Back in the day, when I used to be a teacher, I used to love all the different colours and kinds of pens I would use for marking or leaving feedback. I remember at a certain point I had an ELMO projector in my classroom, which was sort of a higher tech version of an old school overhead projector that projected what was beneath with a camera, and so in preparation for math lessons, I would get all the different sorts of pens and rulers ready—red pens for certain lines or a fine tip black fineliners for marking the axes, highlighters for outlining things.

Gel and ballpoint pens are still a lot of fun, and I thought I would share some of my personal favourites, as well as popular ones in the shop.

From top to bottom:
Pilot B2P (Bottle to Pen) 0.7 Blue
Zebra Sarasa 0.7 Cobalt
Pilot Vicuña 0.7 Blue
Pilot Synergy 0.5 Blue
Uni-ball Jetstream 0.7 Black
Better Retractable Ballpoint Black

These are not really in any sort of particular order. On any given day I might like one over another, or all at once.

The Pilot B2P is the same refill as the G-2, but I like the barrel better. It was our original warehouse gel pen, and we often have a few kicking around back there.

The Zebra Sarasa and Pilot G-2/B2P both have very loyal followings, and it’s interesting to see who falls into which camp. I have not quite discerned what differentiates someone from the other camp, people always seem to surprise me. They’re both a retractable, smooth, inky gel pen with lots of colours and at a great price. You can’t go wrong with either one, but I like some of the colours of the Sarasa a lot, especially the Cobalt and the Navy. It also has a good dark green.

The Pentel Vicuna is another solid writer, especially as it’s a ballpoint. It’s very smooth for what it is, and has a rubberized, grippy texture in hand.

I wrote about the Jetstream in a previous post, as it’s another iconic pen. It’s dark, flows easily, available in lots of different barrels.

I think, though, that if I was forced to pick, my desert island disposable pen would have to be the Synergy. It has a “synergy” tip, which is a mix between a standard gel or rollerball conical tip, and a needlepoint, like the kind you see on a G-Tec. It feels great when you’re writing with it. It’s a 0.5 tip and it feels precise and smooth.

The Synergy is the one with the black grip section.

The Better Retractable is actually more of an honourable mention. It used to be an old favourite of mine, but it’s mainly on here because it’s a staff favourite today. I must admit I still love its look, and the ribbed grip section, but it’s a true, classic ballpoint, and takes a bit more effort and pressure to write with.


Currently reading: Middlemarch by George Eliot
Currently writing with: the tester Noodler’s pens from the shop filled with mystery inks (my journal entries are looking very animated)
Currently eating: the last of the kids’ roasted seaweed snack
Currently dreaming of: an afternoon reading a book in Allan Gardens
Current location: in Jon’s office at the main shop, listening to Super whine as he’s trying to escape to steal food

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April 13, 2020 — wonderpens


Elana Fleischmann

Elana Fleischmann said:

Im really upset that my first order hasnt arrived yet.
Ive spent around $500 + in the last few weeks ordering on line and yet havent received anything?
Can you please update me?

Randy Preising

Randy Preising said:

Any plans to carry the new Uni Jetstream Edge Ballpoint with the oil based ink?

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