Best Journal Reviews 2023

There’s a special sensation that comes with writing, the movement of scripting pen on paper that is impossible for keyboards and tablets to reproduce. It’s easier for some of us to let our thoughts flow into inky lines, and it’s great when we’re able to do so with flourish and style. Whether you’re a traveler journaling the world, a cozy-in-your-bed diary writer, or a student knee-deep in notetaking; there’s sometimes no stopping the flow of ideas. With this in mind, we decided to investigate the many brands of journals on the market and narrowed down our top five best journals. We selected one product from each of the five brands that would best suit your writing needs. But if those we’ve featured don’t work for you, do try out other journals from these brands.
TopProducts may earn commissions when you purchase through links on our site. Learn More.
Our Top Choice
Moleskine Classic Notebook
Moleskine is an ingenious company that continues to experience a thrilling all-round growth with successful wholly-owned subsidiaries in Asia and Europe.
It’s lightweight and flexible, so it fits easily into back pockets. Its elastic closure keeps its contents securely closed, and the bookmark is useful.
The cover might fall off, and the inner pocket might become detached. It doesn’t lie flat.
Soft cover
3.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 in, 0.3 lbs
Faux leather
Case binding
Best Value
BookFactory Lined Journal Notebook
BookFactory is a frontline global maker and supplier of high-grade, custom-made books, employing modern technology to produce quality books at affordable prices.
It’s a high-quality, fountain pen-friendly book with five color options. Its binding is secure, its pages are smooth and it lies flat.
The logo on the back cover isn’t a problem if you don’t mind a small logo on a plain journal.
Hard bound
5.25 x 8.27 x 0.5 in, 0.019 lbs
Original leather
Place holder ribbon
RusticTown Vintage Leather Journal
RusticTown is passionate about all things leather, from leather satchels and journals to bags and phone cases. It cares for the environment that supplies its raw materials.
It’s beautifully made, smells nice and has a lot of pages. It doesn’t allow ink bleeding.
There’s an occasional weak binding, but customer support has you covered in that event.
Soft cover
5 x 1.7 x 7 in, 1.2 lbs
Vintage leather
Waist strap
Eccolo Embossed Dragonfly Journal
With each passing day, Eccolo is actively seeking ways to create gorgeous yet wallet-friendly items.
Its pages are durable and sewn in. It’s got a chic look, and is firm and flexible.
it does bleed, and it doesn’t lie flat.
Hard cover
5 x 7 x1 in, 0.35 lbs
Faux leather
Floats when filled with air
Peter Pauper Press Hydrangeas Journal
Peter Pauper Press is committed to making quality books, stationery and gifts that are affordable, even on a slim budget.
It’s a stylish and dainty journal. It’s durable and quite convenient to carry around. It also makes a good gift idea.
Some might find it a bit small.
Hard cover
4.9 x 0.7 x 7.1 in, 0.55 lbs
Faux leather
Complementary end sheets

Related Reviews
Best Office Desk
Best Desk Lamp
Watch Our Journal Review

What is the Best Journal?

There are many kinds of journals, from leather bound to transparent covering, from spiraled to highly decorated, they come in a myriad of options. And, now that you have perused the buying guide, we hope you’ll feel better informed and choose the right journal for the job. For information on the various journals available, please join us as we go through the individual product reviews.
Our Top Choice
Moleskine’s Classic Notebook is a black, 192-page card bound soft cover notebook with ruled pages. Its papers are acid-free, and it has an elastic closure and a bookmark. Moleskine's LEGO Limited Edition Notebook is a large, 240-page hardcover notebook with plain pages. It comes with limited edition stickers. Take a look at it if it interests you.

Moleskine Classic Ruled Black Soft Cover Pocket Notebook – 3.5 x 5.5 Inches

Moleskine was founded in 1997 to resurrect the legendary notebook used by the phenomenal artists and great thinkers of the last two centuries. It recognizes that notebooks, journals, diaries, writing materials and other reading accessories are indispensable companions, especially to creative professionals and imaginative minds. Moleskine also creates other accessories that make the creative life seamless for today’s nomad.

