We talk about the color of ink a lot here at Unsharpen, but it’s not too often that we discuss the total absence of color. It’s time to discuss the best white ink pens.
White ink pens are useful for drawing on black and other very dark colored paper. They come up much more for art purposes than anything else, so general stationery kits don’t tend to include a white pen, but when you need one nothing else will do the job.
White ink pens are usually gel pens that carry a pigment-based ink. This is the case because dye is used to darken objects and white dye basically isn’t something that exists (for practical purposes). And this isn’t a bad thing: pigment-based inks are effective, affordable, and are water-resistant.
The Best White Ink Pens
Here are our picks for the top white ink pens sold today.
Uni-ball Signo UM-153
The Signo UM-153 is a superb white pen that is loved and trusted by many artists. The UM-153 is known as the “Signo Broad” thanks to the wide 1.0 mm writing tip. The wide tip combined with a loose gel ink means a heavy amount of white ink is put down on your paper, which means excellent opacity and very clean lines. The ink is also of archival quality and waterproof thanks to the pigments in the ink.
The main downsides of this pen is that the ink can feel a bit loose, making it a less exact than some other models and a bit tougher on paper. The pens also run out quickly thanks to so much ink being laid down as you write, especially if you are coloring in large sections.
Price: $2.00 per pen
Sakura Gelly Roll
It’s not only the original gel pen, the Sakura Gelly Roll is also an excellent white ink pen. In fact the white Gelly Roll is one of the most popular colors as it’s just so useful and well-behaved. While the Gelly Roll doesn’t really focus on sizes, in the white you can buy the pen in 0.6 mm, 0.8 mm, and 1.0 mm, which is a rarity for Sakura.
We’ve written extensively about Sakura’s Gelly Roll, as it was the first gel pen invented. Not only does it has a storied history, it remains a great gel pen.
Price: $1.50 per pen
Pentel Milky Pop Gel Pen
Pentel is known for their excellent gel ink pens thanks to the Energel series, so it should come as little surprised that the company has a solid white ink pen. The Milky Pop has a 0.8mm (medium) writing tip, smooth ink, and good opacity. Like the Signo Broad, it works well with photos as well as black paper… which is not something all white pens can do.
This pen tends to be a little easier to find then the others as it’s sold all over, where Uni’s Signo and the Gelly Roll are mostly found at specialty pen retailers.
Price: $2.00 per pen
Good White Ink Pens (And Some Markers)
While the Uni-ball Signo and the Gelly Roll are truly the best white ink pens and the Pentel is a solid option, there are many other white pens that aren’t bad. Keep in mind that for every white ink gel pen there are a number of paint markers, so many people opt for those instead of a true pen.
- Uni Posca White Paint Marker – It’s a marker, no a pen, but the Posca is a popular option for white ink needs.
- Sharpie Paint Oil-Based Marker – Another marker, but the oil-based paint Sharpie offers serious coverage in white. For the most pen-like experience, get the Extra Fine size.
- Pilot Juice Up gel pen – The Juice Up is sold in white in a 0.4 mm. It’s an OK pen but 0.4 mm doesn’t seem like enough width to really get a solid white line.
- Pentel Hybrid Gel Grip DX – This pen is sort of like the Signo Broad above, but it’s not quite as good. The 1.0 mm tip puts down a lot of ink, perhaps too much. There is also the Pentel Hybrid Milky in white with 0.8 mm tip, which doesn’t have as strong coverage but is less messy.
What are white ink pens used for?
White ink pens have many used, but they are primarily used for drawing or coloring on dark paper. If you have a piece of black construction paper and you want a color that truly pops out you need a white pen or paint marker. White pens are always useful for writing on photographs, magazines, and other glossy surfaces, assuming you get a good model with pigmented ink. White ink pens can also cover up ink, acting as an eraser, and they can be used to create a border when you are painting with water color and don’t want the paint to flow past as set point.