38. Nhi

    Have you tried Notebook Therapy’s Tsuki 160 gsm bullet journals? They seem to hold up very well with even watercolors.

  39. Mar

    Thank you so much for your nice review and site! I am looking for a bullet journal with as light dots as possible, that is bleed and ghost proof. (And it would be nice if it lays flat.) However I’m getting lost in all the options.. haha. Which one(s) would you recommend? (: Thanks!!

  40. waffledilly

    Something weird is going on with a couple brands that I either purchased and had planned to purchase more of or just planned to purchase. I’m wondering if they are all owned under the same umbrella but I cannot find any information about it. First – Lemome. I had a nice square/graph paper Lemome chosen and in my cart and before I could purchase it, it became “unavailable”. When I followed the bread crumbs it said something about they were doing something to their lineup and as soon as the product was available it would be returned to Amazon. I purchased a soft cover Minimalism Art dot grid that I fell in love with and when I went back – they said basically the same thing. Both times I clicked on “seller” as they mentioned “store fronts” and the offerings were different and actually more limited. I went ahead and purchased a different Minimalism Art book then I had planned. It’s fine, but does not match the description. That’s the other thing – their descriptions may call something dot grid, but reviews mention that it is square/graph. Several brands seem similar (Paperage, Dingbat, etc.) which makes me wonder if they are all one ultimate brand. Does anyone know anything as of June 2020?

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      That’s very strange. I wonder if some of that Amazon listing oddities have to do with items being out of stock or being restocked in various warehouses. I haven’t seen anything like that happen to me before. As for the dot grid vs square grid vs graph confusion – I’m sure a lot of that has to do with language barriers. I always check the reviews to make sure I’m not missing anything that doesn’t make perfect sense in the product description. Many sellers on Amazon don’t have English as their first language.

      Your question about “all one ultimate brand” is interesting. That’s not really the case as I understand it. But rather it’s about the fact that manufacturer or journal “factories” often sell their journals as wholesale items to various brands who want to create a custom journal. Same journal, different brand name on the back cover. It’s not all that different than generic foods you get at the grocery store – Peter Pan Peanut Butter and Walmart brand peanut butter are both made by the same factory, but when a label is put on the jar there are two different brand labels. Scribbles That Matter doesn’t manufacture journals… they buy from a factory that already makes journals.

  41. waffledilly

    Thank you for the response Pam. Your thought about the same manufacturer or journal “factories” being the more likely situation makes complete sense. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it. I have watched videos made for people looking for side hustles on how to buy inexpensive items from one of the “ali’s” we’ll say for less than a $1.00, put your brand on it and sell it for $5.00 – $8.00 on Amazon. It makes you look at certain items differently on Amazon. I always read the reviews but they are all over the place. Even in the span of say 6-8 months as to what you actually get in the listing. This was all before world events happened. I know countries were offering incentives for factories and manufacturers to move from one country to another. Maybe that has something to do with it…I also had not thought of that until your response. I think I will wait a bit and see what shakes out. Thank you for all that you do!!

  42. Amy Ricardo

    Hi Pam, do you plan on reviewing Stalogy. I love their books, and I feel like a review from you could help me better identify what it is that I love! Thank you for all of this!

    • Pam | Head Nerd In Charge

      Amy – oh yes! Stalogy is amazing! In fact, I’m currently using a cut-down B6 Stalogy as my everyday bullet journal. It’s fascinating to me that I tolerate ghosting in this journal but I can’t tolerate it in a normal journal with 80gsm paper. I definitely need to do a review and explore my feelings about the paper.

  43. Noel R.

    Love your extensive reviews! Would love your opinion on the Midori and Apica A5 journals and the Flexbook (lighter and heavier paper) journals sometime! I’ll be checking out QiHeng and Tekukor based on tour thorough work. Thank you!

  44. Hanna R.

    Thank you so much for this detailed review! And I have to thank you even more for mentioning the NUUNA notebooks, because I’m from Germany and they’re perfect for me! I didn’t want to order a notebook on amazon and I always like to order things from local shops and websites. I chose a dotted notebook in size L and a square sketchbook. I really like that their dots are 3.5 centimeters appart from eachother and not the standart 0.5 centimeters. Thank you so much for all the effort and work you put in your reviews to help us find the perfect notebook for ourselves. Have a great day! (Sorry if I made any mistakes in grammar and spelling :))

  45. Sophie

    Hi Pam, amazing post. Read a and watched the videos of the notebooks that caught my eye.

    Be aware, some random rambling is coming from this non-native English speaker…

    I’m a proper noob when it comes to journaling, I decided to start a scrapbook for my memories during lockdown but because of the lockdown… I had nowhere to go, nothing to do, so it ended up looking more like a photo album.
    While doing research on scrapbooking, I found plenty of content on journals (and was like WTH is bullet journaling?!) s and I realized that this medium was probably better for me. I bought the Lemome cork more by accident than anything else after finding it on a blog. I liked the rustic design and the fact it was dotted and eco-friendly.
    I use it as a mix of journaling and memory collection. Will print photos of events and make a nice little spread with doodles, washi tapes and stickers. Or write a nice quote, keep a list of countries I’ve visited, places I’ve scuba-dived. Make a spread of location I really enjoyed. You get the idea.

    And that’s how it all began. After seeing adverts popping everywhere about 160gsm notebooks, I realized that there was much more to it than I first thought, and I was lucky to have gone with the Lemome from the start, since their 120gsm paper is good quality. And now that I am more comfortable with what I’m doing, I want to get a bit more artistic and try to add proper drawings/paintings to my journal. Also, I’ve decided to try my own format of bullet journal for work, and I need a new notebook for that.