The Moleskine Classic Notebook ($14.95 – Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) is a 3.5 x 5.5 soft cover notebook with ruled, white pages. Its cover is sturdy and flexible so that it fits unobtrusively into any pocket or compact space. It has a classic look with its black cover and black bookmark. The edges of this notebook are rounded, so it won't become dog-eared with use.
Here are some other features of this notebook:
  • Acid-free (pH-neutral) pages for durability
  • Rigid thread binding to keep the pages secured
  • Elastic closure that keeps contents from falling out
  • Paper weight of 70gm for lightweight convenience
  • Internal pocket containing info on Moleskine’s history
This notebook is one of Moleskine’s bestsellers.
Best Value
BookFactory’s Lined Journal Notebook is a 192-page hardcover journal with ruled pages. It has an elastic secure band, a bookmark and high-quality, smooth pages. The BookFactory Food Journal is a durable, pocket-sized journal with space to record up to five meals and water intake daily. It’s Wire-O bound; check it out if you’re looking for a food journal.

BookFactory Hard Cover Writing Lined Journal Diary with Bookmark – 5.25 x 8.27 Inches – Available in 5 Colors

BookFactory promises to make your dream book a reality. Whether it’s for personal use or professional use, as long as you can imagine it, BookFactory promises to make it at an affordable price. Its books are of a great quality and are archival safe. With its offices in London and Ohio, your orders are created swiftly and sent to you anywhere in the world. BookFactory’s books are literally bound to please.

The BookFactory Lined Journal Notebook ($9.99 – Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) is a good way to preserve personal records, keep track of personal thoughts or take notes at work. It’s durable and convenient to use. Its college-ruled lines allow organized note-taking, while its thick paper prevents ink from bleeding.
This notebook also features:
  • Acid-free(pH-neutral) pages for long-lasting storage
  • An elastic closure that holds contents securely and can double as a bookmark
  • A bookmark for convenience
  • A matching red color for both the elastic band and bookmark for all five color options<
Custom imprinting is available with this multipurpose journal.
RusticTown’s Vintage Leather Journal is handcrafted using 100% leather through an eco-friendly process. Its 360 plain pages are thick and smooth for use with any pen. The Leather Journal with Semi-Precious Stone and Buckle Closure by RusticTown has a beautiful, classic antique look and somewhat magical feel. Try it for something different.

RusticTown Dark Brown Medium Vintage Leather Journal Diary – Also Available with Box

RusticTown is an India-based brand that believes that beautiful, well-crafted leather products complement today’s ultramodern lifestyle. It delivers “rustic collectibles,” the result of leather formed after undergoing many changes to become an amazing product. A “rustic collectible” is processed through a traditional, time-consuming “vegetable-tanning” technique and polished off with vegetable oils for a glowing end product.

RusticTown’s Vintage Leather Journal ($49.99 – Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) is a medium, handmade vintage journal made from 100% leather. It’s stitched with high-quality thread so it can stand the test of time and use. It’s not soft cover, but it’s flexible enough for convenience. It features a three-fold wrap design, a leather strap that goes around the journal twice and cream-colored pages. It doesn’t have a bookmark, though.
Other features include:
  • Acid-free (pH-neutral) pages that last a long time
  • 320 unlined pages (counting both sides) so you can write as much as you can imagine
  • An emblazoned RusticTown logo at the back for added looks
  • Great customer support
This journal is covered by a 30-day money back guarantee.
Eccolo’s Embossed Dragonfly Journal with faux leather cover has lined heavy stock ivory paper. It’s handmade and durable. The pages are smooth, and it’s lightweight and convenient to carry around. Eccolo’s World Traveler Journal is a desk-size journal with inspirational quotes on its front cover. It’s gray with faux leather cover and 256 lined pages. For something different, check it out.

Eccolo Blue Embossed Dragonfly Faux Leather Lined Journal – 5 x 7 Inches

Eccolo is a New York-based family business that has been dedicated to bringing the United States the beauty and craftsmanship of Italy for more than a decade. It began as a small business importing high-end, Italian-made gift products. Today, it has grown through the consistent hard work of its founders and staff to include a beautiful line of journals that include famous inspirational quotes and attention-catching artwork. Its décor lines are crafted to add sophisticated style to any space.

