There’s nothing worse than settling in to what you can tell will be a long writing session, just to discover that your favourite pen is out of ink.
Equally perturbing is when you pick up a new pen at the store because the packaging caught your eye, but when set to your page the tip is so coarse it feels like you’re trying to carve your initials into a picnic bench. Hopefully with this list of carefully chosen pens, your troubles will be eased.
I last wrote to help you narrow down the never-ending search for the Best Journals for Writers. This list will be just as subjective as the last and includes reasonably priced pens all under $10 that I believe will make sitting down to write painless.
The Uni-Ball Jetstream is just one step away from ordering a daily PSL (pumpkin spice late) on its way to work. That’s how basic it is. This would normally be a big turn off for me but its retractable feature more than makes up for it. As a person who is constantly in search of MIA pen caps, I can not rave enough about pens that are retractable (seriously though, where do they all go??). On top of saving me time and not adding to my ever elusive pen cap graveyard, the Jetstream writes really smoothly for a ballpoint.
Though definitely not as smooth of a writer as the Jetstream, the RSVP has a wonderfully fine tip that I find needs very little pressure to perform well. This means minimal hand cramping during long writing sessions which, really, is why we’re all here.
It also has a great grip that is soft but textured enough to keep your fingers from sliding down. And the colours. Guys, Pentel has ALL OF THE COLOURS. This makes me unreasonably happy – especially as a kick to start a writing session if I’m feeling uninspired.
I’m normally not a rollerball fan but true to its name, this pen will work 9 to 5 for you without complaints, putting Ms. Dolly Parton to shame with its industriousness. The shape is super comfortable in your hand and the texture makes it easy to grip. No more hand cramps for you! If you’re looking for something to carry you through long writing sessions, look no further. WARNING: though lovely in all it’s silky-inked glory, the tip measurement feels a lie. The 0.5mm tip is WAY more closer to a 0.7mm when compared to the other pens on this list because it spreads a bit more on the page.
Yes, sorry, yet another Uni-Ball to add to your collection. I considered omitting the Vision Elite because I feel like everyone already has this in their stash somewhere, but when compared to other rollerballs it really does come out on top.
This is a dependable option and will be skip-free for each of your writing sessions. The grip is comfortable, the shell comes in a nice silver option, really there’s very little wrong with this pen. I also find that the ink bleeds a lot less than the Stabilo, which is great news for my squished lettering!
Writing with a gel pen always sparks fond memories from my childhood. I was a big fan of specialty gel pens. If a pen wasn’t sparkly, glow in the dark, colour changing, or neon then I didn’t want it. My tastes have since matured (ahem) however, I still love a good gel pen and the Zebra Sarasa Clip is my favourite for sure!
It comes in tons of fun colours which keeps my pre-teen self content, while still offering a super smooth writing experience that is a smidge more professional. The 0.5mm is fine enough for my cramped writing style and while I did try the 0.3mm as well I found it much too scratchy and it clawed so much on my nice paper that we are currently no longer on speaking terms.
And guess what, another retractable option (yay)!
The vintage colour pack linked above has a beautiful bell-bottom blue that is my current soulmate.
The Pentel Tradio 0.5mm is also a great gel pen option for writers who are too sensible for glitter. The EnergyGel ink inside is dark and intense, making it perfect for writing mysterious characters and plotlines. The Triado also passes the smudge test with 4/5 stars.
This pen is still gel so we can’t expect perfection, but it dries really quickly considering how thick the ink seems. Overall, the Tradio provides a lot for the price but I’m still holding out for a model with some glitz!
Platinum Preppy 0.3 (fine)
I couldn’t finish this list without at least one fountain pen and this one does not disappoint. For under $5, the Preppy pen is sturdy, smooth, and consistent (what more do we need?).
I find that with some cheaper fountain pens, the nib will either scratch and pull at the paper or will have you shaking it like a polaroid picture trying to get the ink to flow. Preppy has no such issue. It gives you that elegant and oh-so-fancy feeling without that chi-chi price tag.
Another great add on to the Platinum fountain pen line is that they make their own glass refillable cartridge! I love this eco-friendly option compared to constantly tossing the cartridge when it’s empty. Plus, since it’s glass, the ink won't stick to the sides so you can use every last drop. Too good to be true? Maybe. The cartridge runs at $11…twice the price of the Preppy pen itself, but at least it can be used in all the Platinum fountain pens.
Whether you're sitting down for Short Time or a Long Time writing session, having multiple smooth-writing pens in your arsenal will make it that much more enjoyable. All of these pens can be ordered online and delivered straight to your door. So what are you waiting for? Find a new best pen for YOU and schedule your next writing session right now.
Which of these is your current fave? Come talk pens and all things writing with me over on the Resilient Writers Facebook page.
Note: Links are NOT affiliate links and I don't get a thing if you click or buy. The links are to Amazon Canada but you can find the same brands and models of pens in the US and UK.