Best Gel Pens 2021: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

January 8, 2021-Kirk Hale

Our Top Picks

Waterman Expert Rollerball Pen
Pilot G2
  • Retractable premium gel pen
  • Comfortable, flows smoothly and popularly used across offices 
  • Ergonomic grip helps you use it for hours together 
uni-ball ONYX Rollerball Pen
Zebra ZEB46810
  • Trustworthy, as it is made by a well-known Japanese brand
  • Boasts of Rapid Dry Ink Technology
  • Suitable for left handed people 
INC R2 ROLLERBALL 0.7 MM Tip
Pilot FriXion
  • Pilot FriXion uses brand’s latest Erasable Thermo-Sensitive Gel Ink Technology 
  • Consistent ink flow 
  • Sleek design and attractive look 

What are the best gel pens? This is a tricky question, as not everybody has the same needs, and wants the same things from their pens. But, by and large, some basic characteristics help define this weighty title of 'the best gel pens.' Good ergonomics, a smooth writing experience, and a balanced price are certain features that make a good pen, the best one. 

Having the best gel pens can make a huge difference in your life, especially if your lifestyle has a close relationship with pens every day. But, the question still remains, ‘Which is the best gel pen brand?’ If you're also mulling over it, you're at the right spot. We have prepared this detailed guide about the best gel pens, that can help you pick the perfect writing companion.

From the comfort level, to the drying time to the smoothness, we've looked into each factor to choose the best gel pens. Not only have we listed out the top 10 best gel pens, but we have also listed out the important factors to consider before purchase, in order to help you make a wise choice.

Top 10 Best Gel Pens 2021

1. Pilot G2 Premium

Top Pick

PILOT G2 Premium Best Gel Pens

 

  • Retractable premium gel pen
  • Comfortable, flows smoothly and popularly used across offices 
  • Ergonomic grip helps you use it for hours together 
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The Pilot G2 Premium is the king of all gel pens, considering the high-end convenience it offers. Available in a vibrant range of colors, it is one of the few retractable gel pens that are refillable. It has a 0.7mm tip, making it the best choice for students or professionals.

ts contoured grip offers enhanced support, making long writing effortless. From improving handwriting to creating colourful drawings, the Pilot G2 Premium offers great versatility. Unlike traditional pens with a cap, it comes with a clip that can be easily attached to books, binders, or pockets.

The tip glides smoothly on the page with little or no pressure. Gel pens tend to stop in between, requiring the user to lick or shake them, but with the Pilot G2 Premium, it is the rarest of rare cases. With functional design, it is less likely to leak, thus preventing stains. 

It is the best gel pen brand, offering a perfect blend of smoothness and comfort. The Pilot G2 Premium is practically a gift for writers - it is affordable, colorful, and super convenient. 

Pros
  • Extremely convenient
  • Super smooth
  • Available in multiple colours
  • Long lasting
Cons
  • May stop while writing, but very rarely

2. Zebra ZEB46810 Sarasa Dry

Budget Pick

Zebra ZEB46810 Sarasa Dry

 

  • Trustworthy, as it is made by a well-known Japanese brand
  • Boasts of Rapid Dry Ink Technology
  • Suitable for left handed people 
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The only gel pen that is likely to match the craze of the Pilot G2, is Zebra Sarasa Dry. Its super quick drying ink is the pen’s USP, which makes it feature on the second spot on this  list.

The brand claims that it dries up 85% faster than most traditional gel pens. Though it is difficult to verify the claim, it is undoubtedly a superior quality pen, with top-notch ink. It also happens to be a decent option for left-hand writers. 

It does not offer a full 0.7mm or 1.0 mm tip, but is available in 0.4 mm and 0.5 mm tip sizes. Don't get disappointed, it's the best pen offered for quick dry times, and does not affect your smooth writing.

Using a Zebra Sarasa Dry is like rolling a pearl on silk. It makes writing buttery smooth and the ink lasts long, avoiding the need to refill it multiple times. It comes with a spring-loaded clip and sneaker grip, offering extensive comfort and superior control. The funky yet subtle design, makes it stand out from the crowd. 

