I've experimented with different brands of gel pens over the years, but I keep coming back to the Pilot G2. The G2 is one of those pens that people either love or hate - I think a lot of the hate comes from the fact that Pilot advertises it as the "world's most popular pen" or something like that, and people (especially on the Internet) love a good takedown of whatever's popular. But there are many reasons this pen deserves that title: it's widely available (including in drug and grocery stores), it's comes in various tip sizes and ink colors, and it's a dependable writer that doesn't dry up or skip.
My personal favorite G2 tip size is the .38mm "Ultra Micro." Sure, the Pilot Juice .38mm (Japan only) comes in a broader range of colors, but I've not had the greatest experience with the Juice refill, finding anything smaller than .5mm skippy and scratchy. The G2 .38mm may not be the smoothest writer on the market, but it's rare that I've had a G2 skip or dry out on me. It's generally a very reliable pen. Even the "fine" .7mm G2 works better for me than the Uniball, Pentel Energel, or (gag) the Zebra Sarasa equivalents.
As part of my recent effort to thin out my accumulation/hoard of stationery and "just go with the tools that work for me," a couple areas where I've cut back on my purchasing are pencils and gel pens. While I'll of course always keep a variety of pencils on hand, I tend to use either a Palomino Blackwing 602 or a Palomino HB on a daily basis. With gel pens, it's a G2 or a Hi-Tec-C, and when a ballpoint is necessary, it's Pilot's Acroball hybrid.
As I mentioned earlier, you can find the Pilot G2 in pretty much any brick and mortar store with a stationery aisle (including big box stores), but you can get some sick deals online, especially if you buy in bulk. A dozen G2 .38mm pens will run you a little more than a buck apiece. (The .5mm or .7mm are even less expensive.) Colors in the .38mm tip size are limited to blue, black, red, and green, though you can find some crazy colors in .7mm, like this fistful of G2s that I picked up this week at Bob Slate Stationer in Boston (Cambridge).
Pilot also offers G2 refills that you can use in a refillable pen body. I previously reviewed the Pilot G2 Limited, which is Pilot's "high-end" G2 pen body. I'll double down on that recommendation. I ended up gifting my previous G2 Limited to a friend and picked up another one for myself last week, and it's just as good as I remember it. The G2 refill also works in the Tactile Turn Mover, and if you enjoy pocket pens, the Machine Era pen.
For all these reasons, the Pilot G2 sits at the top of my list of recommended gel pens. If you haven't already checked out this recently refreshed page, please do so! I spent some time with it last weekend and had a lot of fun revisiting the various "best pen" lists I've published and getting them into an easier-to-use format.
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