Eccolo’s Embossed Dragonfly Journal ($10.44 – Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) features flexible covers that are durable and vegan-friendly. It’s conveniently sized for home, office or travel use. Its pages of college-ruled lines allow you to take down notes in an organized manner. Each page is lined in a soft gray ink. It's thread bound in eight sections, with a total of 256 pages. Its pages are acid-free, so they won't deteriorate easily. It doesn’t have a bookmark.
Peter Pauper’s Hydrangeas Journal is a hardcover bound book that takes pen or pencil well. It features a matching elastic band, an inner pocket and lightly-lined, acid-free pages. The Flanders Black Leather Journal is another quality journal from this brand. It features a glided-gold page edging and complementing bronze endpapers. If you’d like a plain journal, check it out.

Peter Pauper Press Hard Cover Lined Hydrangeas Journal Writing Notebook – 5 x 7 Inches

Peter Pauper Press was established in 1928 to create and supply high-quality, ingeniously designed books, gifts and stationary that can be afforded by anyone who needs them. It has earned renown for itself as America’s leading publisher of unique journals, humor books, travel guides, compact references, quality stationery, fine gift books, holiday cards, and innovative children’s activity books.

Peter Pauper’s Hydrangeas Journal ($8.99 – Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) comes in a beautifully designed hardcover with an elastic band in matching color. Its small 5x7-inch format allows it to fit easily in most bags. It also features attention-grabbing silver foil highlights. Its 160 pages are lightly lined and take both pencil and pen beautifully.
Other features of this beauty include:
  • Acid-free, archival quality pages for durability
  • Complementary azure blue end sheets to complete the look
  • Inner back pocket for your business cards and notes
  • Matching plum elastic secure band to keep contents from falling
This journal matches other Hydrangeas gifts and stationery from this company.

How Do I Choose the Best Journal?

Here’s an interesting story of a young amnesiac patient who depended on her journal to help with her memory loss.

Picture this: a snowy Cincinnati day in December of 2016. Young Addie drove home to see her parents who she hadn’t seen in a while. She missed her small hometown, her adorable dog Buffy, and best friend, Tracy. Addie has a lot on her mind, schoolwork, juggling class lectures, her part time job, and ultimately didn’t pay attention to her driving. The music was blasting and the car going too fast, and before she knew it she hit black ice and her car swerved out of control. In the end, Addie suffered a serious car crash which resulted in amnesia.

There’s a happy ending here, and believe it or not it does involve her journal. Addie felt that she wouldn’t have regained her memory if she hadn’t always written in her journal, documenting every single detail of her life after the crash. The point of this story? It’s that a well-kept journal can be a real life saver.

Every artist knows how vital it is to connect with that perfect journal for writing or sketching. That pristine looking smooth paper always seems to allow the creative spirit such free-reign. New journals are exciting; a place to start a sketch with a freshly sharpened pencil that you keep alongside your electric pencil sharpener or a book you carry over to your garden hammock chair to lazily scribble in. Journals have this unidentifiable magic quality to them, putting you in the happiest of moods with the simple sound of pencil scratching on paper.

To better delight in your writing experience and organize your notes, you may want a flexible, lightweight journal that is compact with a strong elastic closure. To prevent pages from becoming dog-eared, you may want to consider a round edged journal. Travelling writers, there’s just some things you don’t ever want to forget, like your iPod packed with favorite inspiring hits, your smart stylus pen, and, most importantly, your travel journal.

If you’re the type of individual who hears heavenly angelic voices sing down from above at the mere presence of a newly purchased blank writing book, then you need to get yourself a journal. Do yourself a favor, keep reading this guide!
The price range we have for a good journal is between $7 and $25. These prices aren’t too far apart, so this helps for a quicker decision. Journals come in different qualities, colors, and sizes, so there’s plenty things to consider. For example, when it comes to pricing, lightweight compact journals and heavier leather-bound journals are in different pricing categories.

