The 5 Best Pens for Your Bullet Journal (That Never Smudge!)
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Looking for the best pens for your bullet journal?
One of the most essential supplies to make your bullet journaling effective is a good pen that doesn’t smudge. After all, how can you enjoy writing and designing if your pen always fails?
Whether you are new to the art of bullet journaling or have been practicing it for years, you know that having the best pen and bullet journal notebook is essential.
That’s why, in this post, we’ve reviewed the five best pens for your bullet journal. We carefully handpicked and categorized them according to their quality and use, only to make your bullet journal experience the best.
But before introducing our top products, here’s a quick guide about the types of pens you may use for bullet journaling. We also gathered some facts on what to consider when choosing the best pens.
Don’t have time to read the entire review?
If you’re a busy person who doesn’t have time to read this entire review, we’ve simplified everything. Here is a table to show you a quick rating of the best pens for your bullet journal.
Best Choice For…
Best for brush lettering, fine designing, faux calligraphy, and watercolor illustrations
Best for hand lettering and calligraphy
Best for smooth journal writing and detail designing
Best pen for smooth, skip-free, and crisp writing
Best pen for heavy and light highlighting
Types of Pens for Bullet Journaling
If you want your bullet journaling to be as neat as possible, and less of a hassle, you will want to find a good quality pen. When you have a nice pen, you can quickly jot down a lot of ideas without too much effort. Choosing the best bullet journaling pen depends on how the pen feels in your hand and how it moves on your paper for an easy writing experience.
When you have a pen that glides smoothly across your paper, you gain a sense of momentum that helps you collect your thoughts more easily than if you are struggling to get the ink out. There are a variety of pens that you can use, depending on your style. If you enjoy doing brush lettering, for example, you will want to buy brush pens.
Brush lettering is similar to calligraphy, where you need to have a balance between heavy and light pressure, depending on the stroke. If you are on the other end of the spectrum and you want a very precise pen, a fineliner might be best for you. These pens are made out of fiber, with plastic tips. They are usually used for graphic designing, drawing or sketching, and handwriting.
You may also choose to use highlighters or mildliners. Highlighters can be used to emphasize a text or design. They can be used for calligraphy, too. Mildliners are a bit thinner than highlighters, but not as thin as a fineliner. These pens are a great size for designing your bullet journal.
Some people opt to use microns. Micron pens are usually acid-free and archival, meaning they are often used to record things that people don’t want to get ruined, such as captioned memories in a scrapbook, or sketches of new, cutting-edge technology. Micron pens are also ideal for crafts, illustrations, and journal writing. They don’t bleed, even through thin paper. If you are looking for bullet journal pens that don’t bleed, this might be the best type of pen for you.
But how can you be sure which type of pen will meet your needs the most? Let’s look at some factors that you should consider.
How to Choose the Best Pen for Your Bullet Journal
Before purchasing a pen or set of pens, you have to determine what your purpose is for that specific pen. Will it be for doodling (drawing) or handwriting? Do you want a pen that is going to be very precise, or do you tend to do more abstract work? Maybe you want to take a minimalist approach to your journaling and use one type of pen throughout the entire journal. Or perhaps you want to make bullet journaling your creative outlet or hobby, and therefore you want to have a variety of pens to use for different artistic elements.
No matter what purpose your pen is being used for, you want one that is of high quality. Choose a pen that doesn’t bleed. When we say bleeding, it means that the ink from the pen soaks into the paper of your notebook. This causes your thin letters to end up spreading out and taking up more space than you intended. High-quality pens allow for easy lining and drawing even the smallest patterns and designs.
Speaking of designs, you need to consider the color of your pen. What do you want your bullet journal to look like? Do you want to use a wide range of colors in it for decoration, or do you want to color-code goals and ideas according to subject? Or perhaps you want to stick with a minimalist, black-and-white view. Either way, you need to pick the color pen that you prefer.
Finally, you must consider the price. There are expensive pens and there are more affordable ones. If you’re new to bullet journaling, it would be best to try the less-expensive pens first. Getting some cheap supplies for bullet journal creations can allow you to experiment to see what works for you before committing to a format.
But remember, if you are going to use your journal a lot, you may go through these pens rather quickly—so if you choose a very expensive pen, make sure that buying multiple pens is in your budget.
Now let’s take a look at some of the best products that are on the market today.
The 5 Best Pens for Your Bullet Journal
These pens are a staple for people who enjoy doing brush lettering. The water-based ink is odorless and doesn’t bleed, which also makes it ideal for fine designing, faux calligraphy, and watercolor illustrations. Because it is water-based, it is also easy to correct any mistakes using just a bit of water.
