In Praise of Pens

Pens have been a classroom staple since the days when inkwells were embedded in school desks. But these days, our options are so much more extensive! For the final week of our back-to-school series, we’ll take a look at a few of our favorite pens. (If you missed our notebook and pencil features, check those out!) We’ll share our staff picks, school recommendations, and some out-of-the-ordinary pens you shouldn’t miss.

Staff Favorites

Lamy Vista rollerball pen

Victor’s pick: Lamy Vista Rollerball

Would you believe that rollerball pens make my handwriting look nicer? Well, my heavy-handed writing style definitely benefits from a smooth and fluid pen, and the Lamy Vista fits the bill perfectly for me. I find this medium point rollerball has just the right amount of friction on paper for those who tend to press down hard while writing. And those who do often grip the pen extra firmly as if it might fly away, but no worries here: the comfortable triangle grip and clear translucent pen body is made to be held tightly. I feel one of the most underrated parts of this pen is the big wire clip, one of my favorite features of the Vista. It has a wide opening that makes it super easy to slide in and clip to my pants pocket, where it travels with me all the time.

Ohto Minimi ballpoint pen

Jenny’s pick: Ohto Minimo Ballpoint Pen

This is my all time favorite on-the-go pen. It has everything that I love: it fits in my wallet, has a clip to secure it from falling off, and the extra-fine point works perfectly for my small writing.

Zebra Sarasa gel pen

Yulan’s pick: Zebra Sarasa Clip Gel Pen - Vintage Series

I have all the colors in this series. You can't NOT love them. I have and use pens with black ink, but sometimes, they're just too boring and bleh. Brightly colored pens are nice but not suitable for me to take notes in class - they’re quite a distraction to the eyes, so I only use them for key terms and key formulas. These pens, however, are the perfect solution. They come in various gorgeously-pigmented colors but are dark enough to feel professional. The 0.5mm tips are a comfortable point size for me. Also, the gel ink formula will ensure you a smooth writing experience to the last drop. If you have never used gel pens before, this is the perfect pen to get you started.

Sakura Pigma Micron

Jean’s pick: Sakura Pigma Micron

Microns are one of my favorite pens for writing, drawing, note-taking, you name it. These versatile pens have archival, waterproof ink, and I love the crisp lines that they make on any paper I’ve tried. Microns come in many sizes and colors, which is useful both for organizing notes and doodling in page margins. Although I wouldn’t recommend felt tip Microns for folks who press down hard when writing, Sakura also makes a plastic nib pen with the same ink, which can be a great option for anyone.

Ohto Horizon ballpoint pen

Sara’s pick: Ohto Horizon

I write almost everything in pen. Typically I'm a rollerball gal but my absolute favorite pen in the shop is the Horizon Ohto Ballpoint. This is for a few reasons: the weight, the finish, the needle point and (best of all) the clicking mechanism. This pen has such a pleasant heft in my hand that it makes me feel like writing just so I can hold it, and the smooth paint finish feels slick and soft. I love the bright turquoise color of my pen. The needle point tip glides smoothly and makes my handwriting look spidery and delicate. And I could spend hours clicking the pen tip, which makes a satisfying "pop" every time it's retracted.

Different Strokes for Different Folks

If you’re looking for a great everyday pen for school, check out the Signo RT1 Gel Pen, the Sarasa Gel Pen, or the Epoca P Ballpoint Pen. All of these options are smooth-writing, affordable pens that are great for daily use.

If you prefer a pen that’s a little bit out of the ordinary, though - say something slimmer or smaller than the typical pen, or something that writes smoother, or even a pen that erases - check out our gallery of pens with interesting and unusual features:

Gallery: A Potpourri of Pens >

P.S. Pens and other back-to-school supplies will be 20% off until 8/31/20 when you use code SCHOOL at checkout.

See the collection >

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