A smooth writing tool has always seemed like a true luxury. Those who write for a living like to say that “words come out like butter” when the craft is flowing just right. The same word – “buttery”- is a great way to describe how it feels to use a gel pen.
How do gel pens work? A gel pen features pigment that is suspended in a water-based gel. The design is based on old-school ink pens, which worked by having a reservoir filled with ink. These pens from Paper Mate feature ergonomic comfort grips and offer a 0.7-millimeter medium point. Because we know you love trivia, the brand’s name “Paper Mate” actually was the nickname of one of the first pens developed by The Frawley Pen Co. back in 1949 because the ink dried instantly. This gel pack includes 14 colors, each too whimsical to repeat here.
Buy Now: Paper Mate Gel Pens | InkJoy Pens, Medium Point, Assorted, 14 Count
As practical as a pencil
So this pen is actually erasable? Pilot’s FriXion pen boasts a unique thermo-sensitive ink that can be erased without ruining the paper. It can also be refilled with ink. Wow. Chances are we’ll lose the pen – we always do – before it runs out of ink. Pilot knows the pen business – the company was formed back in 1916 in Japan. Today, it has subsidiaries all over the world. These gel pens come in a variety of colors: black, blue, red, turquoise, purple, navy, pink, and green.
Buy Now: PILOT FriXion Clicker Erasable, Refillable & Retractable Gel Ink Pens
Ever wonder why gel pens come in so many colors? It’s because compared with other inks, gel ink has a higher melting point viscosity – sorry, we should have warned you the answer was nerdy. Basically, this viscosity can accommodate a higher number of colors because the pigments aren’t washed away by water once the ink has dried. Dazzle your science teacher with that trivia next time. If it makes it easier, just picture a gel pen as a tiny paintbrush – the same principles apply.
Buy Now: Sharpie S-Gel, Gel Pens, Medium Point (0.7mm), Assorted Colors, 12 Count
Here’s one bizarre fact about gel pens: They resist standard analytical measures of being measured for age. It turns out the U.S. Secret Service maintains an ink library and has a system called “thin-layer chromatography” to determine the manufacturer and age of most inks. But the pigments in gel ink don’t dissolve and therefore can’t be analyzed in this manner.
Buy Now: Uni-ball 207 Retractable Gel Pen 12 Pack in Black with 0.7mm Medium Point Pen Tips
A true kaleidoscope
The difference between a ballpoint pen and a gel pen is – get ready for this tongue-twister – thixotropic action. A ballpoint’s ink collects at the end of the pen, giving a sometimes inconsistent appearance when used. (That’s why you’re always feeling the urge to shake your pen.) A gel pen’s contents also remain still and undisturbed until it’s used when action causes the gel’s viscosity to debase and become liquid, offering a more precise delivery.
Buy Now: Shuttle Art 120 Unique Colors Gel Pen Set