Stop the presses: I’ve changed pens!

If there’s one thing I’m particular about, it’s writing instruments. I’ve been using mechanical pencils for as long as I can remember, going through various Pentel models before settling on my most recent choice, the Uni Kuru Toga 0.5mm.  it revolves the lead so that you get a more consistent line as it wears.

As far as pens go, I’ve been somewhat less lucky in finding something I like as much. I went from ball points to roller balls to gel pens. My favorite gel pen I received from a pretty lady advertising something in Shinjuku station in Tokyo. Unfortunately, it had no English markings on it and I could never find a replacement. I settled on the Pilot G-2 0.7mm black as a reasonable replacement. But gel pens can smudge as they take a bit of time to dry and I found the G-2 to occasionally skip, although not badly. I was open to suggestions.

Then I stumbled across The Best Pen on The Wirecutter, a gadget review blog. They gathered a bunch of pen geeks and asked them to review a bunch of pens, in particular as a competitor/replacement for the G-2. Their answer: The Uni Jetstream 0.7mm. As they say:

The uni-ball Jetstream is a fantastic, affordable pen. It has incredibly smooth ink, performs reliably, lasts well and dries on the page quickly. It’s equally suited to the office or classroom, for the left-handed or right. We suggest grabbing a pack of the 0.7 mm ones, as they’re suited to most handwriting, and then sizing up or down if you want something bolder or more fine. But the pen reviewers all agree: this is a fantastic pen for just about anybody.

The Jetstream is actually a ballpoint, rather than a gel. But unlike other ballpoints you don’t give up smoothness of line or ink density. Compared to the G-2, the line is somewhat thinner so if line thickness is an issue try the 1.0mm. I primarily use a pen for two things, writing checks and journaling. You shouldn’t use a gel pen on checks to begin with so I never used the G-2 for that. My journaling, on the other hand, has been mostly with either the G-2 or a fountain pen. The fountain pen is fun but a pain to maintain. Oddly enough, when I used a Moleskine the fountain pen soaked through the paper – which was surprising given its history. I now use a Mnemosyne notebook which has much better paper and a spiral binding which allows it to lie flat when you’re writing. I’m going to stop using the fountain pen in that in lieu of the Jetstream. It seems ideal for that sort of thing.

If you’re a pen geek, let me know what you use and why.

2 Replies to “Stop the presses: I’ve changed pens!”

  1. Technically, the Jetstream is a mixture of ballpoint and gel ink. Which is why it dries like a ballpoint, but writes dark as a gel pen.

    Also, gel pens are great for checks. The G2 not so much, as the ink washes off easily, but the Uniball 207 has “Super Ink” (as they call it) which is very difficult to wash out of checks. Somehow the ink pigments permanently bond with paper fibers.

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