Being a Japanese brand, the pen is available as Sarasa SE in the US (United States). The only drawback is that the ink tends to blob sometimes, leaving behind traces on your hand.

Pros
  • Smooth flowing ink
  • Firm grip
  • Bold vibrant colours
Cons
  • Smudges or blobs sometimes

3. PILOT FriXion Clicker Gel

PILOT FriXion Clicker Gel

 

  • Pilot FriXion uses brand’s latest Erasable Thermo-Sensitive Gel Ink Technology
  • Consistent ink flow 
  • Sleek design and attractive look
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The Pilot FriXion Clicker is the show stopper in this list of the best gel pens. It's an optimal choice for educational, artistic, or professional endeavours. It gives you a smooth writing experience, with a special pencil-like erasing feature.

So, if you're prone to making several mistakes while writing, this is the best gel pen you could ask for. It is environment friendly, as you can refill it multiple times, thus giving you better longevity. Its thermo-sensitive gel makes it exceptional for writing, erasing, and re-writing.

Available in vibrant colours, this pen makes a style statement. Its sleek design and weight put other expensive pens to shame. For clean, sharp, crisp, mistake-free writing and easy access, there's nothing better than the Pilot FriXion Clicker.

Pros
  • Available in many vibrant colours
  • Ink can be erased easily
  • Refilling possible
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Bulky design, not suitable for all

4. Paper Mate Inkjoy Gel Pens

Paper Mate Inkjoy Gel Pens
  • 2.4 GHz RF connectivity with an easy setup
  • Rechargeable battery - can last up to 6 months on a single charge
  • Durable build and compact design
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Stop worrying about hand strains after long writing sessions! The Paper Mate Inkjoy gel pens are here to drive you away from the pain. Its thought-out ergonomic design with a comfortable grip keeps your hands acheless. If you are a flamboyant writer, who loves a splash of colours, you're going to adore these pens.

With a narrow 0.7 mm tip, the top smoothly glides on the paper, and very gracefully releases the ink. Formulated with fast-drying ink, you will notice a frosty effect while the ink dries, which is eye-appealing. The body is sturdy, and has a transparent portion, allowing you to keep an eye on its mechanism and ink. 

Though the ink flows freely through the pen, when it comes to lighter colours, you may have to press a little harder to make it more visible on paper. It comes with a soft grip that enhances writing, and is also almost smudge-proof. 

Pros
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Comfortable grip
  • Ink dries up 3 times faster than regular pens
Cons
  • Not acid free

5. Pilot Hi-Tec-C Gel Pen

Pilot Hi-Tec-C Gel Pen

 

  • Translucent, simple and easy to write pen, offering top-notch consistency
  • Provides sharp lines with an extremely fine tip 
  • Easy refill system
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The list of best gel pens would be incomplete without this classic, the Pilot Hi-Tec-C gel pen. With its phenomenal performance and fine design, it is sure to be one's go-to pen. The highlight of this pen is that it inscribes the finest, sharpest, and most uniform lines, with its 0.3 mm easy grip.

It is also available in tip sizes between 0.25 mm to 0.5 mm. However, it is not for everyone, as some find it to be too fine. But, if you don't shy away from experiments, this is just for you! It is a standard pen available in basic colours of red, black and blue, which are refillable. 

Pros
  • Available in different tip sizes
  • Smooth and lightweight
Cons
  • Not available in different colors

6. Pilot Juice Up

Pilot Juice Up

 

  • Water based pigment gel pen with smooth interaction
  • Has an appealing look, with a lightweight plastic outer body
  • Available in various assorted colors
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Pilot pens have been around for ages, and are the most popular among customers. While the G2 Premium is the best, but if you're looking for something uber-stylish and modern, then the Pilot Juice Up is the one for you.

This ergonomically designed gel pen boasts a 0.4 mm fine tip, with an excellent grip, which is ideal for journaling work. Though it does not offer a dash of colours like its predecessor, Pilot Juice, it gives you ample options to make your writing experience colourful. 

It has a simple yet attractive plastic body, with a clip-click mechanism. Like its previous model, it is lightweight, giving you a pain-free writing experience.

