Much like there are different planners that offer various benefits, there are also a number of different bullet journals. Maybe you are coming to this post a year or two into bullet journaling and want to switch up your notebook. This could also be your first bullet journal, if it is, welcome. You’ll want to check out this post after you read this one for more tips on starting your first bullet journal.
What Is Bullet Journaling?
The bullet journal method was created by Ryder Caroll. It was originally intended as a logging system and productivity tool. It has since grown into a whole community of both creatives and the productivity-obsessed.
On their website, the bullet journal methodology is described as, “a mindfulness practice disguised as a productivity system. It’s designed to help you organize your what while you remain mindful of your why.”
Simply put, your bullet journal is much more than any old notebook. What you fill the blank pages with will help you become more productive in a more meaningful way than typical to-do lists. Bullet journalists get more benefits than just more productivity. Bullet journals can also help with your mental health, finances, career, and more!
Features Of A Typical Bullet Journal
There are many differences between bullet journals that we will get to soon, but they all also have some similarities. You can really use any regular notebook to start bullet journaling.
However, there are certain types of notebooks that most bullet journalers use. If you want to kick off your bullet journal journey with ease I suggest getting a hardcover a5 notebook that has the following features:
- Pen test page: This is a crucial page if you know you are going to make your pages decorative. These are a page or two in the back of your bullet journal that’s sole purpose is for marking on. You want to check for any bleed-through here before you use a new marker or other art supply.
- Pen loop: This is handy to have when you are on the go. Since most bullet journals are a5 size it’s easy to carry it in a bag. Having a pen loop gives you a place to always carry a pen with your bullet journal.
- Key code page: In my opinion this page can be optional. However, new bullet journalers can benefit from a key page. This is typically at the beginning of your notebook. It gives you a place to remember what the symbols you’ll be using means. You’ll want to create symbols for things like a completed task, an appointment, a migrated task, and more. This is how the original bullet journal method started.
- Ribbon bookmarks: These are kind of self-explanatory. You’ll want to bookmark important pages and the current page you are on. Most notebooks come with 2-3 ribbon markers.
- Blank table of contents: This is a page in the front of your new journal. It gives you space to label where certain pages are.
- Back pocket: A back inner pocket in a bullet journal is a personal preference, but I think it’s handy to have. Bullet journals that have this on the back cover.
5 Things To Consider When Picking The Best Bullet Journal Notebook For You
Now that you have an idea of some of the main features of a bullet journal notebook, here are where most notebooks differ. These all come down to what supplies you are using, how you are using your bullet journal, and personal preference. These criteria is what I’ll be using to compare the notebooks later on in this post.
- Paper thickness: This is important in determining the type of materials you can use. If you like going heavy on the marker, or even using mediums like watercolor, you’ll want a thicker page.
- Lined, unlined, grid, dot: The most common format for bullet journaling is a dot-grid format. You may find that another format works better for you though. So this will be something you want to consider.
- Numbered pages: Numbered pages make it easier for you to locate the page you want. If it’s distracting for you though you’ll want to find notebooks that don’t number the pages.
- Number of pages: If you like your monthly and weekly layouts very drawn out, and you are planning on creating a ton of collection pages, you’ll want one with more pages.
- Page color: There are a couple of different options for page colors. If that is something that is important to you, you’ll want to see the page color before purchasing your notebook.
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9 Best Bullet Journal Notebooks
What’s the best bullet journal notebook to buy? That is for you to decide. I’m making your decision easier by giving you the 10 different notebooks that are the best options, in my opinion, and comparing them all. At the end of this post you should have an idea of what the best notebook for you is.
Leuchtturm 1917 – Medium A5 Squared Hardcover Notebook – Popular Pick
This is similar to the regular Leuchtturm 1917 bullet journal, but these pages are squared. Speaking of pages, there are 251 of them, and they are numbered.
The paper is also acid-free and has a page thickness of 80g/m².
These notebooks also include a blank table of contents page, eight perforated detachable sheets of paper, an expandable back pocket, and two page markers.
You can find them in a variety of different colors as well. You can purchase this notebook for around $21.95
The PAPERAGE Blank Journal Notebook has a water-resistant vegan leather cover with 160 ivory colored pages inside. The paper is acid-free and 100 gsm thick.
So you’ll be able to use most markers without worry of bleedthrough. The journal also includes a backpocket and a ribbon bookmark.
The notebook comes in a variety of colors and you can purchase it at around $11.95. PAPERAGE also has other bullet journal options where the paper is lined or dotted.
You’ve got two options with this notebook, depending on how many pages you want and how thick you want your pages.
