August 11, 2021
The Best Pens + Pencils for Planning
Finding the perfect pen or pencil for your planner can take a bit of trial and error. As someone that enjoys writing and the process of picking out just the right pen and pencil, I thought it would be fun to do a little pen and pencil test and share the results with you. If you’re like me and a bit of a pen snob, you’ll love today’s post. I hope you find a new writing utensil to pair with your planner. It does make a difference to have a pen or pencil that you enjoy using!
The criteria I used for my pen test: I like writing in black ink and using a finer tip. I tested a couple 0.7 pens but knew that I’d gravitate toward a finer tip – if you prefer a different color ink and/or a thicker tip, you might want to conduct your own pen test 🙂
I bought two sampler packs from Jet Pens (I’ve mentioned them before, love the variety and choices!). Uni Jetstream Ballpoint Pen Sampler and the Fine Tip Gel Pen Sampler. I kept the pens in order of thickness (from thinnest to thickest) and wrote the same text: This is a pen test. This is a pen text (in cursive).
This helped me get a feel for how the pen dragged or glided across the paper and how it felt as I wrote in text or cursive. As I wrote the text, I also wrote the brand name of the pen and a quick note about my initial thoughts.
I narrowed down my 3 favorites on the left (the Pentel Energel 0.35, the Pilot Juice Up 0.4, and the Uni JetStream 0.5) and then tested them against each other and came up with my favorite: the Uni JetStream 0.5.
Once I decided on my favorite pen, I tested 3 of my favorite pencils and decided on a favorite. I used similar criteria and narrowed down my 3 favorites to my absolute favorite – the Uni Alpha-Gel 0.5. I love how smooth it is and how well it erases too.
Once I had my favorites I tested them in the new Homekeeping Planner – no bleeding through the paper, no smudges, and enjoyable to write with!
Here you can see my favorite pen and pencil. I like to use both in my planner. It was easier to narrow down the pens and pencils, I’m using the Cotton Blossom Homekeeping Planner for 2022.
Do you have a favorite pen or pencil? Tell me your favorites!
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I’m going to have to try to Uni jetstream. You’re the second person that I’ve heard about that from. Right now, my favorite “go to” is the pilot precise V5 retractable. I keep going back to that and it’s refillable toi, which is nice.
Paula Bradley Says
Thank you! This post was really helpful to this pen and pencil girl. It saved me a lot of time.
I love the Uni Jetstream. Ever since I stole my husband’s from work years and years ago, I’ve always sought them and loved to use them. And they’re refillable, too!
Garth Arneson Says
This is a great article. It made me think of all my pens I have used, collected, and still have (425) over the years. I will perform the pen test this week to narrow this collection, keep my “favorite,” and donate the others.
Again, thank you for the inspiration!!!
I too am a pen snob. As a scientist, back in the olden days when we wrote by hand in our lab notebooks, one of the requirements of our pens was that the ink would not bleed when wet. This is when I discovered the Pentel Energel (your #3 pick). My company stopped stocking those pens in the general office supply cabinet once we moved to electronic notebooks and switched to cheaper ballpoint pens. To this day I place an order for my lab to buy our own supply of the Energel pens – we love them that much. LOL. My one complaint is that they are a capped pen, as opposed to a retractible. Maybe I will have to give your top pick a try as long as it passes the smear/bleed test.
Cassandra Kettenhofen Says
The only pen, that I use, is from Sensa. The grip is similar to the Dr. Grip, but softer and the body, is slimmer. The Dr. Grip, is too bulky, so I can’t grasp it comfortably. I also like the Sakura Micron pens, #03 and #05 and for pencils, I use the Palomino Blackwing 602 – I am a pencil snob! LOL…. If! If I am without either a pen, or pencil… heaven forbid… I will use a Pilot Precise V5 extra fine tip, with black ink. But, my Sensa pens, the ballpoints (I have 4!) and the gel pen, I use 0.5 mm tip and blue ink. The Sensa line was discontinued and then recently reintroduced, after being redesigned. I prefer Sensa, over other ergonomic pens, because they fit my hand comfortably and my tremor isn’t as noticeable, in my writing. Before, I found the Sensa line and the Blackwing line, I used a good ol’ yellow #2 pencil! Something about the lead, that Ticonderoga uses, is perfection and I cannot find it, with other pencils… Maybe it has to do with being a kid?! Not sure? I do love my pens and they never leave, the house!
Judi Cowart Says
Thank you for this post. I’m a total JetPens addict and love their YouTube channel! So many pens, so little time!
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Michelle Joy Says
My favorite pens are the Pilot Precise V5 RT. I’ve got multiple colors that I use for different things in my planner. When is the electronic 2022 planner out?
Clean Mama SaysPost author
Great pen! The Interactive Homekeeping Planner releases in September!
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Terri Hammons Says
My favorite pen is the Foray advanced ink ballpoint tip 0.7mm.
Love this post! I had been on a quest for the perfect pen for years. I have been happy with the same type of pen for nearly 10 years now!!
If you like a fine point, light pressure that is available in many colors, no bleed. Try the Stabilo Sensor Fineliner 0.3 mm micro point. [Make sure they are the ones with the solid color through the entire pen, NOT the ‘non-Sensor’ point 88 which is not as fine and does not have the depth or life per pen]
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