Pen Buying Guide – How to choose a new pen?

When it’s come to choosing a new pen, you may feel confused by all different pen types: fountain, ballpoint, rollerballs, gel, liquid ink, hybrid or fire-tip pens, just to name a few. Some pens are short and others pens are long, some pens made of plastic while other made of metal, some have a grip and others have funny ergonomic shape, some pens refillable while others disposable and they all designed for different purposes. We can’t blame you as there are so many options to choose from when looking for a new pen to fit your needs.

We’d like to give you an idea what the different pens do before you can make an informed decision when it comes to investing in a new writing instrument. If you knew how many times we have been contacted by customers with request to send them more photos of the product to see true colours and packaging or to make a specific measurement of a pen because they wanted to be sure that a pen will fit their hand or a pen loop in a personal organiser. Sometimes we receive funny questions too, like ‘Can I use a ballpoint refill with a fountain pen or rollerball pen?’ – obviously you can’t use it because it’s a wrong refill for the wrong type of pen; or ‘I just bought a standard Yoropen for the first time and can’t work it out how to refill it’ – sorry guys but you can’t simply because its disposable.

Here are a few things you should to consider when shopping for a new pen:

Purpose – start with asking yourself ‘What am I using this pen for?’ If you need a pen to use on a building site, you might to consider the convenience of not having a pen with a cap and to make sure that your pen is going to withstand being dropped on the floor, kicked around and written upside down on uneven surfaces. You may need a multi-pen or a pen for everyday use, that isn’t going to leak everywhere and need to be durable. If you write a lot than a pen needs to flow and allow you to write quickly, it should be lightweight and may be with an ergonomic shape to avoid hand cramps. Or you simply looking for a present and you want to impress with your gift.

For Whom – Buying a pen for him or her can be a daunting task due to the large choice of pens available. Men tend to prefer a chunky and ‘weight pen’, because it feels more comfortable to hold in a larger hand, like Waterman Carene or Sheaffer Prelude, but some men love gadgets like Yoropen Executive or Fisher-Space. Woman tend to choose an elegant and feminine lines with subtle curves like Waterman Harmonie. Slimline pens  are more comfortable to use for a smaller hands, like Sheaffer Agio. If choosing pens for children, look for pens with an ergonomic shape, such pens help to develop correct writing posture without having cramped, here is few examples – Stabilo, Berol, Yoropen, PenAgain, Faber-Castell, Pelikan.

Style – The first thing you would find is your eyes will experience the beauty of the pen far before your hand will. If the aesthetic attraction is not the key factor, still look at the overall shape and model of the pen. Ask for any available colours as pens come in variety of colour finishes.

Pen Type – there are few main types of pens which generally divided by types of the ink and the delivery system they use:

  • Fountain pens – contains a reservoir of water-based ink that it dispenses through a nib. The ink is drawn to the nib through a feed by way of gravity and a capillary action. The ink reservoir usually takes the form of a disposable ink cartridges or a piston converter for use with bottle inks. Fountain pens deliver very smooth writing performance, require little or no pressure to write and encourage better handwriting.  Many fountain pen users favour them over ballpoint and rollerball pens.
  • Ballpoint pens – dispense a viscous oil-based ink from its tip using the rolling action of a small sphere. The ink dries almost immediately after contact with paper, preventing smudging. Ballpoint pens are so convenient to use but takes more writing pressure to apply to the paper. It’s something to consider if you need to write for a long time to avoid writer’s cramps.
  • Rollerball pens – use the ballpoint writing mechanism but utilises water based liquid ink or gel ink, instead of oil-based ink. The rollerball pen has a convenience of a ballpoint pen and combines the smooth ink flow of a fountain pen. This pen requires less pressure to be applied to the paper than a ballpoint pen, and the ink is more brightly coloured. The ink dries more slowly and it’s more prone to smudging especially if you’re left-handed and need to drag over the lines as you write. Rollerball pens usually require a cap to prevent the liquid ink drying out.

Weight & Size – in the ideal world, you need to hold the pen in your hand to feel it. If its feels heavier than the pen you normally work with, try considering another model. If you don’t have such privilege when buying online, read an item description and if not sure, ask seller more questions. When using pen for writing for a long time, go for lightweight resin or plastic pen, even better with a soft grip rather than for heavy metal pen. When searching for a present, you may consider heavier and larger pen as this an indication of more luxury feel and it’s a great pen to impress.

Writing Quality – ask you friends if you can take their pens for a short test drive or visit a stationery store with bins full of loose pens that you can try. Write about a paragraph of words and get the feeling of the tip or nib. Pay attention on how hard you have to press on the pen to write and how you grip the pen, is it comfortable to grip or you feel that your grip is sliding as you write? What about the ink, does is flow nicely without skipping or smearing?  Writing quality is a make-or-break point when choosing a pen.

Inks & Refills – it’s important to know if refills are widely available. Local stationery shops usually carry out the most popular refills and in blue or black ink colours, while through I Love Pens or by searching online, you can choose any ink colour available. Some pens may be used with comparable refills. For a fountain pen, consider whether you prefer to use disposable ink cartridges or a converter for use with bottled ink, or you might skip for disposable fountain pens.

Price – after browsing through a huge range of different pen shapes, colours and styles, we came to the final part. Of course, its guess the price time, I should mention this earlier. We have a large selection of pens in stock and it is always possible to find an affordable pen when you have a lot of variety to compare and choose from £2-3 to £200 budget (even in the £1,000’s!).

You can characterize your favourite pen with an haute couture fashion, ounce of precious perfume, or a fine aged wine. Therefore, try to practice all the tips from the above and try to match them with your needs. To the end of the day, your satisfaction will be your decision.  We would love to hear from you if our tips can help you to choose a new pen or you might have a favourite pen which works for you and you wish to share your buying experience with us?

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