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There are countless varieties of journals out there — where do you even start? We picked seven top-quality hard- and soft-covers that turn a blank page into a creative opportunity.
Best Standard-Sized Journal
If you're a journal geek, A5 is pretty much the platonic ideal of notebook sizes. At 5.8 by 8.3 inches, it's perfectly portable, though large enough to comfortably write in. We happen to like this 192-page, ruled model a lot, as its 100gsm weight paper is slightly thicker than the ISO-based industry standard of 80gsm. It includes a bookmark ribbon and an elastic closure, and it's available in six vibrant shades.
Best Wire-Bound Journal
When it comes to prolonged periods of writing longhand, wire- or spiral-bound journals are the best to use, simply because you can fold over the page or lay them flat as you work. This ruled pick is a stylistic step up from the spiral-bound notebooks used for note-taking in class, as each page lets you circle the month and date, and even jot down a "subject" at the very top, so you can track your thoughts over the course of time.
Best Journal Set
Voracious writers know that just one journal will never do. This vivacious set of three slim softcover notebooks from Rifle Paper Co. can be designated for work, home, and passion-project use, each cover detailed with a different botanical colorway.
Best Leather Journal
This leather-covered notebook is truly a worthwhile investment piece, because users can continually swap out and add proprietary refill inserts as the notebook fills up! (It holds up to three of these notebook-like inserts at a time.) The rugged leather exterior is meant to age and wear to a rugged patina, protecting the pages of the 90gsm paper tucked inside. Slip your pen inside the elastic binding, and you're good to go!
With over 800 reviews and a five-star rating on Amazon, users love this "forever notebook" for its elegant, old-world appearance and incredible tanned-leather smell.
Best Journal-Sketchbook Combo
Don't limit your self-expression to one medium! This dual-layout Moleskine notebook is formatted with blank pages on the left side and lined paper on the right, so you can simultaneously scrawl and sketch when the mood strikes. Other features include double bookmarks, a hard cotton-canvas cover, a substantial 100gsm paper weight, and an interior envelope for stuffing in loose bits and bobs.
Best Journal With Lock
Does leaving your nocturnal scribblings out on your nightstand make you feel a bit ... vulnerable? Opt for a locked journal to keep your secrets safe. Set your own combination, and then unlatch it to open it up. This imitation-leather journal is set up in a binder format, so the center binding can open and close to add refill pages, and it even includes a pen holder, so you'll always have something to write with on hand. Users note that the lock does take some getting used to, but it works very well.
Best Snap-Closure Journal
There's something really satisfying about snapping a journal closed after wrapping up a long, cathartic entry. This journal features a smooth, pebbled cover and snap enclosure on the outside, and a pen holder, bookmark, and 96 lined pages inside.