Bullet journaling is slowly picking up pace as a hugely productive habit that begins with you and a blank journal, and your creativity and effort can help you go from there.
From maintaining emotion calendars to jotting down thoughts and tasks, your creativity can create a powerful task management system that doesn’t need any batteries to work at peak efficiency. Your creativity is also put to work.
However, with the use of a bullet journal, comes the question of pens. While it is an arbitrary choice for many bullet journal novices, those who have been bullet journaling for a while know that it’s not as easy as simply buying any pen and getting to work.
As it so happens, pens can bleed, ghost, and give erratic ink flow, and some pens on the market are downright undependable or unusable.
Image via Matt Ragland@mattragland
With this, we begin today’s journey into bullet journaling pens – pens that will always give you the required performance. Pens are critical to bullet journaling efficiency and clarity – hence, we present reviews of 10 of the best pens on the market. All of these suit different requirements but are all extremely reliable.
Once we’re done, we’ll walk you through choosing pens for bullet journaling, making sure you pick the best pens and enjoy your bullet journaling experience to the fullest. Let’s begin!
Best Pens for Bullet Journal
Table of Contents
- Best Pens for Bullet Journal
- 1. Paper Mate Flair Porous-Point – Best for Bullet Journaling
- 2. Pilot MR Retro – Best for Comfortable Long Writing
- 3. Sharpie Pen, Medium Point – Best for Versatile Use
- 4. Tombow Dual Brush Pen – Best for Artistic Journaling
- 5. Tombow Fudenosuke – Best for Calligraphy and Art
- 6. Staedtler Triplus Fineliners
- 7. Marvy Le Pen
- 8. Staedtler Pigment Liner Sketch Pens
- 9. Faber-Castell Manga Pitt Pens
- 10. Paper Mate Flair Felt-Tipped Pen
- Best Pen For Bullet Journal Comparison Table
- Frequently Asked Questions
Image via Estée Janssens@esteejanssens
Here is the list of the 10 best pens for bullet journals that you can use to create beautiful layouts, express your creativity, and organize your thoughts.
1. Paper Mate Flair Porous-Point – Best for Bullet Journaling
This pen gives you the perfect grip and comes in a set of 8 colors – perfect for your bullet journaling needs, but these will definitely find much more use as you get used to them. While their ink is strong, the pen features Point Guard technology which makes sure the ink does not bleed through the page.
- A true classic
- Felt tip provides bold and expressive lines great...
This pen comes with ultra-fine (and hence, slightly delicate) tips which ensure your handwriting is as clear as it can possibly be. These pens write well – they also ensure that you don’t get any smudges or blemishes on the page. Further, these pens can last for months even if you do bullet journaling regularly. This pen is best for precise filling, drawing, or fine details in sketches.
These provide a medium point line, but at the same time, are not too heavy while being written with. The water-based ink takes hardly any time to dry, and the ink does not seep through pages no matter how much ink you manage to get on the page. These pens are also wonderful for when you have to edit documents, papers or applications.
- Gives precise handwriting and details in sketches and diagrams
- Lasts for months on end even with constant use
- Ink simply won’t seep through regardless of the ink you might be having on the page
- Slightly more fragile than you’d expect pens to be
2. Pilot MR Retro – Best for Comfortable Long Writing
This is the first fountain pen on this list. While no longer in much use in academia or professional spaces, you should definitely consider switching to fountain pens when you have long writing tasks at hand, especially if you like long accounts and entries. These feel nearly weightless after hours of use – you’d find it very difficult to switch back to ballpoint pens!
This pen is a very inexpensive yet effective way to maximize your bullet journaling efficiency. While other pens may be more precise, this gives you superior comfort while writing and jotting things down. Also, the tactile, somewhat antique feel of a fountain pen is unmatchable by the ironically heavier ballpoint pens. The pen ships with a squeeze guard and a black cartridge.
For those new to fountain pens, the pen ships with a small guide on how to refill. It’s finished with a high-quality stainless steel nib, and the accent ring adds to the “retro” feel of the pen. The quality is top-notch, however, there is some extra care required to not allow ink to spill. Blemishes are uncommon as well. It makes for a sophisticated and elegant writing tool.
