stack of fountain pen friendly notebooks

The Massive List Of Fountain Pen Friendly Paper Ratings

John BosleyPaper 32 Comments

I have been acquiring and testing out fountain pen friendly paper for years now and have quite a bit of data. Instead of keeping it all to myself and slowing releasing it one paper review at a time, I figured I might as well put it out there for anyone to reference. With that being said, I give you The Massive List of Fountain Pen Friendly Paper Ratings.

A Few Things To Note

Before you dive in and start looking through the table, I want to say a few things.

  • If you’re wondering where they came from, all of these numbers are a result of my paper testing system.
  • Some paper quality can vary from batch to batch. A few manufacturers I’ve had issues with are Leuchtturm and Baron Fig. The numbers in this table are for the best paper sample I tested from any given brand.
  • Many paper brands have different names to denote different sizes or layouts. For example, you can find Apica CD 11 and CD 15 notebooks or Mnemosyne 181 and 195 notebooks. Both will have the same paper, but may be a different size or ruling.
  • Each column is sortable, so if you want to find papers with the highest shading or least ghosting, you can!
  • Keep in mind, the overall rating is a combination of all factors and speaks to the performance of a paper, but does not necessarily speak to how enjoyable any given paper actually is to use.
  • Many of these papers and notebooks have been reviewed on this site, but almost as many have not been reviewed yet, so if you’re looking for a review of a particular paper and can’t find it, that’s why.
Paper NameSheen (0-5)
Higher Is Better
Shading (0-5)
Higher Is Better
Bleed-Through (0-5)
Higher Is Better
Ghosting (0-5)
Higher Is Better
Feathering (0-5)
Higher Is Better
Dry Time (0-5)
Higher Is Better
Overall Rating (1-5)
Higher Is Better
Apica CD113233523.00
Apica Premium C.D.2424533.33
Awagami Takumi3353433.50
Baron Fig Vanguard II1344543.50
Berlin Notebook1235343.00
Black n' Red3425523.50
Century Edition 3354533.83
Clairefontaine Basic3453544.00
Clairefontaine Triomphe3454523.83
Crown Mill Laid Writing Paper2234543.33
Crown Mill Pure Cotton Writing Paper3253553.83
CVS Caliber4352523.50
Exceed Bullet Journal2255533.67
Fabriano EcoQua3353533.67
Fabrino Soft Touch Notebook3354544.00
Field Notes Clandestine0024152.00
G. Lalo Toile Imperiale Notepad3353543.83
G. Lalo Velin de France2334353.33
G. Lalo Velin pur Coton3244523.33
G Lalo Vergé de France4333533.50
Hahnemuhle Diary Flex0024141.83
Hanaduri Hanji3253543.67
HP Premium322335443.50
Itoya Romeo4444523.83
Jour and Etoffe Couleur Fil0123352.33
Kobe Liscio-13353543.83
Kokuyo Campus2423433.00
Kokuyo Campus CYO-BO Notebook4354534.00
Kokuyo Campus MIO Notebook2343543.50
Kokuyo KB Business Paper2453543.83
Kokuyo ME2333412.67
Krink Notepad4453534.00
Kyokuto Expedient1023152.00
Laconic Cliff1224442.83
Lamy Notebook2344543.67
Lemome Notebook3355544.17
Life Bank Paper4453534.00
Life L Writing Paper4453523.83
Life Noble4453523.83
Life Via Airmail Writing Paper4441553.83
Logical Prime4453523.83
Maruai Basic Notebook0002151.33
MDS Notebook3344533.67
Midori Color Notebook3334533.50
Midori MD4453534.00
Midori MD Cotton3343543.67
Midori Writing Paper3353543.83
Minimalism Art Classic2345443.67
North of Rosemont1234443.00
Nuuna Flexcover Notebook3355444.00
Pilot Fountain Pen Paper4353533.83
Profolio Oasis3354533.83
Profolio Oasis Light Notebook4453534.00
Profolio Oasis Summit Notebook3354544.00
R by Rhodia2334443.33
Rhodia Dot Pad3354544.00
Ro Biki Note - New Chiffon Cream1024352.50
Soho Spark Journal1224132.17
Soumkine Notebook2242432.83
Story Supply Co0024352.33
Strathmore Writing Pad2254553.83
Tomoe River 52gsm5452513.67
Tomoe River 68gsm4453523.83
Tsubame Note4453534.00
Wild Pages0243342.67
Yamamoto Cosmo Air Light 75gsm4553513.83
Yamamoto Cosmo Air Light 92 gsm4454513.83
Yoseka Notebook3533523.50

Did you know I have paper sample packs that include most of these papers? This allows you to try them out before buying an entire notebook! If you’re interested, head over to my shop and pick up a paper sample pack.

