Posts filed under Top 5

Top 5 Pens - Fall 2013 Update

There have been many changes to my Top 5 Pens list since the last update, mainly in the fountain pen area. I say lists plural because I have broken things down a bit differently to better address the fountain pen market related to what I am using. There are now two fountain pen Top 5 lists: One I am calling the "Easy To Buy Division" and the other I am calling the "Hard To Buy Division". Let me explain what I am trying to accomplish with these two lists.

With the Easy list, I have included more common, readily available fountain pens. Pens you will find easily at most online retailers or in local pen stores. This list also encompasses some of my most recommended fountain pens for beginning and moderately experienced fountain pen users.

The Hard list is a bit of a misnomer. These pens aren't hard to come by or hard to use. There is just something extra you need to take into account with each pen on this list. It could be price, it could be availability, it could be a different nib style. These are pens I would recommend to more experienced fountain pen users, or at least people who know what they are getting into when buying one of these pens.

I think both lists are valid and necessary to relay the information I have learned over the years. The only thing I don't care for are the names of the lists. If you can come up with something better to describe what I am trying to accomplish with the two lists I'm all ears.

I have also added a brand new list of my Top 5 fountain pen inks. This was the most requested list since my last Top 5 post and was fun to put together. Look for constant change in this one.

There were a few minor tweaks to other lists, namely the Overall list and the Micro Gel list. I also added a running list of my favorite Field Notes editions on my Field Notes Collection page so be sure to check that one out as well.

Lists are fun and I enjoy putting them together. If you have any feedback please let me know!

TWSBI 580

Posted on October 15, 2013 and filed under Top 5.

Top 5 Pens

And the crowd shouts "Finally!"

It has been since last summer that I have updated my Top 5 Pens list and boy have I heard it from many of you. Since I have been so slow to update my list, I have instituted a change that will hopefully help me keep it more up to date.

See that sidebar over to the left? It now contains a link to a page I created for my Top 5 Pens. And it is not just a regular Top 5 list, but rather a grouping of Top 5 lists that many of you have asked for in the past. I thought having one overall list, plus several underlying lists with a more specific focus was a great idea and I have tried to implement some of the most popular lists you have asked for.

Since this page is a continual work in progress, I will be adding more images, features, commentary, and even more lists. If you have any suggestions for the future please let me know!

Posted on March 25, 2013 and filed under Top 5.

Top 5 Pens - Summer 2012

Pilot Vanishing Point Close-up

(Click the link in the top navigation bar to see my latest Top 5 Pens.)

It has been too long since I have posted an update to my Top 5 Pens list, and honestly, I am not sure what has taken me so long. I think part of it is that I have gone through such a huge turnover in the types of pens I use on a daily basis (I’m looking at you fountain pens!) and wanted to be sure any new favorite gets a nice, long usage period. There is no doubt that this list marks a big change for me.

For those of you who are new to this list let me explain what it is and what it isn’t. This list represents a current snapshot of the pens I am enjoying and using the most, not what I think are the best pens of all-time. It is also not a list of pens that I think are the best for you and your writing needs. Everyone has individual requirements and this group is currently suiting my requirements very well.

1. Pilot Vanishing Point

Was there any real question? If I am going to spend this much on a pen I am certainly going to be using it a ton. It took me a year of reading and researching to finally pull the trigger on this pen and it was worth it. I use this pen every day at work and it has lived up to all expectations.

2. Moleskine Classic Roller Pen

My initial reaction to this pen was shock and amazement at how much I liked it and those feelings haven’t changed. I liked it so much that I now also have the Metal Roller and the recently introduced Click Roller. Are these pens overpriced for what they are? Absolutely. But the gel ink cartridge is one of the best I have used and that is what makes this pen work for me.

3. Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3 mm Grip Black

A long-time favorite, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I keep one at work, one in my backpack, one at my desk at home, and a few more stashed away in the closet as backup. If you like ultra-fine gel ink lines and can put up with a small amount of finickiness you should try one too.

4. Sakura Pigma Micron 03 Black

Like the Pilot Hi-Tec-C above, the Sakura Pigma Micron has been, and will always be, a favorite of mine. The plastic tip provides a nice change of pace from my various metal-tipped pens, and the archival ink properties certainly come in handy. I have worn the lettering off the barrel on more than one of these.

5. Kaweco AL Sport Fountain Pen

This has been a go-to pen of mine for a while. Now that I have discovered the greatness of the Kaweco EF nib and how easy it is to change out the nib I am using it more than ever. Between this pen and the Vanishing Point I am having a tough time giving other fountain pens a fair shake.

Posted on June 14, 2012 and filed under Top 5.

