Everyday Carry

The Best EDC Pens for School and Work in 2020

Ed Jelley
The Best EDC Pens for School and Work in 2020

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We know how it goes. You’ve used up those student loans on ridiculously overpriced textbooks and now you're left with next to nothing for your actual school supplies. But to really excel in class, nothing beats tried-and-true pen and paper. Studies show handwritten notes help you remember things better, after all. 

So if you’re serious about starting this school year strong, pick up your next favorite pen from this guide—even if you’re on an instant ramen budget. You’ll find a pen that easily pulls double duty whether you're in class or out and about. If you’re left handed, tough on your pens, or simply just like that feeling of pen to paper, we've got you covered.

Pens (and Pencils!) to Everyday Carry Back to School

Pilot G6

Are you one of the thousands of die-hard Pilot G2 fanatics? We've got good news for you, then. Pilot's updated the beloved G2 with more ergonomic lines, a rubber grip, and a more modern look with the Pilot G6. Don't worry though, they haven't changed the slick, quick drying, smear-resistant gel refill inside. These pens are affordable enough so that it's not the end of the world should you misplace them, but still a step above your standard throwaway ballpoint.

Buy on Amazon

Pentel Tradio

Somewhere between a porous tip pen and a fountain pen lies the Pentel Tradio Pulaman. This funky looking pen provides an interesting writing experience that you really have to try in order to understand.  You can control the width of the line by adjusting how hard you press while writing, almost like a flex nibbed fountain pen. The unique looking body is slightly textured for grip and the cap closes with a nice click.

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Fisher Space Pen Cap-o-matic Stylus

If you've been on the site before, you've probably seen your fair share of Fisher Space Pens. Usually it's the small, pocket-friendly “Bullet” model. While that one is great for quick notes, it's less comfortable during those long note-taking sessions. The Capomatic Stylus is longer, a bit wider, and has a capacitive touch screen stylus on the back. It's easier to handle and has the ability to swap between paper and a tablet. Inside, you'll find the same write-anywhere refill that Fisher is known for.

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Parker Jotter

The Parker Jotter is one of the most iconic pens out there. It's been in production since 1954 and remains Parker's #1 selling pen. This clickable classic features a large ink refill with plenty of alternative options, allowing you to fine tune your writing experience depending on the cartridge. You'll probably recognize the signature arrow clip and sleek body right away.

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Lamy Safari

Prefer a more modern design? Consider the Lamy Safari. This popular pen is available as a ballpoint, rollerball, or fountain pen. The triangular grip section corrects improper hand position, which is great when learning how to write with a fountain pen. The large steel wire clip securely grabs onto a notebook, bag, or pants pocket for easy carry.

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Palomino Blackwing Pearl

“Half The Pressure, Twice The Speed” is the tagline for the Palomino Blackwing, and they really do mean it. These old school wood case pencils leave a dark line on paper with minimal effort. The oversized replaceable eraser, metal ferrule (the part that holds the eraser) and genuine incense cedar construction round out one of the highest quality pencils out there. You will need a sharpener though, we like the KUM Longpoint. It has two different blade angles: one to cut down the wood and the other to sharpen the lead.

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Zebra F-701

The Zebra F-701 is one of the most popular pens on the site, and for good reason. It's made from steel, has a rugged knurled grip, and writes with a reliable ballpoint refill. Whether it's knocking around in your bag or riding alongside a flashlight in your pocket, the F-701 is ready to write. The best part about it? The price—this pen will only run you about five bucks.

Buy on Amazon

Pentel Energel Needle Tip

The Pentel Energel Needle Tip is great for design and engineering students. This super smooth, quick-drying gel ink pen not only writes well, but also makes it easier to see what you're writing. Regular conical tip pens tend to get in the way, and this can be especially annoying if you need to make precise lines and notes. The needle tip allows you to see exactly where the ink hits the page, which is great for technical drawings. Snag a 3-pack in either blue, black, or red ink.

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Uni Jetstream Multipen

Lefties! We know your pain: Smudged pages. Inky palms. Since writing with your left hand usually results in dragging your palm over freshly written words, you'll appreciate the clean hands and even cleaner lines laid down by this pen. The Uni Jetstream Multipen writes as smooth as gel, but dries like a ballpoint. This multipen version of the Jetstream includes 0.5mm black, blue, red, and green refills, alongside a mechanical pencil. It's not just for lefties though; if you like using multiple colors but don't want to be bothered switching pens, this one's for you.