The appearance of a journal speaks volumes about a person. Ladies generally prefer beautifully carved flowers or intricate etchings on their journal, while some men favor classic leather-bound versions. Whichever type you want to go for, you must resist the temptation to buy a cheap journal. They are usually not worth the money you spend buying them.
Do you just love to give words to your thoughts, feelings and ideas? Do you want to always remember that most cherished memory of when you went mountain climbing, or even skydiving! Or do you simply want to relish the memory of when your childhood crush eventually told you he liked you too? Sounds like a journal is just what you need!
Here are some features that would help you in your search for that special journal:
  • Quality of the Paper
  • Weight
  • Size
  • Design
  • Color
  • Binding
  • Cover
If you still feel in the dark about what to choose, take a look at the different options you can choose from below.
Construction and Design
There’s an uplifting feeling associated with writing and sketching, as opposed to writing electronically; and it’s one that cannot be replicated. Doesn’t it feel good to sit in a recliner, relaxed and serene, with just you, your journal, and your thoughts? That kind of solitude and ephemeral bliss cannot be explained. Imagine going on long trips, excited by opportunity to write about every natural and unnatural thing you see. Well, this can only be possible with a journal that boasts of high quality paper. Before purchasing one, you should look out for the kind of paper it was produced with as some will bleed with certain pens, such as fountain pens. You should also consider the smoothness of the paper; a smooth paper makes for comfortable and easy writing. The paper should also be acid-free, that is, at a neutral pH level which gives you an idea of how long your journal will last. Acid-free journal paper usually lasts for more than 100 years.

The weight of the journal is another issue as you will want a compact model if you intend to carry it around with you. Journals are available in different sizes, and you will want to select one depending on its purpose. A sketch journal would not be the same size as a personal journal since they’re usually thinner and longer than a writing book. This allows for ample sketching room; the perfect surface area for every stroke and curve of your drawing. Although a personal journal could also be long, most people prefer a smaller private looking journal.

A beautiful cover design makes for a beautiful journal. A journal is a representation of your personality, and because journals are available in different designs, you should choose one that best suits you. Whether it’s an abstract design or a photo image, let your creativity run wild when choosing your favorite journal design. Perhaps, you’ll want to display a preferred symbol or color that best describes what you want to write about in the journal. A journal with a flat surface is more comfortable than those with a curved or slightly bent surface, and would come in handy when you travel. You can just put it on your lap or on a flat surface to write. Also, a favorite journal type among travelers are those with spiral or flexi binding.

Journals enthusiasts understand that these items are ageless possessions; so, the durability of your journal is absolutely essential. There are some memories that are so very precious, experiences kept near to our hearts that we want to share with our children, right down to our great grandchildren. Therefore, the durability of a journal cannot be overlooked. Your journal should be covered in long lasting durable fabrics, a very strong elastic closure for safekeeping and handcrafted papers.
Performance and Ease of Use
Thoughts and ideas just flow when there’s a pen and paper involved. Imagine going to the market without your to-do list properly written down. That’s a recipe for over spending! Now, imagine going for an exam without the proper notes to read and revise. That’s definitely not a situation you want to find yourself in. These reasons and more are exactly why you need a journal, but not just any journal, an easy to use, stress-free, and beautifully crafted journal. And there are so many out there to choose, from leather-bound to solid colored, from highly decorated to plain and simple.

Your journal needs to be handled with care, not just because of the personal information frequently written in it, but also because it lasts longer when handled carefully. After writing, cautiously put it back in your bag or purse as you do not want to damage your precious journal. The sturdy and flexible cover of a journal allows you to fit it into your back pocket on the go while the rounded edges prevent them from becoming dog-eared. The journals we have reviewed are durable and convenient to use, the lines on the papers allow for easy note taking, and the thickness of the paper prevents the ink from bleeding.

You should also look out for journals that are stitched with high-quality thread as this means they will not easily fall apart. Lastly, confirm that the cover of the journal is water-resistant; this will be the only way to preserve those memories in the event you are caught in the rain.

Get the Best Journal of 2023!

Now that you’ve come to the end of this review we’re sure that you’ve gleaned all the information you’ll need to select your ideal writing journal. Are you ready to get out your favorite pen and get started? Great! Go right ahead and place your order.

Our Top Choice
Moleskine Classic Notebook
Best Value
BookFactory Lined Journal Notebook
RusticTown Vintage Leather Journal
Eccolo Embossed Dragonfly Journal
Peter Pauper Press Hydrangeas Journal