How to Choose a Gift Pen

When you’re looking for a nice gift, a nice pen is a classic option: it’s classy, it’s useful, it feels luxurious, and it’s a mark of respect for someone’s intellect. But as soon as you step into the world of pens, you’ll find there are an overwhelming number to choose from. If you’re thinking of gifting someone a pen, whether to mark a special occasion or to celebrate a holiday, here are a few tips that will set you on the right track.

Fountain Pen, Rollerball, or Ballpoint?

Before you start looking at individual pens, you’ll want to choose a pen category. Keep the occasion and the giftee’s personality in mind as you’re choosing which type of pen to gift.

Fountain Pens

Fountain pens are a more traditional gift and can feel a little bit fancy or special, especially nowadays, as they’re less common than they once were. But just because they’re an older technology, it doesn’t mean they’re stodgy or outdated. Fountain pen makers have kept up with the times, and there are playful, fun, and eye-catching designs as well as more traditional and serious-looking pens. For an old soul, or for someone who likes the feeling of writing by hand, or who likes to take their time and enjoy the process of things, a fountain pen is likely to be very enjoyable. Fountain pens also let the writer use a variety of inks, for anyone who appreciates beautiful colors. 

As delightful as these pens are, they can also be intimidating to a new user. If your giftee is a little wary of new processes, or if they’re often in a hurry, they may prefer the convenience of a more familiar rollerball or ballpoint pen.

Rollerballs and Ballpoints

We tend to think of fountain pens as the “giftier” option, but rollerball and ballpoint pens can be equally beautiful and impressive. Like fountain pens, they can range from weighty, elegant designs to playful and colorful options. 

Rollerballs are usually a bit more expensive than ballpoints (though not always!) and are loved for the smooth way they write. But a good ballpoint also feels wonderful to write with, and the ink usually dries faster—plus ballpoints tend to offer more variety in terms of style and design.

Set a Budget

Good pens range in price from under ten dollars to hundreds of dollars, depending on the design of the pen, the materials it’s made with, and the brand it’s made by. A really special pen that’s wonderful to write with can be worth a higher price, but there are plenty of inexpensive and moderately priced options that make great gifts, too. Setting a budget before you start browsing can help you narrow down your options considerably.

Consider Your Giftee’s Sense of Style

Part of the fun of choosing a pen is that they come in many colors, shapes, and materials. Thinking about your giftee’s sense of style in how they dress, how they decorate their home, and what colors they like can help you get a feel for the kind of pen they might enjoy. Do they wear bright, boldly patterned clothing or do they prefer muted colors and simple designs? Would you describe their general vibe as fancy or casual? Do they like a little bit of glitz and glamor or do they keep things more understated? Your observations about your giftee’s sense of style are a great place to begin when you’re choosing a pen for them.

How Big Are Their Hands?

This one may sound silly, but it matters! Pens come in all different lengths, thicknesses, and weights. For someone with smaller hands, a chunky, heavy pen will likely feel clumsy and awkward, while someone with larger hands probably won’t enjoy the experience of writing with a super-slim or compact pen.

Ready to start gifting? Our collection of favorite gift pens is a great place to look first!

Browse the collection >

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