Best Desk Calendars

Updated June 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
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.Read more 
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How we decided

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

62 Models Considered
22 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
113 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

Buying guide for Best desk calendars

The right desk calendar can help you stay on top of your day, week, and month while providing convenient accessibility and vital reminders. To maximize efficiency, you need to find the right desk calendar for your needs and workflow. The size, paper quality, and aesthetics of a calendar may all influence its suitability for your desk.
 
Desktop calendars usually start with the last segment of one year and then launch into the next year. The window for shopping for a desk calendar, therefore, tends to be fairly short. These products make great end-of-the-year gifts, and for some people, it is an annual purchase they rely on to keep their schedule on track.

In this guide, we examine the features that make a desk calendar great and introduce you to some of our favorites. Whether you’re shopping for a colleague, a loved one, or yourself, we believe you can find a helpful desk calendar to fit your purpose.

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Ahead of the new year, desk calendars will be at their highest price. Typically, the price diminishes in late January and February  — but so does selection.

Key considerations

At-a-glance

Most desk calendars display an entire month on one page. In this respect, they are similar to wall calendars. However, there are other options: a calendar may show one week per page, one five-day work week per page, or even just one day per page. Those who prefer to see events and reminders weeks ahead of time should probably opt for the monthly view.

Size

Most desk calendars come in one of two sizes: 22 x 17 inches or 17 x 12 inches. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but the majority of products don’t deviate much from the norm. Note how much space you have on your desk for a calendar as well as the volume of content you’ll be adding. For frequent use, you may want a larger option.

Ruled vs. unruled

You’ll need to decide if you prefer ruled (lined) or unruled (blank) day squares. Some people prefer having set lines to keep their calendar organized and clean. Others gravitate toward the freedom of filling in spaces as needed and desired.

Binding

Before purchase, find out how the pages are bound and how easy or difficult it is to flip through the calendar without tearing the pages on top. Leather binding is common: these desk calendars feature pages with a perforated edge, making it easy to rip off a page when the month changes. Other desk calendars have a spiral binding, which is easier to flip through but a little messier when ripping off.

Paper quality

The best desk calendar pages resist ink bleed-through and allow for clean markings without smudges. This aspect is hard to ascertain without trying it out first, but calendars in the mid-range to high-end price tiers are more likely to have quality paper.

Environmentally conscious consumers may want to check to see if the calendar is made with recycled paper. In most cases, part or all of the calendar will be eco-friendly.

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Features

Off-the-wall

A popular variation on the desk calendar is the off-the-wall calendar, also called a “day-at-a-glance” calendar or “tear-away” calendar. These feature one page per day; some double up on weekends. Off-the-wall calendars may offer amusement, insight, or interesting factoids. You will find calendars that feature puzzles, photos of animals, trivia, and other avenues of pop culture. They make worthwhile gifts and can bring a bit of excitement to a work desk. 

Color and design

You’ll find plenty of business-like desk calendars that are simply black and white. However, there are others that boast colorful designs, patterns, and themes. Each month may feature a different border or backdrop or a recurrent theme that carries over from one month to the next.

Extra months

Some desk calendars are of the 16-month or 18-month variety, offering four to six months on top of the January-to-December year. This feature doesn’t typically add to the price, and some people find it more convenient. However, if you choose a calendar that takes you a couple of months into a new year and then stops, you may find yourself stuck without a timely calendar when it expires.

Mounting

Some desk calendars can also be wall-mounted via tack, hook, or tape. Most desk calendars feature at least one hole so you can stick it to a cork bulletin board or cubicle wall. 

Day count

Some calendars provide a daily tally as to how many days have passed in the year and how many are left. This feature may not be necessary for most people, but for certain tasks or business endeavors, it proves convenient.

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DID YOU KNOW?
The majority of the world follows the Gregorian calendar, which was created and adopted in the year 1582.
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Accessories

Pens: Paper Mate InkJo Ballpoint Pens
It’s always useful to have quality pens on hand, especially if you'll be jotting quick notes on a desk calendar. We recommend this colorful set that offers clean, crisp lines.

Desk organizer: Mindspace Office Desk Organizer
Whether your desk is at the office or at home, it’s important to keep your workspace organized. Check out this durable and versatile organizer from Mindspace that comes at a low price.

Desk calendar prices

Inexpensive: You can find 12-month desk calendars for $8 or less, though these are likely to lack color and design. 

Mid-range: Most quality desk calendars cost between $8 and $16. These should feature bleed-resistant paper and perhaps some color or design.

Expensive: Day-to-day calendars usually cost over $16, as do high-quality desk calendars geared toward professionals.

Although uncommon, some desk calendars start on Monday instead of Sunday. These are typically geared toward professionals who begin their work week on Monday.

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Tips

  • Create a shorthand. There isn’t a lot of space available to write lengthy sentences on most day squares. To save space, use abbreviations or shorthand to reference important information.
  • Try color coding. An efficient way to organize and remember notes is to use different colors when writing. Various colors stand out all the more if you have a black and white desk calendar.
  • Digitize. However useful a desk calendar is, it likely won’t be with you everywhere you go. Once every few days or each week, copy your notes and appointments to a digital calendar for convenient and secure record-keeping.
  • Find something personal. If looking at your calendar makes you feel annoyed or bored, you might lack the motivation to get tasks done. Look for specific colors, designs, aesthetics, or messages that create a pleasant, positive vibe. 
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Because a calendar year averages 365.2425 days, it’s hard to reuse a calendar over time, but it is possible. For example, if you have a calendar from 2010 or 1999, it will line up with the year 2021. For those who want to reuse their 2021 calendar, it will become useful again in 2027.

FAQ

Q. What should I do with my calendar when I’m done with it?

A. You may want to keep some pages for reference, especially if you’ve taken down important notes. Alternatively, you could scan or take a photo of the pages before discarding them. When you’ve saved all necessary information, it’s a good idea to recycle the calendar upon completion. 

Q. Are 18-month calendars worth it?

A. In most cases, you can find a calendar that’s longer than a year for about the same price as a 12-month calendar. However, a problem could arise when that calendar runs out and you’re stuck a few months into the year without a new one. At that time of the year, roughly April to July, it may be difficult to find a new calendar that starts where you need it to. 

There are some perks to owning a calendar that stretches out longer than a year, however. If you’re prone to plan activities far in advance — school activities, vacations, and similar — an 18-month calendar may give you the organizational space you need to plan ahead.

Q. What should I use to write with on my desk calendar?

A. Desk calendars welcome pens, pencils, colored pencils, markers, and highlighters. What you opt to write with comes down to personal preference, though you’ll want to make sure you can write legibly in the space provided. In addition, we advise you to be wary of heavier pens and markers that bleed through paper.

 

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