The 8 Best Gel Ink Pens
Gel Ink Pens
Our Picks in Detail
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* Last update of prices was on 2019-01-18 10:24:24 via PA API. Prices or conditions may have changed in the meantime.
8 Best Gel Ink Pen Alternatives
Gel Ink Pen Buying Guide
YEAR OF THE SNAKE PEN
GEL ROLLINGBALL REFILL
Product 12: Mont Blanc Cruise Collection Bordeaux Pen with the Monteverde Capless Gel Blue Refill
GEL REFILLBUYING GUIDE TO GEL PENS:
Gel pens offer a number of significant advantages over traditional ink pens. To begin with, when it is released onto the paper, gel ink dries faster than traditional water-based inks, creating less likelihood of streaking. On the other hand, however, while still inside the pen, gel based inks are less likely to dry out than traditional water based inks. If you've ever put a pen upside down in a pencil cup for a long period of time, you know the ink sinks to the bottom of the pen and basically renders the pen useless unless you turn it the other way for a long period of time to give the ink a chance to settle back to the side of the pen with the point. Gel is thicker, however, so the ink is less likely to settle at the bottom of the pen even when stored upside down.
When it comes to choosing a gel pen, there are a number of factors to consider and which pen or pens you settle on has a lot to do with what you plan on using your pen for the most and how often you use it. Here is an outline of 7 factors to consider when buying a gel pen and some suggestions for each.
1. Price/ Quality
While there are a vast selection of cheap gel pens on the market, cheap gel ink is susceptible to clumping, so you want to be careful what brand you choose. On the low end of the price spectrum are the Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pen and the Sakura Gelly Roll pen. Both offer high quality pens at a low price, but for the best pen at the lowest price you can't go wrong with the Sakura Gelly Roll. For just a few dollars per pen, they are one of the most trusted brands in the arts & crafts world and are found most often in scrapbooking and other art supply stores. While they may be a favorite among crafters for both their quality and wide range of colors, they still produce a basic blue and black pen and are one of the smoothest writing pens on the market.
If you lose pens frequently and are a big fan of buying in bulk, these are probably the best pens for you. On the other end of the spectrum, Mont Blanc makes some of the most luxurious and expensive pens on the planet, ranging from a few hundred to several thousands of dollars. They offer a gel ink refill that fits the majority of them, but doesn't work with fountain pens, so if you want an elegant and luxurious gel pen, be sure and check first to ensure the pen you want is compatible with a gel pen refill. Somewhere in the middle are a wide range of perfectly adequate pens, depending on your needs. For a good quality pen without the significant Mont Blanc price tag, try a Cross pen with a gel rollingball refill cartridge.
If you don't write all that often or use a pen for long periods of time, then comfort may not be of primary concern. On the other hand, if you journal, still have to hand in written homework or suffer from arthritis or some other joint pain that makes writing difficult, you may want a pen like the Pilot Dr. Grip or the Pentel EnerGel Deluxe RTX. The bottom half of the Dr. Grip is banded in a thick, soft silicone that offers possibly the most comfortable writing experience possible and is specifically recommended for people with arthritis or other types of joint pain. The Pentel EnerGel Deluxe RTX has a harder rubber grip that is slightly more comfortable than a traditional pen.
3. Ink Color
If you just want a basic, standard black or blue pen with black or blue ink, there are a wide variety to choose from. If you want a pen with a bit more zip and pizzazz, however, you might want to try the Uni-Ball 207, which comes in 8 assorted colors, including pink, purple, orange and aqua. The Pilot FriXion retractable gel pen comes in 7 different colors with a wide range of color combinations to choose from. You can purchase them individually, in 3-packs or 7-packs. The FriXion also offers the additional perk of being erasable. The Paper Mate InkJoy gel pens are also available in 12 different colors.
For ultimate creativity, however, you might want to try the Sakura Gelly Roll, which not only offers a wide range of colors but textures as well, including sparkle pens, pastels and even white pens for use on black or dark blue paper.
Some people prefer a lightweight pen, while others prefer something with a little more heft. On the most lightweight side is the Paper Mate InkJoy and the Sakura Gelly Roll. On the heavier side are the Uni-Ball UM 153 Signo and the Reinhardt GEM Premium Gel Pen. For the weight of a luxury pen without the weighty price tag, you might try the Pentel EnerGel Alloy RT Premium Liquid Gel Pen.
For a more luxury weight and feel, you might want to spring for the Cross Year Of The Snake Special Edition Collection Ballpoint Pen or the Cross Botanica Golden Magnolia Ballpoint Pen with the Cross Selectip Gel Rollingball Pen Refill. For the ultimate in luxury, of course, with the most balanced weight and feel, you can spend a few hundred dollars on a Mont Blanc pen - but probably not if you are regularly inclined to lose pens.
5. Retractable or Capped
Some people prefer capped pens for the weight and balance the cap provides, others prefer them for the look and style, while others prefer them for the additional security they provide against ink leakage in a pocket or purse. On the other hand, caps can easily be lost, so other people prefer retractable pens. Regardless of which kind of pen you prefer, there are a wide range of gel pens available in both styles.
6. Type of ink
Gel pens have become a favorite in the scrapbooking world because of the low acid content, which keeps the ink from fading over the years. Outside of the scrapbooking world, there is possibly little need for long-lasting ink but it is something to consider if you want to write a very special letter, sign a document of great importance or perhaps hope to pass on a journal to your children or grandchildren. If you want to be sure your writing lasts a lifetime or longer, you want to use the acid-free inks found in the Sakura Gelly Roll pens or the Uni-Ball Signo pen. The Pilot FriXion Retractable Gel Pens are, of course, also erasable.
Point sizes in gel pens generally range from .7 mm to 1.0 mm, with .7 being considered a fine point and 1.0 mm being considered a bold point. The Pilot G2 provides the widest range of options, offering a bold, fine, extra-fine (.5 mm) and ultra-fine (.38 mm) point. The Uni-Ball Signo is only available in a 1.0 mm point but pens like the Pilot Dr. Grip pen are refillable, so you can choose your point size after the fact, or even change it regularly if you want.
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