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The 5 Best Pens (2023 Review)

Whether it’s for creating a grocery list, writing a check, or jotting down notes, having a good pen is a must. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the five best pens on Amazon to help you find the product that’s right for you. The products included in this article are available at various retail stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

pen Courtesy Scrievener

Having a quality pen is essential for any household, as it allows you to quickly write grocery lists, to-do lists, and other notes. However, there are many types of pens to choose from. To help you select the pen that’s right for you, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best pens on Amazon. Here are our top five recommendations.

Top 5 Pens

Best Value: PILOT G2 Premium Rolling Ball Gel Pens

These rolling ball pens have gel ink and rubber gripping, making them comfortable and long-lasting. While this pack includes five affordable blue pens, you can purchase other packs with varying colors and sizes to best fit your needs.

Key Features

  • Five pens
  • Blue ink
  • Available in multiple colors, quantities, and tip styles
  • Rolling ball tip

What Customers Are Saying

Those who liked these pens said that they were easy to hold, comfortable to use, and long-lasting. However, those who didn’t like them said that they smeared easily and had poor ink flow.

Largest Pack: Sharpie S-Gel Gel Pens

This pack comes with 12 pens, allowing you to place pens in every room of your home. The pens use no-smear, no-bleed technology and bold gel ink to ensure deep, dark lines that won’t fade or smudge.

Key Features

  • 12 pens
  • Black ink
  • Available in multiple colors and tip styles

What Customers Are Saying

Customers who were satisfied with these pens said they didn’t smear easily, left smooth, bold lines, and dried quickly. However, those who were unsatisfied said that they skipped easily and ran out of ink quickly.

Best High-End Pen: Scriveiner Rollerball Pen

This pen will wow anyone who comes across it with its brass base, black lacquer, and 24-karat gold finish. This pen also has a rollerball tip for smooth writing and a balanced weight for ease of use.

Key Features

  • One pen
  • Black ink
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Rollerball tip
  • Ink refill and decorative box included

What Customers Are Saying

Those who left positive reviews said that this pen had an elegant design, wrote smoothly, and helped improve their handwriting. Those who left negative reviews said that the pen wore out quickly. Dissatisfied customers also said that they frequently had to retrace over the words they had just written.

Best For Lefties: uni-ball Jetstream Retractable Ballpoint Pens

These ballpoint pens use low-viscosity ink, which writes smoothly and dries quickly. This makes them a solid choice for left-handed writers who frequently smudge pen ink. Each pen also comes with an embossed grip and stainless steel accents, making for a comfortable, stylish writing utensil.

Key Features

  • Three pens
  • Black ink
  • Available in multiple colors, quantities, and tip styles
  • Ballpoint tip

What Customers Are Saying

Reviewers who enjoyed these pens claimed that they were easy to hold, dried quickly, and didn’t smear. However, dissatisfied customers said that the pens didn’t write well enough for the cost, sometimes leaving faded lines.

Best Fountain Pen: Asvine Forest Fountain Pen

This fountain pen makes for an excellent gift, as it writes smoothly, has a stylish design, and comes in a decorative box. It has a calculated weight to make using it for long periods of time more comfortable, and it comes with a stainless steel, fine tip for delicate writing.

Key Features

  • One pen
  • Black ink
  • Available in multiple colors and tip styles
  • Fountain tip
  • Converter and metal case included

What Customers Are Saying

Reviewers who were happy with this fountain pen said that it had a stylish design and came well-packaged. However, unhappy customers said that its clip was stiff and that its nib was cheaply made.

Buyer’s Guide

Read our buying guide to learn about important factors that will help you decide which pen best suits your needs.

Pen Type

Pens typically come in one of the following styles:


Ballpoint pens use oil-based ink, which dries faster than other types of ink. This type of pen is longer-lasting, easier to use, and cleaner than most other types of pens, which is why it’s the most common.


Rollerball pens have the same design as ballpoint pens. However, they use water-based ink, which requires less pressure than oil-based ink. These pens are ideal for writing dark and fine lines.


Gel pens combine certain characteristics of both ballpoint and rollerball pens. They have a water-based gel ink like rollerball pens but a writing experience that’s similar to ballpoint pens. However, these pens can be more prone to skipping and blotting than other types of pens.


Felt-tip pens either have a plastic nib that’s surrounded by metal or a nib that’s in the shape of a cone. Writing with these pens is similar to writing with markers.


Fountain pens use a pointed, metal nib that’s connected to an ink cartridge, internal reservoir, or converter. These pens produce high-quality lines, making them best for professional settings. However, fountain pens can be more expensive than other types of pens.


Depending on what you’re using your pen for, you may or may not care what it looks like. Household pens that are used for writing lists, checks, or notes or completing other routine tasks typically don’t need a special design. Similarly, pens that get used a lot, such as those used by students to write in their planner, typically have a simple design that’s built to last.

However, for pens that are used in professional settings, given as gifts, or displayed, the design is more important. Fountain pens are typically the type that’s most commonly associated with elaborate designs.


Pens that smudge can be an annoyance, especially for left-handed people who have to move their hand over the text that they just wrote. Look for a pen with fast-drying ink to limit smudging.


Most basic pens, such as ballpoint, rollerball, and gel pens, come in multipacks. This allows you to keep a few in your bag or around your home or office. However, high-end pens, such as fountain pens, will likely only come in a single pack.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to use a pen?

Use your arm instead of your fingers to write. Also avoid pressing down too firmly or gripping too tightly, as these actions can cause discomfort.

Are there pens designed for left-handed people?

Yes. Some pens are specifically designed to be used by lefties, while others have features, such as quick-drying or low-viscosity ink, that help prevent smudging.

Are pens recyclable?

Pens contain metal and ink that usually can’t be recycled. However, certain companies have pen take-back programs in place, where they reuse certain parts of old pens to make future pens.

Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

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