A great pen is a critical tool when you use a daily planner. When sorting through the many options available, keep in mind that the best pens for planners are made with inks that flow smoothly, dry quickly, and resist bleeding through pages.
The first step when buying any pen is to determine which
type of ink you prefer. Much like the best pens for taking notes, the optimal pen for planners typically use one of three ink types: Ballpoint ink is an oil-based formula that dries almost instantly, which minimizes smearing on the page. It’s also the least likely to bleed through paper. However, due to its thicker consistency, this ink requires you to apply more pressure to make it flow from pen to page. Rollerball ink is a thinner, water-based ink that flows more freely for a smoother writing experience. Lines and marks made with this ink appear more vivid, but these pens also dry out faster than oil-based models, so they'll need to be replaced or refilled more frequently. Still, they remain a good pick for anyone whose hands are easily fatigued. Gel ink is also water-based, but a thickening agent is added to support colored pigments, which allows for a wider range of colors. However, they still take longer to dry on the page than ballpoint ink, and will occasionally skip due to clogging.
Next, decide which pen nib size works best for your planner’s layout. Planner pages that provide plenty of room to write can typically accommodate
standard ballpoint pens, which produce 1.0-to-1.4-millimeter lines. If you have a pocket-sized planner, or if the line spacing on your pages is on the narrow side, you may want to choose a pen with a smaller nib. This will help fit more writing on each line, and produce sharper results. Lines drawn with rollerball and gel pens usually measure between 0.5 and 0.7 millimeter thick, but there are also ultra-fine tips that are as small as 0.3 millimeter.
Finally, consider which design features will make writing in your planner more convenient. A retractable tip will solve the problem of misplaced pen caps and prevent ink from drying out too quickly. If your planner has a coil binding, a clip will make it easy to keep your pen with you at all times. There are also pens with soft grips for comfortable writing, variety packs for color-coded notes, and more.
If you’re ready to make the most of your daily schedule, these are the best pens for planners on Amazon right now.
1 A Multi-Pack of Rollerball Pens In Assorted Colors Ink type: rollerball Nib size: 0.7 millimeter
Vision Needle pens marry the colorful style of gel pens with the effortless flow of rollerball ink. This eight-pack comes in assorted colors and produces fine-point 0.7-millimeter lines using water and fade-resistant Uni Super Ink. A clear window on the barrel of each pen displays ink supply levels, and the caps have metal clips that are sturdier than the usual plastic variety. These pens have earned an overall 4.7-star rating on Amazon, and multiple reviewers have endorsed them for their exceptional smoothness and consistency. One fan raved: “I love these pens! I use them at work but since we work from home now it’s hard to find in the pharmacy and oval stores! [...] It’s the perfect point to write in journals or small planners! Knock on wood- I’ve never had one leak yet!” 2 A 10-Pack Of Erasable Gel Pens Ink type: gel Nib size: 0.7 millimeter
With more than 69,000 five-star ratings, this Pilot FriXion Clicker is a
best-selling gel pen on Amazon. This variety pack comes in 10 colors and blends the performance of a smooth gel pen with the erasability of a pencil. Ink flows smoothly and produces a 0.7-millimeter fine-point line, and if you need to make a correction, a rubber tip eraser removes the ink without damaging or tearing pages. Soft grips on the barrels add comfort while side clips double as retractable clickers. Multiple Amazon reviewers noted that the ink is quick to dry, making these a great choice for left-handed writers. Finally, if you want to reuse the pens after the ink is spent, refills in assorted colors are available for purchase. One fan raved: “These pens are amazing! They erase almost completely (better than some pencils) and dry quickly for no smudging. If you’re a paper planner keeper, you need these. The best part is that, if the ink runs out, you can buy replacement cartridges and pick a different point if you like [...] Don’t lend these out- people will steal them!” 3 A Fineliner Pen That’s Editor-Approved Ink type: India ink Nib size: 0.5 millimeters
A great choice for smaller planners, or ones with narrower lines, this
“fineliner” pen from Faber-Castell can take you from jotting down your daily schedule to drawing in your favorite sketchbook. Not quite a ballpoint or a gel pen, this writing tool uses India ink, which is waterproof, light-resistant, and dries quickly. The 0.5-millimeter nib is slightly flexible, and the ink glides beautifully and doesn’t bleed — even through very thin paper. There’s a clip on the cap, too, so you can easily secure it to planners with spiral bindings. Editor’s note: “This is my favorite pen, period, but I especially love using it to write in my planner. The fine nib makes it easy to fit a lot of writing in small spaces (like calendar squares), and it dries almost instantly, so no smudges or smearing. I use the clip on the cap to keep my pen in the spiral binding of my planner, and love that I can also use it to doodle and sketch in blank spaces.” — Carina Finn 4 A Set Of Multicolored Sharpie Gel Pens Ink type: gel Nib size: 0.7 millimeter
