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Published Sep. 20, 2021

A traditional pad of paper is a flawed system for staying organized about your little reminders and tasks. You write what you need to do on the pad, put it in your pocket, and possibly lose or forget about it. Sticky notes elevate the usefulness of a small pad of paper with a strip of glue along the back of each sheet. The adhesive sticks to other documents and surfaces and comes off clean without leaving any residue. Unlike other glue, this adhesive sticks temporarily with the intention that it’s not meant to stay in place forever.

Since their invention back in the early 1970s, sticky notes have helped people stay organized at school, home, and work. They now come in various sizes, shapes, and colors to suit a variety of organizational needs. Keep reading to find out which sticky notes are our favorites and why.

How We Picked the Products

Methodology

At its core, a sticky note is a small piece of paper with a strip of special glue on the back. Though it seems simple, quality really matters when selecting the best sticky notes. Here are some of the characteristics we looked at when making our recommendations:

  • Stickiness: This is a key feature in a sticky note. With insufficient glue, notes tend to go missing. We looked for items that would affix to paper (and other surfaces) and wouldn’t cause damage or leave residue during removal. Our picks also take into account how the note performs with re-sticking it somewhere else without it losing its stickiness.
  • Paper: Although sticky notes are generally used for a quick note or thought, it was important for us to select products with quality paper. All of our picks use paper that’s thick enough you can’t see through it, and have enough weight that they don’t blow away easily.
  • Value: We want our sticky note recommendations to be worth the money, without breaking the bank for a note that ultimately will be thrown away or recycled.
  • Brand: Everyone knows the Post-it notes brand; they are synonymous with sticky notes. Although this brand is the one most solidified within the industry, we also searched for other brands that could go up against this heavy hitter.

The Best Sticky Notes: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Post-it Super Value Pack

Super Sticky and Useful

These notes arrive in a fun school-bus carrying case. Post-it

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Why It Made The Cut: 3M is the go-to brand in sticky notes, offering impeccable sticking quality, a universally handy size, and the best consumer reviews across the board. 

Specs: 

  • 24 pads of 3- by 3-inch sticky notes
  • 65 sheets per pad
  • Five bright colors (orange, pink, blue, green, and yellow)

Pros:

  • Great  colors
  • Twice the sticking power of regular Post-its
  • Extra value from buying in bulk
  • Recyclable and responsibly sourced

Cons:

  • Only one size sticky note included

True sticky note aficionados understand the quality behind 3M’s Post-it brand. This value pack of 24 pads may seem excessive, but this many quality pads gives great value for the money spent—especially when the per pad cost works out to about 75 cents. With so many pads you can share with family and friends; keep a supply at work, school, and home; always have a sticky note on hand when you need them; and create a color-coordinated organizational scheme.

These pads come in five different colors, pink, orange, blue, green, and yellow, so no matter how many notes you’ve put up, they don’t become a sea of similar colored reminders. Other multipacks may come with different size sticky notes, but the 3- by 3-inch square is big enough to get noticed, no matter where it’s stuck. This size suits most needs, but you can cut them in half if you need a smaller size or double up with a second Post-it if you need a larger option.

As great as original Post-its are, these are part of the Super Sticky product line, making them twice as sticky as you’re used to. This means you can stick and re-stick them to any number of surfaces without worry that they’ll peel themselves off and fall to the floor. 

Just like other Post-it products, these are safe to recycle, and the material comes from certified, renewable, and responsibly managed forests.

Best Value: Highland Sticky Notes

More for Your Money

Copycat sticky notes from 3M at a great price. 3M

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Why It Made The Cut: Highland’s sticky notes have the benefits of the Post-It brand (including the signature yellow color) at a fraction of the price. As a budget-friendly quality sticky note, there was no comparison.

Specs: 

  • 24 pads of 3- by 3-inch sticky notes
  • 100 sheets in each pad
  • Made by 3M, the company that invented sticky notes

Pros:

  • Low price point
  • An abundance of sticky notes
  • Light color makes it easier to read

Cons:

  • May seem too plain

Highland is another brand under the 3M umbrella that seemed to appear after their patent on Post-its ran out. This is a great benefit to the consumer since this value brand comes with all the expertise behind Post-its without the name-brand price. With this 24-pack of Highland Sticky Notes, you get 2,400 sheets of well-performing sticky notes that don’t peel off like other cheaper brands.

Although the patent for the sticky notes expired, 3M still has the familiar yellow color registered as a company trademark, which means no other sticky notes company can produce the yellow sticky pad without infringing on the trademark. What we see here with Highland’s soft yellow hue is a nod to the Post-it brand, serving as a subtle hint of the quality consumers can expect. These sticky notes work just as expected: excellent adhesion, standard 3- by 3-inch sheets, and value backed by a reliable brand.

Another great perk of these is the minimal packaging. Instead of having each pad individually wrapped, there is only one layer of plastic for everything, which reduces unnecessary waste.