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Uni Kuru Toga Roulette Pencil

Don't you hate it when you have to stop writing to sharpen your pencil? Well, in a way this one sharpens itself. Instead of rotating the pencil to find that sweet spot or to avoid “mushy” lines, the Uni Kuru Toga has a special mechanism that spins the lead as you write. This constant rotation of the lead keeps it nice and sharp, resulting in constantly crisp lines page after page. After trying one, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. EDCers will appreciate the upgraded features on the Roulette model like metal parts and a knurled grip.

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When you're at your desk, what's YOUR go-to pen and why? Let us know in the comments below!

#pens #office-supplies #back-to-school #buying-guides #best-pens-for-work #best-pen-for-students #best-school-pens-for-teens #good-pens-for-work see all

Who Likes This (93)

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Discussion (43 total)

Brad Benton ·
Bought the Kuru Toga last year - absolutely love it! Great for recording grades in a grade book!
Robert Razavi ·
I agree! Plus I never get tired of watching the little turning part in the window!
EverydayArsenal ·
I might need to get one for that. Although, I really do like using my Blackwing Pearls in my grade book.
Brook ·
Kuru Toga is the best mech pencil there is. Great balance. Perfect weight. I carry a second with me in case anything happens to the first (Yes, I'm crazy that way).
Bernard Brown ·
Baron Fig, Everyman Grafton Pen, Mont Blanc, Sharbo Zebra,& Uni Kuru Toga
Bernard Capulong ·
Great picks. I have those exact models or something from those brands too!
Bailey Belmont ·
Okay, I tried enough
Katz ·
Great list. I also love the Uni-ball Signo (0.38 for me -- great for margin notes).

The Lamy Safari is a tremendous value and very useful if you want to write quickly and smoothly with minimal hand fatigue. Make sure you get the refillable plunger cartridge replacement. I like to use Noodler's black ink.

Unsolicited plug: Aside from Amazon, JetPens is a tremendous site for shopping, guides, and sampler packs.
Barbara Graves ·
JetPens is incredible. A great pencil I've taken to lately is the Autopoint Jumbo All-American Mechanical Pencil and as simple as you can get I've fallen in love with the Papermate Inkjoy Gel.
EverydayArsenal ·
I like pens a lot. They're what ultimately got me started in the EDC sickne--er--passion. But I moved on from Parker Jotters and Cross pens quite a while ago to USA hand-machined writing utensils like KarasKustoms's Ink and Retrakt, TactileTurn's Mover and Gist, and the ModernFuel pencil, amongst others. Most of them can take a Pilot G2, Parker-style, or Fisher Space Pen refill with little or no work. Those solid metal utensils will outlast me by a long time, and they feel like a nice chunk of quality in-hand.
GeraldB ·
Since you asked:

My favorite pen is the Pilot G-2 Limited. It takes the always-popular G-2 cartridge, and has a metal body. Second favorite is the Pentel EnerGize 0.7mm mechanical pencil. I have to have a pencil, since I have to solve a lot of math problems.
Matteo Pietrobelli ·
Have you ever thought about the Caran D'ache 849 Metal Click Ballpoint pen? It'a perfect EDC tool as well!
I've had that exact Kuru Toga for over a year. It is worth every penny. I also recommend the UNI Jetstream in the normal configuration. You don't have to commit to the "Multi-Pen" version. Both are quality instruments.
As a lefty I swear by 2 pens anymore; Uni-Ball Jetstream (generally use the Fine tip) & the Space Pen.
The Space Pen stays in my right hip pocket when I'm out and about, and I keep at least 2 Jetstream's in my backpack.
Tremendous pens that get the job done. And, yeah, Uni-Ball is a GODSEND for lefties.
Joseph ·
Ticonderoga Black or GTFO.
David Gross ·
I use the Pentel Energel daily, but chose the metal body version, last better against drops and pocket carrying.
Thomas Burton ·
I loved my old Dunhill Revolette, had great feel and balance and wrote so nicely, wish I had never sold it now, as I lost my Fisher Space Cap o matic after only having it a few weeks!!
mike ·
Pilot v5 for life. Started sophmore year of college, now there is nothing I like as much.
Scott ·
I usually like ur list, but if you aren't suggesting a hi tec c you aren't serious at all =D
Ed Jelley ·
I know you're just messing with us, but I've found that the Hi-Tec-C refills aren't as reliable as some of the others out there. There's common complaints of hard starting and ink blobs that aren't present in the Pentel EnerGel, so that's why we recommended it over the Hi-Tec-C :)
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