The Lifehacker Staff’s Very Correct Pen Opinions

The Lifehacker Staff’s Very Correct Pen Opinions

Recently, the Lifehacker office was thinking: What’s the best pen?

Surely the customised fountain pens available in some upscale jewellery stores cannot not be the best on the market. Not to brag too much, but I’ve used a fountain pen before, and guess what: They’re fine, not great. I would not spend $200 on one.

As staff writer Nick Douglas put it, “Unless you’re some kind of weirdo, your favourite pen costs about a dollar, and you can buy a ton and never be stingy or ever use your un-favourite pens.”

When it comes to pens, everyone has an opinion (or an “o-pen-ion” as staffer Joel Kahn cringingly put it). Different pens work for different types of people. I have incredibly sloppy handwriting, so I need a pen that doesn’t bleed too much and isn’t too inky — it just makes my atrocious handwriting look even worse than it is. Others on staff, however, expressed the exact opposite sentiment.

So, here are some Lifehacker staffers’ preferred pens (H/t to Vice’s Eve Peyser, who inspired us with this smart pen-pinion piece):

Patrick Allan, Staff Writer

ImagePilot” loading=”lazy” > Screenshot: Pilot

I love pens. My favourite affordable pens are Pilot G-2s 0.7mm. I don’t like cheap pens with caps.

*Bonus thoughts from Patrick: Love Muji. some of my favourite notepads and mechanical pencils. I enjoy a good brush pen as well. So much.


Nick Douglas, Staff Writer

I like the exact same Pilot G-2 0.7mm that Patrick does. Twins! Sometimes I get it in blue though, because life is a party.

Alicia Adamczyk, Staff Writer

Image Screenshot: Paper Mate

Don’t overthink it. The Paper Mate ComfortMate Ultra 1.0M is a great everyday pen. I also love Sharpie pens, but they bleed through the pages of my journals, so I have to use something lighter. For a thick stock, though, Sharpie pens are where it’s at. I also enjoy using a Stabilo point 88 in turquoise for journaling.


Michelle Woo, Parenting Editor

ImageMuji” loading=”lazy” > Screenshot: Muji

I’m always trying to cram more notes into small notebooks, and Muji gel ink ball point pens are great for writing teeny-tiny letters. They’re vibrant, yet they don’t bleed or smear. Get the 0.5mm or 0.38mm.


Claire Lower, Food Editor

ImageStabilo” loading=”lazy” > Screenshot: Stabilo

I like the Stabilo ballpoint pens a lot for the everyday jotting.

*Bonus tip from Claire: I keep crappy pens to give to my boyfriend who tries to steal the good ones.


Beth Skwarecki, Health Editor

Imageuniball” loading=”lazy” > Screenshot: uniball

The Uni-Ball Air is the best pen, because it writes a thick smooth river of ink at any angle and you can refill it (carefully) with Noodler’s Bulletproof Black. If I’m in the mood for a fountain pen, the Lamy Safari is perfection; and if I want a retractable gel pen I go for the PaperMate Ink Joy.


Joel Kahn, Video Editor

Imageuniball” loading=”lazy” > Screenshot: uniball

I like an inky pen. It feels like you’re writing on liquid. The Uni-Balls are great because they are sturdy, have a very satisfying cap-click (copyright me, 2018), and they look much fancier than they are.

I also always carry a pen, and have for my entire life. You never know when you’ll run into a famous person and want their autograph, or when a cashier can’t find a pen for you. Good thing I always have one handy! Because of this, clicky pens don’t work, because they could click open in your pocket and ruin your pants.

*Bonus tip from Joel: Lend pens you don’t like to people who won’t give them back. Then you don’t feel bad about losing a good pen!


David Murphy, Senior Tech Editor

Yassss for Uni-Ball Vision, I will use nothing else (micro, not fine).

Alice Bradley, Deputy Editor

Imageuniball” loading=”lazy” > Screenshot: uniball

These are the best: Uni-Ball Signo UM-151.


Melissa Kirsch, Editor-in-Chief


The only pen in existence you should use is this pen, the uni-ball Deluxe.

So, what’s your hot pen take? Let us know in the comments.


  • A price comparison would be helpful. A $4 pen seems to not be in the spirit of the introductory paragraph (Pilot G-2).

    Note also that sometimes the name of a pen is not the same as the Model of the pen – e.g. “Paper Mate ComfortMate Ultra 1.0M” is what is written on the pen but not how it is listed on the Paper Mate AU website nor on the packet; “Paper Mate ComfortMate Ultra RT”. Overseas models include a finer point but not the AU model.

    My preferred pen is the Uniball Jetstream 1.0 (SXN210BL). It is also around $4ea in a pack, with $2.50ea for refills.

    Another confusing item is that sometimes pens are listed by the size of the nib or ball, but the ink line thickness produced is a different size.

  • I used to be forever leaving pens at customers’ places, so I was always buying bulk cheap replacements.
    Then I thought about it and bought myself a really nice Mont Blanc pen. As well as being lovely to use and impressive to show off, there was no way I would ever leave my hundreds of dollars pen behind!

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