What makes a good pen for bullet journaling? While a lot depends on what kind of notebook you’re using, there are some pens that will be an excellent choice in just about any journal.
The best pens for bullet journaling typically:
- have a consistent flow (don’t dry up or clump when writing)
- have colors that are pleasing, according to your personal taste
- don’t bleed through the page
- dry quickly so they don’t smudge
- feel comfortable in your hand, depending on the weight, diameter, and whether or not it has a grip
There are a TON of different pens being used for bullet journaling these days. A TON!
In this guide, we’ll look at some of the main types of pens to use in your journal. They include:
- Gel Pens
- Brush Pens
- Dual Pens
Known for their smoothness and wide range of colors. Gel pens are easy to use and versatile.
Felt Tip Pens
Brush pens are designed to make calligraphic writing with ease. There are two types of brush pens: felt-tipped and bristle-tipped.
These are those fun pens that let you pick and click whatever color you want to write with.
Dual pens have a writing tip on both sides, usually a fine point tip and a wider-point tip. You can find dual tip brush pens, dual tip highlighters.
Known for their sumptuously smooth gel ink and dazzling colors, gel pens are a top choice for many bullet journalers. One of the main problems gel pens can have is smudging. In general, this problem can be avoided by using more fine tip gel pens, between 0.4 and 0.3 mm size.
For black gel pens, my personal favorites are these ones. You can get them in packs of 5, and they seem to last forever! Shown below is a sample of the 0.4 mm tip.
If you like using colors in your bullet journal, I strongly recommend checking out the 12 color set of these gel pens.
These other gel pens are notoriously popular with bullet journalers!
Erasable pens have been around for a while, but there’s a new kid in town that everybody’s talkin’ about.
The Pilot Frixion pens have a no-mess eraser that uses friction to erase the ink. They write smoothly like gel pens, and dry rapidly. I really appreciate the fact that they’re erasable, especially when writing in my bullet journal, which I like to keep looking nice and neat.
I tested out ALL the Frixion pens in the local pen shop before choosing this one because it had the smoothest feel and it erased the best.
The ink is actually not black, it’s more of a dark gray. However, I’m very much looking forward to using this in my bullet journal layouts, where I frequently make mistakes. I think the color will look nicer than black, anyway!
I don’t usually use felt tip pens in my bullet journal simply because they tend to have the most bleeding and bleed-through. However, lots of people do like them, so I included them in this list.
Daiso sells a very nice set of twin-type felt tip pens, it’s a multipack that includes red, blue, and two blacks.
Here’s an example of the two tip sizes:
And here’s a little decorating I did using the red twin-type pen from Daiso:
Here’s what they look like:
Brush pens typically have a felt tip and are great for making modern style calligraphy or “hand lettering.”
I’ve tested several different brush pens over the years and this one is by far the best. Unlike the Copic and Pigma brush pens, it seems to be designed to last a lot longer.
Its tip is durable enough to withstand hours of practicing calligraphy drills – the fine point remains nice and pointy so you can continue to make those delicate fine strokes. The ink is nice and black, and it doesn’t bleed through any of the journals I’ve tested it in.
Can you use fountain pens in a bullet journal? Yes, you can – and many people do. Unlike most disposable pens, fountain pens are much more customizable and their extra weight gives a more satisfying writing experience. I find that fountain pens partially alleviate my jittery handwriting. If you’re in love with the tactile aspect of writing in your bullet journal, you’ll probably love writing with a fountain pen.
I think this pen is a great starter fountain pen. You can get it with Medium or Fine nibs (I have fine, which I think is better for journaling, where we tend to write a little on the small side). You can even get it engraved on Amazon to give as a gift!
My Top 10 Favorite Pens for Bullet Journaling
- Pilot Hi-Tec-C Maica 0.3 mm – check price
- Pilot Hi-Tec-C Maica 0.4 mm colors – check price
- Pilot Frixion Point 05 – check price
- Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pens (I prefer the hard one) – check price
- Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen (fine) – check price
- Uniball Signo Broad Point Pen – check price
- Copic Multiliner Pen – check price
- Sharpie Pen – check price
- Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3 mm – check price
- Daiso twin-type pens (available at Daiso)