Best Ballpoint Pens 2021: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

February 28, 2021-Kirk Hale

Our Top Picks

Waterman Expert Rollerball Pen
Parker
  • A stylish, classic yet contemporary looking pen that offers solid performance 
  • Quick flow technology: gives a smooth, clean, and consistent writing experience
  • Easy to use and long-lasting 
  • Refills available in three standard colors - red, black, and blue 
uni-ball ONYX Rollerball Pen
PILOT
  • PILOT is a trustworthy and reliable brand 
  • Comfortable to write and offers smear-resistant, clear lines
  • Comes in two tip sizes, fine and medium
INC R2 ROLLERBALL 0.7 MM Tip
Cross
  • Boasts a luxurious look with an engraved pinstripe pattern
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer
  • Features Twist mechanism

A pen is a crucial part of everyday life. Whether you're a student, a working professional or an artist, to think of your day without a pen is nearly impossible. While there are varied types of pens available in the market, ballpoint pens enjoy superiority. Yes! Ballpoint pens are touted to be the 'king' among all, as they are multi-purpose and multi-utility pens. 

However, with the wide variety of brands offering them, it is difficult to choose the best ballpoint pen. If you're also confused about 'which is the best ballpoint pen for you?' worry not, you  are in the right place now. We have curated this detailed guide to help you know everything about the top ballpoint pens available in the market. 

So, without any further ado, let's dive into this review  of the best ballpoint pens

Top 10 Best Ballpoint Pens 2021

1. Parker 1953170

Top Pick

Parker 1953170 Best Ballpoint Pens
  • A stylish, classic yet contemporary looking pen that offers solid performance 
  • Quick flow technology: gives a smooth, clean, and consistent writing experience
  • Easy to use and long-lasting 
  • Refills available in three standard colors - red, black, and blue
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Parker is a brand that everyone adores! So, first on our list of the best ballpoint pens is the iconic Parker Jotter. If elegance is what you're looking for then the Parker Jotter is just for you.

It’s torpedo-like design, and stainless steel finish, make it the most stylish pen. It’s sleek and slim profile makes it portable, which means it can be carried every day in a bag, purse, or even pockets.  

If you're fond of thick and long fountain pens, you'll be left astonished with the Parker Jotter's small size. However, don't mistake it’s small size for its lack of capability, as it offers the best you expect.

However, if you have big hands then you might face some difficulty getting a grip on this pen. But, the pen's almost brushed metal-like finish will compensate for the same. 

The pen is easily refillable. The refill features Quickflow technology with a medium point for optimal writing. It gives you bold, streamlined, and clean standard blue lines on paper. Though the refill is decent, sometimes, you may face railroading issues with it. However, with time and usage, it tends to fade away.

Since the pen does not have a real grip, it might make you feel that you're losing your grasp while writing for long hours. But, with the kind of smoothness it offers, this can be ignored. The pen is lightweight, with a comfortable cap that balances perfectly. 

All in all, the Parker 1953170 Jotter offers the best of style, utility, and performance. So, don't miss out on making a style statement with this simple and cool pen.

Pros
  • Attractive and luxurious looks
  • Small and lightweight
  • Smudge-Proof and smear-proof
  • Perfect gifting option
Cons
  • Not ideal for big hands
  • Grip gets slippery sometimes

2. PILOT The Better Ballpoint Pen

Budget Pick

PILOT The Better Ballpoint Pen
  • PILOT is a trustworthy and reliable brand 
  • Comfortable to write and offers smear-resistant, clear lines
  • Comes in two tip sizes, fine and medium
  • Available in three colors black, blue, and red
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Usually, environment-friendly people go for refillable pens to avoid waste. PILOT  The Better is not only refillable but also retractable. It features second on our list,  because it is made with less plastic and does not have a cap, making it eco-friendly.

The pen bears a classic slim and durable barrel with metal accents. The stainless steel hexagonal body is pencil-like, and is clear, allowing you to monitor the ink supply.

The pen is available in two nib sizes, a fine tip of 0.7mm and a medium tip of 1.0 mm. So, you can select a tip size to suit your writing style and usage. It also provides a ribbed and non-slip finger grip for a firm hold. It has a conical tip made from metal, which protects it from cracks if dropped accidentally.

