» Home The 15 Best Bullet Journals For 2023, According To An Expert The 15 Best Bullet Journals For 2023, According To An Expert
Bullet journals made a big
internet splash in 2013, and the trend hasn’t slowed down much since. Any dotted grid notebook can indeed work for bullet journaling. However, there are a few key things to consider when shopping for the best bullet journals including the thickness of its paper, how many pages it has, and any additional organizational features you might want. What Is The Best GSM For Bullet Journaling?
It’s important to consider the paper’s weight, which is often
measured in grams per square meter (or GSM). “GSM is important because poor-quality paper, or paper that’s too thin, can lead to feathering, ghosting, and bleeding,” says Kate Tunstall, founder of the journaling blog Refined Prose. And because bullet journals typically involve double-sided work, Tunstall recommends purchasing a bullet journal with around 160 GSM paper or higher.
However, many popular journals for bullet journaling aren’t quite that heavyweight. You can find some great ones that start at around 80 GSM. Just keep in mind that thin pages likely will not be the best option if you write with a heavy hand or prefer inkier pens.
What Else To Consider When Shopping For The Best Bullet Journals
You’ll also want to estimate how many pages you’ll need. Fortunately, there’s an assortment of highly rated notebooks for different skill and commitment levels. Beyond dotted pages, Tunstall also suggests considering extra features such as a dedicated index to help you
stay organized and on track. Built-in bookmarks numbered pages, or additional stickers can also help you keep your place.
“The best thing about bullet journaling is that it can be completely customized to your lifestyle, becoming whatever you need or want it to be,” says Tunstall. Whether you’re a beginner who needs a little guidance or a pro seeking to splurge on a high-end notebook, here’s a list of some of the
best notebooks on Amazon for bullet journaling.
The Overall Best Bullet Journal With Thick Pages
Pages: 155 | Softcover | GSM: 160 | Available colors: 11 | Available styles: dotted
If you’re looking for a
bullet journal you can use with a range of pens without any bleeding or ghosting, this one should fit the bill. The 155 dotted, acid-free pages have a weight of 160 GSM — one reviewer described, “I really love the paper quality,” adding that it’s “super thick and I tried my sharpie and it didn’t even bleed or ghost!” But if you have any reservations about how free-flowing a pen’s ink might be, you can use the journal’s Pen Test page before you start writing.
The journal also features index pages, numbering, a key page, and a pocket inside the back cover. Two ribbon bookmarks help you keep your place, a pen loop helps you keep track of your go-to writing utensil, and an elastic band keeps the notebook closed. Boasting a faux leather cover, the journal can be purchased in two sizes.
One reviewer wrote: “This notebook has all of my favorite features: thick, luxurious dot-grid paper; a built-in pen loop and pen; a file pocket inside the back cover; and numbered pages. I’ve tried several notebooks for bullet journaling and this one has replaced the Leuchtturm 1917 as my favorite. I’ve purchased three, and plan to buy more.”
A Cult-Favorite Hardcover Journal In 24 Vibrant Colors
Pages: 251 | Hardcover | GSM: 80 | Colors available: 22 | Available styles: dotted, plain, squared, ruled
Leuchtturm 1917 hardcover notebook has your bullet journaling needs covered with 251 acid-free, ink-proof pages that weigh 80 GSM and are available in dotted, ruled, blank, or gridded styles. The journal features a table of contents, numbered pages, and has a thread-bound binding so that it lays flat. Built with an expandable pocket, an elastic closure, two sewn-in bookmarks, and available in 24 different colors, it’s no wonder that more than 5,000 Amazon users have given it glowing reviews.
One reviewer wrote: “I recently started a bullet journal and I can’t express how happy I am with the dot grid in this book. It allows for customization that goes beyond anything I thought a planner could be.”