Sharpie’s 12-pack of
S-Gel pens comes in a mix of black, blue, and red inks, which means they’re just as handy for signing documents and taking everyday notes as they are for filling planner pages. The gel ink produces a 0.7-millimeter line, while no-smear, no-bleed technology ensures clean results. A thick body and contoured rubber grip reduce the risk of hand cramps, and a retractable tip protects the nib when the pen isn't in use. One fan raved: “For all of you pen lovers out there we all know how hard it is to find the PERFECT pen. They all either smudge or smear or have this weird disappearing reappearing line that just irritates you. Not these pens!!! No smearing smudging or giant gaps in my lines. These pens are so great I can write over typed words and still be able to read my notes. The only thing I would change about them is maybe adding a tracker so I can find them when I lose them lol.” 5 A Ballpoint Pen That Writes In Four Colors Ink type: ballpoint Nib size: 1 millimeter
four-in-one ballpoint pen easily switches between black, blue, green, and red inks with the click of a lever. The ballpoint tip produces a smudge-free 1-millimeter line, and the ink chambers are refillable, so you can reuse the plastic body indefinitely. A plastic clip lets you slip the pen into a pocket or between planner pages for easy access, but there’s also a hole at the end of the barrel so you can secure it to a lanyard. One fan raved: “Favorite pens ever! I’ve been on the hunt for the best of the best pens since ‘94 and these pens aren’t fancy gel, but they write on everything without line gaps, on the tops of post-it’s where the previous glue tacks up many pens and does not smear like most pens. So although they look like they’ve been around since the DeLorean made its splash on the big screen let me tell you this is the one stop shop that werks bish!” 6 A Highly Rated Set Of Colorful Gel Pens Ink type: gel Nib size: 0.7 millimeter
It’s no surprise that Paper Mate’s
Ink Joy gel pens have earned more than 62,000 perfect five-star ratings on Amazon. The pens produce a medium 0.7-millimeter line and come in 14 vivid colors — which makes it great for jotting down color-coded scheduling notes. The ink also dries three times faster than a competing brand (according to Ink Joy), so you don’t have to worry about smearing your planner’s pages. Design details include an ergonomic comfort grip, retractable nib, and plastic end clip. Hundreds of reviewers have remarked that the pens glide smoothly and evenly on paper, and many left-handed writers say these are one of the few gel pens that don’t leave marks on their hands as they write. One fan raved: “These are the absolute best pens for planners! Over the years I have tried many different types and brands of pens, for use in my Erin Condren planner. I’m super picky about this weird detail for some reason, caring how they write, if they smear, if it bleeds through the paper, longevity, among other things. These have been the BEST pens I’ve found so far! And even better, when they are on sale on Amazon, they are so much cheaper than in the store. If your planner is your daily lifeline, buy these pens. You won’t regret it” 7 A Budget-Friendly Box Of Beloved Ballpoint Pens Ink type: ballpoint Nib size: 1 millimeter
With over 22,700 perfect five-star ratings, BIC's classic
ballpoint pens are one of the most popular budget-friendly writing tools on Amazon. Not only do they cost an average of 10 cents per pen, but their performance has earned them an impressive overall 4.8-star rating. Each pen dispenses black ink from a 1-millimeter nib, and the frosted barrel shows how much ink is left in the chamber. Despite the relative thickness of ballpoint pens, one happy Amazon reviewer noted that these pens "let me write as tiny as I want without smearing all over the place." Best of all, they write for an average of 90% longer than competing brands (according to BIC), so a box of 60 will last quite a while. One fan raved: “NO MORE - blotching, intermittent chicken scratches, or wondering if this pen is going to work this time?! These BIC Pens, are my FAVORITE Pens! I write a lot... and they last, and last, and last...! It has been 5 maybe 6 years, since I last purchased a 60 pack of these BIC Pens. And after losing many, giving to those in need, and a few running out of ink. I came back for more! If there is a Pen Happy Dance, I am doing it right now! A pen, worthy of being hugged - just because of it's awesomeness!” 8 An Extra-Fine Gel Pen You Can Refill Ink type: gel Nib size: 0.5 millimeters