As the name suggests, these dual-brush pens offer two pen tips. The brush tip is flexible, allowing for a large variation in line styles. This pen also has a bullet tip, which is great for normal writing and drawing. This dual feature lets you use these pens to add decorations, drawings, or highlights to your journal, and then simply turn the pen over and use it for brush lettering. If you want to get really creative with your colors, this pastel palette comes with a clear blending marker that you can use to blend two colors together.
- Great for brush lettering.
- Comes in vibrant colors.
- Doesn’t bleed.
- Slightly expensive.
- Does not come with ink refills.
- Large set, making it inconvenient to carry on the go.
These Artwerk pens are the best for hand lettering and calligraphy. Created by artists, these pens are smooth and long-lasting. Each pen has a fine, flexible nylon fiber brush tip that will make the exact strokes that you need. Whether you are looking for fine or broad brush strokes, you can use this tip similar to how you would use a paintbrush for efficient coloring.
This coloring tool is a useful art accessory no matter your style, skills, or experience. It comes with a colorless blender pen that allows you to incorporate various colors to your liking. The set includes 14 colors to help you create the art that you desire.
You can add small details into your journal with the fine tip that will stay consistent throughout each page. When you are ready to clean your pens, it is simple to clean both tips by doing some brush strokes on scrap paper. The tips of these pens quickly restore their vibrant colors after being cleaned.
- Best for coloring, calligraphy, and fine designs.
- Colors are vivid.
- Some find these pens bleed easily.
- Brush tips may fray.
- The tips may bend too easily for some users.
These pens are the best for smooth journal writing and detailed designing. These might be the right pens for you if you are aiming for precision and clarity. They come in 18 colors that each allows you to create bold and expressive lines that won’t absorb into the paper.
iBayam Fineliner pens offer an ultra-fine tip with point-guard technology that protects the integrity of the marker. The ink is rapid-drying, acid-free, and water-based, so it has minimal bleeding.
Not only are these pens comfortable to use, they are durable and last a long time. They offer a slim shape that is easy to control, and a smooth, fine, porous point. These pens are great to use for your bullet journal, but can also add a pop of color to your other creative items, such as art projects, sketches, and fine-ink drawings. They are even compatible with stencils, allowing you to use them for your best journal ideas.
- Best for smooth journal writing.
- Comes with a variety of vibrant colors.
- Quick-drying ink.
- The pen caps are hard to take off and put back on.
- Some of the colors are difficult to distinguish from each other.
- Tips tend to split relatively quickly.
This is the best pen for smooth, skip-free, crisp writing. Its precise nib size is ideal for both drawing and writing. The ink that is used in these pens is a chemically stable, pigmented ink that is waterproof and lightfast, meaning that it will not fade after being exposed to light.
The Sakura Pigma Micron Blister pens are waterproof and dry quickly, reducing the chance of smearing. The color does not fade with time, nor does it bleed through paper. While you cannot refill these pens, you can remove the barrel cap and refill the empty reservoir with your own ink.
These black pens are available in three-piece packs offering three sizes. One pen is #01 (0.25 millimeters), one is #03 (0.35 millimeters), and one is #05 (0.45 millimeters). The pens do not clog or dry out, allowing them to last a long time.
- Best pen for crisp writing.
- Comes in three sizes.
- Pigment-based ink does not smear.
- Nibs are fragile and may split or shrink.
- Pens tend to leak.
- Some have difficulty flowing ink.
If you like to do both heavy and light highlighting, this might be the best pen for you. It serves a dual purpose, with one end having a wider tip than the other. The standard chisel tip is great for highlighting text, and the bullet tip is ideal for writing, creating mind maps, and making any other designs that involve fine lines. There is a great variety in writing options, especially if you take a lot of notes.
Unlike your typical bright highlighters, the Zebra Mildliners are available in a range of soft colors. These highlighters are still effective in making chosen words or headers pop out, but they do so in a gentle and aesthetically pleasing way.
Because these highlighters are the same size as a typical pen, they are easy to throw in your pencil bag and carry with you during the day. They also easily fit in the hand, which is helpful for those with smaller hands.
These pens come in sturdy, reusable packaging that you can store your highlighters in all the time. It offers a folding flap at the top that tucks into the package, keeping your highlighters secure.
- Durable mildliners that will not bleed.
- Dual purpose, with two options for tip size.
- Comes in a reuseable package.
- Chisel tip is too thin for some users.
- Not as pigmented as other mildliners.
- These pens dry out quickly.
The top products we listed above are the best pens for your bullet journaling practice, as evidenced by the positive reviews and high ratings from customers who have purchased them recently.
However, our overall winner for today is Tombow Dual Brush Pens. Because of its multi-purpose features, it’s perfect for any kind of drawing, handwriting, or designing.