Or A Softcover Version With Fewer Pages
Pages: 123 | Softcover | GSM: 80 | Available colors: 13 | Available styles: dotted, plain, ruled, squared
If you’re curious about bullet journaling but are unsure if it’ll stick, this
softcover journal — which offers your choice of 123 dotted, ruled, blank, or gridded 80-GSM pages — could be a great one to start with. With this journal, a lot of the initial work for bullet journaling will be done for you, as its pages are pre-numbered, it has a blank table of contents, and includes stickers for easy organization. It also has two sewn-in ribbon bookmarks, an elastic closure band, a gusseted back pocket, and eight perforated sheets you can easily tear out, making it the souped-up journal of your dreams.
One reviewer wrote: “This is perhaps the best notebook I have ever used. I use this both for journaling and bullet lists and it handles both tasks with ease. The size is just right, it lays flat as advertised, it is extremely durable (I take it everywhere), the paper is perfect, the grid darkness is ideal and it includes numbered pages, date lines and an index. I really cannot say enough good things about it.”
A Bullet Journal That’s Great For Beginners
Pages: 160 | Hardcover | GSM: 100 | Available colors: 17 | Available styles: dotted
If you’re new to bullet journaling, the
Paperage dotted notebook is everything you need at an affordable price. This journal includes 160 dotted pages with a nice, heavy weight of 100 GSM. Its threaded binding allows the journal to lay flat, which makes writing easy even for lefties. Additionally, this journal features an inner expandable pocket, a ribbon bookmark, and an elastic closure band. The vegan leather cover is even customizable. Decorate it with the included sticker labels or your own penmanship. This journal is available in a selection of 17 vivid colors.
One reviewer wrote: “I recently got back into bullet journaling from a few years ago and this is a great beginner journal. It is sturdy, even being thrown into a bag on the daily when on the go. Also very affordable compared to other similar journals of it’s kind. I would recommend!”
A Budget-Friendly Bullet Journal
Pages: 128 | Hardcover | GSM: 100 | Available colors: 1 | Available styles: dotted
100-GSM journal comes at a bargain. With 128 dotted pages, two sewn-in ribbon bookmarks in different colors, and cream-colored acid-free paper, it’s ready to be customized with your bullet journal lists, memories, and schedules. It also has an elastic pen loop on the spine so you never misplace your favorite writing utensil.
One reviewer wrote: “This is a high-quality executive-style notebook. It’s a good size for carrying around between meetings. its high-quality materials and cover make it a professional extension of the office. The paper is high quality and the price cannot be beaten. If you are used to using moleskin or other brands, you should consider this option as a high quality and low price alternative.”
An Editor-Recommended Classic Notebook
Pages: 240 | Hardcover | GSM: 70 | Available colors: 20 | Available styles: ruled, dotted, double, plain, squared
Moleskine is a beloved journal brand, and this
Moleskine hardcover notebook has over 2,900 five-star Amazon reviews and is the preferred notebook of one of Bustle’s editors as well. The 240-page notebook has 70-GSM ivory pages and is available in dotted, squared, ruled, plain, or even a mix of ruled and plain options. Simplistic in design, it features an elastic closure, one sewn-in ribbon bookmark, and a small back pocket. The rest of the interior’s design is up to you and your imagination.
Editor praise: “I’ve used this dotted Moleskine notebook for years for my bullet journals. The dotted design makes it easy to make really simple charts, graphs, and visuals, but doesn’t get in the way of any writing you want to do, as well. It has 240 pages, which is plenty of space for me to make calendars, track things, and also have monthly spreads. I’ve also found the paper isn’t so thin that markers bleed through it. I’d highly recommend.” — Amy Biggart, Bustle Senior Editor
A Bullet Journal Kit With Tons Of Extras
Pages: 224 | Hardcover | GSM: ~100 | Available colors: 12 | Available styles: dotted
Keeping organized is a priority with this
bullet journal kit. In addition to 224 dotted pages, the A5 hardcover journal features an index, pre-numbered pages, two sewn-in ribbon bookmarks, and a back pocket. The notebook also comes with a bunch of bullet journaling accessories, including a black pen, 15 colorful fine-tip pens, five journaling stencil sheets, six sticker sheets, and six patterned rolls of washi tape. The manufacturer doesn’t specify the weight of the paper, but one reviewer estimated it to be 100 GSM, and another wrote that it’s “heavy enough for a lesser bleed through depending on ink choice.” The journal is available in six colors, each ready to put the included kit to great use.
