Everyday Carry

The Best EDC Pens

Authored by:
Bernard Capulong
The Best EDC Pens

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As technology pushes us towards a paperless world, the pen has become somewhat of an endangered species. For many, it’s still an invaluable tool, and one that’s worthwhile to carry. If you’ve ever had to borrow a pen and are considering adding one to your daily kit, we’ve got you covered in this installment of Carry Smarter. After consulting with fellow EDCer friends and resident pen experts, Ed Jelley and the Pen Addict himself, Brad Dowdy, we present our top ten pens that are truly mightier than the sword.

BigiDesign Aluminum Pen and Stylus

These solid pens from BigIDesign combine a pen and a touch-screen stylus into one sleek tool. Constructed from a durable, lightweight aluminum with a super deep-riding pocket clip, the pens are easy to carry. Adding to utility and durability in desirable features for an EDC pen, they also show versatility by taking just about every refill you can throw at it. One common issue is that the pen becomes long and unwieldy when the cap is posted on the end of the pen, however. If don’t need a clicky mechanism, are particular with your pen refills, and often use touchscreens, this pen is for you.

BUY NOW ($59)

Tactile Turn Mover & Shaker

Turning heads among pen addicts are the Mover and its smaller variation, the Shaker—newcomers fresh from their successful Kickstarter campaign. Tactile Turn’s precise machining and attention to detail give these aluminum pens a solid, pristine fit and finish. Its retractable tip deploys a variety of compatible refills via a silent metal knock clicky mechanism, which, combined with a deep clip and aluminum body, makes for a great pocket carry. Even better is its feel in hand: a satisfying heft and innovative micro-groove grip pattern put the Tactile Turn pens in a league of their own.

BUY NOW ($65)

Uniball Signo UM-151

Inexpensive and unassuming, the Signo UM-151 will surely impress. Despite having a plastic body, it’s surprisingly sturdy, especially with its metal tip. Its rubber grip feels great in hand and Uniball’s excellent ink flows smoothly and consistently for a pleasantly comfortable writing experience. Unfortunately, it’s not as quick to access as it lacks a retractable tip, but at least its cap’s clip lets it ride deeply and snugly in the pocket. Available in almost every color of the spectrum, in various widths, and at an attractive pricepoint, it’s worth picking one up.

BUY NOW ($1.99)

Fisher Bullet Space Pen

Famous for its pressurized ink cartridge that writes in zero gravity, underwater, and in other extreme conditions, the Fisher Bullet Space Pen unsurprisingly finds its way into the pockets of many adventurous EDCers. Its compact body and smooth finish let it play nicely with other gadgets, or it can be clipped with a decent friction-grip style pocketclip. It writes adequately well, but its real value lies in reliability to work on practically any surface in any situation.

BUY NOW ($17)

Zebra F-701

A longtime favorite among EDCers, the F-701 is another great value for a durable everyday pen. Its stainless steel body and non-threatening, industrial design ensure it can take some abuse and still go to work. A knurled grip keeps it secure in hand while its clip and retractable tip keep it pocket-friendly. The F-701 really excels, however, after a few DIY modifications — swapping out plastic parts for metal ones and some tinkering here and there gives you an all-metal pen with added Fisher refill compatibility. Admittedly, its writing performance could be smoother and its clip could be a bit beefier. But for the price and some effort, a modded F-701 makes for a great entry-level EDC pen.

BUY NOW ($5)

Sharpie Stainless Steel Permanent Marker

All too often I see permanent markers in pocket dumps with scratched up bodies, faded logos, and worst of all, broken pocket clips. With the Stainless Steel Sharpie, you’ll have an attractive, sturdy marker to withstand daily use. Its solid pocket clip won’t be so prone to snapping, meaning you can always keep it ready in your shirt or pants pocket. Unfortunately for those looking for other colors, this shiny-armored Sharpie marker only accepts black, fine tip refills.

BUY NOW ($4)

Zebra Sharbo X LT3

Zebra’s Sharbo X line of multipens is a multi-tasker’s dream and an excellent option for the student or minimalist EDCer. Its slimmest configuration, the LT3, manages to cram any combination and permutation of up to three components—ballpoint, gel ink, stylus, and mechanical pencil—into a solid brass barrel. The brass’s heft helps make the pen a smooth writer. Unfortunately, its refills are small and expensive for how often they need to be replaced.

