Cool Pens To Buy
I built this Top 5 Pens list originally to discuss what some of my favorite pens are in various categories. That worked well for a while, but as this page has grown I realized it was time for a change in how it is presented.
cool pens to buy
(Notes: Outside of the ECO, I think you could load all of these pens up in a dice cup, shake it, and re-order this list without losing much effect. You can even add in other pens like the Opus 88, TWSBI 580, Kaweco Student, TWSBI Swipe, and more-all while staying under $100, which was the goal here. (Updated 10/25/2022))
(Notes: If you have a favorite manufacturer of single refill pens, it is likely you will be a fan of their multi pen option. Pentel, Pilot, Tombow, Uni-ball, and Zebra all make great models that could easily make the list. Updated 2/1/2023.)
Pilot Acroball - Pilot has a competitor to the Jetstream, but it seems to play second fiddle in its own product lineup to the G2, Juice, and FriXion gel ink pens. Performance-wise, it competes, but fewer options keep it in the two spot. (Buy)
Blackwing 602 - If you want to jump right in to the premium market, the 602 is the choice. It will top many lists, even my own personal list, but not this list. There is no doubt it is an amazing writer, but I do push it down to the number two spot due to the weaker eraser, and higher cost. The great thing about wooden pencils is that even the expensive ones are relatively inexpensive. Feel free to try a handful to see what works best for you. (Buy)
Our selection of novelty pens are a big hit with students and school stores. Why settle for boring when there are so many cool pens from which to choose? Simple black and blue pens won't brighten a classroom, but these will. When it's time to take notes, bring out a pen that will make people laugh or a cute pen that will melt their hearts. We sell only the most eye-catching and unique products for any time of the year, and we have designs that make students smile: gel ink pens, light-up pens, erasable pens, mutli color pens, and so many others.
Our panel of testers included Wirecutter staffers who are fanatical about stationery (to the point where they can differentiate between a pen with a 9-mm grip section and one with an 11-mm grip). These panelists collect pens as a hobby, and they are more knowledgeable and opinionated about pens than most people. In testing our ergonomic pen options, our panelists included two medical professionals (one who has had rheumatoid arthritis for over 30 years).
We whittled our initial list of 46 potential pens to test down to 26 finalists, based on editorial and owner reviews, ability for refills, and available tip-size options. We then split testing into three rounds:
Jetstream pens feature Super Ink, which is resistant to forgery by means of removal (such as with acetone), as well as to more-mundane threats like water spills and fading. In addition, this ink writes well on glossy paper, including receipts.
And if you have a collection of fully used (empty) pens, Terracycle will give you a free shipping label to send them in for recycling. Although the program is sponsored by BIC, all brands of writing instruments and their packaging are accepted.
Office Depot sells an exclusive line of pens under the TUL brand, in rollerball, gel pen, and ballpoint. Their exclusivity makes them less interesting as a generally recommended pen (and you can buy all of our other picks at Office Depot). Reviewers ding the gel pen for its long drying time, and they recommend the line more for stocking an office than for buying a nice pen for yourself.
We considered the very wide array of Uni-ball pens for this updated guide, and we tried the Vision Elite with BLX inks. For everyday writing, this pen is very, very wet, and will likely leave the side of your pinkie or palm shellacked with dark ink. For anyone who wants a bold, colorful pen for sketches or illustrations, the color selection and the dark, thick ink may appeal.
Fineliner or porous-point: Like a cross between a felt marker and a rollerball, a fineliner refill for a rollerball pen uses a tough porous plastic material for its tip. The ink is usually the same as in rollerball and fountain pens, but the porous tip puts down just enough for a bold line, with an even quicker dry time. These are often popular among left-handers. Sadly, fineliner refills dry out quickly if you leave the cap off your pen.
Suitability as gifts: Graduations, promotions and career milestones are great occasions to give a nice pen as a gift, and even the budget-friendly pens we picked come in elegant keepsake packaging. Though most of the top pens we selected can be purchased as fountain pens, we stuck with rollerball and ballpoint options for our list since most gift recipients will have no idea what to do with a fountain pen. Gift-suitability also rules out inexpensive pens that are made specifically to look like better pens.
Daniel is a Canadian farm boy who grew up to be a nerd with a literature degree and too many hobbies to count. He emigrated from Canada to California in 2013, and now writes for Your Best Digs full-time. Daniel remains unapologetic about Canadian spelling, serial commas, and the destruction of expensive travel mugs.
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You can't expect to use only one pen throughout your life. That's why there are so many options out there. Here's your guide to every type of pen on the planet, from ballpoint and fountain pens to rollerball pens, gel pens, and more!
Meet the ballpoint pen - the world's most common writing instrument! With a stainless steel or brass ball at the bottom, ballpoint pens glide smoothly across the page. This is important if you're writing quickly, whether it's journaling or notetaking. You can also get ballpoint pens for as cheap as 25 cents each!
Do you want to look and feel like a boss? Pick up a fountain pen! These fancy pens are similar to quills, only the ink is held inside rather than in a separate dip bottle. The best fountain pen may be a bit of a splurge, but it's worth it if you're looking for nice gifts for authors, professionals, or students.
Rollerball pens are very similar to ballpoint pens, only they use a more viscous water-based ink. This makes your words and lines more permanent and less likely to smear across the page. The ink is also typically darker, which results in an eye-pleasing print.
You may be thinking of the gel pens you used as a teenager to doodle hearts on your notebooks. However, gel pens are much more than that! These stylish pens come can be filled with many water-based inks in every color imaginable. The ink may take longer to dry, but it's worth it for the crisp, dark lines that are created.