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A guide to ink pens and pen inks.

There's much more to choosing a writing instrument these days than just color. Factors like grip type, special inks, pocket clip types and refillability all come into play when selecting a writing instrument. 

For this buying guide, we will be focusing mainly on ink pens. Once you have decided on an ink type that suits your needs, you will be able to select color, grip type, clip type, and every other element that goes into choosing the perfect pen. Whether you're bulk-buying pens for an entire office or seeking out that perfect, personal daily-use writing utensil, this guide should remove some of the mystery from a very important purchase.

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Ballpoint Pen Guide

Ballpoint Pens use thick, permanent, non-water based ink that does not thin while you write. Ballpoint pens use a small rotating ball made of brass, steel, or tungsten carbide to dispense the ink as you write.

Recommended Fine Ballpoints

BIC® Round Stic® Grip Ballpoint Pen

BIC® Round Stic® Grip Ballpoint Pen

Recommended Medium Ballpoints

Paper Mate® ComfortMate® Grip Retractable Ballpoint Pen

Paper Mate® ComfortMate® Grip Retractable Ballpoint Pen

Recommended Bold Ballpoints

BIC® BU3™ Retractable Ballpoint Pen

BIC® BU3™ Retractable Ballpoint Pen

Roller Ball Pen Guide

 

Roller Ball Pens use water-based ink that takes very little effort to get flowing, allowing for a smooth write. They utilize the same type of ball as a ballpoint pen, but because the ink is much thinner, it floods the ball and "drags" a pool of ink across the paper as you write. The smaller the point size of your pen, the less ink there is to drag, thus producing a finer line. Roller ball pen ink is usually not permanent.

 

Recommended Micro Line Roller Ball

Pilot® Extra Fine VBall Grip Liquid Ink Stick Roller Ball Pen

Pilot® Extra Fine VBall Grip Liquid Ink Stick Roller Ball Pen

Recommended Fine Line Roller Ball

Pilot® Dr. Grip™ Gel Ink Retractable Roller Ball Pen, Fine

Pilot® Dr. Grip™ Fine Retractable Roller Ball Pen

Recommended Bold Line Roller Ball

uni-ball® 207™ Impact™ Retractable Gel Pen

uni-ball® 207™ Impact™ Retractable Gel Pen

Gel Pen Guide

Gel Pens use water-based ink with a viscosity or "thickness" that can fluctuate (not the thickness of the line, necessarily, but the thickness of the liquid ink itself). When a gel pen is not being used, the ink tends to have a higher viscosity, or thicker ink. When the ball starts to rotate, the ink thins down and is "dragged" in a similar manner as roller ball ink. Gel pens provide the best of both worlds—the smoother write of a roller ball, with the performance of a ballpoint.

Recommended Micro Line Gel Pens

Zebra Sarasa® Gel Retractable Pen

Zebra Sarasa® Gel Retractable Pen

Recommended Medium Line Gel Pens

Pilot® G2 Gel Ink Pen

Pilot® G2 Gel Ink Pen

Recommended Bold Line Gel Pens

uni-ball® 207™ Impact™ Retractable Gel Pen

uni-ball® 207™ Impact™ Retractable Gel Pen

Permanent Marker Guide

Permanent Markers mark on virtually any surface, from packages to labels, glass and so much more. Fade- and water-resistant ink options further extend multiple project uses. A variety of colors and tip sizes are available to make your mark unique.

Recommended Ultra Fine Markers

Sharpie® Twin-Tip CD/DVD Marker

Sharpie® Twin-Tip CD/DVD Marker

Recommended Extra Fine Markers

Sharpie® Extra Fine Tip Permanent Marker

Sharpie® Extra Fine Tip Permanent Marker

Recommended Fine Markers

Mr. Sketch® Scented Stix™ Watercolor Marker Set

Mr. Sketch® Watercolor Marker Set

Recommended Chisel Tip Markers

Universal® Chisel Tip Permanent Marker

Universal® Chisel Tip Permanent Marker

Recommended Jumbo Markers

Sharpie® King Size™ Permanent Marker

Sharpie® King Size™ Permanent Marker

Recommended Bullet Tip Markers

Universal® Pen-Style Permanent Marker

Universal® Pen-Style Permanent Marker

 

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How to choose a writing pad
 

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