Whether you’re a new bullet journaler or a seasoned pro, the best bullet journal pens are absolutely vital when it comes to creating and using an effective journal. The best pens should write smoothly and comfortably, without bleeding through the pages. Beyond that, deciding on a style of pen is largely a matter of personal preference — but each has pros and cons that can guide your decision making.
Gel pens and rollerball pens both use water-based ink, which flows easily to create bold and vibrant lines. These pens are often available in a wide range of colors, which is great for those who like colorful journals — just note that these types of pens can smudge. Ballpoint pens use smudge-proof, long-lasting, and budget-friendly oil-based ink, but can sometimes clump and may not write as smoothly as other types of pen. Fountain pens have a metal tip called a nib that dispenses water-based ink, adding a certain elegance to journaling. If this option appeals to you, just note that they tend to be expensive and prone to smudging. Felt-tip pens (aka markers) come in a variety of ink types and colors, so there are plenty of options to choose from. These pens create vibrant and defined strokes, but they can sometimes feather.
Before you make your choice, you'll also want to pay attention to the size of the pen’s tip or point, which you’ll find listed in millimeters or noted with terms like fine, medium, and broad. The terminology used to describe the tip size varies based on the pen type and brand, so it can be challenging to break it down — just know that for bullet journaling, you’d likely want to go with a fairly narrow to medium point so you can jot down every task, event, and note more easily.
Writing in your journal should be a joy, and these seven pens ensure that it will be. From inexpensive multipacks to a complete bullet journaling kit for less than $30, there’s a pen (or pens!) for every type of bullet journaler.
1. A Set Of Highly Rated Gel Pens In A Range Of Colors
With more than 28,700 reviews on Amazon and a knockout 4.8-star rating overall, these Paper Mate gel pens are a cult favorite on the site — and for good reason. The gel pens write amazingly smoothly, and they dry quickly to minimize the chance of any smearing. An ergonomic grip wraps each pen, making them comfortable to hold for long journaling sessions.
The "assorted color" set comes with 12 gel pens in a range of bold colors, including jet black, luscious green, and red rush. Each pen has a medium point that’s 0.7 millimeters in size.
This pick is also available in four-, six-, eight-, 10-, 14-, 16-, 20-, and 36-packs, and in other varieties including all black, purple, or blue options.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "I love these Paper Mate Gel Pens. They come in such fun colors, and are great for signing cards, writing notes, bullet journaling, and creative writing. They make even boring to-do lists fun! The gel glides easily and the .7 medium tip is just thick enough to get that fun color pop to whatever you are writing/drawing. The pen has a good grip (not too smooth) with a soft feel without being squishy."
2. A Pack Of Extra-Fine Rollerball Pens
Prefer a pen with an extra-fine tip? These rollerball pens from PILOT have a 0.5-millimeter precision tip that delivers smooth and skip-free writing. And Amazon reviewers just can’t get enough of them! This pick boasts a solid 4.8-star rating overall on the site, among 2,200 and growing reviews, a true testament to reviewers' love of these pens.
The rollerball pens dispense black ink, and since you can actually see the ink level in the barrel, you'll know when they're running low. Each pen has a metal clip so you can keep it attached to your journal if you'd like to, plus a rubber grip that makes it super comfortable to use for long periods of time.
This pick is also available in two-, three-, four-, or five-packs with 12 pens per pack.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "These pilot v5 pens are my absolute favorite. I am really picky about writing utensils and use them in my moleskines for bullet journaling. I love the fine tip and the ability to write without worrying about the ink bleeding through to the other side of the page."
3. A Set Of Budget-Friendly Ballpoint Pens
If you’re someone that’s prone to misplacing pens, it’s a good idea to have this pack of ballpoint pens from Paper Mate on-hand for bullet journaling. The retractable pens are super low in cost — you get 12 of them for under $8 — so it’s really no biggie if you lose one. But the price isn't their only appeal, because they also write surprisingly well. The pens have quick-drying black ink and a fine point (0.8 millimeters) that creates sharp and precise lines. The barrel features a full-length rubber grip that makes this pick super comfortable to hold. And a clip allows you to conveniently attach the pen to your journal.
