Best Pen For Planners 2021: 5+ Detailed Reviews

best pens for planners

Top 5 Best Pens For Planners 2021:

  1. Paper Mate InkJoy 300RT Ballpoint Pens
  2. MyLifeUNIT Fineliner Color Pen
  3. FORAY Advanced Ink Retractable Ballpoint Pens
  4. Uni-Ball Vision Needle Rollerball Pens
  5. Zebra Z-Grip Retractable Ballpoint Pen

Smartphone apps and online calendars still haven’t been able to kill off paper planners. 

Nice try, technology!

Maybe it’s seen as a hipster thing these days, but a solid, physical planner can be very convenient. We would even argue that it’s way easier to browse through a schedule on paper than on a tiny screen of a smartphone.

We’ve made our position clear. So, where do you stand, big guy?

If you’re all about paper planners, then you need adequate pens for it. No, not just adequate, but the best pens for planners on Earth! That’s how much respect your schedule notebook deserves.

We know that you feel us, so read on to check out some bangin’ pens!

See Also: The Best Dry Erase Marker

5 Best Pens For Planners In 2021: Detailed Reviews

If you’ve ever been to a stationery shop or a bookstore, you’ve noticed the sheer variety of pens they’ve got there. 

Now imagine going through all those models to find, select, and review the best five planner pens.

Yeah, it wasn’t pretty.

Being the stubborn oxen that we are, we managed to complete our task, and below, you can read about what we found.

1. Paper Mate InkJoy 300RT Ballpoint Pens – Best Overall

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Paper Mate might sound Australian, but this company is actually from the US. Regardless of their location, these guys and gals make mean pens, and we mean MEAN!

InkJoy 300RT is a colorful twist on the classic blue ballpoint pen. This set has eight different-colored pens, including the following: magenta, orange, red, green, blue, turquoise, purple, and black.

The inks that these pens use are all non-toxic, so you won’t have to worry about kids using it. Besides this, the ink is also waterproof, which means that if you happen to fall asleep and drool on your planner, the writing is going to be fine.

These ballpoints have a medium thickness, and they run very smoothly. They’re retractable, which saves you from the need always to keep an eye on the caps.

The trouble with this set is that the pens feel rather cheap and poorly constructed. Some users complained that they tend to come apart, after which it’s hard to put them back together. We’d advise you to find more information about this before making the purchase.

All in all, InkJoy 300RT is a good pick for a color-loving planner owner. If this set of ballpoints points to your heart (see what we did there?), then give it a chance and buy it.


  • Includes eight colors
  • Great price
  • They write smoothly


  • Construction feels cheap
  • They might come apart

2. MyLifeUNIT Fineliner Color Pen – Best Budget Pens

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In case you’re not into ballpoint tips, but you are into cheap stuff, then take a look at MyLifeUNITE pen set. These pens are a go-to solution for the planner on a budget, and now we’re going to break them down for you. Not literally. We don’t like breaking things.

Fineliners write – you guessed it – very fine lines thanks to their thin felt tips. “Just how fine?” you might ask. Well, this particular set produces lines no thicker than 0.4 mm. Compare this to a medium ballpoint (1 mm), and you get a world of difference.

The set contains ten pens, each of a different color. All of them look very bright and vivid on paper, even the lightest ones, and this will make color enthusiasts scream with joy. 

They use a non-toxic, non-waterproof ink, which can be washed out from textile if it finds its way there. This also means that the writing will smudge if you get it wet.

Perhaps the biggest con of MyLifeUNIT’s pens is that they bleed a little. Very thin paper will let color through to the other side, so don’t buy this set if you have a planner with such pages.

Other than this setback, the pens are awesome.


  • Includes ten vivid and bright colors 
  • Very cheap
  • Non-toxic ink


  • The ink bleeds through thin paper
  • The tips might crack after a lot of use

3. FORAY Advanced Ink Retractable Ballpoint Pens – Best Thick Writing Pens

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A ballpoint that writes like a felt tip is something that’s difficult to come across. Well, Foray pens can do just that, and if you like what you’ve read so far, wait ‘till you see what’s coming!