Comments 32

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  1. This is great, John. You are quickly going to become the go-to expert on paper.
    Do you know if Baron Fig uses the same paper in their Vanguard and Confidant notebooks?

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      Thanks, Bruce! I’m not sure if I want that title, but suppose it wouldn’t be that bad. 🙂
      As for Baron Fig, I have a Confidant and it has the same paper as the Vanguard II (the good paper) notebooks.

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      You’re welcome! I do have cost per A5 sheet in my individual review of each paper, but hesitate to include it here since I really wanted it to be about the performance of the paper itself and not so much about the value/performance ratio. Still, I suppose it would be useful so will add it to my list of things to do, either adding it here or maybe making a new post about it.

  2. Wow! I’ve been searching for this kind of resource for months. Thanks for sharing your research. Invaluable!!

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  3. Thank you so much for doing these paper reviews! Many people with fountain pens have a hard time figuring out what works for them, so this is really invaluable. 📄 ✨ And the fact you made the table sortable by feature is just awesome!✨

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      You’re welcome! I was in the same boat as most people and never knew which paper would work best, which is why I started doing all these tests. Glad you find the table and info helpful!

  4. I tend to stick to Rhodia and Claire Fontaine…but lately I have been enjoying my Levenger system….have you tested their paper and have any thoughts on it?

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      I haven’t tested Levenger paper before. I knew they had the paper system and their own inks (or used to at least), but didn’t know they had their own paper. I’ll have to get some and give it a try!

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  5. Hi John, Thanks for the great work! I wanted to point out that your page “How Different Papers Affect Fountain Pen Ink Sheen” claims Life Noble sheens more than Life “L” Writing Paper. Which is right?

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      You’re welcome! I’ll have to go back and look at my test papers for the other article and see how they look. It may be that the particular inks that I used showed a bit more sheen on the Life Noble versus Life L, while the inks in my standardized test show the opposite. Regardless, both are high-sheening papers that most people would probably have a hard time seeing any difference between.

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      Keen eye! I wrote the How Paper Affects Sheen article before I came up with a standardized test for papers, which means that some of the language may not be consistent with the “official” ratings on this page. While “a lot of sheen” may not seem to be consistent with the 3 rating it has here, I still stand by my assessment that it is a good-sheening paper.

  6. I do the vast majority of my mail reading and internet surfing on my phone because it’s convenient, and I’m just fat and lazy like that due to mobility issues. Anyway, I was reading the chart and realized that I couldn’t see the last column to read the Overall Ratings. So I’ll have to get on the computer to read the whole thing. But thanks for all the time and effort you put into doing this.

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      Good to know, David! The chart is made with a plugin, so I’ll have to play with it a bit and see what kind of customization settings it has and if I’ll be able to adjust the column width a bit.

  7. I would be very interested to see some art/calligraphy papers on your list, most particularly Canson Marker paper, which I prefer for showcasing sheen and minimizing feathering/bleedthrough.

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  8. Thanks for this resource. It’s interesting that Life, Musubi, and Yamamoto all sell something called bank paper, but it’s not the same stuff. Life bank paper is much more absorbent. Have you tried these other bank papers? Much more sheen and shading.

    Have you come across Mohawk Options Navajo Smooth? If not, it’s available through Glodan. Or I’ll send you some!

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      Hi Steve, Bank paper is literally paper that was developed by manufacturers to be used in banks, which is why multiple companies have a version of it. I have tried the Life and Yamamoto (from their sampler) bank papers. I think Musubi uses Life Bank, but am not positive.

      I haven’t tried the Mohawk Options Navajo Smooth (and I wasn’t aware of Glodan). Looks like I need to make a paper order! Thanks for sharing.

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      1. Hey Love this. Thank you!
        I was looking at the Midori Cotton and noticed the overall rating didn’t add up. Checked in excel and it is the only one. I think it should be 3.67

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