How to Choose the Right Pen

By Nicole Tinkham


Choosing the right pen can be a challenge,
especially when there are so many options
available. Aside from choosing between ballpoint,
roller ball, gel, and fountain pens, there are many
other factors to consider such as line width, style,
grip and color.

A fine or micro tip is great for detailed writing. Medium point pens produce an average
line width and bold point pens are the most vivid. Let’s take a look at the differences
between these four types of pens and the line widths in which they come.

Ballpoint pens have quick-drying ink making them perfect for left handed writers. These
pens write with precise lines and smear less than roller ball and gel pens. These pens also
offer an extended write life.

Fine: .8 mm and below
Medium: 1.0 mm – 1.2 mm
Bold: 1.4 mm and up

Roller ball pens have a longer drying time than ballpoint pens and offer a juicy ink lay
down. These pens provide bright and vibrant coloring on the page.

Micro/Extra Fine/Needle: .5 mm and below
Fine: .7mm
Bold: .8 mm and up

Gel pens are a combination of qualities from both the ballpoint and roller ball pens.
When idle, ink is thick, like a ballpoint pen. Writing experience becomes similar to a
ballpoint pen once the ball begins rolling. Like roller ball pens, gel pens provide rich and
vibrant colors.

Micro/Extra Fine/Needle: .5 mm and below
Fine: .7mm
Bold: 1.0 mm

Fountain pens are another option to keep in mind. They train you to write with less
pressure which makes writing more comfortable. However, if these pens are left unused
with ink in them for several weeks, they may become clogged. To unclog a fountain pen, the nib must be soaked in water with a small amount of ammonia or liquid detergent.

Fine writing pens: Cross, Franklin Covey, and Parker would be considered fine writing
pens. These may cost a bit more but they offer a smooth ink delivery with an elegant

Now that we’ve discussed the different types of pens, it’s time to think about the other
options available. Most pens come in black, blue or red ink but you may be able to find a
few specialty colors such as green or purple, depending on the pen. Consider choosing a
pen with a grip. This makes writing much more comfortable. You should also think about
whether you want a retractable pen or a pen with a cap. If you’re still not sure which pen
to go for, we’d suggest trying a few different options until you find one that works for
you. The perfect pen for me might not be the perfect pen for you. If you want suggestions
or have any questions, we’re always here to help.

Image used under Creative Commons from J Wynia

4 thoughts on “How to Choose the Right Pen

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