As we said, what makes these pens interesting is the ultra-smooth writing, which is uncommon with ballpoint models. This means that you get felt tip-like writing, without the bleeding and smudging. 

Foray’s set includes eight pens of varying colors. All of them are surprisingly vivid and intense, except green, which resembles lime more. They are pretty thick (1.2 mm), which means they’re not perfect for tiny writing.

The pens feel well-made and sturdy. Besides this, they have ergonomic rubber grips towards the bottom, which feel really good in your hand.

It all seems great so far, but they’re not without flaws. You can expect occasional ink blobs when writing with them for a long time, and we don’t need to tell you how frustrating this can be. Another minor issue is the price, which is slightly higher than those of other products on this list.


  • Very smooth writing (unlike a regular ballpoint)
  • Vivid and intense colors
  • Ergonomic design


  • Ink blobs may happen
  • Slightly pricier than others

4. Uni-Ball Vision Needle Rollerball Pens – Best One-Color Pen Set

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Uni-Ball Vision pens do roll like a ball, and this is great for many reasons. What are those reasons? Read on, and you’ll learn.

The rolling mentioned above translates to smooth writing, and these pens never hiccup. If you write a lot, you know just how satisfying it is to scribble with a smooth pen. The set includes four black pens and is ideal for business people who like to keep it simple.

The gel tips write fine lines with a thickness of 0.7 mm. This is perfect for people who like/need to write very small letters as it will enable them to do that neatly. 

Just like with felt tips, bleeding is an issue. Writing on cheap, thin paper is out of the question unless you don’t mind seeing the ink on both sides of the page. On top of this, the ink takes a while to dry, and if you touch it while it’s wet, it’ll smudge.

The colors are water-resistant, which means that they’ll endure a bit of water, but will not stand a soaking. They’re quite easy to wash off the skin but nearly impossible to out of textiles.

People who need a black pen(s) and who like traction-less writing will enjoy using Uni-Ball Vision.


  • Writes very smoothly
  • Ink doesn’t fade
  • Suitable for small handwriting


  • Ink bleeds and dries slowly

5. Zebra Z-Grip Retractable Ballpoint Pen – Best Large Pen Set

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Here’s another ballpoint for ya’, and this one hails from a company called Zebra. Z-Grip is a set of pens those looking for the best bang for the buck, so let’s see what it’s all about.

Z-Grip is a big set. It contains eighteen pens, six of which are black, and the remaining twelve are divided between six colors (green, light green, violet, teal, orange, and fuchsia). Let us note that you get all of this for a very low price.

The pens write with a 1.0 mm medium ballpoint, and their performance varies from color to color. The darker colors like black, green, and violet look great on paper, while the lighter ones are not very vivid.

Another major issue with Z-Grip is that some pens dispense color unevenly, which causes spotty writing. We’d like to point out that this is not the case with the entire set, but only a few bad apples.

These are retractable models, so you don’t have to worry about misplacing the caps, and since they’re well-made, they don’t fall apart easily. The thick rubber grips are ribbed, and you can be sure that slipping won’t be a problem with these pens.

Zebra Z-Grip is more than just a cheap pen set, that’s for sure!


  • Large set for a low price (18 pieces)
  • Includes seven colors
  • Ribbed rubber grip


  • Some pens write spottily
  • Lighter colors are not so vivid

What Are Pens For Planners?

best pens for planners

Not all pens are created equal. Some are better for writing on paper, which is what you need, and they have a number of features that make them suitable for the job. But, more on those features later.

All that you need to know now is that, if you have a paper planner, you should under no circumstances write in it with unfitting pens as they might bleed and mess up everything. 

We’re not making this up! Try it for yourself and see.