These pens are also available in a blue ink option, or with a medium tip.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "Arrived on time, in original box looking like it just came from a store shelf. All 12 were there. They feel great and write great! [...] No glops or running of ink and it writes the first time every time! Do not have to use [a lot] of pressure to get them to write either."
4. A Matte Black Fountain Pen
With a stunning matte black finish and a stainless steel nib, this fountain pen from Asvine is the pinnacle of elegance when it comes to writing tools. The fine tip pen writes super smoothly, and the weight of the pen is well-balanced for long-term use. This pick comes with a metal case for easy storage, plus a converter for bottled ink. Amazon reviewers are enthusiastic fans, giving this pick a standout 4.5-star rating on the site, among 4,800 and growing reviews.
This pick is also available in blue, dark green, purple, and silver. It comes in an extra fine tip and bent point options, too.Ink cartridges are not included but can be bought separately in blue, black, or mixed colors.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "I love fountain pens, using them exclusively, and therefore have quite a few. This is the best one I have and is my go-to pen for my journal and scribbling. It has a nice feel, writes smoothly, and have not experienced any clogs or other issues with the nib. I will be ordering additional ones soon for backup and assorted color inks."
5. A Set Of Colorful Felt-Tip Pens
Colorful, highly pigmented, and resistant to smears, these felt tip pens from AmazonBasics are a great option for bullet journaling. The set comes with 12 medium-point markers in a range of colors, including basics like black and blue, and unique options like yellow, magenta, and tangerine. And while this style of pen can be prone to feathering, this pick features a no-fray tip that writes wonderfully, according to Amazon reviewers, hence the 4.7-star rating they gave it on the site.
The pens use water-based ink, and they have a handy metal clip on the cap.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "I bought these to have some pretty colors in my 2020 planner/journal [...] These write thin, write very smoothly so I don’t have to press like other pens. They don’t leak like a gel pen and the colors are vibrant! [...] For now, what a DEAL!"
6. A Pack Of Pens With A Range Of Tip Sizes
If you aren’t sure how thick you'd prefer your pen tip to be, or if you enjoy using a variety of options, this pen set from Sakura is calling your name. The set comes with six felt tip pens in a range of point sizes — 0.20, 0.25, 0.30, 0.35, 0.45, and 0.50 millimeters — each of which delivers smooth, skip-free writing. The pens all have a unique pigment-based black ink that creates crisp, rich strokes. Amazon reviewers confirmed that these pens don’t bleed or feather, and that they’re actually quite quick to dry; they gave this pick a knockout 4.7-star rating on the site overall, among 11,300 and growing reviews. The pens have metal clips on their caps.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "Great quality pens for great price. I love these. I use them for my bullet journal, little to no bleed through, and awesome different millimeters of thickness. I did accidentally leave one open for like a day and when I realized this, I searched until I found the top. The pen still worked!! I was impressed, and also determined to take very good care of them because of this lol. I'm so glad I made the choice to purchase them, and recommend them to anyone who loves pens."
7. A Complete Bullet Journal Kit That Includes Multiple Pens
This Feela bullet journal kit has all of the essential components to make you a bullet journal pro in no time. The set comes with a 224-page yellow journal that features bullet dots, numbered pages, and even a pre-made index. And it’s thread-bound to ensure the pages won’t loosen over time. Also included in the kit are 15 felt-tip markers in a range of fun colors, and even a black pen for basic journaling. Six slim rolls of washi tape are perfect for adding splashes of color, while the included reusable stencils allow you to make amazing layouts and designs.
If you aren’t a fan of yellow, you can choose from other journal colors including black, green, brown, and purple.
Enthusiastic Amazon review: "I have never used a bullet journal before and this “kit” had everything to make it easy to get started. The stencils and pens are very nice and the journal itself is durable and good quality. I find it very therapeutic to decorate and fill in. Would definitely recommend for anyone interested in journaling!"