Moleskine vs. Leuchtturm: Which is the Better Notebook?

In the world of quality notebooks, the brand’s Moleskin and Leuchtturm are among the favorite and highest quality products out there. But there are some key differences that you should consider when deciding which brand to choose. 

While both notebooks are similar in size and cover quality, the Moleskine notebook has a wider availability and a lower price range, making it an easier choice for more people. However, Leuchtturm has higher quality paper and comes with numbered pages, making reviewing and referencing notes a breeze, as such is the case with journalists or reporters. 

The rest of this article will break down the differences between the Moleskine and Leuchtturm notebooks so you can be confident in your decision on which to purchase. 

Table of Contents

The Leuchtturm 1917 Classic Notebook

moleskine vs leuchtturm

With the tagline “Denken mit der Hand,” which in German translates to “thinking with the hand,” it isn’t difficult to guess where this iconic notebook originated. The company responsible for designing and manufacturing the Leuchtturm 1917 notebook originated in Germany in 1917 and has remained one of the most widely used high-end notebooks throughout the world. 

The Leuchtturm 1917 comes in various sizes and colors and can be ordered with either a hard or a softcover. As for pages, it comes with blank, lined, or – a recent addition – pre-dotted pages that make forming tables and charts a breeze. The pre-dotted pages are also a must-have for those practicing bullet journaling

My rOtring 600 ballpoint pen on a dotted Leuchtturm 1917.

Included with the notebook are an inside pocket, perfect for loose papers, and an elastic band that keeps the notebook securely closed when not in use. This prevents the pages from becoming torn or wrinkled during transport. 

With a thread-bound design, the Leuchtturm 1917 lies flat when open, which is a huge bonus. Few things are more frustrating during notetaking as having to press your pages flat. 

The inclusion of numbered pages is perhaps one of the best components of the Leuchtturm 1917, as it saves the writer from tiresome hand-numbering. 

Leuchtturm 1917 Pros and Cons

Includes two or more durable ribbon bookmarks
Difficult to find in stores
Inside pocket
Pointed corners - more susceptible to scuffing
Thick paper that prevents ink bleed
Higher price range
Comes with stickers for organizing and labeling
Pre-dotted pages are great for bullet journaling
Portable size
Comes in different sizes (i.e. standard, landscape)
LEUCHTTURM1917 - 120G Special Edition - Medium A5 Dotted Hardcover Notebook (Black) - 203 Numbered Pages with 120gsm Paper
  • QUALITY SINCE 1917: Experience and consistency are important requirements for quality. Quality gives ideas a solid...

The Moleskine Classic Notebook

Just a few of the Moleskines I have

The popular Moleskine notebook is widely available in stores and comes in four-page variations: blank, lined, dotted, and squared. With a huge selection of colors to choose from, the Moleskine classic notebook helps customers express themselves through their favorite shade. 

The range of options makes this notebook a great choice for a large range of customers, from architects, writers, artists, and more. Another reason to consider Moleskines is that they are vegan-friendly.

Moleskine vs Leuchtturm1917

The notebook lies flat when open, which is ideal for anyone who has ever grown frustrated with pages bouncing back while trying to write. It also comes with rounded edges (cutting down on painful contact with sharp corners or the corners potentially tearing through your bag), and an elastic band to keep the notebook securely closed when not in use.

One of the more important features of the Moleskine notebook is the inclusion of an important section in which to fill out your contact information in case your notebook is ever lost. 

Moleskine Pros and Cons

Widely available in stores
Thinner paper is more susceptible to ink bleed
Affordable price

While it comes in both hard and soft covers, hard-covered varieties are difficult to find in stores
Comes in four choices of page layout - blank, lined, squared, dotted
Lightweight paper
Portable size and weight
Expandable inner pocket in back cover

Ribbon bookmark
Moleskine Classic Notebook, Hard Cover, Large (5" x 8.25") Ruled/Lined, Black, 240 Pages
  • CLASSIC MOLESKINE NOTEBOOK: Moleskine classic notebooks are perfect notebooks for writing journals, a daily diary, or...

Comparison of Features

On the surface, both notebooks seem to provide everything a customer wants in a notebook. A quick glance at the pros and cons can sometimes give you all the information you need to make your decision. 

However, if you rely on a high-quality notebook for your professional or personal aspirations, don’t be too hasty in your decision. Read on to see our in-depth comparison for each notebook feature to make an informed decision about which notebook is right for you. 

Because everyone has different needs when it comes what they are looking for in a notebook, let’s dive deeper into each feature and compare the Leuchtturm 1917 notebook and the Moleskine notebook in more detail. 


Both the Moleskine and the Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks come with four variations of page layout: lined, blank, squared, and dotted. These varieties offer something for writers, artists, architects, note-takers, graphic novelists, and more. 

