10 Best Pens for Note Taking 2020

Walk into any college lecture hall or high school classroom today, and you’ll likely see students rapidly typing their notes on a laptop or tablet. However, studies show that there are several benefits to taking notes by hand, including improved retention and easier recall of the material.

It’s true that taking better notes leads to better grades, but finding a pen that is easy to take pages of readable notes without cramping your hand can be difficult. That’s why we’ve done our homework and compiled this list of the best pens for note taking. Every one of these pens make the grade when it comes to helping you be more organized, productive, and efficient.

Top 10 Pens for Note Taking Table

PictureNameType of PenPriceRating (1-5)
Type of Pen
Rating (1-5)
1. Pilot Precise V5 Retractable Blue PensRollerball$4.8
2. Schneider Slider Memo XB Ballpoint PenBallpoint$$$4.8
3. uni-ball Jetstream Ballpoint PensBallpoint$$4.7
4. Skilcraft 7520-00-935-7136 U.S. Government Retractable Black Barrel Medium Point Ball Point PenBallpoint$4.7
5. Pentel Energel Deluxe RTX Retractable Liquid Gel PenGel Pen$$$4.7
6. uni-ball 207 Retractable Gel PensGel Pen$$4.6
7. Pilot Dr. Grip Center of Gravity Retractable Ball Point PenBallpoint$$$$4.6
8. BIC Atlantis Original Retractable Ball PenBallpoint$4.6
9. Zebra F-301 Ballpoint Retractable PenBallpoint$4.6
10. Sharpie PensMarker Pen$4.6

How to Choose the Right Pen

The pen may be mightier than the sword, but deciding which one will best slay the task of taking notes can be a difficult quest. Here is some basic information to help you on your search.

There are several distinct types of writing pens that work well for taking notes. Each type of pen comes with pros and cons. Weighing the benefits and defining your personal preferences will help you find just the right pen for your note-taking needs.

  • Ballpoints. Ballpoint pens utilize the same general design as a roll-on Most brands use a relatively thick paste-like oil-based ink. The ink is water resistant, and although it can take a bit of effort to start the ink flowing, the typical ballpoint pen can handle up to two miles of writing before running out of ink. Be careful, however, as some models can leak and leave heavy spots in places on your paper.
  • Rollerballs. Rollerballs use a design similar to ballpoints, but are loaded with a thinner water-based ink. They write more smoothly and with less pressure than ballpoint pens. However, the ink blurs on paper with even the slightest contact with moisture. Also, they have a propensity to smudge and bleed easily.
  • Gel Pens. First introduced in the 1980s, gel pens are a sort of hybrid between ballpoint and rollerball pens. They write smoothly and easily like a rollerball but have the water-resistant qualities of a ballpoint. The ink also doesn’t fade over time. One major drawback to taking notes with a gel pen is that they smudge heinously until the ink dries; this makes them especially tricky for left-handers to use without smearing the ink all over their hand and their notebook.
  • Fountain Pens. Most often used for formal correspondence, fountain pens contain a reservoir of ink. By using gravity and capillary action, the ink travels to the nib and onto the paper. This type of pen creates smooth writing but is notorious for leaking and spotting on paper.
  • Marker Pens. Marker pens come in a variety of tip sizes, from ultra-fine to extra thick. These pens are designed with a core of absorbent material such as felt, which serves as a carrier to deliver the ink to the tip and onto the paper.

Top 3 Best Pens for Note Taking Reviews

1. Pilot Precise V5 Retractable Blue Pens

These rollerball pens feature an extra fine .5 mm tungsten carbide point for precise writing. This fine point is great for note takers with small handwriting and allows you to fit extra notes onto each page. The transparent window lets you see just how much ink is left in the pen, so you can plan accordingly and never be left with an empty pen.

These Pilot pens are retractable, so there are no caps to lose. They are also TSA approved for airplane travel, making them a perfect choice for business travel.

Each pen has a ringed ink feeder which facilitates smooth, blotch-free writing. Since each pen is refillable, you won’t have to throw your favorite pen away when it runs out of ink.

The only thing you’ll need to be careful about with this pen is loaning it out. If someone asks to borrow a pen, this is not the one you want to hand them, because you’ll probably never see it again. Once your classmates or co-workers get a feel for how smooth and easy it is to write with the Pilot Precise V5 Retractable Pens, they’ll agree that these are absolutely the best pens for note taking and decide to keep it for themselves.

2. Schneider Slider Memo XB Ballpoint Pen

With a special ergonomic design and rubberized surface for the perfect grip, you’ll be able to take notes for hours with the Schneider Slider Memo XB Ballpoint. The special Viscoglide ink technology creates a smooth writing experience without requiring a lot of pressure or effort. This pen perfectly facilitates the quick and easy writing that thorough note taking requires.

The waterproof ink dries quickly, so you won’t have to worry about smudges, making this pen an excellent choice for both right-handed and left-handed note takers. Made in Germany, these Schneider pens write like the BMWs or Mercedes of the handwriting world.

3. Uni-ball Jetstream Ballpoint Pens

Note taking requires fast, clean writing to keep up with the pace of the lecture or business meeting, and the Uni-ball Jetstream delivers just that. Filled with quick-drying Uni ink to minimize smearing and smudging, this pen writes and dries as fast than you can think. However, the smooth writing and quality ink aren’t the only things about this pen that will impress. The embossed grip and stainless steel accents also make a stylish statement that will impress professors and business associates.

The stylish design, smooth writing, and fast-drying ink make the Uni-ball Jetstream ballpoint pen perfect for carrying every day in your pocket, briefcase, or backpack.