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How to Pick the Best Bullet Journal Notebook

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a pen and paper type of person.  When I was in high school and college, I remember going through planner after planner, before just settling on using a notebook and making it my own when it came to organizing things and planning assignments.

Little did I know, I had started a bullet journal!  I had no idea, it just worked for me.  I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed this developing trend, and have been into bullet journaling for as long as I can remember.

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This means I’ve tried just about everything when it comes to finding the best bullet journal, from pieces of paper, to a 99 cent notebook, to really fancy notebooks, I’ve tried it all.

What really threw me into overdrive was finding a Japanese stationary store when I was on a business trip in California a number of years ago.

This place was amazing, and I spent way too much money.  My obsession for pens and paper just grew from there.

As you can see from the cart I keep next to my desk, I may have gone a bit overboard with this whole bullet journal thing.

bullet journal organization

Because of this, I think I have a really unique perspective on what makes the best bullet journal.

Before we take a look at different types of bullet journals, let me walk you through some of the process, and answer some of the questions you may have.

How do I choose a bullet Journal?

If you’re like me, you’re going to be using your bullet journal a lot.  Your bullet journal will be your constant companion.  Bullet journaling is more of a methodology than a physical product, so you really can’t go wrong when it comes to using a bullet journal.

I also break down my journals by topic.  One for work, one for home, one for cooking and recipes, you get the drift.  This has made it easy for me to try a number of differnt types of notebooks.

When it comes to choosing the best bullet journal notebook, there are several things you really should be focusing on.

What bullet journal size are you looking for?

The most common bullet journal size is A5 size – which is 5.83″ x 8.27 in”.. This really is a great size, because it can fit in a purse or a backpack easily, and it is a big enough size to crate various bullet journal layouts.

When you start looking at notebooks for your bullet journal, you will see mostly this A5 size.  

Do you want a larger bullet journal?  Then consider looking for a A4 size, which is 8.3″ x 11.7″ which is very close to a sheet of copy paper.

To figure out what size bullet journal you would like, ask yourself the following questions:

What dimensions will work best for you?  Think about how you are going to be using it.  Will you be using it at a desk and at home?  Will it go in a bag and follow you everywhere?

How many pages do you want in your bullet journals? 

Notebooks vary wildly on how many pages are included.  Be sure to think about if you want to write on the back and front of both page, or both sides of the paper.

What do you want the paper to look like?  

The gold standard for bullet journals is pretty much dot grid paper, but many of these journals have multiple options including blank, grid, and line in addition to dot grid.

blank bullet journal

What do you want the paper to feel like? 

How thick do you want it to be, and how smooth do you want it to be when you write on it?  For me, bullet journaling is a very tactile experience, so I like smooth thin paper.  You may like something different!

What kind of cover do you want? 

Hard? Soft? Leather? Vegan leather?  What color?  Do you want pockets in your cover?  These are all things to think about too!

Can you use a regular notebook for bullet journaling?

You can use anything you want for bullet journaling.  The notebooks you can grab at the dollar store and drug store will suit you just fine.  There is no right or wrong notebook for bullet journaling.

However, for me, because I spend so much time bullet journaling, and really enjoy it, I decided to get some nicer notebooks, mostly for the paper quality and tactile experience.

Paper quality and bullet journals is a whole new discussion.  Generally people like to pay attention to how smooth it is to write on, and how thick it is, but don’t worry, when we discuss each bullet journal notebook I will point all of that out.

You can always get another notebook if you decide to start with something from the dollar store and upgrade later! 

Can I use a sketchbook as a bullet Journal?

You bet, anything can be a bullet journal!  I once used a sketchbook as a bullet journal for a MASSIVE project I was undertaking, and it worked well for me.

If your art skills leave something to be desired, like mine, it can be tough to do things like draw shapes and lines completely freehand, which is one of the reason dot grid notebooks are so popular.

Don’t worry!  You can also pick up some bullet journal stencils to help you along!

Which is better Moleskine or Leuchtturm?

Some bullet journal purists may not agree, but Moleskine and Leuchtturm notebooks are very similar.  There isn’t really a better one, it depends on what you are looking for.

There is a slight difference in the thickness of the paper, Moleskine paper is 70 GSM and Leuchtturm paper is 80 GSM, making the Leuchtturm thicker.

The other big difference is the variety of sizes.  Moleskine notebooks come in a much greater variety of sizes mostly measured in inches, whereas the Leuchtturm is mostly made in A5 size, or 5-7/8″ x 8-1/4″ with just a few variants.  The A5 size is very popular in the bullet journaling space, and most countries other than the USA measure their paper in A and B sizes versus inches like we do.

Hard cover or soft cover bullet journal?

This is a good one, and totally goes back to your personal preference.  I used hard cover bullet journals for the longest time, but lately I’ve switched to soft.  A big part of it is where you will be writing on your bullet journal, and if you need the extra support of a hard cover.

What notebook is best for bullet journaling?

So what notebook is best for bullet journaling?  You’re about to find out everything you need to know, and I’m about to show you a slew of options for bullet journals.  We’re going to step by step through all of these options, so you know exactly what you are looking for.

What you won’t find here is a list of like a million notebooks.  These notebook are all tried and true, and I have battle tested them all.

The Best Bullet Journal Notebook

Looking for the best bullet journal notebook? We're here to help! We've used too many notebooks to count, and we are going to guide you through the best noteboks for bullet journaling around!

best bullet journal notebook

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