A couple weeks ago I offered my "Top 5" List of disposable Non-Fountain Pens for Everyday Use, most of which are relatively inexpensive, are sold in packs, and sometimes can be found in your local big-box or art supply store. Sometimes, however, you want something nicer than a plastic clic pen, so I always keep a handful of nicer ballpoints and multipens handy. But before I get into the main list:
Totally Unfair Runner-up Pen
You'll notice that this list is missing a pen that I've promoted in the past, and remains my favorite non-fountain pen: the Tactile Turn Mover. Personally, I think the Tactile Turn Mover might be the best non-fountain pen in my arsenal, but unfortunately the pen looks like it's being discontinued. Stock has been low or nonexistent for ages. As of the time of writing, Tactile Turn only has the Mover and the Shaker (a shorter pen that accepts Parker-style refills) available in Polished Bronze. So, other than the Mover, here are my Top 5:
Top 5 Non-Fountain Pen (Non-Disposable)
- Lamy 2000 Ballpoint/Multipen. Lamy's flagship offering doesn't just come as a fountain pen: they sell ballpoint and multipen versions as well. I've found these pens to be essentially indestructible. (My pen is vintage and stamped with "W. Germany", and remains in perfect working order at the ripe old age of 25.) If you're into metal pens, Lamy offers the ballpoint in Stainless Steel (at a premium). The multipen uses standard D1 refills, so you're not stuck with the stock Lamy version (which people either lover or hate).
- Hi-Tec-C Coleto. My multipen of choice. I prefer the Hi-Tec-C to other ultra-fine gel pens, and the Coleto is my favorite multipen because it's reasonably priced and relatively streamlined (read: not fat and chunky, like some multipens). The refills also last a long time (at least for multipen refills).
- Parker Jotter. The Parker Jotter is one of those products that has stood the test of time for decades, and I have a vintage "Made-in-the-USA" model that sits on my desk at work next to my phone. It's a bit too small for me to use for extended writing sessions, but it does get used on a daily basis for short notes, etc.
- Retro 51 Tornado. The only liquid ink rollerball pen that made my list. The Schmidt refill used by these pens is famous for how smooth it is, and comes in either a .7mm or a .6mm size. For an interesting alternative to the Retro 51 Tornado that uses the same refill, check out the recently released Baron Fig Squire.
- MaxMadCo Bolt Action Pen. If you like hefty, indestructible pens, and are a fan of the bolt-action mechanism, the MaxMadCo pen is the best that I've used. Personally, it's too heavy for me and the type of writing that I do, but if your use case is for quick notes out "in the field", and you want a pen that's absolutely indestructible, this pen is an excellent option.
Granted, my experience testing non-fountain pens isn't as extensive as my fountain pen knowledge, but I still use ballpoints and gel pens (not so much rollerballs) on a regular basis. In addition to the pens listed above, which are my personal favorites, others have had good experiences with the machined pens manufactured by Karas Kustoms and Ti2 Design.
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