The oil-based ink flows freely and lays down fine lines on paper. Unlike other ballpoint inks, the ink of this pen does not bleedthrough, does not feather, and is also waterproof. Moreover, this oil-based ink dries faster and takes merely 2 seconds, which is relatively faster than several others. 

Overall, if you are fond of slim retractable pens that offer good durability with the goodness of quick drying time and waterproof system, then the PILOT The Better Retractable is the one for you. 

Pros
  • Smooth not scratchy
  • Don't have to apply pressure while writing
  • Can get a refill when ink gets over
Cons
  • The ink blobs sometimes

3. Cross Classic Ballpoint Pen

Cross Classic Ballpoint Pen
  • Boasts a luxurious look with an engraved pinstripe pattern
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer
  • Features Twist mechanism
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The Cross Classic Century Lustrous Chrome is touted to be one of the best ballpoint pens because of its high-quality writing performance. Students have tagged this pen as the 'king', as it aids in all types of writing, from note-taking to exams.

This pen offers a consistent flow of ink, which lays down on paper. So, you don't have to press much, making it ideal for long writing work. Also, it weighs about 0.48 ounces and is easy to carry around. 

It is a medium tip pen, made of good quality metal. The black ink color is quite dark and flows seamlessly from the pen's conical tip. It also features a propel-repel ball pen mechanism that makes writing smooth and makes it stand out from others. The highlight of the Cross Classic Century Lustrous Chrome ballpoint pen is its twist mechanism. It has a distinguished bi-directional rotation system that is easy to use. 

It’s unique bi-directional rotation system advances and retracts the ballpoint with a simple twist. Elegant pinstripe detailing adorns the body of this mechanical pencil, whilst the chrome finish matched with 23k gold plated trim, provides a premium look and feel. Moreover, the pen uses a small rotating ball to disperse ink as you write, adding to its comfort level. 

All in all, Cross Classic Century Lustrous Chrome is the perfect blend of elegance, sophistication with useful advancements. So, if you're looking for an affordable ballpoint pen that is not only stylish but also one which works as a powerhouse, then your search comes to an end here. 

Pros
  • Ink flow is smooth and consistent
  • Offers clear, clean, and readable dark lines
  • Does not bleed
  • An ideal option for gifting
Cons
  • A little expensive as compared to others

4. BIC Soft Feel Retractable Ballpoint Pen

BIC Soft Feel Retractable Ballpoint Pen
  • Professional looking pen with a soft and comfortable rubberized grip 
  • Available in three assorted colors - Black, Blue, and Red
  • Versatile and convenient for all kinds of writing works and everyday use
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Unlike other smart-looking pens, this one is simple but offers great utility. It has a rubberized body with a plastic clip and a chrome-colored 1.0 mm medium tip.

The design of the pen is simple and sleek. It offers a sturdy and firm grip, which allows you to use it for a longer period. Since it has a rubber coating, you don't have to worry about sweaty hands. 

The black ink is well saturated, and the ink flows pretty easily. It provides crisp and clear lines on paper, without having to press hard to get the desired output. Its brass tip with a tungsten carbide ball also enhances your writing experience by providing accurate lines.

You can either dispose of these pens or refill the ink as per your requirements. Be it schools or offices or artwork, the BIC Soft Feel Retractable ballpoint pens, can be used anywhere for smooth and comfortable writing. 

Pros
  • Comes in packs of 3 pens or 12 pens
  • Comfortable to use
  • Simple and high performing pens
Cons
  • Some find the lines to be extremely thin on paper

5. Paper Mate 1945925

Paper Mate 1945925
  • Available in 10 bright colors
  • A durable  retractable mechanism 
  • The 1.0 mm medium point offers excellent smoothness
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The Paper Mate Inkjoy pen is multipurpose and perfect for daily use. It comes with some excellent features that are not available in other ballpoint pens.

The Paper Mate Inkjoy ballpoint pen is lightweight and you'll not feel the pressure, even after writing continuously for hours. The 1.0 mm medium tip is perfect for smooth writing and it lays down bold and thick lines on paper. The barrel of the pen is triangular, which gives a good hold. Moreover, the barrel is translucent, allowing you to keep a check on the ink levels. 

The pen's rubberized grips are soft, helping you to get a comfortable and stress-free writing experience. The pen is available in ten vivid ink colors including purple, pink, orange, magenta, turquoise, mocha, and many more.

These Paper Mate Inkjoy pens are very economical as they are available in packs of 24 numbers  also. The ink flow is steady and dependable. While they are good  for writing, they're the best for  doodling and other artistic works, all thanks to their vibrant colors. 

All in all, the Paper Mate Inkjoy ballpoint pens are comfortable, easy to use, offering a dash of different ultra-smooth inks, and highly affordable.

Pros
  • Has a comfortable grip and convenient clip
  • Free-flowing ink system
  • Value for money
Cons
  • May smudge, not ideal for left-handed people
  • The ink skips sometimes and feels rough

6. Uni-Ball Jetstream Retractable Ball Point Pens

Uni-Ball Jetstream Retractable Ball Point Pens
  • Stainless steel embossed grip offers balanced writing 
  • Boasts of Super Ink that protects against water, fading, and fraud
  • Engineered with quick-drying ink technology
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The pen's comfortable grip and bleed proof ink quality, helps it to give an unmatched performance.

It comes with a fine 0.7 mm tip, which is also an excellent choice for left-handed people. Though it may not give the best smoothness, it writes easily and effortlessly. It is steady on the paper and gives you a smearproof writing experience. 

The ink is rich and dark. It flows freely and smoothly, without having to put in too much pressure. It is available in three bold ink colors - Blue, Black, and Red. Moreover, the ink dries out quickly, and does not feather or bleedthrough paper.

The Uni-Ball Jetstream ballpoint pen is available in a variety of assorted colors. The pen's body is made of rubber-coated plastic, which is sturdy. However, it does not give padding to the fingers, making it a tad bit uncomfortable sometimes. 

The pen is lightweight while at the same time it is aptly balanced. With this pen, you can write effortlessly, without having to worry about smudging or smearing, as it features the Uni Super Ink.

It is easy to refill, and extremely affordable. The refills are also available at a decent price, not hurting your pocket. Altogether, the Uni Jetstream is the best ballpoint pen for seamless writing for lefties. 

Pros
  • Fast writing and good grip
  • Very affordable
  • Ideal for daily use
Cons
  • Does not write well on glossy paper
  • Few ink colors are not deep and dark

7. RSVP Mini Ballpoint Pen

RSVP Mini Ballpoint Pen
  • Available in 8 colors including black, blue, red, green, and pink
  • Features a latex-free grip for smooth writing 
  • Small in size and easy to use
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The saying, 'Great things come in small packages,' truly applies to the RSVP Mini ballpoint pens. Just as the name suggests, these pens are smaller in size as compared to regular ballpoint pens in the markets.

However, don't confuse the pen's small size with its lack of functionality, as it will blow your mind. From a smooth writing experience to consistent ink flow, the RSVP offers everything you desire in a ballpoint pen

What makes the RSVP mini ballpoint pens so popular among their competitors, is their color options. These pens are available in eight bright colors including black, blue, red, green, and pink, making them an excellent option for coding and other artistic work. It features a 1.0 mm tip that offers smooth and fairly dark medium lines.

can write for longer hours with the RSVP Mini ballpoint pens, all thanks to its latex-free ComfortZone grip that reduces writing fatigue. Also, the refill is long enough, so there’s no worry about the ink drying out soon. 

As mentioned above, these pens are a bit smaller than the regular ones and thus fit perfectly in your pockets. They are generally sold in packs of 8, 12, and 24 pens,  making them much more affordable.

If you're worried about losing these small writing tools , fret not.The cap has a hole that allows you to attach the pen to a lanyard or backpack zipper ring.

Pros
  • It comes in different fun colors of ink.
  • Affordable pens that are available in every stationary shop
  • Long-lasting pens
Cons
  • None

8. OHTO Needle Point Knock Ballpoint Pen

OHTO Needle Point Knock Ballpoint Pen
  • Attractive Hex design pen with a black needlepoint ink
  • Perfect for daily use and artwork 
  • Available in various body colors
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Its stylish looks add a dash of persona to your personality and draw everyone's attention.

