Pen Recommendations from a Tech Nerd

It’s no secret that I love pens. I’ve talked about my analog tools here before, but I get asked for pen recommendations a lot, so I thought I’d list them here, along with some notes. I’ll mention my favorites at the end.

Starting with the Basics

Before we get into the more expensive pens, I wanted to mention a couple of basic pens I absolutely love to use. Boxes of 10 range from $6-12 dollars.

Uni-ball Signo DX

The first is the Uni-ball Signo DX. The blue/black has been my go to for a while. I think it writes great, it’s a thin line, and it’s a pretty ink.

Get the Uni-ball Signo DX

Pilot Precision V7

If you like a gel ink pen with a thicker line, I’m a huge fan of the Pilot Precision V7. It’s consistent, not too wet, so it won’t smudge, affordable, and you can find it at Staples.

Get the Pilot Precision V7

Nice Ballpoint/Rollerball Pens

I’ll be honest – I only kind of know the difference between ballpoint and rollerball. has a great write up on ballpoint vs. rollerball though!

For all intents and purposes of this post, it doesn’t really matter. The pens I recommend take my favorite refill: the Schmidt easyFLOW 9000. It’s a “Parker-style” refill, which is a common refill that fits lots of pens!

Retro 51

I’m a little bummed out writing about this one, because earlier this year Retro 51 announced they were winding down the company. But they have made my favorite rollerball pens for a very long time.

I discovered them because they made wonderful Disney pens for a few years. They’ve since stopped, but those Disney pens were my first taste of Retro 51.

Today they keep making fantastically designed rollerball pens and I have quite a few in my collection. What you choose is up to you, but you can see what they have to offer over at Pen Chalet. They do a lot of special editions too – and still are even as they wind down.

Check out Retro 51

The Mark One from Studio Neat

Perhaps my favorite rollerball (which also accepts the Schmidt refill) is the Mark One by Studio Neat. It’s a well built, beautiful pen, and the knock (the click sound) is so satisfying. I’m a huge fan of all Studio Neat’s work, but the Mark One is definitely their best in my opinion. I love it so much I’ve got two.

Get the Mark One

Note: They are probably launching a follow up, the Mark Two, very soon…if you want to hold out. There’s a solid chance I’m going to pick it up.

Starter Fountain Pens

Finally, there are a few fountain pens I’ll recommend to people who want to get into them. These are what I recommend for most people. Then I’ll tell you the favorites from my personal collection.


The TWSBI Eco is pretty much a no-brainer as far as beginner recommendations go. It’s an affordable fountain pen and it has a piston filler, so it’s very easy to get ink into – no converter or cartridge required! Plus there are several colors, and the fabulous TWSBI nib I love so much. Fine or Medium sized nib will work nicely I think.

You will need some ink, and for that I recommend pretty much anything from Robert Oster. Pilot’s Iroshizuku is also very good.

Get the TWSBI Eco

Lamy Safari

Another great, affordable option is the Lamy Safari. It comes in a variety of colors and comes with cartridges, so if you’re not ready to pick up a bottle of ink yet, you don’t have to!

When you are ready for the ink, you’ll need a converter, which are very affordable.

These pens are great because these are the fountain pens you’ll find in stores. If you want to try one, you can find a Lamy distribute, or most likely check your local Barnes and Noble.

Plus, if you’re looking for slightly fancier, you can get the pen in an aluminum body with the Lamy Al-Star.

Get the Lamy Safari

My Favorite Fountain Pens

OK so I won’t go deep on my favorites like I did with the recommendations, but if you want to check out my favorites, here they are:

And my favorite inks:

Finally, if you want a great pen retailer, I highly recommend Pen Chalet. I get pretty much all of my stuff from there.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *