The feel of the standard Jetstream pen is not its strongest suit. Gel refills provide the slickest, smoothest writing experience of the three in this guide. Tip width as tested: 0.7 mmWidths available: 0.5, 0.7Style: ballpointInk type: erasable gel, The Uni-ball Signo 307 on Field Notes paper. But they’re German-made, and although they’re available on Amazon, the price and availability of different colors or models vary. The Jetstream is available in a variety of tip widths and colors, and is sold in office-supply stores and through online merchants. The bronze bolt action pen (standard size) is a perfectly engineered and built pen. Best gel ink cartridges: Pentel Energel Needlepoint, Pilot G2, Zebra Sarasa, Pilot Juice, Uni Signo RT. Engineering Manager Dave Ross also told us about his preference for the Precise, saying “the Pilot Precise V5 RT has been my go-to pen for years but it's not always as lefty-friendly as I'd like. The Pilot G2 is a massively popular gel pen, a best seller in many stores and online. Parker Jotter. Rotring G2 refill: not in video but don't buy My favorite is the EasyFlow 9000. We researched and tested over 30 pens to find the best pen for writing that's reliable, comfortable, and provides the smoothest writing experience. Inside the cartridge, you'll find a thick, oil-based ink. Writing sample: Lilly Bellman / Photo: Tim Barribeau, The Uni-ball Jetstream on Field Notes paper. It’s easy to find in stores, it writes smoothly on most paper, and it’s affordable enough that you won’t be heartbroken if someone permanently borrows it. I’ve read detailed reviews of every mass-market pen posted on the leading pen blogs since this guide was first published in 2013, and I’ve asked experienced pen bloggers what I’ve missed. Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for Pilot G2 Premium Gel Refills Black Ink Extra Fine 0.5mm Point 2pk at the best online prices at eBay! Experts and staff testers called it an upgrade in smoothness, grip, and legibility compared with the well-known Pilot G2. The broader the tip, the more likely it will smear when wet. At the time, we cited its dated looks, its uncomfortable grip (or entire lack thereof), and issues we encountered with bleeding, feathering, and a lack of smoothness and uniformity of lines. We gave all Wirecutter employees attending a three-day company meeting and workshop a Jetstream and a Precise V5 RT, along with a Field Notes notebook (the top pocket pick in our notebook guide), and asked them to take notes using those tools throughout the event. Related Gear: (The Pilot did one of the best jobs of all the models we tested.) To get a wider sampling of input, we enlisted Wirecutter staffers to test our three finalist pens. Going by these expert recommendations, both from our interviews with them and in their own writing, we assembled a short list of nine new pens to compare against our previous picks. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. For anyone who wants a bold, colorful pen for sketches or illustrations, the color selection and the dark, thick ink may appeal. Writing sample: Lilly Bellman / Photo: Tim Barribeau. The Signo UM-101 Gel Pen was inky and satisfying to write with, but it didn’t erase as well as the others, leaving a distinct shadow behind. It was originally created by Parker, and is best known as their refill, but it is now an ISO standard, and is used by many different pen brands. × Since you can only use one refill at a time, I'll help you find your go-to with this guide by comparing the three types of ink refills and recommending the best ones to pair with your favorite EDC pen. Sometimes you can go long stretches without purchasing any pen, relying instead on hotels, offices, conferences, and other scenes of benign theft and giveaways to stock your home or desk. The ink sinks into paper and dries quickly (which is great for lefties), and it rarely, if ever, feathers out from your lines or bleeds through good notebook paper. The Pilot G2 0.38 Ultra Fine gel pen has the finest point tip of the G2 range and it writes very thin lines. We’re also fans of Pilot’s Erasable FriXion ColorSticks, but they don’t have a grip, a design that could cause some finger pain if you’re writing for a long time. Available in a variety of tip widths and colors, the Jetstream is sold in office-supply stores and through online merchants. If you need a pen that can write anywhere (yes, even space), then consider those made by Fisher. The Uni Kuru Toga Pipe Slide is the best mechanical pencil for most people, thanks to a unique rotating mechanism that keeps the lead at a sharp point. Our testers found the Precise V5 RT to be the least smooth of the three: Only five of our 65-plus testers said it had the fewest skips in writing, and similarly few testers thought it had the least feathering or dried the fastest. Is it the World's Best Pen? It’s still popular today with pens in all price ranges. In general, however, they still have smudging and drying problems, and the ink runs thick: A 0.5 mm gel pen puts down a wider line than 0.5 mm pens of other types. It’s not a common need, but the feature is nice to keep in mind if you’re stocking a home or office. Take it from nearly 70 of my co-workers, who tested three very different pens: You may not think you have an opinion on what makes the best pen for you, but you do. Ultimately, a ballpoint pen is going to be the best for all-purpose, everyday writing. Although 0.5 mm and 0.38 mm tips exist, they are not as smooth, according to our experts, but if you write extremely small you may enjoy their precision. We think the Jetstream’s feel is a considerable upgrade from that of typical stick pens. The 307 doesn’t skip less than the Jetstream, but it does now present an acceptable trade-off for the fluidity of writing. The Jetstream has been a Wirecutter pick since 2013, and remains widely loved. The G2 refill is 98mm long … They’re available in a wider array of colors and require less pressure to use. For a month, I carried one or two pocket notebooks everywhere I went, plotting out vacation days in a foreign city, tackling grocery and to-do lists, and taking notes on meetings. Editor Tim Barribeau wrote the original version of this guide in 2013 and has also covered pencils, notebooks, and other stationery for Wirecutter. I particularly love it in a red/black/blue multipen configuration for annotation, copy paper print outs, etc.” Senior Editor Korrena Bailey added her sinister opinion, saying “I love the Jetstream—I’m a lefty and it’s my go-to pen for cards and anything else where I’m likely to leave horrible smudges.”. Ballpoints are best for those who want a smooth-enough writing experience that works on a variety of papers with little to no bleeding through the page. It is what many people think of when they think of buying a “nice” pen for a particular task. Affordable, smooth, left-hand friendly, and filled with the best-performing ink, the Jetstream is a verified go-to pen. Brad Dowdy, Top 5 Pens, The Pen Addict, September 25, 2018, Miriam, Uni Jetstream: A Comprehensive Guide, JetPens, May 26, 2015, Brian Greene, Uni-ball Jetstream BLX .7mm Retractable, OfficeSupplyGeek, April 29, 2013, Brad Dowdy, Review: Uni-Ball Jetstream 1.0mm Blue, The Pen Addict, October 7, 2009, Brian Greene, Pilot Precise V5 RT Liquid Ink Pen Review, OfficeSupplyGeek, March 8, 2010, Elizabeth Price, Pilot Precise V5 RT, No Pen Intended, October 4, 2011, Brad Dowdy, Review: Pilot Precise V5 RT 0.5 Click, The Pen Addict, December 30, 2007, Brad Dowdy, Uni-ball Signo 307 Gel Ink Pen Review, The Pen Addict, July 6, 2015, Brian Greene, Uniball Signo 307, OfficeSupplyGeek, April 29, 2015. That feeling was divisive for our testers. Plus, it has a typical pencil-style eraser, which will eventually wear down. It's built like a tank and handles like a dream. Of the six erasable pens we tested, Pilot’s FriXion Clicker Erasable Retractable Gel Pen came out on top for its satisfyingly inky, quick-drying writing and its easy-to-hold body; we also like that it erased cleanly, leaving just a slight trace behind. You may have not thought about erasable pens since elementary school, when you were still learning to write and permanent ink was too risky. The three are closely related, but generally speaking, each has some advantages and disadvantages over the others. We erased a portion of our writing immediately and tried again five days later once the ink had time to settle in. If you like the feel and ink of the Jetstream, you can upgrade to one of the variants mentioned above or choose from a wide range of other colors and styles—start with a sampler pack, perhaps. Rollerballs shine on high quality paper, but the liquid ink tends to go right through the page on cheaper paper. The G2 is well-loved because despite being a gel pen, the ink lasts a long time. Reviewers ding the gel pen for a long drying time and recommend the line for stocking up an office more than buying a nice pen for yourself. Senior Editor Grant Clauser opined that he prefers it over the Pilot Precise because when he’s grading papers for his poetry class “the ink of the Pilot tends to spread more than the Jetstream, which makes it hard when I'm trying to write really small, writing around the margins of [students’] papers.” Wirecutter Producer Erin Moore chimed in, saying “I love the .38 and .5 Jetsteam for [substandard] paper. Parker-Type G2 Refills. It’s better than the cheapest pens at the store, but the Precise V5 RT is likely to be on the same shelf and is better still. Luckily Pilot has made advances as well, with the Juice, and then … The Sharpie Pen has many outspoken fans, especially for its refillable stainless steel and grip variants. Pens that use these refills. That lines up with what the expert bloggers told us. Uni-ball's RT BLX Jetstream pens produce darker lines than the standard Jetstream ink, but only by a bit. While the Fisher Space Pen and Pilot G2 refills are the most popular, there are hundreds more to choose from (yes, really). I have to be careful writing greeting cards with it or it gets all smudgy...but it's fine writing in a notebook.”. The Parker style standard G2 ballpoint refill is the most common pen refill on the market. All erasable pens have some flaws. Rollerballs work like a ballpoint, with a small suspended ball that rolls the ink across the page. And you won’t find yourself needing to scrounge up a second pen when a cheap pen dries up on you. It was designed to be a better and easier way of dispensing ink—embedded in the point of a pen, a rolling ball transfers the ink to the page. While the Fisher Space Pen and Pilot G2 refills are the most popular, there are hundreds more to choose from (yes, really). Stock and availability problems eliminated the Zebra G-301, for example. If you prefer a darker line than the Jetstream’s, if you write in smaller, tighter letters, or if you like a bit of resistance from the paper whether you’re writing or drawing, the Pilot Precise V5 RT is another affordable and widely available pen to consider. It has a nice, soft grip for easy long-form writing. Some experts and testers liked that it wasn’t as smooth as the Jetstream, preferring the feel of its finer point. After more than a year of regular use, Staff Writer Thom Dunn extolled the virtues of the Pilot Precise, telling us “[it’s] the best affordable pen I’ve found so far, and I’m absolutely a convert to it.” But he also warned “however, it has made me understand the value of a pocket protector—I usually carry a pen in my pants pocket, and I’ve accidentally clicked the Pilot Precise open on more than one occasion, causing my pants to absorb a small spot of black ink.” Staff Writer Rachel Cericola added “I also love the Pilot Precise. Since you can only use one refill at a time, I'll help you find your go-to with this guide by comparing the three types of ink refills and recommending the best ones to pair with your favorite EDC pen. Compared with the ink from the other pens we tested, the Jetstream’s ink showed the least on the opposite sides of notebook pages. Our testers gave the Signo 307 high marks for smoothness and low-pressure writing. Although my handwriting is terrible, I am an experienced Wirecutter writer and notepad-toting newspaper journalist. Since they use liquid ink, the ball mechanism is lubricated by the ink better, therefore giving a smoother feel when writing. The bronze with the damascus clip looks … Luckily, one Wirecutter tester vouches for our suggested alternative: “My go-to pen is the Pilot G2; the Uni-ball Signo (307) feels the closest to it.”. Learn more. And five days later, once the ink had really settled in, it erased just as cleanly as on day one. I'm always looking for them around the house because everyone always steals them from me!” [ed. After 35 hours of testing, we think the easy-to-use, comfortable, full-featured 3Doodler Create+ is the best tool for drawing 3D sculptures. Some testers disliked the humble, utilitarian looks of the Jetstream. The Uni-ball Signo 307 produces a thick line of dark ink, gliding smoothly and rarely skipping. Every person is unique in how they write and what they like about pens. They also stand apart from the rest of the crowd with four tip sizes to choose from, so you can have one for … Tip width as tested: 0.7 mmWidths available: 0.38 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mmStyle: rollerballInk type: gel. We tested all three pens in their most common tip width—although you can track any of them down in thicker or thinner variants, those variants are often harder to find, so we erred in favor of what you’re more likely to get your hands on. The 307 also got the most votes among Wirecutter testers for its looks, beating the Jetstream and the Precise V5 RT. We checked in with two of the bloggers who informed our original picks: We also relied on the advice provided for the first version of this guide by two other experts: On top of that, we dug through posts these experts had added to their sites since the previous version of this guide, along with a few other resources such as Art Supply Critic, The Well-Appointed Desk, and anything we found in wider searches for newer pen models. If you love a pen but hate the commitment, an erasable pen is the way to go. #carry-smarter #pen-refills #ink-cartridges #best-ink-refills #pens #best-pen-refills #best-pen-refill #best-rollerball-refill #best-parker-style-refill #how-good-is-the-fisher-space-pen see all. In 2020 we tested six erasable pens to see how well they performed and whether they could stand up to our picks. Brad Dowdy of The Pen Addict and Elizabeth Price of No Pen Intended confirmed that their original Jetstream recommendations hold up today. Spend just two or three dollars on a good pen, and your handwriting can be more attractive—and possibly readable—thanks to smoother ink and better flow. The Jetstream’s ink is nearly as notable as the pen’s writing feel. If you believe their own packaging it is the #1 selling pen in America. Office Depot sells an exclusive line of pens under the TUL brand, in rollerball, gel pen, and ballpoint. To sort through these new additions and reassess our original picks, we again consulted experienced bloggers who reviewed pens. We focused on affordable pens ($5 or less each) for this guide, such that losing one wouldn’t feel like a small tragedy. Disclosure : Everyday Carry is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. 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