The rubber-grip works like magic - even when you have sweaty palms. Even with a small writing tip, it lays smooth and dark, so if you're okay with adjusting a bit, the Pilot Juice Up should be your companion.

Pros
  • Smart looking body design for stable writing
  • Sturdy rubber grip
Cons
  • Smaller tip size than regular pen

7. BIC Gel-Ocity pen

BIC Gel-Ocity pen

 

  • Quick-drying retractable gel pen for comfortable writing
  • Has a fine tip measuring 0.7 mm
  • Good for smooth, clear and precise writing
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If a smooth and quick writing experience is your requirement, then the BIC Gel-Ocity is the right choice for you. With an easy-flowing ink formula, you don't have to pressurize your hands much. However, your hand might feel slightly cramped, if you're writing continuously for hours.

But, the output won't get affected, even if you're changing your writing styles. Its 0.7 mm tip does not have anything special about it, but you'll be surprised with the smoothness it offers. The sturdy grip offers an above-average performance, making it easy to not only write letters, but also create symbols. The body is made of a rigid material, making it more reliable. 

The ink dries faster and is smear-proof, so you don't have to worry about stains on your hands. Like several others, it has a retractable design, making it easy to carry around.

It is a rugged and dutiful pen, offering precision while writing. However, its USP is this effective costing. BIC Gel-Ocity pens are available in packs of two, three, four, and more, making it budget-friendly, and are the best for office and educational purposes.

Pros
  • Available in vibrant colors
  • Affordable
  • Smudge-proof
Cons
  • Can cause hand cramps if used for long hours continuously

8. Pentel Energel Infree

Pentel Energel Infree

 

  • Extra fine needle tip retractable pen
  • Convenient and provides great performance 
  • Looks sophisticated and costly, but is highly affordable 
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Pentel Energel is touted as iconic in the world of gel pens. While smooth writing and fast-drying are its speciality, its turquoise blue colour will entice you. It comes with a 0.7mm wide tip, and effortlessly lays down the colour on paper.

With a transparent body, metal clip, and silver grip, the design is simple yet attractive. It boasts a textured rubber grip, offering maximum comfort and firmness. It is not only aesthetically beautiful, but also very functional, affordable, and easily accessible.

Pros
  • Quick drying technology gel
  • Attractive turquoise colour
Cons
  • Lacks vivid colour options

9. Tadkin Gel Pens

Tadkin Gel Pens

 

  • Tap your inner artist with Tadkin’s multi-colour gel pens
  • Does not contain toxins 
  • Water resistant
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If you love colour pens, then the Tadkin Gel Pens are the best for you. It offers 100 different colour pens, having various shades and styles. From glitter to neon to metallic, name the colour and you will find it in Tadkin’s colour pallet.

They come smartly packed in a sharing pack. They’re smooth, comfortable and dry quickly. They’re also safe to use, as the ink is acid-free. It’s fine tip makes it ideal for college and school project work.

Pros
  • Safe and non-toxic
  • Available in an array of vivid colours
  • Sturdy and durable
Cons
  • Light colours like pink may require re-colouring to show up perfectly on paper

10. MUJI Gel Ink Ball Point Pen

MUJI Gel Ink Ball Point Pen

 

  • A simple looking and smooth working gel pen with high-end performance
  • A portion of the frame is visible to check ink levels and mechanism 
  • Highly cost effective 
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A sophisticated tool is not always required, sometimes simplicity works better. The Muji Gel ink ballpoint pen follows this line of thought. It is precisely designed to give a power-packed performance. With its sleek design, it fits between your fingers aptly and offers a good grip.

Like a few in the list, it also comes with a clear barrel, which helps you to monitor mechanism and ink level. It is a workhorse pen that you can use day in and day out, all thanks to its sturdy body.

 It has a 0.5 mm tip, is lightweight, and comes with a soft grip that makes writing much more comfortable. It has a decent drying technology and does not smudge away. The cherry on the cake here is that it is available in a pack of 10, saving quite some money for you. However, the downside is that you only get them in black colour. 

Pros
  • Budget friendly
  • Available in a saving pack of 10 pens
  • Sleek and lightweight
  • Simple and easy to use
Cons
  • Just available in one colour – black

How To Choose A Gel Pen?  