You can purchase a dot grid notebook with 60gsm thickness and 150+ numbered pages, or a dot grid notebook with 120gsm thickness and 200+ numbered pages.
The Scribbles That Matter journals also include a key page, three index pages, pen test pages, two bookmarks, and a back pocket.
Another handy feature is the pen loop that even includes a free fineliner so you are ready to go as soon as you buy your new notebook. To top it off there are a ton of color options.
Lemome A5 College Ruled Hardcover Writing Notebook – Simple, No Frills Pick
This bullet journal consists of 180 pages at 120 gsm paper thickness. That is great paper quality that will hold up with most markers and pens. The pages are lined (wide ruled).
There is also a back pocket that expands. You can buy one of five different color options for about $13.95.
Each journal has a pen loop which provides convenience for on-the-go bullet journaling.
Inside these cute minimalist designed covers are 160 numbered dot grid pages that are hand-bounded. The page quality is fantastic – at 160GSM paper thickness.
They include the must have key, index, and pen test pages as well.
Other added benefits are a back pocket, two bookmarks, and a pen holder. You can purchase this bullet journal for around $19.95.
Nuuna Bonded Leather Notebook – Visually Appealing
Nunna bullet journal covers are the most decorative of all of these 10 options. So if you really want to express your personality see if one of the designs speaks to you.
Another difference is that these notebook covers are soft-flex, not hardcover. When you open this bullet journal you’ll find 176 dotted pages that are described as 120g finest Munken paper.
It doesn’t have other features, like a bookmark or back pocket. In my opinion, the variety of fun designs make up for that. You can purchase this notebook for about $22.83.
LEUCHTTURM1917 The Official Bullet Journal Notebook – Popular Pick
We’ve got another LEUCHTTURM1917 on the list. This one is known as the official bullet journal, it’s even featured on the bullet journal website.
There are a lot of features in this dotted 206 page notebook. You’ll find features like a back pocket, index and future log pages and three bookmarks.
In the new edition they have added a grid guide and page dividers. This helps when creating your layouts. Instead of counting dots you can just look at the dividers. The page thickness is like most of the bullet journals we has discussed so far, 120 g/sqm.
You can purchase this notebook for about $21.95 in a variety of colors.
Feela Bullet Journal Kit – Best All In One Kit
You’ll find more information about other products you’ll want with your bullet journal. If you want a one and done purchase though, this kit is for you.
This Feela Bullet Journal Kit comes with not only a notebook, but also fineliner pens, reusable stencils, sticker sheets, washi tape set, and a black pen.
At only about $34 this kit is practically a steal. Now to the notebook details. There is a pen holder, an inner pocket, two bookmarks, and the pages are numbered.This would be the perfect notebook kit for someone just starting their bullet journal journey.
This notebook is perfect for anyone that doesn’t have time to create layouts in their journal.
The pages are pre-made, so you can start using it as soon as you get it. There are a few color options to choose from, and you can choose between ivory and cream page color.
Other ways to customize the notebook include the starting month, pre-filled or blank pages, and the cover type.
You can purchase this notebook through their Etsy shop starting at around $38.44 price point.
Other supplies you’ll want:
Markers: Crayola Super Tips are great for any outlining or coloring you want to do. I also think it’s a great idea to have brush tip markers for any hand-lettering you want to do. My favorite brand is the Tombow Dual Tip markers.
Fineliners:These are great for small details and are smooth to write with as well. I really love my Faber-Castell F167100 Pitt Artist Pens, but I also have found some at 5 and Below that work just as well.
Pens: You’ll want a variety of pens to decorate up your bullet journal, but just a simple black pen works too. If you do want a variety of pens I recommend these felt tip ones, some gel pens, and then regular writing pens.
6 in ruler: You want a ruler this size so that it will fit the page. This makes it easier to create your layouts.
Stickers: Stickers are great for adding decorative, fun elements to your pages. The Happy Planner has a variety of sticker books in different themes. I love that there are so many options, and they usually have great sales too.
Now you can go into a store, or on a website, with confidence in what notebook you are looking for. Don’t forget to grab a few other supplies to get your bullet journal setup started.
More Posts on Bullet Journaling:
- 30+ Bullet Journal Budget Tracker Printable Options 
- 71 Minimalist Bullet Journal Spreads
- 12 Must-Try Bullet Journal Daily Layout Ideas
- 41 Bullet Journal Fonts To Try In Your Bullet Journal
- 150 Habits To Track In Your Bullet Journal
- An In-Depth Guide to Bullet Journaling
- 5 Benefits of Having A Bullet Journal For Goals
- 55 Art Journal Prompts To Boost Your Creativity