You want a pen that is comfortable to hold and writes smoothly, but not all pens are cut out for all types of paper. The best pens for Moleskines, for example, should meet certain criteria that differ from the best pens for other surfaces. Basically, if you write or sketch in a Moleskine notebook or planner, you should look for pens made with ink that won't bleed through and likely have a moderately thin tip.
Moleskine notebooks are known for their lightweight, quick-drying paper, which unfortunately also means they're prone to bleed-through. Ballpoint, rollerball, gel, and marker pens all use different ink types and ink-dispensing mechanisms, and ultimately, the type you pick will depend heavily on your own personal preferences. That said, some pens are known to be more free-flowing (like rollerballs, thanks to the water-based ink in them) which may make it more likely to show through on the other side of the page. Ballpoint pens, on the other hand, use a thick oil-based ink that's less likely to pool, but may require more pressure, which could cause unwanted indentations if it's not an especially smooth model. Gel pens use a water-based gel ink that's thicker than you'd find in a rollerball but typically thinner and smoother writing than you'd find with a ballpoint, which is why they're such a popular choice for Moleskines. Marker pens, such as felt tips, can feature a range of ink types, but you'll want to steer clear of the water-based ones to avoid bleeding. But, no matter the pen type you prefer, point size will make a big difference in whether it bleeds through or not.
For all pen types, a thinner point will minimize the amount of dispersed ink, which will help to limit bleeding. In terms of pens, point thicknesses are measured in millimeters (or, more commonly written, mm), and 0.5 mm and under is considered fine while 0.7 mm is the most common. If you do prefer a thicker point size, just be sure that the pen is marketed as bleed-resistant due to its design and ink.
Chosen according to their bleed-resistant ink, finer point sizes, and stellar reviewer feedback, these are some of the best Moleskine-friendly pens for note-taking, doodling, journaling, and more.
1. The Fan-Favorite Pens For Moleskines
With more than 48,000 ratings and 4.8 stars overall, it's clear that these PILOT G2 pens are a favorite for all types of uses — Moleskine-notebook writing included. Why? The smooth gel ink is designed to resist bleeding, even though the 0.7-millimeter point size is thicker than most Moleskine-approved pens. For that reason, they create bold, lasting marks without damaging the pages. They're also refillable for ongoing use, made with textured grips for comfort, and retractable for travel without the mess. Get them in countless color and pack options.
- Pen type: Gel
- Point size: 0.7 mm
One reviewer wrote: "The best pens for a Moleskine. I use these pens when I write in my Moleskine notebooks. They write smoothly, and the ink is sharp and easily readable on the page."
2. The Best Pen For Wider Lines
From the Moleskine brand itself comes the Moleskine Go, which comes in 11 sleek designs. Despite its thicker-than-most tip and ballpoint design, it has smooth-flowing ink that's designed for use alongside Moleskine notebooks specifically — but according to reviewers, it writes well on a huge range of surfaces. Still, its primary selling point is its square, clip-on design that attaches effortlessly to the side of your notebook for on-the-go use. It's also retractable so you won't have to worry about marking up anything in your bag. Especially if you like a wider line, this is a great choice.
- Pen type: Ballpoint
- Point size: 1.0 mm
One reviewer wrote: "I have any number of journals that I would love to be able to attach a pen to and not have it stick up above the cover or tear up the page. It feels fine. It fits nicely in my hand (I’m left-handed) and the clip fits snugly on the cover of several different journals I have so I’m feeling pretty clever right now. It was definitely worth the money."
3. The Best Ultra-Fine Pens
These Uni-ball Signo pens are not easy to find in U.S. stores, but for those who prefer an extra-fine tip, they're considered some of the best of the best. The 0.38-millimeter nib writes almost like "a very sharp pencil" (according to one reviewer) for use on the thin Moleskine paper without tearing, while the pigment-based gel ink is waterproof, smooth-flowing, and fade-resistant. This set comes with two pens, both of which have a page clip and a comfortable grip.
- Pen type: Gel
- Point size: 0.38 mm
One reviewer wrote: "These babies are awesome! Perfect for Rhodia, Moleskine & Scribbles that Matter journals! The ink is precise [and] the lines are fine [and] even. Superb quality!"
4. The Best Colorful Pens
Believe it or not, felt-tip Sharpie-brand pens are some of the best pens for Moleskine notebooks — so long as they have a relatively fine point. While the thicker markers will likely bleed through, these pens have thinner 0.8-mm felt tips made with a thicker, non-water-based and acid-free ink that resists bleeding, fading, and pooling. They also come in a pack of six with all different shades, making them a great choice for those who like to add color to their journaling and drawing.
- Pen type: Marker
- Point size: 0.8 mm
One reviewer wrote: "Use in my moleskin notebook. Use different colors for different types of tasks. I stopped using regular pens in favor of Sharpie pens because of the quality and consistency."
5. The Pens With The Most Colorfast Ink
Finally, if you keep and collect your filled Moleskine notebooks for later reference, there are these Sakura Pigma Micron pens made with archival-quality ink. Because the ink is chemically stable, pH-neutral, waterproof, and fade-resistant, your pages will look freshly marked even years down the line. These pens are also bleed-free and quick-drying for use on the thinnest paper without smearing or feathering. Since each pack comes with five different pens of varying thicknesses (all relatively fine-tipped), you can choose your boldness depending on your paper thickness and activity.
- Pen type: Marker
- Point size: 0.20 mm, 0.25 mm, 0.30 mm, 0.35 mm, 0.45 mm, 0.50 mm
One reviewer wrote: "I've been using these pens for a while and they are absolutely wonderful. They work beautifully in my Moleskine notebooks, with absolutely no smearing and archival quality ink."