However, one important bonus about the Leuchtturm 1917 is that it comes with numbered pages as its default. This is definitely a win, as it cuts down on the tiresome hand-numbering of each page. 

Winner: Leuchtturm 1917 – hand-numbering is a pain as well as a waste of time.


Leuchtturm 1917 Classic Notebook (Medium A5)Moleskine Classic Notebook  
5.75″ x 8.25″5.2″ x 8.2″  
251 pages240 pages

* price according to Amazon, current as of 4/29/22

As the two major competitors in the high-end notebook market, Moleskine and Leuchtturm are keeping a close watch on each other as far as prices go. Prices can fluctuate frequently, especially on online platforms such as 

Since the Leuchtturm 1917 notebook is difficult to find in stores, this adds shipping costs to the initial price, putting the notebook beyond price range for many. 

Winner: Moleskine – with the price of the Moleskine notebook being significantly lower that the Leuchtturm 1917 for similar features, the Moleskine notebook is the clear choice for budget-conscious note takers. Also, its ready availability in stores keeps shipping costs at a minimum. 

Quality of Paper

The Moleskine notebook comes with thinner, more lightweight paper than the Leuchtturm 1917, making it more portable. However, customers report issues with ink bleed and ink “ghosting” when using heavier inks such as gel pens, meaning that the ink is visible on the page’s opposite side. 

If you stick to ballpoint pens, some gel pens, and pencil with your Moleskine notebook, you likely won’t encounter issues with your ink bleeding through.

However, this limits your options and media – a difficult sacrifice to make for artists, graphic novelists, and artistic journal enthusiasts. 

The Leuchtturm 1917, on the other hand, comes with a thick, ink-proof paper that prevents ink bleed. This gives the user a much wider range of mediums to choose from, including but not limited to fountain pen, permanent marker, pastel, highlighter, and gel pen. 

The Leuchtturm 1917 also comes with the option of gilded edges, adding a luxurious flair to your favorite notebook. 

Winner: Leuchtturm 1917 – ink bleed is a deal-breaker for many journal enthusiasts, and nobody likes to be limited by paper quality in their use of media. 

Cover and Finish

Both the Moleskine and the Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks come in a wide range of sizes and colors, with both available in both soft and hardcovers (though the hardcover varieties in Moleskine are more difficult to find in stores). 

Depending on how much wear you need to get out of your notebook, the hardcover variety is strong and durable. Even though the soft cover of Moleskine notebooks may appear flimsy, they are made of oilcloth covering a layer of cardboard. This gives the covers flexibility, durability, and lightweight. 

While Moleskine notebooks come in as many colors as you can think of, store selections are usually lacking in the color department. If you want a more colorful option than the standard black and navy, you might have to search online. 

The Leuchtturm 1917 comes exclusively with hardcovers, which can be customized in a wide range of colors. 

Winner: It’s a tie. Both notebooks come in a variety of colors and finishes, making sure they have something for everyone. 

Other Features


Moleskine notebooks are more lightweight, making them more portable. Leuchtturm 1917’s hardcover and thick paper make them heavier than Moleskine. 

Both notebooks come in a wide range of sizes to fit the needs of their customers. 


The Leuchtturm 1917 comes with special stickers to add convenience to labeling, archiving, and note-taking. This is especially important for those in fast-paced professions or schooling, where you can’t afford to waste time designing your own labeling system or searching for notes you’ve archived. 

Both notebooks come with an inner pocket for loose papers, making it easier to organize your notes. 


While both notebooks come with ribbon bookmarks, the Moleskine notebook comes with one while the Leuchtturm 1917 comes with two (more with larger models). The Leuchtturm 1917 ribbon is the high quality of the two.

Types of journaling

In recent years, Leuchtturm 1917 has released a variation of their design called the “Change Journal,” which comes with pre-designed images, lists, and exercises designed to promote self-reflection and motivation.

While the Change Journal doesn’t have the same layout as the other designs, it shows the adaptability of the company to recognize journaling trends and cater to the needs of a wider customer base. 

Final Thoughts – The winner is…

As you saw in the picture above, I have been a devoted Moleskine user for most of my adult life. I own dozens of Moleskine notebooks. However, once I started using the Leuchtturm 1917, I knew I couldn’t go back. Leuchturm’s notebooks just have a different feel to them. They feel well-made and durable. Although I still believe Moleskine is a great option, I have to say Leuchtturm is the best notebook!

If you are interested in purchasing a Leuchtturm 1917, they are conveniently available on

LEUCHTTURM1917 - 120G Special Edition - Medium A5 Dotted Hardcover Notebook (Black) - 203 Numbered Pages with 120gsm Paper
  • QUALITY SINCE 1917: Experience and consistency are important requirements for quality. Quality gives ideas a solid...

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