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Which is the best Moleskine or Leuchtturm Notebooks?

Which is Best Moleskine or Leuchtturm1917 Notebooks?

Author: Sara Coleman

18th August 2020

This review and guide is intended as a non-biased review of the basic lines from these two brands, and does not earn any advertising commission. It is written to help you choose between these two brands of Notebooks – Moleskine and Leuchtturm1917. We stock both these brands in our shop and online at Colemans Stationers (

Lets start by looking at the appearance and colour choices…

What does a Leuchtturm or Moleskine notebook look like?

Both notebooks have finely textured grain cover with rounded corners. The pleated cover of the Moleskine has many pleats giving a smoother flatter finish than Leuchtturm, with less pronounced grain, and with less texture than the Moleskine. So the Leuchtturm tends to appear more even and smoother. The Leuchtturm still has rounded corners – but with just 3 pleats producing a slightly bulkier finish than Moleskine

What colours are available?

Both Leuchtturm and Moleskine launch new colours each year – Moleskine notebooks tend to be more muted than those from Leuchtturm – around 11 current colours are available in the Moleskine notebook range. In the Leuchtturm range, a wide array of bright colours are available – some colours are relaunched each year – there are more to choose from than Moleskine – around 17 in all – and they do coordinate well with current trends of bright colours.

What are they made of?

Both Leuchtturm and Moleskine have hard and soft covers which look quite similar- hard covers are made of polypropylene- soft covers are made of polyurethane- Some special editions include different materials such as fabrics

Moleskines have more signatures* each with fewer leaves. In theory this means that they should open flatter and not ‘work loose’ in time with use. Both notebook ranges have sewn glued and threaded spines. There is debate on the exact binding technique used for Moleskine notebooks, as to whether it is Smyth or Coptic sewn holding the ‘signatures’ together – either way it is very robust and hardwearing.

Leuchtturm notebooks have hard and soft covers which look quite similar - The covers are made of synthetic leather - sewn glued and threaded spine - there are less signatures than in the Moleskine Notebook each with more pages - They will lay flat if pushed into that position particularly when they have had a bit of wear - No details are given of the technique used in the sewn binding process, but commonly thought to be Smyth or Coptic similar to Moleskine   (*more groups of pages) 

What sort of paper do they have?

Moleskine has Acid Free, 70 g/m², Matte paper. Their Art Collection from 70 g/m² to 200 g/m². The Sketch range is ivory coloured 165 g/m² Acid Free, the watercolour paper in the art range is 200-gram, cold-pressed paper, so does have some texture.

Leuchtturm has 80 g/m², Matte paper and the Sketch range has 150 g/m².

Where are they made?

Moleskine are designed in Italy and made in the Far East whereas Leuchtturm are designed in Germany and made in China

How many pages are there?

In Moleskine notebooks there are 240 pages (in classic). It varies in other editions such as Volant, Cahier and other special use notebooks / journals /albums

In the Leuchtturm notebook there are 251 pages in hardbound and 123 pages in the softbound range.

What sizes are available?

Moleskine vary from XS (6.5x10.5 cm) to A3 (29.7x42 cm), Whereas Leuchtturm range from mini (A7) 8 x 110 mm to (A4++) 225 x 315 mm.


What sort of rulings are available?

Moleskine Notebooks are available in 4 paper types: Ruled, Plain, Squared and Dotted. Also in a Smart version which has digitally optimized pages to enable users to take written ideas from page to screen

Leuchtturm1917 Notebooks are also available in 4 paper types Ruled, Plain, Squared and Dotted. Leuchtturm have a similar Smart idea with their Whitelines version. This can be captured on a smart phone.

What sort of layouts do the Planners have?

Moleskine Planners are available in different layouts: Daily, Weekly Vertical, Weekly Horizontal, Weekly Notebook, Monthly and Panoramic. There are also planners with specific layouts for the business and professional world such as the 18-month weekly and daily academic versions. The absence of hours on Sundays in the Daily Planners is intended to allow the public to fill in and organise this day without a pre-set grid.

Leuchtturm 18 months planners are available in Weekly planner & Notebook A calendar week on the left and a notebook page on the right. The planner starts in July. Weekly Planner: A section with enough space for several lines for every day of the week. One week on every double page. Week Planner: The days of the weeks in columns – spread out on a full double page. Daily Planner: An entire page for each working day. Saturday and Sunday share a page.

How are the Elastic straps and bookmarks constructed?

In Moleskine Notebooks, the elastic straps and bookmarks are folded and glued, making them very secure

In Leuchtturm notebooks, the elastic straps and bookmarks are also folded and glued, making them very secure.

What extras do they have?

Moleskine notebooks have an elastic closure, with one matching bookmark ribbon. They also have an 'In case of loss' notice printed on the flyleaf with an expandable inner pocket in the back. They feature a reusable paper band B-SIDE featuring additional printed tools. They do lie flat, and open at 180°. The history of Moleskine is inside.

Leuchtturm have eight perforated and detachable sheets, a gusseted pocket and a blank table of contents and numbered pages. There are two page markers, and an elastic enclosure band. As it is also a thread-bound book it also opens flat, with ink-proof paper and stickers for labelling and archiving



What is the LEUCHTTURM1917 Pen Loop and how does it work?

  • It is a self-adhesive pen-holder made of sturdy elastic.
  • A sticker is attached to the back of the Pen Loop. After removing the protective film the Pen Loop can be affixed easily to the back cover of the notebook/planner.
  • The Pen Loop is suitable for both thin pencils and thick fountain pens.

A bit of history:

Moleskine's notebooks are based on notebooks distributed in Paris during the 19th-20th centuries, handmade by small French bookbinders who supplied the local stationery shops around the turn of the 20th century. (Wikipaedia) Moleskine items are designed in Italy with most of them being printed, stitched, and assembled in China; The company began life as Modo & Modo, a small Milanese publisher that, in 1997, brought the original notebook back to life and established the Moleskine® trademark. Moleskine Srl was listed on the Italian Stock Exchange in 2013. The brand was acquired and delisted by D’Ieteren at the end of 2016.

Founded in 1917, Leuchtturm can look back on over 90 years of experience in the production of high-quality stationery. The company was re-established in Hamburg from 1948. Axel and Max Stürken took over management at the end of the 1990s as the fourth generation to head the traditional Hanseatic family-run company. Their ethos is that experience and consistency are important requirements for quality, as well as attention to detail - providing a solid foundation to develop the brand.

Is Moleskine or Leuchtturm paper better with writing ink?

Both Notebooks are very well made and have good quality paper. The Leuchtturm ‘bleeds’ less with fountain pen ink. Both brands will show ghosting if spirit-based marker pens are used, but they do not mark all the way through the paper. Water-based markers work well in both.

Overall winner?

The wide array of lovely bright colours plus the additional features 2 bookmarks, numbered pages and a contents page, with stickers/labels make the Leuchtturm great value. The paper quality also bring it in slightly ahead of the Moleskine for ink writing and drawing. If you prefer the more traditional notebook with the history of the Parisian scene, then the Moleskine is for you – particularly if you write in ballpoint or pencil.  Price wise they are both available at discounts- as they are on our website

Copyright Sara Coleman 2020. Colemans Online®