Or, if you’re a reasonable person, trust us, and get yourself a proper planner pen.

What To Know Before Buying Pens For Planners?

You wouldn’t believe just how intricate pens can get and how many features need to be considered before buying one!

Take a look at the extensive list below.

1. Type Of Pen

The main feature by which pens can be separated is the tip, or the type of tip, to be precise.

Type of tip; doesn’t that sound hilarious?

  • Yes, there are five main types, including ballpoint, felt tip, fountain, plastic nibs, and gel pens. Each of them has a different design and dispenses ink of a different kind and thickness. 
  • For example, a ballpoint writes thicker lines than a gel or a plastic tip. Also, some have permanent inks, and others don’t, so think about this too.

For some people, none of the above is important, but for others, it’s a huge deal.

2. Thickness

  • Tieing into the previous part, there is the size of the point which determines the thickness of the pen’s lines. This means that within one category of pens (e.g., ballpoints), you can choose between several different widths. 
  • Thickness is commonly expressed in millimeters, so keep an eye out for that.

3. Size Of The Set

  • In our article, we presented you with pen sets. Each set has a specific number of pens, so it’s up to you to decide how many you need.
  • Now, there is a distinction to be made between small and large sets. Smaller ones usually include around four pens, and they focus on quality. You can be sure that each of these writing tools will serve you well, and do what it’s supposed to do.
  • Larger sets, on the contrary, are all about colors. If someone is trying to sell you 24 pens in a package, they’re probably going to vary in color. These can also be great but aren’t necessary if you just want to write a plain old schedule.

4. Non-toxic

  • If you can, always try to go for pens with non-toxic ink. We know that you won’t lick the pen’s tip (hopefully) or that you won’t put fingers in your mouth if they’ve got ink on them.
  • However, if you have miniature versions of you (ahem, kids), they might get their little hands on mommy’s or daddy’s pens, and you certainly don’t want any ink poisoning to happen.
  • So, folks who have children, or who want to buy pens for their children, should definitely look for the “non-toxic” label.

5. Waterproof Ink Or No

  • Don’t go into the shower with your planner! That’s not a good idea.
  • Ok, there are other ways that your notebook might get wet, and if you’re concerned about this, then try to find a pen with waterproof ink. Such inks will not smear even when wet, and they might save your planner from accidents like dropping it into a puddle or spilling a (transparent) drink on it.

6. Design

  • When talking about a pen’s design, we like to focus on the ergonomic part of it. In other words, is the pen comfortable to hold or not? This is vital for people who spend a long time writing, and who want to avoid those nasty indents that form on the finger.
  • So, yes, the design is important, and it needs to be ergonomic. Rubber grips are always nice as they prevent the pen from slipping, and make it softer to hold.

7. Refill

  • Environmentally friendly and economically oriented buyers or those who are both might want to look for a refillable pen. 
  • When the pen stops writing, just throw some fresh ink in it and keep scribbling. This removes the need to get a new pen every time the ink runs out, which is great for Mother Nature since you’re not producing waste. 
  • Also, refilling the pen is cheaper than getting a new one so, cheapskates, we mean, price-conscious individuals will like this a lot.

See Also: The Best 3D Pens

Conclusion & Our Recommendations

Planners and scribbling enthusiasts, we regret to inform you that our article has come to an end. There’s just one thing left for us to do, and it is, of course, to announce the top three picks.

The first place goes to Paper Mate InkJoy 300RT, a set of pens that encompasses versatility, smooth writing, and a reasonable price. We feel that this product is the best choice for first-time buyers and ballpoint fans.

The next one is the MyLifeUNIT Fineliner set. These pens will thrill color-coding, small-writing planners who have a thing for thin lines.

Last but not least, there is the FORAY Advanced Ink set, which will thrill folks looking for the smoothness of a felt tip in a ballpoint pen.

As you can see, there’s so much variety out there, and we’d like to encourage you to try out different models before choosing your favorite.

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