The one criticism that can be made of these sticky notes is that all 24 pads are the same color, taking color-coordinated organization off the table. One way to make your sticky notes stand out is to use brightly colored felts or pens. 

Best Pop-Up Sticky Notes: Highland Pop-Up Sticky Notes

Sticky Notes for Dispensers

Pop-up design makes them easy to grab. Highland

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Why It Made The Cut: Highland, a trusted brand, produces these high-quality sticky notes with an easy-to-grab design that makes them handy to use with or without a sticky note dispenser. 

Specs:  

  • Sticky notes measure 3 by 3 inches
  • Contains 12 sticky note pads in three colors
  • Accordion-style pop-up notes

Pros:

  • Light colors are easy to read
  • Stick just as well as the Post-it brand
  • 100 sticky notes in each pad

Cons:

  • Accordion-style sticky notes may not work for everyone

Highland’s 12-pack of pop-up sticky notes come with 100 sheets per pad, for a whopping 1,200 sticky notes in total. There are plenty to share or use as a color coding system, as the pack contains sticky notes in three pastel colors: pink, yellow, and blue. While these may lack the visual splash of more vibrant colors, the lighter hue serves a practical advantage, making them easier to read (especially when writing with a regular pen).

These adhere to paper without leaving any residue, and the glue holds up just as well as leading brands in the industry, which is no surprise since the manufacturer, 3M, also makes Post-it brand sticky notes.

The accordion style of pop-up sticky notes are designed to go into a dispenser. The design is such that as you pull one note out of the dispenser, the next pops up, ready for use—the same way a box of tissues works. These can be used without the dispenser, however, it may pose a minor inconvenience, such as:

  • If the pack falls to the floor, they may snake out a bit and need to be gathered up (unlike traditional sticky pads that merely land in a thump).
  • Those who like the glue at the top of the note, may not appreciate having to rotate the sticky note, so it’s facing their preferred direction. 

Overall, these are an excellent choice with plenty of quality sticky notes at an economical price. 

Best Variety Pack: Post-it Super Sticky Notes, Assorted Sizes

Always the Right Size

Sticky notes in different sizes, shapes, and colors. 3M

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Why It Made The Cut: Post-it is the brand name most people associate with sticky notes. This multipack comes backed by the proven 3M brand and gives a variety of sizes, colors, and lined or unlined options.

Specs:

  • Three different size square pads, including 2 by 2 inches, 3 by 3 inches, and 4 by 4 inches
  • 15 packs in total, each pad has 45 pages
  • Variety of colors including lined and unlined options

Pros:

  • Exceptional stickiness for various surfaces
  • Responsibly sourced for production
  • Recyclable material, unlike some other brands
  • Variety of sizes and bright colors

Cons:

  • Fewer notes per pad compared to regular size Post-it pads

We appreciate the thoughtfulness with the variety of sticky notes included in this Post-it multipack. 3M is the brand who owned the original patent for sticky notes, and their invention has only gained steam and become better over time. Post-its are well known for their quality and brand recognition, so you know you’re purchasing well-performing and reusable sticky notes if they come from the Post-it brand. These are super sticky notes, so users can re-stick the same Post-it note several times over on doors, windows, walls, paper, and more.

Standard sticky notes come in a 3 by 3 inch square. This is a reasonable size, however, there are times when this is too much room or not quite enough. With this variety pack, users can select three different sizes and a collection of colors to sort different parts of a project. The largest sticky notes in the pack come with lines, making it easier to write neatly. As this is a variety pack, the pads are not standard sheet count as other Post-it sticky pads. If you require more pads of a certain size, it’s best to buy those in addition to the multipack. 

Reasons to get a variety pack include:

  • Being unsure of which size you need
  • Better organization
  • Better stick than regular sticky notes

The glue used on some sticky notes brands is not safe for recycling; however, Post-it brand sticky notes are safe to toss in the blue bin. The paper from these notes also comes from certified, renewable, and responsibly managed forests, so you’re buying from a company that considers their impact on the environment. 

Best Sticky Notes for Books and School: Redi-Tag Assorted Tab Ruled Sticky Notes

Bookmark and Take Notes

The tabs make all the difference. Redi-Tag

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Why It Made The Cut: Redi-Tag sticky notes are among the only ones we found that worked well for books or textbooks, with a design that features space-saving tabs. 

Specs: 

  • Three-pack of 4- by 6-inch sticky notes
  • Lined sticky notes with tabs
  • 60 sheets per pack

Pros:

  • Tabs make it easy to locate your notes
  • Handy for note-taking in books you have to return
  • Variety of bright colors in each pack

Cons:

  • Not a traditional sticky note size

This three-pack of Redi-Tag Ruled Sticky Notes are well-suited for readers, students, and those who like to stay organized. The large 4- by 6-inch size gives you enough space to write plenty of notes without needing to write in the book margins. These are larger than standard size sticky notes, so they may not be the preferred choice for those looking for sticky notes to jot down a few words here and there.

