One of the reasons I love stationery is that you don’t have to spend much to get something great. Whether it is a $2 pen or a $4 pad of paper, I promise you there are great products out there waiting to be discovered that are 10 times better than the junk found in your office supply cabinet.
If you are unsure how to get started finding your next favorite pen, JetPens offers up many sampler packs, like this Blue Black Pen Sampler. There are many sampler choices actually, but since I’m a blue black ink fan I wanted to see how well they put this one together.
Since this is a general color sampler, not an ink type specific sampler (like only gel ink pens), you get a good variety. Here is the lineup:
For those playing at home, that is six gel ink pens, one liquid ink rollerball, one drawing pen, and two fountain pens. Let’s break these down into two groups for review: Gel and liquid.
The gel ink group has several of my Top 5 favorite pens. The Uni-ball Signo UM-151, aka the DX, is my number one gel ink pen, but not in blue black ink. I think Uni-ball’s blue black ink colors fall behind both Pilot and Zebra. The pen itself needs to be part of this group for its excellence, I just prefer other colors in it.
The two Pilot Hi-Tec-C models use identical refills with different barrels, and I prefer the simplicity of the original. The Maica isn’t bad, it’s more that i am used to and comfortable with the O.G. barrel. The Juice refill is awesome, but the barrel is just ok. The Sarasa Clip may be the best combination of everything in one individual pen. The FriXion model is cool to play with but I would prefer having the Ball Knock model instead of the Slim.
If I’m taking this specific ink color into consideration when ranking these pens, I choose the Zebra Sarasa Clip first, standard Pilot Hi-Tec-C second, Pilot Juice third, then everything else.
On the liquid ink side of the ledger there is much more variance in the style of pen. The Mach 3 Rollerball is awesome, and is perennially underrated. It’s a liquid ink pen, so there are more paper performance considerations than with gel ink pens. That said, it is a wonderful performer and a pen everyone should consider.
The Micron, while a traditional favorite of mine, is done no favors in this lineup. The 05 tip is too wide, and the blue black ink color is odd. Give me an 03 black Micron any day over this model.
The two fountain pens are great choices, with the Platinum Preppy reigning superior over the Pilot Petit. The Preppy is an all around great pen, while the Petit requires some sacrifices due to its size. It is cool though, and I see what it is included in this set.
Overall, I can’t really argue with anything JetPens has done here. If I were to take a stab at this set, I would make a few changes.
Out: Sakura Pigma Micron, In: Sakura Pigma Fine ESDK
Out: Pilot Hi-Tec-C Maica, In: Pilot Fude-Makase Color Brush Pen
Out: Pilot Petit1, In: Uni-ball Vision Elite Rollerball
I think with those changes this set is improved with more styles, more variance, and better pens.
Regardless, this set is excellent as it is currently set up, giving you a wide variety of blue black ink pens for an average cost of $2.60 per pen. It’s hard to beat when you are a fan of trying out new pens and new ink colors.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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