- Fountain pens have unmatchable look and feel, great to touch and use
- Can virtually be used with any color of ink you can get your hands on, you can use multiple cartridges to give different colors without changing pens all the tim
- Comes in a variety of colors, high quality construction
- It’s somewhat easier to mess up, inks need to be handled with care
3. Sharpie Pen, Medium Point – Best for Versatile Use
These pens have been on the market for ages, and they make a lot of sense when it comes to bullet journaling. This is because they can give felt-tip-like lines, but can also write like a regular ballpoint just as well. No smudges, no bleeding, just pure performance. While available in a multitude of colors, it’s best if you stick to black for journal entries, layouts, and boundaries.
- 4 Pack of Black Ink Pens
- Perfect for taking notes, journaling, writing...
This pen has been around forever. What makes them the de facto choice for so many is the ink, the body style, and the bold impact they leave on the paper. The black ink is felt-tip but doesn’t have any of the smudging and random stray ink patterns that they make. It’s versatile enough for use in post-it notes, flashcards, and entries in your bullet journal.
An effortless overall experience, precise and high-quality legible ink, as well as a comfortable build that ensures use that your hands enjoy rather than resist, are what define this pen. Further, if you’re concerned about safety, you should know that this pen has been certified as non-toxic by the AP. A fulfilling, effortless, high-quality writing experience is guaranteed.
- The tip is very versatile, can be used for drawing layouts as well as multiple journal entries
- Gives crisp and legible text
- Effortless to use even for long periods of writing
- Comes in a number of different colors
- Might be too thick to be used by those desiring a fine tip
4. Tombow Dual Brush Pen – Best for Artistic Journaling
Brush lettering is gaining pace as a fun and colorful way in which your bullet journaling experience becomes much more interesting. The Tombow Dual Brush is a perfect way to start as well as a great tool for those who’ve been using brush lettering for long. The colors can also be combined to create new shades – a top choice for the more artistic bullet journal writers.
- Ideal for fine art, brush lettering, faux...
- Set of 9 colors and 1 blender pen, with flexible...
Colored, alcohol-based inks are often associated with a pungent odor, harmful acidic, and poisonous inks. They also tend to bleed across pages – the Tombow has none of these problems and delivers an equally colorful experience. They use water-based inks and hence are more prone to being faded after a long time. Better for bullet journals than archives, then.
Even if you end up spilling water, you can rest assured – your inks won’t bleed to the lower pages of your journal. You can create complicated patterns and draw complex elements with ease using these pens. The black ink is simply stunning and wonderful to use as well. The tips are strong enough for heavy use, and the colors themselves are punchy and vibrant.
- Comes with high quality inks which don’t bleed, even under spillage
- The brush tip is strong enough for sustained use
- Much safer than comparable alcohol based inks, give equivalent performance
- Not long lasting enough for serious artwork, best for short lifetime pieces and bullet journals
5. Tombow Fudenosuke – Best for Calligraphy and Art
The Fude, as it is known in bullet journaling circles, has gained something of a reputation. The pigmented, black, water-based inks are not only perfect for bullet journaling but are also equally useful for all sorts of artistic activities. An increase or decrease in pressure can give you fine, extra-fine, or medium levels of width – so a single pen can effectively do the job of three!
- Contains both the soft and hard tip Fudenosuke...
- Features a flexible brush tip for...
The Fude is in a league of its own, so to speak. Artists and cartoonists swear by this pen, as it can provide a smooth, consistent line as and when required – but at the same time, the width can be adjusted simply by changing the way you hold the pen. These pens are among the best bullet journaling pens – you can create priority lists by changing pressure to get different widths.
Further, this pen can be had in a hard tip or the soft tip. The hard tip is useful when you need a consistent and prominent line – boxes, layouts, word bubbles, and so on. The soft tip can be adjusted much more by applying pressure, and hence, it’s best for variance among strokes in terms of length and speed. For long journal entries, we recommend the soft tip.