Redi-Tag sticky notes are really helpful for using in textbooks you want to resell, library books on loan, or books you want to keep in pristine condition. They’re also handy for cookbooks, day planners, or self-help books with pages you want to revisit.

We appreciate the inclusion of the tabs, which quickly help you locate the notes that you have stored in any book (especially if you write the topic on the tab). While it could be argued that any sticky note can do this without a tab, they’re usually several inches long and start to overlap quickly with multiple notes. The tabs on the Redi-Tag sticky notes are smaller, so even if you use several, it’s much easier to locate the tab you want.

Some features we love about these sticky notes are:

  • Six bright colors, allowing for organized color coordination for each subject or idea
  • The pad’s binding that allows you to pick the colors you want without having to take apart a block of sticky notes
  • Lined sheets to help you keep your notes neat and fill up the page
  • A large writing surface for detailed thoughts or multiple ideas

Best Novelty Sticky Note: Fred Ramen Noodle Sticky Note Pad

Practical and Fun

These Ramen Notes just might make you hungry. Genuine Fred

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Why It Made The Cut: Fred is a trusted brand for novelty items, and these ramen noodle sticky notes are still functional while being fun, so users can leave notes for themselves or others that stand out.

Specs:  

  • Sticky notes measure 3.5 by 3 inches
  • 155 sheets in a pad
  • Reusable zipper-lock packaging

Pros:

  • Resealable protective packaging
  • Fun and functional design
  • Background noodle image draws the eye

Cons:

  • Fewer sticky notes than other products
  • Flavoring packet not included.

Fred’s  Ramen Noodle Sticky Notes are definitely meant for those who don’t take themselves too seriously. The notes themselves come in a reusable zipper-lock bag that looks like a ramen package, complete with “cooking instructions” on the back. This cute novelty packaging serves a practical purpose too, for those who just toss items into a backpack or purse, the package protects the sticky notes from water-bottle leaks or exploding pens.

Inside the package, the sticky note pad contains 155 sheets in a block made to look like instant ramen noodles. The level of detail shows the design on both the top of the paper and the sides of the block. Even with the silly design, these sheets are light enough that the image doesn’t compete with whatever you write. The background helps your notes stand out, and perhaps bring a smile to others’ faces when they realize what the image is.

A pad of these novelty sticky notes is more expensive than plain sticky notes. They may not be practical for everyday use, as you’ll run out of them quickly, but they sure are fun. The best reason to buy these is for a novelty gift for somebody who likes food, stationary, or quirky items.

Things to Consider Before Buying Sticky Notes

Even though sticky notes are a small item for your home, work, or school, there are still things to consider before purchasing to ensure you’re getting the best product for your needs.

Purpose

The reason you’re buying sticky notes can help you narrow down which ones are best for you. Are you using them for story boarding, note-taking, to-do lists, or something else? Your use will help you choose a style and size. Perhaps you need the structure of lined or tabbed notes, maybe you need small notes for quick reminders, or you have a bunch of uses for them so a standard, unlined pad or multipack are best.

Color

It seems trivial, but color makes a difference. If you’re buying general purpose sticky notes, perhaps color doesn’t matter as much, and you may not require a multi-color pack. Some things to consider with color are whether you want to use a color coding system, if you work better with certain colors, and your overall preference. Additionally, lighter colors are easier to read whereas brighter colors stand out more.

Writing Tools

Some of us favor certain pens or felts for writing. Certain felt-tipped pens and permanent markers may bleed through one sticky note and leave ink on several sheets underneath it. If these are your preferred writing instruments, look for thicker paper sticky notes. If you exclusively write with standard pens that don’t bleed, you can save a bit of money and opt for a sticky note pad with thinner paper.

FAQs

Before purchasing sticky notes, it can be helpful to get some extra information. We’ve rounded up some common questions and answers about sticky notes to help you learn more about them.

Q: What is the purpose of sticky notes?

A sticky note is a small piece of paper with a strip of glue on its back, made for temporarily attaching notes to documents and other surfaces.

Q: What should I put on sticky notes?

You can use sticky notes for a number of things. They’re helpful for a variety of things, including writing notes or insights to stick inside books, reminders, flip books, storyboarding, labeling, and many other uses.

Q: Why are Post-it notes the only yellow ones?

The 3M brand owned the patent on sticky notes (which has since expired, allowing other brands to enter the market). The original post-it notes color was chosen because the prototype used a piece of random yellow scrap paper. Since 3M owns the trademark for yellow sticky notes, no other brands are legally allowed to use it.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a sticky note user, you know how valuable they are to have around. You’re sure to find a ton of reasons to use them in many locations. We find that having quality sticky notes that work on a variety of surfaces are incredibly helpful, that’s why we’re big fans of the Post-it Super Sticky Notes Value Pack.

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