    So the obsession began, and I started to read and watch all the reviews I could put my hand on. The Leuchtturn is one that kept coming back, but I don’t like the design. It’s too solemn, if that makes sense. Plus I had realised that the paper would be too thin for me. So more research ensued and I ended up on your blog.

    Which I love. This compilation that you’ve made is incredible. I love your tone of voice, love your kitties, haha, and I like that you are not buying into the hype for trendy journals and stationery. I will probably be a loyal reader for now on as I feel like I can trust your opinion when I’m on the fence about a product.

    A&O are very attractive, with their design, marketing and story telling. But they’re expensive… And I’m always sceptical when I can’t find any critic on a product. That’s the thing with people, you can’t please everyone, and there’s always one that goes against the stream, and with A&O, I struggled to find them. I think I’ll go for the Black Out one, once I’ve had a go at a more “artistic” journal, but with white paper to start with. Baby steps!

    I think I’m going to get a new Cork Lemome for work. I don’t like the idea of having the same model for work and personal, but I like it just too much. It’s sustainable, vegan, has the right format, no printed page of any kind, I can just do whatever I want with it.

    I’ve had my eye on the Notebook Therapy Tsuki 160gsm. Have you had a chance to try it? It’s a lot cheaper than A&O and I’m thinking to do a crash test with that one, as Tekukor and QiHeng are hard to come by in Europe.

    If you read all of that, thank you haha, as it’s more me rambling about myself that saying anything constructive.

  46. Barbara

    Cementing my reputation as “person who is predictably late to things” I just found this review collection.

  47. Barbara

    Ugh, I am also apparently “person who cannot post a comment properly to save my life” in addition to “person who is reliably late to things”. I appreciate the truly comprehensive collection of reviews. I noticed at the end that you mentioned that you won’t review the Rhodia notebooks because they’re under the 100g/m2 threshold. It’s not immediately obvious, but Rhodia uses Clairfontaine paper, so if you have situations where the Clairfontaine paper is enough to meet your needs, but you want something with a sturdier/fancier binding, Rhodia is a really good option. As someone who doesn’t use fountain pens or wet ink (left handed + fountain pen = messy disaster), Rhodia’s hardbound dot grid webnotebook has become my go-to notebook for my quasi bullet journal. I may try one of the thicker 160g/m2 notebooks in the future though to see if it’s more enjoyable.

  48. Dawn

    I am looking for a B6 journal with dots or grid, that doesn’t ghost (160gsm) and has enough pages for an entire year (240+), and white pages so I can use white out. Does it exist?

  49. Leif

    Greetings from a fellow stationerey nerd from Sweden :). And I apologize in advance for the long comment that will follow. But I will eventually get to the point. I promise ;).

    When searching for a good comparison between notebooks, Google led me to your site and this article. And I’m very glad I ended up here :). Thank you for taking the time to do this unbiased review!

    As I rediscovered my love for stationery during this crazy year, I also started bullet journaling. This sent me down a rabbit hole of researching notebooks and pens. Eventually this also led to a lot of shopping involving stationery. I mean, how can I know what I like before I try it right :)? I soon found out that I’m a big fan of rollerball in general and the Schmidt P8126 rollerball cartridge in general. This cartridge can be found in the Retro 1951 Tornado ( (though in the P8127 variety, which is the bold version), the beautiful Mark One from Studio Neat ( but also in my current favourite pen, the Squire ( from Baron Fig.

    Rollerballs use similar ink to fountain pens (water-based) as far as I’ve understood it. So they write very smooth, more so than even gel pens. So I wanted a paper that had just a little bit a tooth to it. Not much, but a little. It just so happens that the company that sells my favourite pen, also creates notebooks. And they make really awesome notebooks with 100 GSM paper. It is fantastic to write on and the overall quality of the notebooks in general does not disappoint either. Their standard notebook is the Confidant ( but they also do special editions (”guided” editions) that use the same paper but contain various kinds of extra features, like their Clear Habit Journal, which is really nice.

    So if you have not tried any of Baron Fig’s products yet, I would really recommend that you do. I have not bought anything from them that does not scream quality and careful consideration.

    (Other favourites of mine include Rhodia and Dingbats)

    Once again, thank you for the article. I will keep coming back here to ready any future articles as well :).

  50. dkatiepowellart

    I suggest you purchase some god fountain pen ink because Noodler’s ink is so bad — then we can know whether the pages work for well-behave∂ ink.. so Diamine, Robert Oster, Monteverde, so many good inks. It will make your reviews more valuable for those of us that look at FPens.

  51. Annie

    Thank you SO much for your in depth reviews and especially for this comprehensive post. You provided all the details I could’ve wondered about and really helped me in deciding which notebook to go for. After working through my first journal (scribbles that matter), I’m going to switch to your beloved Tekukor 🙂

  52. Lance Funderburk

    Thanks for your excellent review. I too prefer Clairefontaine paper to all that I have tried. I also like their spiral-bound notebooks. They fold back on themselves and don’t take up as much desk space. Unfortunately, they do not have stiff covers, which makes it more difficult to write when hand-holding them. Do you have any ideas about how to deal with this problem?
    Lance Funderburk

  53. Jarek

    Rhodia uses own paper and Clairefontaine at the same time, depending on the series. Rodiarama notebooks uses the Clairefontaine paper. 90g paper is Clairefontaine. 80g is Rhodia.



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