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Moleskine vs Leuchtturm: What’s the Difference (& Which is Better?)

Trying to decide between the Moleskine vs Leuchtturm notebooks for your daily diary/journal or a special project? I happen to own and have experience with both of these popular notebooks. In this post, share what the difference is. Specifically, I compare the Moleskine Classic Notebook and the Leuchtturm1917 with a dot grid page layout.

Finding the best notebook for your journaling practice matters. There is nothing worse than having a notebook with spacing that doesn’t suit you or pages that bleed when you use your best pens or favorite highlighters. After many different journaling trials and errors, I think I have finally found the perfect journal for me. I wanted to share my experiences.

Let’s break down the differences between the Leuchtturm 1917 and the Moleskine Classic dotted journals. I’ll explain what the differences are and why I have chosen one over the other for my own Bullet Journal practice. 

A woman's hand holds up two different notebooks against a white background to compare the moleskin vs leuchtturm notebooks
My Leuchtturm1917 (left, pink) vs my Moleskine Classic (right, blue)

Keep reading for my full review.

What to Look for in a Journal

First off, what makes a top notch journal? The answer really depends on what kind of journaling you prefer…do you have an in-depth plan, or are you just trying to fill a blank notebook with a new creative project?

For this article,  we’re going to break down what makes a perfect journaling notebook setup for a Bullet Journal, which is the type of journaling I tend to do most of the time.

The top things I look at when buying a new journal are:

  • The page style— lots of journalers have a preference for dot grid, lined, graph paper, or blank notebooks.
  • Size of the pages
  • The paper quality
  • Color availability
  • Binding (it needs to lay flat for me to love it)
  • Page count
  • Soft cover versus hard cover
  • Elastic enclosure band to protect your pages
  • Does it have an inner pocket?
  • What color are the pages (white and off white are very different)

On the surface, both the Leuchtturm 1917 and the Moleskine classic notebooks seem to check every single box. They both look like the perfect journals — but there are some differences and similarities.

This comparison is based purely on my experience of using both journals. While I may personally find certain aspects of one journal better than the other, this may be different for you. 

(You can find both Leuchtturm notebooks and Moleskine notebooks on Amazon.)

How Do the Leuchtturm 1917 and the Moleskine Notebooks Stack up?

The very first visual difference you’ll notice between the two is that the Leuchtturm is slightly shorter and wider than the Moleskine notebook.

According to the manufacturers the Leuchtturm notebooks are 5.75” x 8.25” and the Moleskine notebooks are 5″ x 8.25″. 

Technically they have been measured out to be the same height. But stacked back to back, the Leuchttrum does look just a millimeter or so shorter than the Moleskine classic notebook.

Both brands offer many different bright and beautiful shades, so finding one that you love should not be a difficult task.

The Covers

Both journals come with elastic closure bands to keep the covers shut, two woven ribbon bookmarks, index pages, and pockets on the inside of the back cover. 

Both covers feel almost identical.

The main differences are that the cover on the Leuchtturm feels a little bit stickier and more bendable than the cover on the Moleskine classic notebook.

The cover on the Moleskine notebook also has more texture to it and has a more matte feel to it.

Another thing to note is that in my experience, the cover of the Leuchtturm is more susceptible to visual gashes and scars than the covers on the Moleskine notebooks.

When it comes to cover quality, the winner in my eyes is the Moleskine.

I don’t love the stickier feeling of the Leuchtturm, and it looks more beat up than my Moleskine

Paper Quality

Two different journal spreads in each of a moleskin classic notebook and a leuchtturm1917
Journal spreads in my Leuchtturm1917 (top) vs my Moleskine Classic (bottom)

The first differences you’ll notice when you open the journals is that the Leuchtturm pages are much smoother to flip through than the Moleskine, though they also feel much thinner and appear more translucent.

The dots on the pages are different as well.

The dots in the Leuchtturm are ever so slightly thicker and darker than the Moleskine.

The Moleskine dot grid also extends to the full width and length of the pages, while the Leuchtturm stops to create a border around the page. The spacing of the dots in both journals appear identical.

Dot grid in a Leuchtturm1917 notebook
Close up view of the dot grid in a Moleskine classic notebook

Overall, although I much prefer the smooth feeling of flipping through the thin pages of the Leuchtturm journal, the Moleskine classic has higher quality paper and better overall pages in my opinion and for the type of journaling I do. For me, I prefer the smaller dots since they almost seem to disappear in my journal spreads.

