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Pens and Pencils | Reviews and Data

What Is The Best EDC Pen?

Zebra V-301

If you are looking for a pen to carry around with you, you want something tough, stylish, versatile, and affordable. You want a pen that’s a tough as your worst day. That’s an “EDC” or everyday carry pen.

Back in 2017 I shot this video about my top everyday carry pens:

I think I got a lot right and a lot of what I said is still true, but now it’s 2019 and we’ll all older and wiser (hopefully), including about our equipment. At the time I was really into heavier pens many of which were machined out of big chunks of metal. This suited me at the time, but after using them for years I realized a few things: they are expensive, it’s gut-wrenching to drop one (and worse to lose one), and they just aren’t that practical.

While we’re on the subject, the best machined pen ever made is the Maxmadco Bolt Action (video review), but sadly it’s no longer in production.

Best EDC Pens of 2019

So what EDC pens do I recommend, now that I’ve tested hundreds of more pens and I’ve largely stepped away from conventional “EDC” pens? My top picks for super practical, relatively affordable, all-metal pens:

  • Zebra F-701 (full metal version if possible)
  • Zebra F-xmd
  • Fisher Space Pen Shuttle Series (CH4)
  • Parker Jotter

You might notice that my picks tend to skew to the affordable side. If you have ever dropped a new Karas Kustoms machined pen on concrete then you might know why. Or if you have ever felt the weight of a brass machined pen dragging down your shirt pocket, then you might also know why. Large, machined “EDC” pens might be indestructible but they are heavy, expensive, and they get lost and dinged just as easily as a $7 Zebra, so I’ve stopped carrying them.

I used to carry a steel Maxmadco Bolt Action, but it was heavy and I was always concerned about dropping it or letting people play with it. A pen should be a tool, not jewelry, and definitely not a liability.

Specialty EDC Pens

What about if you don’t care so much about metal, but you value grip? (Maybe you write in the rain, cold or work in a wet environment.) Then check out:

  • Tombow Airpress

Want something practical, but a bit more classy and/or more technical?

  • Rotring 600

What if you are a student or someone that needs to write a lot each day?

  • Rotring Tikky
  • Zebra Blen

What about cheap EDC pens?

  • Zebra F-701
  • Parker Jotter
  • Bic Cristal (more like super cheap EDC)