While there are hundreds of guides about the best paper planers or best bullet journals, less attention is given to figuring out the best pens for planners or the best pens for journaling. And pens are important too!
But what can you ask from the best pens for planners? Here is my list.
For me, the best pens for planners must come in different colors because I color code my planners. The colors must be solid, bright and easy to read, and don’t fade over time.
The best pens for journaling should make the experience a pleasure and not an annoying chore. And the ink is a huge part of this. Ink that bleeds through the next page is a big no no. Also, messy slow to dry ink that smears is also enough reason to get rid of a pen. A quality pen for planners should have a smooth, consistent ink flow that makes writing a pleasure.
There is a big variance in terms of quality when talking about pens for planning. The minimum requirements are pens which close easily and don’t lose their caps if you put them in a bag. And most importantly, pens shouldn’t explode in a mess of ink under no circumstances. Particularly not when they are inside a handbag.
While some people swear by prestige, really expensive pens… I am not one of those people. I think you can get the best pens for planners at a very reasonable price that won’t make it an issue if you misplace one.
Here are my suggestions for the best pens for planners at a variety of price points and tip types. I have sorted them by type of pen, and some in particular such as brush pens I thought they fit better as best pens for journaling because they are traditionally used on bullet journals. Hope it’s useful!
Best Porous-point Pens for Planners
If you love fine lines for detail work or very busy planners, this Staedler set is one of the best pens for planners you can buy. They come in a nice carrying case that you can reuse and makes storage easy, and you can buy 10, 20, 36, 42 or 50 packs of different colors for the absolute color coding planning dream. They have a 0.8 felt tip for fine lines of 0.3mm, perfect for detailed decorations and easy writing on the busiest of planners.
We LOVE the variety of colors and reliable results. Dark colors can bleed a bit, so be careful with pressure or invest in a good planner with thicker paper for markers if you know you’ll be decorating large surfaces using those pens. They are supposed to be no-dry, so you can leave them uncapped for up to two days, but I really wouldn’t test that.
Best Felt Tip Pens For Journaling
The thing I like the most of the Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens range is the sheer variaty. You can buy them on all sorts of pack sizes, from a 6 pack to a 36 pack and many promotional packs. You can also get them in fine felt tip and medium tip. And they come in a huge variety of bright, solid, no-bleed colors which makes them one of best pens for journaling I have found. They are also ideal for planners if you enjoy writing with a felt tip more than a hard porous tip. And they are incredibly affordable, so if you just like variety and having a huge assortment of pens they are the best pens for planning in that sense.
So, Sharpies. Fine tipped felt sharpies are very popular among bullet journalers and planners. They are affordable, they have a huge variety of colors and they can be used in a multitude of surfaces. Once they dry, they are there to stay. This is why a lot of people consider them the best pens for journaling and planning… with a caveat. They bleed through cheap or thin paper like nobody’s business.
If you think of your bullet journal as a way to artistic expression, and choose the right paper, you’ll love them. If you want to use them on a portable planner with thin paper, you’ll hate them. They are great for learning brush calligraphy to decorate your planners and journals, and this is why I included them on this list of the best pens for planners, but they are tricky to use.
The Tombow dual brush pens are a staple item for many bullet journalers and brush calligraphy enthusiasts.But why are they among the best pens for planners? Sheer versatility, that’s why. Each pen has two tips, a broad felt tip that is great for lettering and decorating and a thin tip that is perfect for writing with. Unless you press very hard, the broad tip won’t bleed through on reasonable quality marker paper. You can also use them for calligraphy worksheets if you want to practice away from your planner to learn awesome decorative brush lettering with a comfortable to use brush pen.
And they come in a huge variety of colors. They can however be a bit pricier than other options, but on the other hand you need half the number of pens to do the same job.
Best Ballpoint Pens For Planners
I’m a big fan of ballpoint pens for planners, as they are versatile yet foolproof and difficult to make a mess with. This ballpoint retractable pens are both practical and fool proof. They always work, they never leak and they do not bleed or transfer, making them perfect for planners. They are very smooth, and the color variety is good but not huge. They are also incredibly cheap and last forever. They are retractable, which means you don’t need to fear the cap getting loose and messing up your bag.
On the cons, you really can’t paint a huge surface with those pens without showing the lines, but that’s a problem with any ballpoint pen. Fel-tip pens are better for that.
If you are not a fan of retractable pens, consider this as a great alternative to the retractable InkJoy above. Same ink type but with a cap (which has a tendency to get loose and misplaced easily). They are triangle shaped, which makes for a surprisingly good grip and a smooth writing feeling.
Gel Ink Best Pens For Planners
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Pilot produce some of the best pens for planners, and the G2 are not only retractable but also refillable making them a long lasting and very effective choice for planner pens. They have the classic rubber grip from Pilot, which makes precision writing a breeze and makes them very comfortable.
They only have 15 colors, which is ok for color coding a planner but may not be enough if you want to decorate your planner or bullet journal. They however have 6 metallics that can be used on top of the regular ones or markers to create really cool lettering effects.
Not the cheapest, but they will keep writing until the bitter end and they last longer than cheaper gel ink pens I have purchased.
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I have only one word why they are the best pens for planners: ERASABLE. Yes, you can remove your mistakes, typos or move appointments around like it was a pen, using an eraser. The ink the Thermo-sensitive, so it disappears with friction. They are also great for students and anybody who hates using white-out in their planners or journals. They also have highlighters and a non-retractable variety with more colors.
The writing is really smoth, and the flow of ink is very good until the last drops which makes them long-lasting and reliable. They also don’t bleed at all on any typical planner or journal paper.
What are the best pens for planners, in your opinion? Have I missed any you’d never go without?