The Leuchtturm unfortunately turned into my “junk journal” quickly because of the thinness of the pages. I found the Leuchtturm to not only bleed with every marker I tried to use in it, but since the pages are so thin, I can see the exact writing on the page before it because of the translucence. 

I am by no means super particular about my Bullet Journals, but I do like every new page to be fresh and free of marks, outlines, and pen bleeding.

My Moleskine journal provides a fresh crisp page every single time, and I appreciate the ink proof paper aspect of these notebooks.

I have even been able to watercolor successfully in my Moleskine and it provides just enough thickness and texture to not buckle or bleed. I have never found a marker or pen that bled through the thicker pages either, making it the clear winner for me.

That said, I’m not a fountain pen user, so I can’t comment on either notebook’s ability to stand up to ink bleed when writing with fountain pens.

Overall and in my personal experience and opinion, the Moleskine has better paper quality.

Page Layout Options

Note, this review covers the dot grid versions of both notebooks, which is a classic choice for a Bullet Journal set up. That said, you can also get versions with graph paper, lined paper, or blank pages.

Extra Features in the Moleskine and Leuchtturm Notebooks

Comparing page bleed in a moleskine and leuchtturm notebooks

Both journals open up to pages that hold your contact information in case they’re lost, and then a blank page following that. The Moleskine comes with an extra blank page. 

The Moleskine journal has a dotted world map that says “join the dots, colour and use stickers to create a map of your unique mind.” I haven’t figured out exactly how I’d like to use this page, but it is a fun touch and helps for dreams of travel.

Dotten map pages in a Moleskine classic notebook

Both journals have indexes, although the Leuchtturm index is two side-by-side pages, and the Moleskine spans 5 single pages. The Leuchtturm doesn’t provide enough lines for the whole journal, while I feel the Moleskine provides too many. 

At the back of the Moleskine it has another front and back page that looks identical to the index pages at the front. Both journals end with a thick sturdy blank page and an inside pocket attached to the back cover. The Leuchtturm pocket side is white, while the Moleskine matches the color of the cover.

Back inside pocket in a Leuchtturm classic notebook with a woman's hand holding it open
Back inside cover on my pink Leuchtturm1917
woven ribbon bookmarks stick out of the edge of a Moleskine notebook
Inside pocket cover on the Moleskine Classic

Both journals came with stickers inside the pockets. The Leuchtturm came with a thank you card and some label stickers, while the Moleskine came with an informational booklet about the history of the journals and some index stickers in multiple shades of pink.

Side by side view of a Leuchtturm1917 (Left) vs a Moleskine Classic notebook (right)

Overall, while both journals have very similar extras— I find the Moleskin to have a slight edge over the Leuchtturm. I appreciate the extra blank pages in the Moleskine because I was able to make a sticker bank to pull from when I travel, along with a doodle reference page. I also appreciate that I can complete the index without running out of lines. 

Lastly, I really appreciate the index page marker stickers that the Moleskine provides. I find them incredibly helpful for my reference pages, but they could also be used as month markers. 

Moleskine vs Leuchtturm: Why the Moleskine Notebook is My Winner

When it comes to the big question – Moleskine vs Leuchtturm – I have to say they are close rivals. Both are quality notebooks that have legions of fans.

(Ready to buy? You can see the huge selection of Moleskine notebooks and Leuchtturm notebooks on Amazon!)

At first glance they may even look like identical journals. However, Moleskine’s notebooks are my clear winner, and in my opinion the better notebook, in every single category. 

I had very high hopes for the Leuchtturm1917 when I purchased it. Unfortunately, I quickly stopped using it purely because of the bleeding problem when writing or doodling. None of the other differences are enough to make me dislike the journal, although the Moleskine overall takes the cake. 

Also, the Moleskin has wider availability in stores.

When my Moleskine’s pages fill up, I will absolutely be purchasing another one. 

Ready to buy? You can see the huge selection of Moleskine notebooks and Leuchtturm notebooks on Amazon!

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Lindsay Aman
Lindsay Aman
Lindsay is a photographer and adventurer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is finishing up her 95 GMC conversion van build and then traveling the country with her Australian Shepard mix, Rooney. Lindsay graduated from the University of Utah in 2016 with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in acting. She is passionate about storytelling, journaling, and living life to the fullest.

Lindsay loves documenting her travels and adventures through photography, videography and bullet journaling.

She is an avid traveler and has been to 13 different countries- with many more to come! You can follow her adventures on her tiktok (@lindsayamanphotography), youtube (coming soon), instagram (@lindsayamanphotography ), and her website.