This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Which spiral notebook is best?

For all the digital devices at our fingertips, there is still value in putting pen to paper in a notebook. Some prefer the feeling of writing as a mindfulness exercise, while others find writing makes it easier to study in school or support their work. Spiral notebooks are appealing as sheets fold over easily, and you usually can remove pages without a hassle.

The best spiral notebooks offer an organized way to catalog important information while catering to your writing instrument of choice. The best, the durable Five Star Five-Subject Spiral Notebook, includes 200 pages across five sections to help with taking notes and studying.

What to know before you buy a spiral notebook


The presence and spacing of lines in notebooks is referred to as ruling. Most spiral notebooks are ruled so you can easily write and organize content. There are a few notable types of ruling:

  • Wide ruled lines are spaced farthest apart. With 11⁄32 of an inch between the horizontal lines, wide ruled notebooks are useful for those with slightly larger handwriting or anyone who prefers more white space when reading over notes.
  • College ruled notebooks find the lines  slightly narrower, with 9⁄32 of an inch in between. This ruling is most popular for those in college.
  • Grid ruling, also known as quad or graph ruling, features both horizontal and vertical lines that are evenly spaced. These notebooks are useful for those in mathematical or artistic pursuits.
  • Blank notebooks lack ruling entirely, with empty pages welcoming artists, designers and anyone else who wants an empty canvas.


Most spiral notebooks measure 8 by 10.5 inches. This fits easily into backpacks and binders, suiting those in school. Smaller notebooks, around 5.9 by 8.3 inches, are available for those seeking something easier to store and transport. Anything smaller is typically called a notepad.


Spiral notebooks include anywhere from 50 to 200 sheets, in most cases double-sided to maximize efficiency. While you can tear sheets out by force, leaving bits of paper behind attached to the spiral rings, most notebooks have page perforations for easy removal. What’s more, some are three-hole punched in advance, so individual pages or the entire notebook can move to a binder.

What to look for in a quality spiral notebook


Page thickness is measured in grams per square meter (GSM), and it is a strong indicator of the notebook’s quality. Basic notebooks include pages of at least 50 GSM, with high-quality notebooks offering pages of at least 80 GSM. Higher thickness prevents ghosting, in which writing is visible on the reverse side of the paper, as well as bleeding, where ink comes through the paper.

Most notebooks either advertise page thickness or indicate the types of writing instruments, from pencils to ballpoint pens, that they best accommodate.


Notebooks may be divided into sections called subjects. A one-subject notebook has no divisions, while a five-subject notebook includes four dividers. Notebooks with  multiple subjects appeal to students: you can lump classes together or to help mark the passage of time across quarters or semesters.


The cover of a notebook may feature a solid color, with black among the most popular, or a pattern or design. For those who need multiple notebooks, particularly for a full slate of classes, color-coding is useful. Notebooks may be sold in packs where each is a different color. Some even color the spiral rings the same as the cover for an aesthetically pleasing touch.

How much you can expect to spend on a spiral notebook

Most cost $5-$20, depending on their size and the quality of their paper.

Spiral notebook FAQ

What’s the difference between softcover and spiral notebooks?

A. The main difference is the spine. With softcover, the spine is flat and covered, not unlike a book, so it stands up better over time. However, you cannot conveniently fold over pages to the back like you can with a spiral notebook. Softcover notebooks tend to be lighter, smaller and more expensive.

What are the benefits of a spiral notebook over a tablet or laptop?

A. The process of writing, whether taking notes or generating ideas, forces you to engage with the material in a way that can enhance memory and retention. For some, using a notebook is less distracting than staring at a screen for hours. Physical notebooks also provide a place for reflection and important information you don’t want kept in an electronic device.

What’s the best spiral notebook to buy?

Top spiral notebook

Best Five Star Five-Subject Spiral Notebook

Five Star Five-Subject Spiral Notebook

What you need to know: This high-quality notebook with durable pages supports a full course load for organized students.

What you’ll love: With 200 pages across five sections, this comprehensive notebook is the ideal school companion. The cover resists water while the sheets withstand ink bleed. A compatible app scans and uploads notes to your digital device.

What you should consider: This is among the pricier notebooks.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top spiral notebook for the money

Best Mead Four Spiral Notebooks

Mead Four Spiral Notebooks

What you need to know: This set of four single-subject color-coded notebooks provides terrific value.

What you’ll love: Each notebook in this inexpensive pack includes 70 sheets and wide ruling. The pages are perforated and three-hole punched for easy binder integration.

What you should consider: The pages are thin, so avoid ballpoint or fountain pens.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Best Steel Mill and Co. Mini Spiral Notebook

Steel Mill and Co. Mini Spiral Notebook

What you need to know: This small, cute personal notebook includes high-quality paper and convenient features.

What you’ll love: This college ruled notebook features 160 quality perforated pages that withstand shadowing and bleeding. A variety of attractive, durable covers are offered, including floral patterns and colorful dots.

What you should consider: The size is not ideal for regular classwork.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Anthony Marcusa writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.