One reviewer wrote: “This bullet journal is the holy grail of bullet journals. It comes with many different stencils, pens, washi tape, and stickers. The main area where this bullet journal stands out is the number of pages it has and the thickness of the paper. I love it.”
A Pair Of Large Bullet Journals
Pages: 190 | Softcover | GSM: 100 | Available colors: 10 | Available styles: dotted
large notebooks come in at almost 10 by 8 inches, making them a spacious pick for note-taking, idea jotting, and planning. Crafted with 190 pages per notebook, the 100-GSM paper keeps bleeding to a minimum and makes writing a dream. The dotted pages are pre-numbered, and the notebooks also feature two sewn-in ribbon bookmarks, elastic closures, a back pocket, and even a journaling stencil that’ll help you design the bullet journal layout that’s best for you. They come in 10 color combinations, with some packs including two journals in the same color and some mix-and-match options.
One reviewer wrote: “Wanted a larger notebook for next year’s bullet journal that would hold the full year and this one is perfect. I was able to lay out each month with room for weekly spreads and an extra page at the end of each week for trackers, notes, etc. Good price. Good quality. About the same amount of ghosting or bleeding — depending on the pen — as my Rhodia Goal Book.”
A 3-Pack Of Spiral-Bound Journals
Pages: 80 | Hardcover | GSM: 120 | Available colors: 1 | Available styles: dotted
If you have an affinity for
spiral-bound notebooks, these are great bullet journal options with a sturdy wire binding that allows the pages to lay totally flat when you’re writing. They’re also perfect if you’re wanting to use a journal for different subjects or areas of your life. Each journal has an elastic closure and 80 dotted pages with a weight of 120 GSM. Select this three-pack from three different sizes: A4, A5, or B5.
One reviewer wrote: “These notebooks have made studying and note-taking more enjoyable for me! In the past, I would get so annoyed by my highlighters and pens bleeding through onto the other side which would make it harder for me to focus. The pages are sturdy enough that even my heavy highlighters don’t bleed through onto the next pages.”
A Bullet Journal With Thick Pages & A Charming Cover
Pages: 160 | Hardcover | GSM: 160 | Available colors: 5 | Available styles: dotted
dotted journal with a gold moon pattern hardcover has 160 pages of 160-GSM paper, meaning it’s extra thick and ready to prevent bleeding. As for the interior, it features pre-numbered pages, an index page, key page, and even a “pen test” page. It also has an elastic closure, back envelope pocket, and a sewn-in ribbon bookmark, and is available in two colors, each with a vegan leather cover.
One reviewer wrote: “This bullet journal is so beautiful! The cover looks and feels amazing! The pages are super durable and thick so I get very little if any bleeding through the pages. I love the grid that is included inside. Usually I would struggle or have to make my own but this one fits right into the book and I can remove it and line it up on any page. The storage compartment in the back is super durable too! Would recommend!”
A 3-Pack Of Oversize Journals With 96 Pages
Pages: 96 | Softcover | GSM: 90 | Available colors: 1 | Available styles: dotted
Committing to just one journal can be hard, but luckily this
multipack of notebooks gives you the flexibility to move between them as needed. Each journal contains 96 pages of 90-GSM paper that can easily handle fountain and brush pens. The lay-flat sewn binding allows for smoother writing while the 7-by-10-inch sizing gives you lots of room to roam. They have informal paper covers you can customize and doodle on, and you can choose from dotted, squared, lined, or plain paper — whatever best suits your bullet-journaling needs.