The pen's hex design adds to its coolness and it ends in an almost-round grip, which is comfortable to use. The pen features a 0.7mm tip, and it is retractable. Though the pen is good for everyday use, it is especially the best ballpoint pen for artists and creative people. 

Unlike others, the OHTO Needle Point Knock does not have a slim profile, but the body is strong and sturdy to handle the pressure of long writing hours. Moreover, the pen's button is on the side of the barrel.

Apart from its eye-appealing design, it is the refill that steals the show. The refill is just excellent and fits perfectly with the pen. The ink flows consistently and glides easily on the paper. Moreover, the ink appears quite clean on paper, with no blobs or smears. 

Pros
  • Stylish and cool looking pen
  • The style of the tip is unique
  • Comfortable to use
Cons
  • There may be a teeny bit of smudging
  • Ink can get gloomy if used unevenly

9. Zebra Blen Retractable Ballpoint Pen

Zebra Blen Retractable Ballpoint Pen
  • It features Zebra’s emulsion gel ink, which is darker and richer than others
  • Retractable pens that boast an innovative design 
  • Refillable, available  in basic colors and two tip sizes
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Zebra Blen is the best ballpoint pen for students, as it eliminates distracting rattles and gives them a smooth writing experience. It is precisely engineered in collaboration with a renowned Japanese-Canadian designer, Sato Oki, who has ensured that the pen's clicking sound is also gentle. T

The X factor of this pen is its pigmented emulsion ballpoint ink, which is darker and richer than the ink used in regular ballpoint pens. This means you won't have to press harder and strain your hands to get that perfect layer of ink on paper. Also, since it is buttery smooth, you can use it for longer working hours. 

The pen is sleek and about 5.5 inches long, good enough to offer ease and comfort while writing. Its body is made with plastic, which makes it lightweight, and it features a rubberized grip that is flush with a barrel.

The uniqueness of this pen is its little brass weight near the tip. It adds weight to the front and this additional gravity helps the user to write smoothly without applying any pressure.

This pen comes in two different tip sizes - 0.5mm and 0.7mm. So, you can choose a tip size that suits you well. Also, it does not offer a range of colors but is available in basic colors - red, blue, and black inks. 

All in all, the Zebra Blen writes well and comes with a reliable refill quality. This thoughtful and innovative design pen is light in hand and you can get it at an affordable price range. 

Pros
  • An excellent steady and non-slip grip
  • Very light in weight and durable
  • Consistent ink flow with no skipping or blobbing
Cons
  • The pen gets scratchy sometimes

10. Faber-Castell Essentio Ballpoint Pens

Faber-Castell Essentio Ballpoint Pens
  • Classy and sophisticated looking pen 
  • Covered with a two-year manufacturer warranty against defects 
  • Features a click-action mechanism
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Last on our list of the best ballpoint pens is the Faber-Castell Essentio. This pen is filled with useful features that every writer desires. While it flaunts a stylish modern look, it gives a pleasurable writing experience. It is built precisely with high-quality aluminum material, not only making it strong but also durable. Its brushed metallic finish is eye-catchy. Though the pen's body is straight, it features a grooved grip that is easy to hold and reduces fatigue during long writing hours. 

The dark black ink is easy flowing and lays downs thick lines or nearly 0.6mm on paper. The only drawback is that the ink takes a little longer to dry completely as compared to other best ballpoint pens in this list. 

All in all, if you're looking for a smooth and simple writing instrument at an affordable price range, then the Faber-Castell Essentio ballpoint pen is the right choice for you. 

Pros
  • It comes packed in a luxury Faber-Castell gift box
  • Has a bold and chic look
  • Ideal for daily use and varied writing works
Cons
  • The pen's front area loosens sometimes during prolonged writing
  • The ink takes a little longer to dry up

Factors To Consider While Buying The Best Ballpoint Pens

1. The Material

The durability of a pen depends upon its make, i.e. the materials used in the making of the pen's body. Good quality material means good strength and a long-lasting guarantee. Pen users typically desire a sleek but powerful body which is found in metal bodies such as brass, nickel, or chrome.

