Is there such a thing as the Best Pen Ever?

February 14, 2014 in Journal

As Kathy mentioned a few days ago, finding a great pen for letter writing can be a transformative experience. I told you all last year about how I got addicted to fountain pens (Mary is to blame…. she is always to blame), though I do still have my gel pens as well. With all the pen choices out there I’m sure there are still a few of you looking for the One. If so, you may want to check out this post over at The Wirecutter wherein they’ve determined that the best pen ever is the uni-ball Jetstream.

To call that post a simple pen review is to severely downplay how extensive it is. Clocking in at over 6,000 words, the post is actually super informative for people who want to understand what makes a pen awesome or crap (hint: price is not the only factor). The site called on multiple pen experts to come up with the ultimate determination, all of whom make it their business to know all there is to know about pens. Incidentally, the blogs of the experts are great to follow if you’re a pen nerd.

The Wirecutter focused on pens that are inexpensive, semi-disposable, and easy to find at major retailers in the US, so that leaves out high-end fountain pens, imports, and specialized instruments. Still, it’s always good to know which pen out of the sea of them at Staples is better than all the others.

What are your favorite pens? Not just the ones you use to compose beautiful letters, but the ones you reach for when you need to jot a note, sign something, or write in a journal. Are they the same pens?

Preppy Pen

My current favorite fountain pen is an inexpensive one from Japan called the Preppy pen. If you’re lucky enough to live in a town with a Japanese bookstore or other store that imports from overseas you can probably get one for around $4. JetPens sells them, as does Amazon. You can get it with a fine or medium nib and the ink cartridge is replaceable. I like Preppy pens not just because they don’t cost much, but because the caps has a great seal on it that doesn’t allow the nib to get dried out. Even if I leave it in my pen bag for weeks it still writes just fine without assistance.

iWalk Amphibian

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a digital person, so it will not surprise you that I carry around a tablet stylus in my pen case. My stylus happens to be a pen as well: the iWalk Amphibian. The cartridge that comes with it is a typical ballpoint, but it also takes Parker gel pen refills and that’s what I use with it.

Show and Tell in the comments, let’s see your favorites!

8 responses to Is there such a thing as the Best Pen Ever?

  1. I actually just put up a photo on my blog, of the latest shipment of my favorite pen in the whole world – the Jetstream uni! So I wholeheartedly concur with the review.

  2. I really like the Pilot Precise V5 as well as the Sharpie Fine Point – both are reliable and last a long time. The Sharpie doesn’t bleed or run – which is sometimes a problem with the Pilot. I’ve never used a fountain pen – I’ll have to check out the one you listed.

  3. I’m totally a pen geek! Here are my top 4: my longstanding affair is with Pilot Precise V5 pens, but I also got turned on to Pilot Razor Point pens. The Le Pen series is fabulous, for the fine tips but also the wide variety of colors. And most recently I am obsessed with Pigma Micron 005, super ultra fine point. I like all of these not only for writing but for drawing as well.

  4. Thank you for posting this. I could easily slip into a pen addiction but have kept it reined in, I guess. I use a Pilot Plumix to satisfy my craving for fountain pens but I see that they are not highly rated by the people in the know. Oh well – it’s the cheapest and most accessible for me at this time in my life.

  5. If you’re into fountain pens, and believe me, I’ve tried a lot of them, you can’t go wrong with the Lamy Safari. ‘Looks fabulous, lots of colors, great price, easy to hold, wears like a tank, never gets clogged, and you can buy a converter for it so you can fill it from bottles of ink. You can even get it with an italic nib. (Hi Olivia! I’ll be writing soon…)

  6. I’m addicted to the Preppy — I like the fine nib better, as my handwriting is fairly small. I received my first one free with a 4.5oz bottle of Noodler’s The Heart of Darkness ink, ordered from Amazon, and it came converted so you can fill the entire barrel using the eyedropper cap — no need to use cartridges that run out just when you’re in the middle of a letter. (A rollerball tip also was included, but I haven’t tried that.) I think most of the Noodler’s 4.5oz bottles include the free pen.

    All you need to do the conversion is an O-ring of the proper size and a bit of silicone grease for the threads, available from the Goulet Pen Company (which also has a video tutorial) and, I’m guessing, other vendors that sell the Preppy.

    I can’t overstate how much I love this pen, and not just because it fits my budget so well (I can afford to keep a bunch of them going at the same time, and dash off a card or a letter in whatever ink color fits my mood at the moment — and I love that the clear barrel allows me to see the ink inside). They do start up right away after not being used for days or weeks, and write sooooo smoothly it’s a pleasure to use them unless the ink or paper is particularly persnickety. It writes well held with the nib upside down, too, which I do when I’m writing on paper where the ink spreads out a bit.

    I’ll try the Safari some day, but every time I start to order one I remember I can get several Preppies for the same amount!

  7. In fountain pens, I love-love-love my Lamy Metropolitan. It feels good in my hand, and once I swapped the nib to a “fine” one, it tolerates my small handwriting beautifully. It never dries since the cap is tight, and I love being able to change ink colors.

    In “other” pens, my favorite is a Pilot G2 gel pen, in a “limited edition” so that it’s heavier weight metal, not plastic, in my hand. With a fine point, the ink flows nicely, never clogs, and it dries fast. No drag, either, despite whatever paper I may be writing on. I’ve had it for years, and fortunately they still keep making the ink refills for it.

  8. I want to try a preppy some day, as well as a Pilot Plumix. I’ve heard great things about both.

    I have a Lamy Safari with a fine nib and a Monteverde Intima with a medium nib. I love both of them, and they both write just a little differently so I can have some variety with my handwriting and ink flow.

    Right now the Intima may be edging out the Safari a bit, purely on the grip.

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