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The Best Pens for Writing

The Best Pen for Writing

If you head to an office supplies store—either online or in person—you're bound to find hundreds of pens to choose from. The only downside? It can be tough to determine which are the best pens and compare how the thousands of available pens stack up.

That's why we've done the work for you. If you're trying to identify the best pens for writing without spending hours researching, then look no further than these stellar options.

The best ballpoint pens for writing

Ballpoint pens use oil-based, quick-drying ink and feature a ball bearing at the tip. This ball bearing helps roll ink onto the page in a fluid manner that doesn't require refined control of the pen. Over the years, ballpoint pens have become so popular that their invention is commemorated every June 10 via National Ballpoint Pen Day. Here are a few of the best ballpoint pens for writing:

  • Bic Cristal
    Bic is a classic pen brand for a reason. The ubiquitous ballpoint continues to live up to the hype thanks to its smooth writing capabilities.
  • Cross Classic Century Ballpoint Pen
    Cross is known for its attention to aesthetics, and this pen doesn't disappoint. It's also highly functional: The pen features smooth ink flow, long-lasting ink, and great reviews.
  • Pilot Dr. Grip
    This popular ballpoint features smooth ink release, a refillable ink cartridge, and a unique grip shape that minimizes wrist and hand strain while writing.
  • Uni-ball Jetstream
    Hailed as one of the best ballpoints available, the Jetstream features smooth, even writing, quick-drying ink, remarkable durability, and a variety of tip sizes.

The best ink pens for writing

Also known as rollerball pens, ink pens are ballpoints’ slightly flashier cousin. They use water-based ink for even smoother, finer writing that requires less hand pressure. Because the ink is more liquid, it tends to dry a bit slower than the oil-based ink of a ballpoint pen. Nevertheless, rollerballs remain one of the most popular pen types. Here are some of the best ink pens for writing:

  • Cross Classic Century Rollerball
    As with its ballpoint counterpart, Cross’ rollerball features a sleek aesthetic, fine lines, customizable tips, and a lifetime mechanical guarantee.
  • Morning Glory Mach 3
    A unique, almost Steampunk aesthetic sets this pen apart, as do its fine, unbroken lines, unique color options, and viewable ink supply.
  • Pilot Precise V5 and V7
    These classic models are built to last. They facilitate consistent ink flow and smooth, bold writing every time.
  • Retro 51 Tornado
    A retro aesthetic ensures this pen lives up to its name, while sturdy construction, customizable tips, and great reviews earn the Retro 51 Tornado its place among the best ink pens.

The best gel pens for writing

Gel pens have become increasingly popular over the last few years. They function much like rollerballs, but instead use a water-based gel to transfer pigments onto a variety of surfaces. They're known for vivid lines and a huge variety of color options, and they're especially revered among creatives for coloring projects. Here are some of the best gel pens for writing:

  • Muji Gel Ink Ballpoint Pen
    This pen is well reviewed thanks to its clean lines, affordability, and compact size.
  • Pilot FriXion Erasable Gel Pens
    Instead of frantically searching for Wite-Out in order to correct mistakes, these pens allow you to erase and correct errors without having to start over on a project.
  • Signo 207
    This retractable gel pen enjoys similar acclaim to the Uni-ball Jetstream ballpoint. It is known for its fine point, which helps produce uniform lines.
  • Zebra Sarasa Rapid Dry Ink Gel Retractable Pen
    A number of benefits distinguish the Sarasa, including smooth, sharp lines, a comfortable grip, durability, a huge variety of colors, and quick-drying ink that helps reduce the risk of smudging.

The best pens for writing notes

Whether you're penning a note to your boss, sending out “thank you” notes after a holiday or wedding, or simply telling a loved one they're on your mind, using a fountain pen adds something extra. If you really want to impress, here are some of the best pens for writing notes:

  • Kaweco Sport
    Compact and portable, this beginner-friendly fountain pen fits nicely in a hand or pocket and features durable German construction. Its secure cap ensures you won't get ink on yourself while on the go.
  • Lamy Safari Fountain Pen
    This pen is beloved for its modern aesthetic, durability, and interchangeable fine nib, which writes smoothly and is forgiving to people who are just learning to work with fountain pens.
  • Pilot Metropolitan
    Another beginner-friendly fountain pen, the Pilot Metropolitan is well-renowned among novice and pro fountain pen users alike. It's reliable and easy to use.
  • TWSBI Eco
    You'll need to get comfortable with filling the pen from an ink bottle, but if you can move past that hurdle you'll find there's plenty to enjoy about the Eco. It's an entry-level fountain pen that is remarkably affordable given its quality.
The Best Pen for Writing

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Whether you're in charge of supplies for a corporate office, a doctor's office, a church, a school, or another organization, pens are for a vital part of any supply closet. In fact, providing employees, volunteers, and other community members with the tools they need is essential for increasing productivity. The next time you re-stock office supplies, don't overlook the features and quality of your pen stash.

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Laura Newcomer is a writer, editor, and educator with multiple years of experience working in the environmental and personal wellness space. Formerly Senior Editor at the health site Greatist, Laura now lives and works in Pennsylvania. Her writing has been published on Washington Post, TIME Healthland, Greatist, DailyBurn, Lifehacker, and Business Insider, among others. She has taught environmental education to students of all ages in both Pennsylvania and Maine, and prioritizes living an environmentally sustainable lifestyle. She's a big proponent of creating self-sustaining communities and accessible healthy food systems that care for both people and the earth. An avid outdoorswoman, she can often be found hiking, kayaking, backpacking, and tending to her garden.

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