- Comes with two kinds of tips which are both useful in various situations
- Changing pressure somehow transforms the width and effect of the line that you draw
- Black pigment ink is wonderful in color, inks are archival
- The soft tip, while pressure variant, can break easily if too much pressure is applied
6. Staedtler Triplus Fineliners
This set of pens gives you the freedom to draw and write as you deem fit. This is made possible by the fine tip of this pen, which has all of the colors and the writing quality of the more famous “rollerball” pens. It differs from rollerballs by not allowing the ink to bleed over to the next page. The pencil-like triangular shape is one of the truly unique features, allowing for a better grip.
- Assembly Required: No, Ink Color: Assorted, Tip:...
- Features: Acid-free Ink
The pen is available as a standalone set in black as well as a set of 10 or 20 colors. We’d recommend going in for the colored set because that’s where you see the magic. This pen comes with an ultrafine 0.3mm tip, which allows you to create superb details in your journal without much effort. The ink is also laudable – it dries fast and lasts long.
Scores of bullet journal writers swear by this pen for minute details. The metal-clad tip adds a level of sophistication and strength to the pen. However, since this is a very fine pen, the nib can easily break if you’re not careful with the pressure you apply. Otherwise, this pen is wonderful and our top choice when it comes to ultrafine detailing and drawing pens.
- Triangular shape gives you wonderful grip over the pen
- Metal-clad tip on such a lightweight pen isn’t something you’d generally expect
- Colors are punchy, the detailing comes out just right
- Very prone to being broken, handle with care
7. Marvy Le Pen
If you want the best comprehensive bullet journaling experience, you’re best off buying a set of Marvy Le Pens, simply because they’re incredibly well-suited for drawing and writing. The inks are known to last through extreme cold or extreme summer. They can give your handwriting a unique touch because of the inks, and your drawings also come out accurately.
- Extra fine point for thin straight lines
- Ink is water and rub resistant
The Marvy Le Pens are some of the brightest and most vivid pens you’ll come across. The colors are punchy and bold – a far cry from the generic, dull, and bland ballpoint pen you might’ve gotten used to in college. You also don’t have to worry about smudging, blemishes, or bleeding through the pages. They also do not take much time to dry.
They are also certified as non-toxic and do not have the irritating odor certain other brands of pens have. If you’re a student, you’ll have fun taking notes in class with these too. Your handwriting comes out very legibly and accurately. For those who are into doodles and drawing, these pens offer the best compromise between accuracy and heft.
- The dye based ink is vivid, poignant and breathes life into any drawing or journal entry
- Smudge, blemish and bleeding resistant, but only in the absence of water
- Proven to be chemically safe and non-odorous
- The nib sometimes goes inside the pen if used under too high a pressure
8. Staedtler Pigment Liner Sketch Pens
While the products above were all pens of some sort, we now come towards sketch pens. Sketch pens are a cool addition to your bullet journaling toolkit because they’re the best for highlighting things and making your journal come alive. Pens just can’t deliver the solidity and feel of a sketch pen. The Staedtler Pigment Liner happens to be an amazing sketch pen.
- Pigment liner bonus sketch set of 6 line widths
- 4+2 free pack in stand up easel case
The Staedtler Pigment Liner comes in a set of 4 or 6 sketch pens – all have a different width. The pens go from a width of around 0.1mm to 0.7mm, and all have black ink. The thickness is precise, and applying pressure does not imply that there will be smudging or weird dots all around the journal when you’re sketching or drawing.
These are often recommended for bullet journaling because of their ink quality, the legibility and crispness of the drawing or sketch you may make, as well as their inherent heft and feel while drawing. Bullet journal stencils often have limitations, but this sketch pen is perfect for use if you prefer drawing with stencils. A wonderful addition to any bullet journal enthusiast’s tools.
- Sketch pen ink quality is outstanding
- Comes with a thickness suitable for all kinds of drawing applications as well as professional use
- Can be used very well with bullet journal stencils
- Sketch pen inks are notorious for having bleeding issues if used carelessly
9. Faber-Castell Manga Pitt Pens
If you’re serious about drawing and detailing, this set of pens is probably one of the best on the market. It comes with a wide variety of pens which are all different in color (subtly), and comes with a medium-heft felt tip pen as well as a somewhat thinner felt tip pen. The colors are all tones of grey and black, and allow you to draw complex structures accurately.
