For many people, there’s nothing more satisfying than writing a to do list and then striking a pen through the tasks as they’re achieved. Others love ‘journaling’—writing down your thoughts and feelings—which has been identified as an effective tool for helping to maintain good mental health, helping people identify fears and anxieties, and offering an opportunity for positive self-talk. Whether you’re looking for a notebook for practical or personal reasons, here’s our guide to the best.

  • Size: An A4 pad is great for school or days at the office but it’s not a very portable size. If you’re someone who likes adding to an ongoing to-do list constantly throughout the day, even when you’re out and about, then you’ll want something smaller that will easily fit inside the bags you use. The standard notebook size is A5, but if you’re looking for something even smaller than 14.8 centimetres by 21 centimetres, you can go for A6 or B6 (or, even better: pocket-sized).
  • Lined or Plain: For lists, or if you’re writing your thoughts down for a journal, then a notebook with lines will keep you neat and organised—no chance of writing on a dramatic slant this way. Whether you go for narrow or wider lines comes down to personal preference and the size of your handwriting, but lines can be constraining if you’re someone who likes to sketch or doodle or prefers to think in terms of spider graphs and thought bubbles. If your notebook entries look more like this, opt for an unlined, plain-paper notebook. Or, if you’re more of an in-between, you can go for a grid-lined notebook (plus, these allow you to delve into bullet journaling if you so choose).
  • Cover: For those who carry their pads around, think about all the bashing it’s going to be subjected to. A sturdy cover is a must if it’s a jotter that’s constantly going to be in and out of a bag, so hardback is preferable in this circumstance. It’s also worth considering hard-wearing covers such as leather.

Our Picks for the Best Notebooks on Amazon

Top Pick Overall: Moleskine Classic Ruled Paper Notebook

Top Pick Overall

This mid-sized traditional-look hardback jotter has an integral bookmark, expandable back pocket for extra papers, and a special place to write your personal information in case you lose it. Moleskine

Runner Up: Pukka Pads A4 Metallic Jotta Wirebound Notebook

This trio of a larger-size option has 200 pages of ruled white paper, perforated for easy removal. Pukka Pad

Budget Pick: Matilda Myres Notebook

Budget Pick

This mid-sized pad has 192 pages, an elastic closure, and a pretty cover. Inside, there’s a title page for organising contents, plus space to number the pages.
Matilda Myres

Also Consider: BooQool Ruled Notebook/Journal

Also Consider

This option lies completely flat for easy note-taking and has a built-in ribbon to help you keep track of where you left off writing.

Interesting Things is a shopping-advice and product-review site brought to you by the publishers of Popular Science and Field & Stream magazines. We’re here to help you choose among the most popular products on Amazon, and hidden gems our experts think are worth checking out.