Not only this, but several pens having plastic bodies also offer higher durability. However, it should not be forgotten that the pen's durability depends on its usage and treatment. 

2. The Style 

Style is your statement. Though a pen's basic function is to provide smooth handwriting, its size, shape and style must not get ignored. A pen's style acts as a statement for working professionals, and the kind of pen you carry around reflects your personality and taste.

There are three types of traditional ballpoint pens available in the market - Click, Cap, and Twist; choose the one that defines and suits your persona.

3. Grip

One of the factors that make a ballpoint pen the best ballpoint pen is its grip. The grip is equally proportionate to the level of comfort the pen offers. Simply, the grip is the upper top area of the pen that we hold and write. Grips are of several types like non-slip rubber surfaces, ribbed grips, and more. Choose the one that makes your writing experience smooth and comfortable.

4. Weight

Every writer wants his or her pen to be lightweight, as it will not strain their hands. A lightweight pen is especially important if you're going to use the pen every day and for longer hours.

Metal is heavier than plastic, so naturally, a pen made with metal will weigh more as compared to plastic. So, many users generally prefer a plastic pen as it is easy to use and keeps them away from any pain. Additionally, a heavyweight pen can affect the stability and steadiness of writing.

5. Balance

Balance is determined by the weight, grip and comfort of the pen. If the size, shape, and design of the pen do not complement each other, then the balance is sure to suffer. So, make sure that you use the pen before you declare ’it the best ballpoint pen’ for you.

6. Color

Two colors are most commonly used - black and blue. These are standard colors provided by almost all best ballpoint pens. Both of them give clear and dark lines on paper that are highly readable. From legal documents to governmental works to professional and educational works, blue and black color inks are allowed almost everywhere. 

7. Tip Size 

The tip size of the ballpoint pen depends on the purpose and usage of writing. Generally, ballpoint pens lay down thinner lines in comparison to rollerball and gel pens boasting the same tip size. Typically, the best ballpoint pens have tip sizes of 0.7 mm and 1 mm. There are only a few that offer a tip size of 0.5mm and below. 

Since a ballpoint pen's ink is thicker and does not spread out far on paper, the lines appear thin. So, if you are particular about the tip size, it is advisable to pick a ballpoint pen with a tip size larger than the tip of a gel or rollerball pen normally used. 

8. Conical Vs. Needle Tip 

The shape of the tip depends on your preference and choice. While some find conical tips comfortable, others are fond of needle tipped pens. Usually, needle tips are delicate as compared to conical ones. However, they reduce any obstruction while writing. So, if you want a stronger tip, then opt for conical tipped pens. But, if a smooth flow is what you want for longer use, then a needle tip ballpoint pen is ideal for you. 

9. Smoothness

Smoothness is the key to choosing the best ballpoint pen. If the pen is not as smooth on paper as butter is on bread, then you will have a hard time dealing with it. With a rough pen, you will have to apply pressure to lay down your words on paper, thus causing hand fatigue and irritation. The smoothness of a pen is dependent on the pen's tip size, it’s the design and the composition of the ink. 

10.  Consistency

Ballpoint pens are highly reliable, but they are often a little inconsistent. Writing with ballpoint pens usually varies from dark ink to lighter hues, from thick to thin lines. Commonly, the ink also builds on the tip of ballpoint pens, which eventually leaves a thick blob on paper as you write.

These blobs take a significant time to dry up completely, say for about 20 seconds or more, to avoid any mess. Though ballpoint pens offer excellent consistency, some pens are prone to the above-mentioned inconsistencies. So, when you're choosing the best ballpoint pen, make sure it is consistent enough to meet your needs. 

11. Darkness

The darker the ink, the better it is. Rich, thick and dark inks are the game-changer for anyone who is an avid writer. Everyone wants the text to be easily readable, and that is what the darkness of the ink provides. The darkness depends on the tip size, the ink composition, and the ink color.

This simply means a fine tip of about 0.3mm would be less dark as compared to a tip of 1.0mm. However, there are also times when the ink composition makes a difference, as small tipped pens also offer decent darkness. 

