What are the different types of pens?

Odds are, you’ve been using pens for most of your life. But how much do you actually know about them? There are several different kinds out there, and finding the best type of pen for writing might actually make your note-taking life much easier! So here is a brief guide on the most common pens you use.

Ballpoint Pens

Ballpoint pens have a little rollerball at the tip and are filled with oil-based ink. Even when considered “different types of pens” due to some novelty, most pens are ballpoint pens.

Since the ink is oil-based, it sometimes clumps together. That can make it a little bit harder to write with, and it requires more pressure to apply. But it also dries the fastest, and the pen itself lasts the longest, making it a strong contender for the best type of pen for writing.

A wall covered in different types of pens

Gel Pens

In structure, gel pens are usually the same as ballpoints. However, they’re classified as different types of pens because of the ink. Gel pens have a water-based gel ink with a smoother consistency than the oil-based ink of a ballpoint.

Plus, they get their color from pigments rather than dyes. That’s why gel pens famously come in a wide variety of colors. They’re bold, but still smooth enough to be another great choice for the best type of pen for writing.

Marker/Highlighter Pens

These are very different types of pens from any other. Markers and highlighter pens are typically not used for long-form writing. There are several different types of ink they can have — pigment, water, oil or alcohol-based.

Because of this, they’re great for art or writing on non-paper surfaces, like dry erase boards. If you want to make a statement with your message, markers and highlighters are a bold way to do it.

A fountain pen, possibly the best type of pen for writing

Stylus Pens

Stylus pens are regular pens, but they have an extra tool on top — a stylus point for touchscreens. Styluses can make writing on a touchscreen, selecting options or scrolling easier and faster while avoiding smudging the screen with fingerprints and oils.

Fundamentally, they’re not different types of pens than ballpoints. But they’re great in business settings, where users have to regularly switch from writing on paper to writing on a screen.

Novelty Pens

Like stylus pens, novelty pens are essentially ballpoint pens. But instead of a tiny ball on the end, they have something silly and fun. Light-up pens can be considered novelties, but usually the pen bends up into a shape, or it has something noteworthy attached to the end.

These are typically not used in business or longform writing, which is why they’re considered different types of pens with their own category. But they’re memorable, fun and difficult to lose, so they always have a place in the realm of writing instruments.

Ultimately, whatever is easiest for you is the best type of pen for writing! Whether that’s a fun novelty pen that inspires you or a cheap ballpoint, when it comes to note taking and getting things done, there’s no wrong choice of pen.