One reviewer wrote: “I bought these for work and they are perfect. I do a lot of detailed sketches in them and the dots are perfect. The notebook is a nice material and has quality pages and I would recommend these to anyone.”
A 360-Page Notebook For Long-Term Bullet Journalers
Pages: 360 | Softcover | GSM: 100 | Available colors: 1 | Available styles: dotted, lined, blank
If you’re fully committed to bullet journaling, consider this thick
softcover journal with 360 pages that will allow you to use an entire page every day for nearly a full year. It’s available with dotted, lined, or blank 100-GSM pages, with a red or black cover featuring an inscription, and even with gold-edge paper or plain. It also has two sewn-in ribbon bookmarks to keep track of where you are in its vast number of pages.
One reviewer wrote: “I love the volume of this notebook and the dot grid. I use this notebook as a bullet journal, which solves the problem of needing a separate notebook and planner. I often lose track of the meeting, purpose, and or date/time of my notes in my notebooks, so I’m always cross-referencing my notebook pages against my planner. With this big journal, that is one less problem I have in my life.”
A Set Of Tiny Journals For On-The-Go Bullet Journaling
Pages: 64 | Softcover | GSM: 70 | Available colors: 8 | Available styles: dotted, plain, ruled, squared
For easily bringing your bullet journal with you wherever you may roam, consider this set of three 3.5-by-5.5-inch
Moleskine pocket journals. Each paper-cover journal has 64 dotted pages (or squared, ruled, or plain pages) and has 16 perforated pages in the back for easily tearing out notes as needed. At 70 GSM, the paper in these is on the thin side — so you might want to stick to ballpoint pens to prevent bleeding or ghosting. But these little notebooks are perfect for tucking into any bag for easily having on-hand at a moment’s notice, and they’re available in 10 colors.
One reviewer wrote: “These notebooks are fantastic! I’ve been using one as a pocket bullet journal, and it’s held up very well. The stitched spines aren’t just more durable than the stapled ones in e.g. Field Notes, they’re more comfortable to use, too. It also has significantly more pages than Field Notes – 64 to FN’s 48 – at about the same width. I’ll definitely be buying again.”
A Highly-Rated Bullet Journal That’s Eco-Friendly
Pages: 192 | Hardcover | GSM: 100 | Available colors: 14 | Available styles: dotted, plain, lined, squared
For the environmentally conscious, the
Dingbats Wildlife A5 dotted notebook is a 100% vegan-certified option. It’s made only from recyclable materials and contains nearly 200 pages constructed from FSC-certified paper. The micro-perforated cream 100-GSM pages are a highlight for fans who especially love writing with fountain pens and markers, and the animal footprint end sheets are a nice aesthetic touch. With nearly 12,000 reviewers, this journal earns an outstanding 4.8-star rating.
One reviewer wrote: “This is a notebook for you if you want blank pages. Nice, thick paper, cream color, a bookmark, etc. The animal print on the front cover makes me smile when I look at it.”
A Bullet Journal With Extra-Smooth Clairefontaine Paper
Pages: 120 | Hardcover | GSM: 90 | Available colors: 20 | Available styles:
Built for durability, this
Rhodia journal utilizes French Clairefontaine paper, known for its exceptional color and ultra-smooth acid-free sheets. The hard-bound notebook has an embossed faux-leatherette cover, an inner expandable pocket and a ribbon marker. With 96 sheets of 90-GSM paper, this notebook is marked as fountain pen-friendly. One reviewer wrote, “I would consider this paper to have a very premium feel to it; it is thick and smooth.”
One reviewer wrote: “I’ve been looking for the perfect daily notebook and for me this is it. It’s a real joy to use with my fountain pens (broad and italic nibs with Waterman black ink m). It’s sooo smooth, there’s no bite and the ink absorbs well. They’re very little show through, so I can write on both sides of the page.”
Kate Tunstall is the founder of RefinedPurpose.com, a blog dedicated to journaling and positivity.
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This article was originally published on
Oct. 12, 2017