12. Comfort

Comfort is the most important aspect to be considered while picking the best ballpoint pen. If the pen is not comfortable and is prone to give you pain, then it simply is not the best. The pen must feel right.

It should have the right balance and must be made of good quality material. The pen should weigh appropriately- not too heavy nor not light. A comfortable pen is one that is convenient and helps in enhancing your writing experience. 

13. Railroading

When the ink leaves trails behind like that of tracks or railroads, it is called railroading. This makes the handwriting shabby, messy, and dull. So, while choosing the best ballpoint pen for you, make sure it does not have any railroading effect, as it will ruin your efforts. Usually, this problem arises due to the tip of the pen, as the ink rolls out. 

14. Drying Time

Drying time refers to the time taken by the ink to dry up. A quick drying time avoids issues of smudging and smearing and thus is preferred by users. Ballpoint pens usually carry oil-based ink that dries up faster and keeps your handwriting clean and clear.  

15. Waterproofness

Waterproof pens are the safest to use. It simply means that the pens are resistant to water. Usually, if water spills on your written work, then the ink spreads and your work gets ruined. But, using a waterproof pen, easily avoid this mess. Moreover,  waterproof pens are travel friendly during rains and moist weather. Generally, the best ballpoint pens are pens with this feature.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Best Ballpoint Pens

Q1. How Do Ballpoint Pens Work?

Going by the name, it is clear that a ball helps to distribute the ink. This ball is built and situated in the writing tip. It delivers the oil-based ink paste in the refill onto the paper as it rolls. Since the ink paste is thick and sticky, the pen releases lesser ink at a time as compared to other types of pens.

As such, the ink lasts longer and is pocket-friendly to the user. Moreover, the ink in the pen dries out after several years, thereby adding  to its durability. So, ballpoint pens can be considered to be your long term companion. 

Q2. Are Ballpoint Pens Better Than Gel Pens?

Yes, ballpoint pens are a better option as compared to gel pens in several aspects. To begin with, ballpoint pens are quite durable and they last longer.

Moreover, while gel pens tend to smudge and smear often, ballpoint pens are waterproof and smudge-free. Ultimately, and most importantly, with ballpoint pens, you get a smooth and comfortable writing experience, which gel pens lack. 

Q3. Do Ballpoint Pens Have Ink Leakage Issues?

Ink leakage is one of the major problems faced by writers, especially with gel and ink pens. However, when it comes to ballpoint pens, ink leakage is not much of an issue. It is only when the ballpoint breaks that one can experience ink leakage. Besides that, there are no other instances when one notices ink leaks in ballpoint pens. 

Q4. What Is The Lifespan Of Ballpoint Pens?

There is no precise  answer to this. The ballpoint pen's lifespan depends upon the materials used in its making, the company, the features, and the usage. Even the best ballpoint pen can last up to approximately 12 days if used daily, after  which it needs to be refilled.

Q5. Do The Refills Of Ballpoint Pens Cost More Than The Actual Pen?

No, absolutely not! The refills of ballpoint pens are half the price of the pen or lesser. Moreover, several companies today offer combo pack pens with extra refills. Not only this, but you can also buy combo packs of refills to save money.

Q6. How To Refill Ballpoint Pens?

Many ballpoint pens are disposable, however, several costlier options can also be refilled. Refilling the refillable ballpoint pens is easy. You can either buy readily available refills, or some manufacturers also offer ink cartridges to refill the pens. 

Summing Up

If you love writing and jotting down your thoughts on paper often, ballpoint pens are sure to be your best friend. They are smooth, durable, reliable, easy to use, and most importantly quite economical.

We understand that choosing the best ballpoint pen can lead to bewilderment at times, but we hope our guide on the ‘best ballpoint pens’ has helped you.

From key factors to the do’s and don’ts and to the most common questions, we have covered everything that you need to keep in mind to make an informed choice and buy the best ballpoint pen for you.

Kirk Hale


Kirk developed a passion for writing since the age of 8, since then, he has been collecting pens and then extended the hobby to collect stationery and art supplies. An extension of that hobby resulted in this blog about pens, pencils and everything in between.
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