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Best Daily Planners

Updated October 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 24 Models Considered
  • 5 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 180 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best daily planners

    Last Updated October 2018

    You only have so many hours in the day, but being organized means you can achieve more in the time you have. Daily planners can help you keep on top of appointments and important tasks, as well as make time for recreation and personal development.

    Which daily planner is right for you? At BestReviews, we put together this shopping guide to help you find the daily planner that fits your needs and budget.

    You can buy "project planners," which are essentially daily planners designed to keep you organized through a specific task, such as a dissertation or home renovation.

    Types of daily planners

    Academic

    Designed for students, academic daily planners enable users to keep track of classes, homework, and projects. These planners run from August through July, in accordance with the academic year. Depending on which planner you choose, it might have a blank lesson timetable, useful academic charts, or spaces to keep track of your grades and set academic goals.

    Professional

    Professional daily planners can help you navigate the world of work. These usually give you more space each day than standard planners, which is helpful when keeping track of lots of meetings and projects. Common features include lines for each hour or fraction thereof to track tasks, monthly calendars to give you a quick overview of important dates, and space to set professional goals.

    Personal development

    If you're looking for a more holistic approach to daily planning, a personal development daily planner might be the one for you. As well as providing space for daily schedules, to-do lists, and so on, these planners focus on goals, gratitude, reflecting on good and bad parts of your day, and other aspects concerning quality of life.

    General

    General daily planners are geared to people who just want a simple option or don't have any specific requirements for a daily planner. These have dated pages for planning and sometimes blank pages for adding anything extra you might want to note, but they don't include guided prompts or focus on long-term goals.

    Peaceful productivity

    The Panda Planner Pro is an excellent organizational tool that can boost productivity while enabling you to work at your own pace. Because the pages are undated (with a space for the date), you won’t waste pages if you miss a day – or ten! This planner encourages you to focus on gratitude and positive things about your day, as well as get organized.

    Daily planner features to consider

    Sections: Think about what sections are important to you. You might only want space for daily planning, or you might prefer a wider range of categories, prompts, and so on to guide you. These are some of the sections you might find in a daily planner.

    • Goals for the week, month, or year

    • Hourly schedule

    • Blank pages for notes

    • Daily reflections

    • Daily gratitude

    • Prompts for creative writing or art
       

    Timespan: Most dated planners span one year – either from January through December or August through July – but you can find a handful of options that are longer or shorter. Undated daily planners usually have enough pages to last six months to a year, but one will last longer if you don't write in it every day.

    Cover: You can find daily planners with either a hard cover or soft cover. Soft covers tend to be lighter and less bulky, but hard covers are better at protecting the pages. After a year of being carried to and fro, a planner with a soft cover will look a little worse for wear. If you're likely to take your planner around with you wherever you go, or you plan to keep your planner after you’ve filled it up, a hard cover is the better option.

    Binding: Most daily planners are either spiral bound or perfect bound (the pages are attached to the cover with adhesive). While perfect-bound planners look neater, spiral-bound planners have the advantage of opening completely flat. Apart from that, there's really no difference in performance, so we wouldn't worry too much about binding type unless you happen to have a strong preference either way.

    Color and style: You can find daily planners in every colors and style. Professional daily planners tend to be plainer because anything too whimsical or flashy would look out of place in some work environments. Other types of planners can be found in both basic and more stylish options, from bright colors and floral designs to modern geometric patterns and animal prints. Sometimes these design features extend to the interior, too.

    EXPERT TIP

    You can find daily planners with extras, such as stickers, to help you get organized more creatively.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Need some inspiration? Look for a daily planner that offers a motivational quote or thought for each day.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    If you intend to carry your planner in a bag or briefcase, look for one with a clasp or closure to keep the pages from getting damaged.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Daily planner prices

    You can find daily planners to suit any budget, from $5 to $50.

    Inexpensive: Basic daily planners cost from $5 to $10. Don't expect any extras in this price range. The planners tend to have soft covers, basic sections (you won't find writing prompts or hourly schedules), and may not provide much space for each day.

    Mid-range: You can find some excellent options if you spend between $10 and $20, but you might have to do some digging because there are lower-quality options at this price, too. Decent mid-range planners have hard covers and a range of useful sections.

    Expensive: High-end daily planners start at around $20 but can cost as much as $50 for planners that span more than one year or are particularly attractive. These planners are durable and well thought out, with lots of handy and insightful sections to organize your life.

    Simply scholastic

    Extending from August through July, this planner takes you through a full school year with space for standard daily and monthly scheduling, as well as yearly goals and a personal mission statement. It has everything a student needs to get focused and stay organized.

    Tips

    Think about what you need from a daily planner. There's no point in buying a daily planner with room for daily gratitude journaling, notes, and sketching if all you want to do is write down your appointments. Conversely, a very utilitarian planner won't work for you if you want to get creative.

    Pick a planner of an appropriate size. A large planners is great for keeping on your desk if you need plenty of space to write, but it’s not as useful for travel. Choose the size of your planner based on how and where you'll be using it.

    Consider a planner with acid-free paper. Acid-free paper won’t get brittle, turn yellow, or deteriorate, which is particularly important if you want to use your planner like a diary and keep it to refer to in the future.

    Prepare for the week ahead. Some daily planners have a special section on Sunday to help you get ready for the coming week, which is helpful if you like to batch cook or do most of your chores on Sundays to minimize your workload during the week.

    Some daily planners prompt you to set goals for the year and regularly take stock of how you’re doing.

    FAQ

    Q. Are there daily planners I can fit in my pocket?

    A. If you want to get organized but prefer a daily planner that you can slip in a pocket or stash in a small purse, you're in luck. You can find compact daily planners a few inches wide that are easy to take with you from place to place.

    Q. Can I use a daily planner like a bullet journal?

    A. Bullet journaling is more of a freeform art, so it isn't entirely compatible with the structured nature of a daily planner. That said, you can find daily planners that have some blank pages or dot grid pages, so you can incorporate some elements of bullet journaling alongside the more structured form of a regular daily planner.

    Q. I need a lot of room for each day. Will a daily planner work for me?

    A. While many daily planners give you two pages for each week, so each day gets around a quarter of a page, you can find planners that give you more room. Some planners use two pages for each day, allowing you to write your appointments on one page and use the other page for other tasks, goals, or what you want to achieve from each meeting or appointment. If you have a jam-packed schedule, look for the latter variety of daily planner.

    The team that worked on this review
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      Alvina
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      Lauren
      Writer
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      Web Producer
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