Picking the best pen is never an easy task, but one thing is clear: there is a big difference between a pen that you will use for a few minutes here and there and one that has to be used for sustained periods of time. Just like when you are running and marathon shoes are different from sprinting shoes, pens for writing a lot tend to be very different than other pens.
The thing with pens though, is that there is no category of pens for extended time periods or distance, so we need to come to our own conclusions.
Who Writes a Lot?
Usually when someone needs to write a lot, they are students. Students from age 15 (or so) to grad students often need to write extensive essays that cover many pages over hours of time. This means good ink, a easy to hold grip, and lots of ink capacity.
Pens for Writing a Lot
The Rotring Tikky ($8.55) might look like a cheaper version of the Rotring Rapid Pro, but the Tikky has a lot going for it. For example, it has a body that goes from being round at the bottom to triangular at the top, so that it doesn’t roll on your desk. The Tikky also has a dual-material grip that combines hard plastic with grippy rubber. The pen has a nice click and it isn’t too heavy or too light.
As far as the ink goes, the Tikky uses a Rotring ballpoint refill which will last you for hundreds of pages. It’s good for writing, but not the best. The good news is that this refill can easily be swapped out and replaced with your preference, since it’s a Parker-style G2 refill.
Schneider Slider Rave
The Pilot G-6 ($6.39) is a variant of the Pilot G-2 gel pen. The G-6 has a larger, more tapered body that is quite comfortable, but has the same great gel ink as the G-2. This body can also fit other Pilot G2 ink refills, like those from Pentel and Zebra.
If you don’t like the G-6 and find the body to be too extreme, another very comfortable gel pen is the Pilot G-Knock.
Pilot Dr. Grip
The Dr. Grip ($7.08) is often the pen people first think about when they imagine a comfortable pen. This pen has done as excellent job of branding itself as being a pen that you can take with your for an extended outing, thanks to the large diameter grip and its excellent texture: not too grippy, not too smooth. It really is just right!
Dr. Grip pens almost sell themselves on the name along, but they really are comfortable to almost all writers and they are surprisingly affordable, as well as being easy to find.
These pens come with Pilot’s very good BRFN-10 refill, but an be upgraded to the excellent BRFN-30.
Pilot Frixion Ball
The Frixion Ball ($13.75) is a good writer, but certainly not a great one… so why include it on this list? Sooner or later hand fatigue will set in and you will appreciate the fact that this is the best writing erasable pen sold today. Pilot’s thermo-sensitive ink is very good at erasing and is surprisingly smooth. It’s not recommended for all activities since serious friction will make it disappear, but it is quite good at extended essays and math tests where you need to write a lot and also make significant corrections from time to time.