Gel pens differ from other pens only because of their ink formula. These pens generally use an ink pigment that is suspended in water, and its popping reflection on paper is its biggest advantage.

Whether you use one for art,  journalling, or note-taking, every gel pen offers its own essence, and therefore, you need to choose it wisely. Below are some key factors that you must consider to select the best gel pens. 

1. Tip And Grip

Your first and foremost consideration when looking for the best gel pens must be its tip size and shape. Many who are used to writing with pens, usually have a tip preference between 0.5 mm to 1.0 mm. However, tips with lesser and more sizes are also available and offer good services.

If you're a first-timer, you will take time to find the ideal tip size for you - but don't shy away from experimenting. Gel pens require a wide tip size, between 0.8 mm to 1.0 mm, to dispense the ink uniformly and make the lines readable.

However, with the advancement in technology, smaller tips are also proving to be magical. But, it is advisable to not go for thicker tips, that above 1.0 mm, as it may lead to smudging, ultimately destroying your efforts. Not only this, having a thick tip can also put pressure on your hands, causing pain and sprains. Moreover, don't forget to take note of the shape, and material used on the tip. Your primary focus should be, comfort.

2. Drying Time 

This factor plays the most important role in picking the best gel pens. Drying time simply means how quickly the ink will dry up on paper. If you're going to write for hours together, ensure you choose a gel pen with a fast-drying technology.

In our list, we have included several pens that boast a quick drying time, so you should not face many difficulties in selecting a good one for yourself. Moreover, it is recommended to take note of your usage and purpose.

Whether you're using it for creative, business, or academic work, your requirements will be different. Also, if you're a left-hand person, ensure to choose a non-smudge and smear-proof gel pen. 

3. Smoothness 

Smoothness refers to fluidity. The ink should lay down on paper easily and consistently. While ballpoint pens may sometimes give you a scratchy and labored writing experience, it is rarely the case with gel pens. Usually, the ink flows gracefully from gel pens, giving one an easy, fast, and comfortable experience.

With ballpoint pens, you may have to press hard sometimes, but this is ruled out completely in gel pens. So, when it comes to jotting down important notes or illustrations, gel pens are an ideal option. Choose a smooth pen to avoid undesirable pain that one often suffers after long hours of continuous writing. 

4. Ease And Comfort

Whether it is a shoe or a pen, if you're not comfortable with the product you've chosen, then you haven't made a good purchase. Ease and comfort should be on the top of your checklist while choosing the best gel pens.

Comfort comes from the grip, pen's design, and outer body thickness. However, the grip is of utmost importance to decide the comfort level. Go for pens that offer maximum and top-notch comfort, especially if you're going to use the pen every day.

Ideally, it is suggested to go for pens having a strong rubber grip, as they stay sturdy even when you're sweaty. This helps you write smoothly for hours non-stop, without causing any pain or cramps. 

5. Line Appearance

How do you want your line to appear on paper - thick or thin? Generally, when using gel pens, it is advisable to go with a minimum thickness only to enhance visibility and readability. So, when you're choosing the best gel pens, don't forget to consider this factor.

Zero down on a basic thickness that you want to maintain throughout, and search for the options available in that thickness range. Some pens offer smooth and fine lines, others are naturally bold. The thickness also depends on your handwriting and style. Choose the best gel pens that give you a consistent flow and uniform and solid thickness. 

6. Ink

This point is basically about the ink. Gel pens are available in a large variety of colours, from solid black to pretty pink. The shades you choose depend on your usage. If you're a working professional, basics like red, black and blue, suit you the best, as they are easily accessible and non-fading. However, if you're into creative works or a student, you may want to add a splash of vibrancy to your writing with neons or hues.

Conclusion 

Writing is not a process, but a way of expression. Everyone wants a pen that goes down smooth on paper like melted butter on a piece of bread. But, yet again, the topic boils down to, 'what is the best gel pen?

Well, there isn't one. But, these 10 best gel pens on the list have rocked the market, and you wouldn't be disappointed if you're relying on any of them. So, if you haven't given it a try yet, we encourage you to evaluate our picks, explore the best gel pens and come to conclusions yourself - you may just get your one true writing companion!

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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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