The 7 Best Gel Pens of 2020
These writing utensils won't disappoint, we promise
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A gel pen is something like a jack of all trades. It draws, it colors…but it can write well in a professional environment as well. You’ll want a fine-point pen for ultimate penmanship, although medium will get your message across nicely, too. Both can produce sharp, consistent lines, so your choice will come down to each pen’s strengths, unique features, as well as your personal preferences.
Best Overall: The Pilot G2 Retractable Premium
This pen’s ability to retract — among other things — makes it hugely popular. You don’t have to remember to cap it to keep it from drying out, which tends to happen pretty quickly with gel pens. The Pilot G2 has been heavily tested and Pilot can legitimately make the claim that this pen lasts two times longer than the others.
It also comes in five different point sizes, from ultra-fine to bold, so you can get exactly the type of lines you’re looking for depending on what you need to use it for. You can also choose your own barrel design and from 15 different ink colors. The contoured grip is made of rubber, so it’s easy on your hand. Put it all together and the G2 is “America’s go-to ink gel pen.”
Best for Durability: The Uni-Ball Signo UM 151
Don’t let its extra-fine tip — just .38 mm — fool you. The Uni-Ball Signo UM 151 is ideal for artists, but it works great in the office, too. It’s built to withstand the test of time. Yes, Pilot might offer the longest-lasting ink, but this pen excels on the longevity scale in other ways. It’s sturdy and the barrel and tip will stand up to your hand and the pressure even if you’re a heavy writer, and it will still deliver clean lines.
If that’s not enough, the ink comes in 19 different colors. The whole 19-color set in a clear vinyl case might cost more than others, but with this pen, it could really turn out to be a once-in-a-blue-moon expense.
Best for Drawing: Gelmushta Gel Pens
Everyone needs a little downtime. If drawing is what you do with yours, this pen set is for you. Gelmushta offers 120 — yes, 120 — different colors. The ink is acid-free, quick drying and non-toxic, so these are safe for your kids, too, if you want to keep them occupied with a coloring book while you get some work done.
The tips are of various sizes from medium to large for utmost creativity, and the pens come in several different styles from neon to metallic. Gelmushta offers a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied.
Best Grip: The Paper Mate Inkjoy Gel Retractable
You can hardly go wrong with any product offered by Paper Mate. The Inkjoy retractable gel pen flows exceptionally well and dries as fast as — if not even faster than — Pilot’s offering. That means no smears or smudges if you want something neat you won’t be embarrassed by in the workplace.
But best of all, the grip is ergonomically designed. It surrounds the whole barrel for utmost comfort if you’re going to be handling the pen for extended periods of time. These pens are available in an eight-pack that includes some fun colors…but you can always fall back on the black one if you want to maintain your professional edge.
Most Convenient Pack: The Eparon 40-Pen Gel Set
Eparon offers a set of smaller pens that can be easily transported thanks to their size. This can come in handy if you’re not desk-bound but tend to be on the go a lot. But these pens aren’t so small that they don’t fit well in the average adult hand and write comfortably. Think of them as compact.
The 40 pens come in six different classifications of colors, from standard, pastel and neon up to a more exciting metallic, which is pretty much required of any good gel pen set these days. The barrels are transparent, so you can easily identify the colors you want to use. The tips are medium, a size preferred by many because fine tips can sometimes produce a scratchy ink flow depending on the type of paper you’re using.
Best for Delicate Work: Crayola Signature Detailing Gel Pens
OK, these pens aren’t really for office use, but they’re fun. And if you do use them in the office, they’re bound to raise an eyebrow or two or four because Crayola’s 20 colors are all metallic or glitter and they contrast well with either light or dark paper.
But how do they write? The points come in at 1.0 mm, which is considered to be on the upper edge of a medium point and guarantees a nice, precise flow. This is particularly handy if you’re using these pens for artwork or calligraphy and other detailed work rather than simply notetaking. Your lines won’t skip or bleed. Their storage bin is pretty cool, too.
Best Colors: AmazaPens
There’s metallic ink, and then there’s really unique metallic ink. AmazaPen scoured the world to find the most distinctive shades not found in any other gel pen and the company actually came up with 20 of them. Devoted artists prefer AmazaPens for their browns and greens, but there are plenty of other colors to choose from here, too. They’re guaranteed not to bleed, skip, fade or smear or you get your money back.
AmazaPens aren’t refillable, but they do come with a special inner tube that holds 150 percent more ink than other brands so they should last a while. They’re not cheap, but if variety and diversification are what you’re looking for, these pens are a great value.