What’s your favorite smooth writing pen?
January 6, 2016 2:45 PM   Subscribe

I have liked Pilot’s Precise V7 for the past 20 years, but the latest batch I bought seems to have irregular ink flow. A couple times a day, the normally-smooth ink dries up a bit and needs to be coaxed out, looking like this. I have a pretty light touch when I write, and when the V7 works it’s the best thing ever. These dry spells are bumming me out, though. Has quality control on these dipped recently? Is there another kind of ballpoint pen with the combination of smooth ink flow and a fat line I like? I lose pens on the regular, so I’m looking for something that I can buy in bunches and keep around.
posted by migurski to Writing & Language (24 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
My favorite pens are the various Uniball Jetstream pens. They are smooth and feel oh so nice to write with. They come in various kinds so I'm sure you could find the line thickness you like. They are usually like $10 or so for a pack of 4 so I'm not sure if that's too pricey if you're losing them all the time. But you can go to a Staples or the like to try it- they normally have at least one Jetstream out for you to try.
posted by FireFountain at 2:53 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

I love love love Uniball Jetstream. They never gunk up, can be used until the ink cartridge is empty, and the cartridges are cheap. Best pen for general work ever.
posted by Thella at 2:53 PM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

thirding the uniball jetstreams, although i like the bold point retractable ones the best. they aren't horribly cheap, but they are awesome.
posted by koroshiya at 3:04 PM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

I like the Uni Signo 307 line, which use some sort of vegetable nanofiber to reduce skipping, or something like that.

In ballpoints I like the PaperMate InkJoy line, though they can blotch a bit.

I also recently went back to the PaperMate Flair after a long time and tried them out and a) you'll never get skipping and b) they put down a nice, /fat/ line.

Finally the Pentel Rolling Writer is highly recommended in this group.
posted by circular at 3:27 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Lots of agreement on the Jetstream! Any particular opinions on the different models? Premier, RT, RT BLX, etc.?
posted by migurski at 3:49 PM on January 6, 2016

The Zebra Sarasa is the smoothest pen I've ever used, and the ink is super-black. It advertises itself as being good for left-handed people, because the ink dries so fast.

You can see in the link above that it comes in sizes up to 1.0mm. I use the 0.7mm and find that the quicker ink flow results in a thicker line than most other 0.7mm pens.
posted by homodachi at 3:50 PM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Uniball BLX with the color-infused ink are my very favorites. I've never had a problem with them skipping or running dry inordinately quick (like the Pilot Precise) and I must confess that I really like that they're retractable. As in, no cap to lose. I seem to collect fancy rollerball pens but find myself reaching for the Uniball BLX time and time again.
posted by DrGail at 4:09 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Second the Zebra Sarasa (I like the Eco version better for intangible reasons). These are my favorite pens.
posted by darksong at 4:37 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Staedtler Cool Roller forever.
posted by Edna Million at 4:58 PM on January 6, 2016

I love Stabilo ... Cool colors too, my favorite is green
posted by watrlily at 5:24 PM on January 6, 2016

Uni signo 207
posted by greta simone at 6:53 PM on January 6, 2016

I love Parker Jotter.

It's just a ballpoint, but it's unmatched for versatility (near space-pen ability to write at an angle or greasy surface), reliability (you will never ever pick one up and not write with it), comfort (balanced to a tee over decades; just the right diameter and weight), and line fatness (they're medium, not fine). Ink never smears. It's just perfection; I honestly don't understand why all other pens haven't gone extinct.
posted by Quisp Lover at 7:31 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

I love love love my Jetstream RT retractable bold (1.0mm) in black. I have about 14 of them stashed in various places and buy ink refills when I start to run low.

About 4 years ago I started a job which requires a LOT of writing. I hate the pens my boss buys in bulk. I tried literally dozens of pens before finding the Jetstream. I almost never use anything else!
posted by MuChao at 7:55 PM on January 6, 2016

Another good option, particularly if you find the Zebras too thin, are Foray Liquid Rollerball pens, which come in 0.5 and 0.7 mm tip sizes.
posted by yclipse at 8:14 PM on January 6, 2016

I love the Foray Advanced Ink Ballpoint. My preference is for the needletip .7mm, but you can get a wider tip as well.
posted by hydra77 at 8:20 PM on January 6, 2016

These are quite nice to write with, not sure they meet your requirement for a fat line though - you don't specify what that means. But here you are: Pilot B2P - Bottle to Pen - Retractable Ball Point Pens . Four-pack costs $10.88 at the moment, cheap enough so that if you lose one it's no big deal. Line is 1.0 mm, comes in blue and black, as well as red and some other rainbowy type colors. Good luck!
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 10:42 PM on January 6, 2016

Thanks for these answers! I’m going to head to a stationery store, buy a few samples, and report back my results.
posted by migurski at 11:02 PM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

Another vote for Uniball Jetstream. I've been using the SXN-150-05 which has a nice stabilizer for the nib and no cap (it's click type). It's a nice line thickness too and rarely blotches. You can get them at JetPens:


They're on Amazon too, but a little pricey. I have other Jetstreams, but this is the best I've found.
posted by nevan at 6:38 AM on January 7, 2016

Hi! I've noticed the same problem with my recent purchases of the Pilot Precise v7. However! Have you tried the retractable version of the same pen? I haven't found any of the skipping issues on the Pilot Precise v7 RT. Also, if you enjoy a bolder line, the Pilot Precise Grip Bold doesn't have any issues either.
posted by watch out for turtles at 8:40 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

I really like the Uniball BLX too. Great colors, nice smooth writing, bold line.
posted by sarcasticah at 4:00 PM on January 7, 2016

I love Tül pens with a strange passion. I had a year plus of doing miserable paperwork for my parents' estates and treated myself with a dozen retractable Tül pens. Each time I used one I felt a smidgen of pleasure despite the horrible-ness. They're at Office Depot and I've found them online too.
posted by montaigneisright at 6:03 PM on January 7, 2016

I bought the Uniball Jetstream pens based on recommendations in an older thread here. I like the BLX retractable color-infused ones the best. I like the very dark colors, and the fact that the pens don't blotch my grocery lists with globs of ink like all the ballpoint pens I used to use.
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 6:42 PM on January 7, 2016

I believe the Pilot Precise line are in fact rollerballs, not ballpoints. Thinner inks requiring less pressure. I went through a similar search for a wonderful refill and this website was a great help - http://www.wellappointeddesk.com/2014/06/the-epic-refill-reference-guide-rollerball-gel-and-ballpoints/

If you like rollerballs, I recommend trying a fountain pen like the Lamy Safari. My pen theory has always been - you have 10 pens, and there's a 10% chance you loose a pen each day. You have only one pen, and you will always know where it is.
posted by rebent at 7:48 PM on January 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just back from the stationery store, where I tried a bunch of these out.

The Uniball Jetstreams were Just Okay, and didn’t have the fat line I was looking for. They were really smooth, but felt pretty ballpointy despite being in the gel pen section.

They didn’t have a Signo 307, but I tried the 207 and loved it: lots of ink and a light touch.

I tried out a couple others including the Pilot Precise but none of them felt as nice as the Signo. They didn’t stock the Zebra, Staedtler, or Foray models.
posted by migurski at 12:54 PM on January 12, 2016

« Older Where can I find cap sleeve sweetheart neckline...   |   Can my employer make me sign away my workmans comp... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.