G2 gel pens are available in a 0.5-millimeter extra-fine point, which is great for producing crisp strokes in tight writing spaces. Each pen has a side clip for portability, and a retractable nib to eliminate the need for a cap. For those who take notes all day, a soft rubber grip provides added comfort while writing. You can also reduce waste by reusing the original barrels and replacing spent ink chambers with refill ink cartridges. Multiple Amazon reviewers noted that an added bonus of the nib size is that the ink dries faster than expected, minimizing smudging on the page. One fan raved: “The ink has the perfect amount of viscosity/fluidness. It will never fail to print ink when you press the point on paper. You don't need to press hard either as the ink comes out easy - I can write in a notebook and not press so hard that I'm leaving press marks on the pages below or hurting my wrists. It's not so fluid that it's spilling and leaving a mess either.” 9 A Luxe Rollerball Pen With 24-Karat Gold Accents Ink type: rollerball Nib size: 0.7 millimeter
rollerball pen is a premium upgrade to an everyday writing tool. The brass body is finished with black lacquer, providing just the right amount of heft, and 24-karat gold accents add an elegant look. The black rollerball ink produces a smooth, 0.7-millimeter line, and an extra ink refill is included for added convenience. Although a couple of Amazon reviewers mentioned that the pen’s ink will bleed through thin paper, others liked that it’s as elegant and high-performing as a luxury fountain pen. As one fan put it, it "freaking glides like butter" and makes them "feel like a complete BOSS" when it’s used for writing journal entries. It’s also available in four other finishes, including silver chrome and British racing green. One fan raved: “I can’t believe the quality at this price. It is absolutely gorgeous! The pen is heavy – not so heavy that it makes you tired but heavy in a quality way. The black lacquer gives a very premium look and feel. The gold parts just complete the package.” 10 A Pack Of 1-Millimeter Gel Pens For Bold Lettering Ink type: gel Nib size: 1 millimeter
The Uni-Ball 207 Impact is a
retractable gel pen that produces the bold lines of a ballpoint pen, but with smooth, gel ink. The brand's trademarked Uni Super Ink produces a 1-millimeter line that's quick-drying and resistant to water and fading. A smooth rubber grip makes the pen comfortable to hold, and a spring-loaded clip keeps it secure against a pocket, spiral book binding, or cover. For those trying to minimize plastic consumption, ink refills can be purchased separately so that the barrels can be reused indefinitely. One fan raved: “Only pen that I make sure to purchase and use for when I need to fill out invoices at my place of employment. Use frequently with my daily planner and reminders notebook. Write's extremely smooth. Ink is a little thicker..it is bold but do not need to press hard to write.” 11 A Set Of Colored Gel Pens With Ultra-Fine Tips Ink type: gel Nib size: 0.38 millimeter
If you have a pocket-sized planner, or planner pages with minuscule line widths, you may want some
Ultra Micro Point Gel Pens by Uni-Ball. Their tips produce 0.38-millimeter lines, making even the tiniest handwriting crisp. They come in eight colors per pack, and Uni Super Ink makes the results vibrant, waterproof, and fade-resistant. Although some Amazon reviewers preferred pens with retractable tips, the plastic caps ensure that the ink won’t dry prematurely. One fan raved: “Smudging? Never! Spotty lines? Not these! Seep thru paper? Don't even think about it! The tip? SUPER DUPER FINE! The smoothest pens I've ever used! As long as these babies don't get changed or ‘improved’, then I'm a customer for life!” 12 A Pack Of Rollerball Pens That Won't Bleed Through Paper Ink type: rollerball Nib size: 0.7 millimeters
Rollerball ink fans will love this
20-pack of pens by Arteza. The liquid, black ink is waterproof, fade-resistant, and won’t bleed or smudge on paper. A stainless steel nib draws a 0.7-millimeter line, and an ink-level indicator lets you know when it’s time for a replacement. A number of reviewers also mentioned that the ergonomic grip and overall construction makes these pens exceptionally comfortable to write with. As one person reported, "it's lightweight and thin enough that it's like holding a feather, but still thick enough that you don't cramp your fingers with long bouts of writing." One fan raved: “I write all day for school and taking notes and this pen is so lightweight that I don’t get writer’s cramp. You can take the cap off and it’s even lighter. Smooth ink and doesn’t bleed through to the previous page.” 13 A Set Of Retractable Ballpoint Pens That Produce Fine Lines Ink type: ballpoint Nib size: 0.7 millimeter
Better Ball Point Pen by Pilot provides the clean results of oil-based ink with the fine lines more often found in gel and rollerball pens. According to one Amazon reviewer, the 0.7-millimeter nib "writes a fine, smooth, and consistent line that's perfect for small spaces." The retractable nib means no missing pen caps, while the handy clip is constructed of metal for durability. The lightweight barrel is easy to hold, and clear plastic construction lets you know when it's time to replace the ink supply with a fresh refill. One fan raved: “For those of your looking for a good fine tip, smooth ballpoint pen, this is a perfect writing tool for you. Normally, I hate medium or bold tip (>0.7mm) since it makes it difficult to write smaller text. After going through almost the entire box of these pens, I haven't had one incident of skipping or globbing of the ink at the pen tip. Writes well even after been left out in the heat, or after being tossed around in my bag/coat.”
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