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The Best Pens

Last updated on September 28, 2020

We looked at the top 6 Pens and dug through the reviews from 4 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best Pens.

Best Pens

Our Review Process

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We’re deep in the information age, and as the name implies, we have more ways to communicate than ever before. We text, we post, we send voicemails and emails — and those of us who use voice assistants may not even have to lift a finger to do any of them.

But if you’re trying to get your thoughts recorded quickly and with style, there’s still no better way to do it than with pen and paper. If you doubt the enduring popularity of the old reliable pen, just look at the range of products out there. Entire aisles of office supply stores are devoted to them, from disposable ballpoints to sleek executive vanity pens.

So what’s the right pen for you? Those who use pens regularly will tell you there’s no “best” type of pen. But there is a best one for your particular writing style.

Ballpoint pens have been around for a while, and they are still among the most popular. That’s largely because of the oil-based ink, which dries quickly on most any type of paper. The tip (or nib) at the business end of these pens is a ball that rolls along you write, creating friction which allows the ink inside the chamber to flow out. While cheaper pens of this type can blotch a bit as the ink chamber empties, decently-made pens are usually fairly consistent. one thing to watch out for is durability: Dropping the pen directly on its tip will damage the ball and render it useless pretty quickly.

Rollerball pens work much the same way but use a water-based rather than oil-based ink. That creates a bolder and darker line, which is great for those who prefer more of an expressive look. On the downside, this ink might bleed through if your paper is thin enough, and tends to dry less quickly. (Left-handed writers, in particular, want to watch out for this, as their hand may drag across their writing and smudge the ink.)

A more recent type of writing implement is the gel pen, which also uses water-based ink. In most pens, it is a thicker formula that goes on smoothly with a certain feel that users swear by. The formula also holds pigment better, so you can find gel pens in a range of different colors. Smudging can be a problem with cheaper pens of this style, and they may run out of ink a bit quicker.

There are also less common pen styles such as the felt-tip pen, which uses water-based ink and a fibrous nib to give an even thicker line. And of course, lovers of boutique writing can still buy old-school fountain pens. The elegant mechanism of these pens and the viscosity of the ink produces a feel that can’t be replicated, but they do require plenty of care and refills.

Our Picks For The Top Pens

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Product Overview
Our Take
Pros
Cons
 Best Overall

Arteza Fine Point Rollerball Pens, 20-Count

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Arteza

Fine Point Rollerball Pens, 20-Count

Those who like a smooth, gliding feel will love this pen. The lines go on bold and thick but without undue smearing. The profile of the pen makes it easy to hold and control.

Overall Take

Smooth, No SmearingStrong lines with no smudging are the hallmarks of this pen.

 Best Gadget

TF TAKEFLIGHT Tactical Pen for Self-Defense

TF TAKEFLIGHT

Tactical Pen for Self-Defense

We love how all the functions of the TF TAKEFLIGHT Tactical Pen for Self-Defense seem practical and fun. This self-defense tool has a flashlight and a bottle opener, along with a hard tip for self defense or to be used as a window-breaking device in an emergency, but most importantly it's the cool factor that will make it a great stocking-stuffer t...

Overall Take

Tactical Pen Multi-ToolThe TF TAKEFLIGHT Tactical Pen for Self-Defense is a mean-looking tool that will have anyone feeling like they just received a cool new spy-gadget.

Pros
" It’s manufactured by a veteran-owned company right here in the United States, meaning that you can support a cause that means a great deal to me personally by buying this pen. Plus, with a price tag of around $25, it’s..."
Cons
"The flashlight is not as powerful as you may think. It has a decent output if you need to work in small tight spaces but the battery runs out fast regardless."
 Runner Up

Paper Mate Write Bros Medium Point Ballpoint Pens, 60-Count

Paper Mate

Write Bros Medium Point Ballpoint Pens, 60-Count

These are the old reliable pens that have served students of all ages for years. The pen itself has just enough texture to aid in your grip, and the dark ink goes on with a satisfying drag. You can expect each of these pens to last for awhile.

Overall Take

Reliable and SturdyThese reliable ballpoint pens provide a consistent, dark line for a longer time.

 We Also Like

Cross Classic Century Lustrous Chrome Ballpoint Pen

Cross

Classic Century Lustrous Chrome Ballpoint Pen

This pen has a nice smooth feel that suits its metallic profile. Refills are available and they are very long-lasting. Overall, this is a solid writing implement that looks great on any desk.

Overall Take

Sleek Executive PenThis streamlined pen feels as good as it looks.

Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
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Products Considered

We identified the majority of the pens available to purchase.
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Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

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Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Marine Approved, 10 Best Review and Safety Hunters.

25,609

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including

Our experts reviewed the top 6 Pens and also dug through the reviews from 4 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Pens.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

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Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

What to Look For

How you write and how often your write might be big factors in determining what kind of pen you use. Where you use them isn’t usually a concern — unless you’re doing it on a plane. Seasoned travelers already know that pens can leak or even explode while in flight. This is due to the change in air pressure, which can push ink out of the pen. The pens most at risk for this are those with water-based ink, especially rollerballs and fountain pens. Gel pens and ballpoint pens are less likely to experience any severe leaks, but it can happen. You can buy pens that are specifically engineered to be airplane-safe, but if you don’t want to shell out the extra dough, you can seal your pens in a plastic bag until you land.

Pen Rankings

1. Arteza Fine Point Rollerball Pens, 20-Count

Overall Score: 9.6
Reviews Included: 1

2. TF TAKEFLIGHT Tactical Pen for Self-Defense

Overall Score: 9.6
Reviews Included: 5

4. Cross Classic Century Lustrous Chrome Ballpoint Pen

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 1

5. Sharpie S-Gel Medium Point Gel Pens, 4-Count

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 1

6. PILOT G2 Rolling Ball Fine Point Gel Pens, 12-Count

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 1

More to Explore

Pens can be a status symbol for high-powered executives, and there are none that make a greater statement than the Aurora Diamante pen. The Italian company Aurora makes only one of these fountain pens a year, and its casing is encrusted with 30 carats of diamonds. The nib? Eighteen-carat solid gold, of course. Unsurprisingly, it is the most expensive writing implement in the world at a price tag of $1.3 million. Definitely not the pen you want to forget to take out of your pocket when you do the laundry.