BUY NOW ($50)

Rotring 800

For one of the very best pocket-friendly mechanical pencils on the market, look no further than Rotring’s flagship model, the 800. It’s truly a top-notch writing instrument, with a sophisticated, industrial design and solid, all-metal construction. The 800 stands out in particular for its retractable tip—a must-have protective measure on a mechanical pencil for pocket carry. Few pencils feel as luxurious, commanding, and capable as the Rotring. This writing experience comes at a premium, however, so pencil pushers on a budget might need to look elsewhere.

BUY NOW ($55)

Victorinox Manager

Tucked away in the scales of one of Victorinox’s best keychain offerings is a tiny, pressurized ballpoint pen. It sits idly on the sidelines, warming the bench for the other fantastic tools in the Manager’s arguably perfect arsenal, waiting for its time to shine. Humble and patient, the pen implement slides out, only when needed, to jot down a number or to sign a receipt, and stays out of your way otherwise thanks to a clever locking mechanism. The Manager lives up to its name, handling most everyday tasks. It’s my both my favorite keychain SAK and the only keychain pen I’ve found that does its job, even if it does write a bit awkwardly.

BUY NOW ($25)

Kaweco AL-Sport

Fountain pens are usually less than ideal for everyday carry by design: their fragile nibs are often protected by a loose cap, which is easily lost and a hassle to remove when needing to write quickly on the go. But if a smooth, comfortable writing experience is more of a priority than accessibility and reliability in extreme conditions, the Kaweco AL Sport makes for an extra fine EDC fountain pen. Its ability to post the cap both balances the pen when in use and helps prevent it from being lost. An aluminum body helps it stand up to wear and a compact design ensures it doesn’t take up precious real estate in the pocket, which might be the way to go with a pen that only uses a friction grip pocket clip.

BUY NOW ($76)

Bernard Capulong

Founder and Editor-in-Chief

About the Author
Bernard Capulong is an everyday carry (EDC) gear expert, entrepreneur, all-around nerd, and the founder and editor-in-chief of EverydayCarry.com—the largest online community for EDC gear enthusiasts. Since founding Everyday Carry in 2009, he’s built over a decade of experience in the industry, reviewing and highlighting brands and products, including pocket knives, flashlights, wallets, watches, bags, pens, and much more.

Bernard is known for bringing everyday carry out of obscurity and into the mainstream, having been published or featured in various publications such as GQ, TIME Magazine, The New York Times, VICE, HYPEBEAST, Outside, and many others. He has also played a part in curating, designing, and developing digital and physical products, resulting in successful crowdfunding projects or limited edition collaboration products with established softgoods brands. He stays on the pulse of the EDC industry by attending trade shows, participating in online interest communities, and actively engaging with fellow gear enthusiasts on social media.

In addition to being the editor-in-chief and main social media personality for EverydayCarry.com, Bernard is an avid gearhead and collector in general. His personal collections span technical bags, fountain pens, digital cameras, retro gaming hardware, personal hi-fi audio gear, and mechanical wristwatches, to name a few. Bernard Capulong is a prominent figure and trusted authority in the everyday carry industry with a career dedicated to helping people discover this hobby and stay prepared with quality gear.

Discussion (15 total)

Todd ·
The Lamy Safari works for me.
Jorge A Mussuto ·
I like the Fisher Bullet Space Pen:)

For a lefty I really enjoy the Uniball Jetstream. Writes smoothly and dries super fast.
Christopher Meiklejohn ·
Favorite pen.
Robert Taradash ·
Pilot G2-07 should be on here. Karas Kustoms' EDK as well.
Bernard Capulong ·
Thanks for the suggestions, Robert. We're going to update this guide (it's from 2014) with more recent offerings coming soon B)
Frainkie ·
Where's the pilot g2?
The fisher space pen looks cool
William ·
Uni-Ball Vision Fine should be on here, as well as the Pilot G2 07.
Creighton ·
You should look into the Machine Era Pen in black or brass, which uses the Pilot G2 refill.
Nice! I prefer the Kaweco Sport in plastic because of its ability to be easily converted into an eyedropper fountain pen (no need to find the right short international cartridge this way). But, overall nice article!
Eugene Mad Trill Iati ·
how did Tul not make this list?
Mason Delpino ·
I enjoy The Bolt by KarasKustoms. The one I got is made of brass and it has a "bolt action" deploying mechanism which is a lot of fun to use! It's heavy-duty enough to be used as a tactical pen as well, if nothing else is available! Also, the EDC Ink pen will probably become one of my EDC's!
Tommy Pesavento ·
Rotring Ballpoint Pro and Uniball Jetstream.
True utility telepen is the best!

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