The Best Pens

Real Simple

If you’re the type to sweat the small stuff—including lame writing implements—you’ve come to the right place. Here are nine super-smooth options worth leaping over the table for. (“hey, that’s my pen!”)

Photo: Jens Mortensen

Best Gel Pen

Uni-Ball Jetstream

Some retractable pens feel (and sound) shaky; this one is solid and glides effortlessly across the page. Quick-dry ink minimizes the risk of smudges. Available in blue, black, and red.

To buy: Starting at $30, pack of 12; Yahoo! Shopping

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Photo: Jens Mortensen

Best Fountain Pen

Pilot Varsity

An old-fashioned nib is fun and fancy and gives each stroke John Hancock elegance. Steps up penmanship for important letters and makes filling out forms less of a chore. Available in seven colors.

To buy: Starting at $3 each; Yahoo! Shopping

Photo: Jens Mortensen

Best Classic Pen

Paper Mate Flair

So beloved, the design has barely changed since its 1963 debut. With its soft tip, the pen relates to paper almost like a tiny brush and needs only a light hand. Available in 16 colors.

To buy: Starting at $8 for a set of 8; Yahoo! Shopping

Photo: Jens Mortensen

Best-Looking Pen

LePen

Sleek, chic, and ultra-thin, it feels delicate in the hand. Plus, one tester left this pen uncapped for a whole weekend and discovered it still delivered a rich, fine line on Monday. Available in 18 colors.

To buy: Starting at $1 each; Yahoo! Shopping

Photo: Jens Mortensen

Best Ballpoint Pen

Paper Mate Silhouette Elite

Perfectly weighted, with an hourglass shape and a rubber grip, it’s downright silky on the page. The white body is easy to spot in your bag. Available in blue, black, and red.

To buy: Starting at $16 for set of 12; Yahoo! Shopping

Photo: Jens Mortensen

Best Superfine Pen

Uni-Ball Onyx Micro

So sharp, it’s almost scratchy, this pen is a favorite of the Real Simple art department. It worksgreat for checks, since the microfine tip delivers legible carbon copies. Available in blue, black, and red.

To buy: $7.50 for 12, officedepot.com

Photo: Jens Mortensen

Futuristic Highlighter

Sharpie Gel Highlighter

Waxy, weird, and fun to use. Most important, it won’t dry out. (Warning: Could inspire excessive highlighting.) Available in five colors.

To buy: Starting at $6.80 for a 4-pack; Yahoo! Shopping

Photo: Jens Mortensen

Double-Duty

Post-it Flag Pen

Yes, you read that right. Now you can mark important sections without rummaging around the room for sticky notes. The barrel on top contains 50 refillable flags.

To buy: Starting at $5 for a pack of 2; Yahoo! Shopping

Photo: Jens Mortensen

Erasable Highlighter

Pilot FriXion Light

Highlight and erase without harming the paper. Imagine the possibilities when it comes to marking up text-books. Available in five colors.

To buy: Starting at $4 for a pack of 3; Yahoo! Shopping

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