Top 5 Pens - Fall 2011

Pilot Hi-Tec-C


Time for an update to my current Top 5 pens list. As I always state about this particular list, it is a snapshot of the pens I am currently enjoying the most, not a list of what I think are the best pens of all time.


One thing I am finding now that I am working from the house full time is that I haven’t been using multi pens as frequently. I’m not exactly sure why, but for my daily note taking requirements, there isn’t as much of a need to mix up the colors as there was when I was in the IT field. My pen needs have definitely morphed to fit my work needs.


On to the list…


1) Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3mm Grip Black


This pen (and #2) have far and away made the most appearances on this list. I keep going back to the well time and time again - why is that? Quality never goes out of style. From short notes, to page after page of details, I never get tired of how this pen writes. Black ink, micro fine 0.3mm tip, and a rubber grip. I reach for this pen constantly. It’s crazy how often I use this pen and don’t have a review on The Pen Addict of this exact model. Same with #2 - I must correct this asap!


2) Uni-Ball Signo DX 0.38mm Black


As much as I enjoy #1 on the list, this is the pen that leaves the house with me the most. It is a more durable and less sensitive to the environment choice. I don’t have to worry about banging it around, and it writes great outside when I’m watching soccer practice. I have said it a million times, but this is the pen I recommend the most to new micro tip users.


3) Kuretake Fudegokochi Brush Pen Super Fine


The lone shocker on this list. I never would have thought that a brush pen would be good for note taking, but this one is extremely versatile. I find myself reaching for it more and more, and while I keep waiting for it to break down, it is showing no signs so far. If you want to mix it up a bit, this is the way to go.


4) Pilot Acroball 0.7mm Blue


My lack of color ink use is disturbing. I have historically been a fan of writing with non-standard colors, but I have gone back to basics recently. The Acroball not only has supplanted the Uni-Ball Jetstream as my go to ballpoint, it is the lone non-black ink pen I have been using recently.


5) Uni-Ball Signo 207 Micro Needle Tip Black


A long time standby, now in a not so easy to find needle tip. If the exact same pen comes in both a conical and a needle tip, I am going to pick the needle tip 100% of the time. The only problem you might have with this 207 is finding it. Some readers are able to find them in their local office supply stores, I have only been able to find them on Amazon.

Posted on September 14, 2011 and filed under 207, Acroball, Hi-Tec-C, Kuretake, Pilot, Signo DX, Top 5, Uni-Ball.

Top 5 Micro Tip Gel Ink Pens

Signo DX 0.38mm


I have been getting several emails a week asking for pen recommendations, so I have decided to break down some of the questions into very specific lists. This is not my personal Top 5 List, but like that list, it will be constantly changing and evolving, so I will try to update as needed.


One of the main questions I get is concerning gel ink pens and all of the micro tip options. I consider a micro tip a pen with an 0.5mm tip size or less. 0.5mm is really pushing it on the upper end, but since some manufacturers actually market that size as micro, I’ll go with the flow.


My recommendations for the Top 5 Micro Tip Gel Ink Pens are:




  1. Uni-Ball Signo DX 0.38mm Black
    If you have never bought a pen under 0.7mm, much less 0.5mm or smaller, this is where you should start if you want to get into the world of micro tip pens. The Signo DX writes incredibly well, with sharp lines and a dark black ink. The barrel is the perfect combination of minimalism and durability. I never have any issues with this pen, which makes it my top reccomendation.




  2. Zebra Sarasa Clip 0.4mm Blue Black
    Many readers require that their pens be retractable, and the Sarasa Clip fits that bill as well as any. The blue black gel ink is one of the most popular around, and at just $2.00 per pen, the Sarasa Clip is a great value.




  3. Pentel EnerGel Euro Needle 0.35mm Blue
    This pen has been a real sleeper hit. Admittedly, the 0.35 needle tip lays down a line closer to some 0.5mm pens, but wow does it write well. It is a wonderfully designed pen, and the blue ink is my favorite of the bunch.




  4. Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.4mm Grip Black
    While this would rank higher on my personal list, I almost never recommend the Hi-Tec-C to first time buyers. The pens tend to be a little finicky on occasion, mainly the ink flow when starting to write. If you are willing to work past that, they are awesome to write with, and are the best sketching/drawing pen of the bunch.




  5. Uni-Ball Signo RT 0.38mm Lavender Black
    Why not have some fun? The Lavender Black is one of my favorite non-standard colors. And if the regular RT barrel isn’t for you, these refills pop right into any Uni-Ball 207 barrel, including the Premier.




Those are my recommendations for the Top 5 Micro Tip Gel Ink Pens. What are your favorites in this category? What other categories would you like me to cover next?



Posted on July 19, 2011 and filed under Gel, Micro Tip, Top 5.