The Pens You Should Get

Having pens you actually like to use makes all of your work go better. And even though we do so much digitally now, there is still a place for pens because some notes are best captured by hand and, beyond that, there are all sorts of occasions throughout the day when we need to physically write.

One of my pet peeves is pens that are annoying to use. Some pens skip a lot, while other pens leak out too much ink. So a few years ago I bought a bunch of different kinds of pens and compared them to find a pen that I actually like to use.

Here’s what I recommend: Uni-ball Vision Elite Stick Micro Point Roller Ball Pens, 3 Black Ink Pens. (You can also¬†get them in a 24-pack.)

If you have these, there is no need for any other pen. They are awesome.

For more on why pens matter, the single most important rule in choosing pens, and the qualities of a good pen, see my post on Recommended Pens.

  • Jon

    When you posted about these pens 2.5 years ago I went out and got some. It is a purchase I have NEVER regretted. These pens are amazing!

  • Jared

    I’ll have to try these out. I’ve been using the Pilot G-2 pens at .38mm and am pleased. But I have wondered if a .5mm would feel better, as the .38mm can make it feel like I’m “scratching” the paper at times.

  • Matthew Olmstead

    Thanks for this tidbit. Unfortunately I still have two dozen pens I hate that I can’t bring myself to throw away.

    I actually like using pencils more sometimes. I prefer the good old Bic .7mm disposables.

  • Greg Billingsley

    I’ve been using the Pigma Micron for a couple of years now and it’s the best pen I’ve ever used (my friends laugh at me because I am so selfish with these pens!). They come in six point sizes; I use the 03 (.35mm) and 05 (.45mm) the most depending on the paper and space in which I need to write.

    The pen tip is designed for graphic art and illustrations, so it’s very smooth, but it’s the ink that makes this pen special. It’s archival quality, dries within one or two seconds so it won’t smear (great for lefties!), is waterproof, fade resistant, and doesn’t bleed.

    I get them here:

  • Rachael Starke

    LOL. No wonder we’re friends – I’ve been using the same pens since my first job as a technical writer in the mid-nineties. I was told they were the only pen any self-respecting writer should use. :)

  • Nathan

    The link for your recommended pens does not work from your RSS feed. It does work from your website, though the URL looks mighty weird. You might want to take a look at your blog templates.

  • Buddy Williams

    Matt, I also share this idiosyncrasy. My pen of choice has been the Pentel EnerGel 0.5mm Needle Point. I’ll get a box and let you know what I think. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Jim Boling

    My personal favorite (from Pilot G2 with a Mont Blanc Rollerball refill. Just shave about a mm worth of plastic off the top end of the refill.