Got a pen?
June 1, 2010 6:38 PM   Subscribe

Looking for the MOST comfortable pen I can buy!

I am an avid typist and I rarely hand write. I probably type 750-1000 words for every word I hand write. When I hand write, its usually a few words for a grocery list, some math, or some very rare impromptu notice taking.

I have perfect pen-holding form, but only just legible hand writing (not complaining...just giving you as much information as possible). I recently handwrote volumes for an hour and was able to do it, but I stopped a few times because my hand, wrist, or arm needed a break. In less than 2 weeks, I'm going to have to handwrite for 2 straight hours rather than 1.

What kind of pen would be the most comfortable pen to use in this specific situation?

What is the most comfortable pen you have ever used?

Also...any other tips for this scenario?

Yes, I have seen THIS, but my situation is different as I have perfect form and I'm willing to spend money on a pen that would work well for this specific situation. I'd rather it be a $0.10 pen, rather than $300...but I am willing to spend because its worth it to me in this situation.

And, yes, I won't have the option of typing.
posted by hal_c_on to Grab Bag (22 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
You seem to have recursively linked to this very same page!
posted by kthxbi at 7:09 PM on June 1, 2010

You probably want a pen that writes without too much pressure. That means you should avoid ballpoint pens and go for rollerball, felt-tip, gel, or even fountain pens.

I personally like the Uni-Ball and Pilot liquid-ink rollerball pens.

You might also try a Pilot Dr. Grip gel pen, or a Uni-Ball Signo Premier gel pen with the squishy grip.
posted by twblalock at 7:13 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

My favorite is the Pilot Dr Grip Gel Ink Retractable Rolling Ball Pen. They come in all sorts of cool colors, have a wonderful "belly-shaped" grip that is really comfy and are refillable. For anyone really into pens, the Dr Grip wins hands down. They are approved by the arthritis association, so they must be good for you. Get the standard Gel or Limited Dr Grip, not the Center of Gravity or ballpoint version, as the standard Gel Ink Dr Grips take standard G2 refills. Which are really easy to obtain.
posted by Susurration at 7:14 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Does your hand hurt because you grasp the pen hard and use a lot of pressure? If that's the case, you might find some relief switching to a fountain pen rather than a ball-point -- you'll likely start to ease up without a whole lot of thought. A cheap Pilot Varsity disposable, which I find to be a pretty comfortable pen and to have a nib that holds up well even when I get death-grippy, can be had for under $5, and they're pretty durable, if you want to give it a shot. (As a bonus, you can actually refill them rather than tossing them when empty -- grasp the nib with a pair of needle-nose pliers, tug it out, and eyedropper in some more ink, then stuff the nib back in until it snaps back into place.)
posted by sldownard at 7:17 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I handwrite stuff all day and I have carpal tunnel and I like these Xeno pens from Staples. Plus, I get a lot of compliments on them.
posted by selfmedicating at 7:24 PM on June 1, 2010

Staedtlers Liquid Point rollerballs smudge like crazy but have wonderful flow. No scratchyness, just a gliding wand of ink. That's my idea of comfort, anyway.
posted by cowbellemoo at 7:35 PM on June 1, 2010

Dr Grip Gel
posted by tamitang at 7:36 PM on June 1, 2010

The Lamy safari fountain pen is the best thing ever.
posted by scruss at 8:07 PM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

nthing Dr. Grip. I write a lot, and have arthritis, and this is the pen I've been using for almost 2 years.
posted by saffry at 8:13 PM on June 1, 2010

Seconding the Staedtler Liquid Point rollerballs- the only pens I use without complaint.
posted by jz at 8:22 PM on June 1, 2010

You seem to have recursively linked to this very same page!

Yikes; I did do that. If a mod sees this, if they could change my link above to go to this url, I would really appreciate it.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:26 PM on June 1, 2010

Definitely try a fountain pen. Start with something less than $30. Try out the pen before you buy it if it costs more than $10.

Rollerballs can be nice too, but any ink cartridge system gets expensive quickly. The big advantage of fountain pens is that you can fill them yourself. A $10 bottle of ink should last you at least a year of heavy writing.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:38 PM on June 1, 2010

I really like the Bic Soft Feel. While I've never written for two hours straight, it's never let me down, and I've generally used it in fast note-jotting scenarios as well as writing out recipes on notecards. I like that the grippy part of the pen is thicker than the rest of the pen, because pens that don't have that grippy area are hard for me to use for very long.

The Dr. Grips feel awkward for me, but that's probably because I've got small hands. So you'll want to take your hand size into account. Dr. Grip is a lot thicker than the Bic Soft Feel.
posted by wondermouse at 9:42 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

btw, the Bic Soft Feel also writes without much pressure at all. It is very pleasant to write with and super light.
posted by wondermouse at 9:46 PM on June 1, 2010

For a test or whatever your situation is, I would recommend bringing several different pens-- for example, one thin and one thick. One of the best ways to relieve strain is to switch the position/pressure of your fingers, which pens of varying thicknesses can do.
posted by acidic at 10:02 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, and be careful with rollerballs and anything with liquidy ink (ie not ballpoint). With two hours of writing many pens will go berserk and start leaking.
posted by acidic at 10:04 PM on June 1, 2010

Pilot G2. Firm, comfy, solid. People who use G2s acknowledge each other in public with a "nice pen" and a knowing nod.

I like those Dr Grips too, but they are a little chunky and just a little soft. Plus the clicker always seems kinda strange.
posted by Gorgik at 10:31 PM on June 1, 2010

Gel pens don't need very much pressure at all. I like the Zebra Gr8 Gel pens, they're big enough for me to grip comfortably. The Pilot Dr Grip was too big for me.

For a regular ballpoint, I love love love the Zebra F-402. This was my Pen of Choice when I was in school and writing constantly.
posted by emeiji at 10:51 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I nth the fountain pen recommendations. I've written with quite a few lower-priced (under $50) pens made by LAMY, and have enjoyed them all. The Safari is probably what I'd go for in your position, although I prefer its slightly classier (and slightly more expensive) cousin the Al-Star. That preference is more aesthetic than anything else, though -- they're more or less the same pen.
posted by naturalog at 10:57 PM on June 1, 2010

Platinum Preppys are the best of the throwaway fountain pens. They are cheap. They don't leak. You can leave one sitting on a desk for months and it will write when you pick it up.

Lamy Safaris aren't quite throwaway but they're inexpensive and they feel great. Dr Grips are very comfortable also. Which is best for you is a matter of personal taste.
posted by rdr at 11:14 PM on June 1, 2010

I like the Sanford PhD with its fats rubber grip. I keep the barrel between mean ring and index fingers, near the knucle, then bring those two fingers and the thumb around the rubber grip. To the greatest extent feasibly, I try not to make the work come from my fingers or my wrist (which I try to keep stationary), but from my arm and shoulder (themselves committed by having my core muscles engaged.) Yeah, I know this sounds extreme, but it's part of how I worked my way back from an RSI.

Dr. Grip Gels are good, too.

Having only burned through $10 with my pen suggestion, I feel okay springing on you $150 for this writing desk (that sits atop another desk or flat surface. Writing on an stable inclined surface is a pleasure.
posted by Zed at 12:56 AM on June 2, 2010

nth Dr. Grip and the G2. I've never had a problem with either leaking, writing for hours at a time.
posted by freshwater at 12:22 PM on June 2, 2010

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