- FABER-CASTELL-PITT Artist Pens: Manga Drawing Set
- Portray your manga illustrations with these...
For those of you who like to have some extra detailing in your bullet journals, this is perhaps your best bet. The colors are all on point, and the finish is waterproof and incredibly precise. The brush tips make a consistent line and the colors are nice for adding small details to doodles. They are known to bleed on thinner pieces of paper, so be careful.
They make a lot of sense for those wanting to detail watercolors, due to their waterproof ink. You can also use these to trace other drawings accurately.
- Colors are rare, and are all wonderfully finished
- Small details these pens add are next only to professional artistic tools
- Brush tips are all consistent
- Known to bleed, so make sure you keep some padding or absorbent material between pages
10. Paper Mate Flair Felt-Tipped Pen
The last item on our list is by trusty old Paper Mate. Their Flair series of felt-tipped pens have consistently been rated as some of the best on the market, and the reasons are aplenty. 12 vivid colors, 0.7mm thickness for drawing a perfect medium line, and comes with a water-based ink which allows it to not bleed under any condition.
- Add a blast of fun to all your writing with bright...
- Medium Point felt tip (0.7mm) produces clear,...
Pick up any random review of the Flair series online, and you’ll know exactly how good they are. Scores of people use them daily to draw, doodle, design, color, and make their world more colorful. This makes them perfect for your bullet journal as well! You can make those perfect weighty medium-thickness lines and the point guard ensures you won’t have any fraying on tips.
Drawing over multiple times might cause some bleeding. Also, the inks are somewhat smaller than the almost-infinite ink tanks that older models used to have. Otherwise, it remains a top choice, no matter how you choose to draw.
- Colors are bright, vivid and solid
- Medium thickness is perfect for giving emphasis and drawing shapes
- Does not bleed unless excessively used
- Ink runs out very quickly
Best Pen For Bullet Journal Comparison Table
|Product||Ink Color||No. of Pieces||Point Type|
|Paper Mate Pens||Assorted||8||Fine|
|Pilot MR Retro Pen||Black||1||Fine|
|Tombow Dual Brush Pens||Assorted||10||Fine|
|Tombow Fudenosuke Pens||Black||2||Extra fine, fine, medium|
|Staedtler Triplus Fineliners||Assorted||20||Fine|
|Marvy Le Pens||Assorted||10||Fine|
|Staedtler Pigment Liner Pens||Black||6||Assorted|
|Faber-Castell Manga Pitt Pens||Assorted||6||Fine|
|Paper Mate Flair Felt-Tipped Pens||Assorted||16||Medium|
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the differences between the pens for bullet journals?
The main difference between the pens for bullet journals is the type of tip they have.
Fine-point pens have a very thin tip, while brush pens have a thicker, more flexible tip.
Some pens are also waterproof, which is great for creating vibrant, long-lasting art.
Does it matter what type of ink the pen uses?
Yes, it does. Most pens for bullet journals use pigment-based ink, which is waterproof and fade-resistant. This type of ink is ideal for creating artwork that won’t fade over time.
What kind of paper should I use with my pens for bullet journals?
When using pens for bullet journals, it’s best to use paper that is specifically designed for use with fountain pens. This type of paper is thicker and has more absorbency, which helps to prevent ink from bleeding or feathering.
How do I store my pens for bullet journals?
It’s important to store your pens for bullet journals in a safe place, such as a pen case or container. This will help to keep them from getting damaged or lost.
Are there any tips for maintaining my pens for bullet journals?
Yes, there are. It’s important to keep your pens clean and store them in a safe place.
Always make sure the caps are securely closed when not in use and never leave them in direct sunlight or a hot car.
Selecting the perfect pen greatly enhances the experience of bullet journaling by providing a comfortable grip, a smooth and vivid writing experience, and ensuring the ink does not bleed through the page.
From the above 10 best pens for bullet journals, here are the top three expert recommendations:
For precise filling, drawing, or fine details in sketches, the Paper Mate Flair Porous-Point is an ideal option.
For those seeking a tactile and elegant fountain pen, the Pilot MR Retro is a good option.
If you want an all-around versatile pen that excels in both writing and drawing layouts, the Sharpie Pen, Medium Point is the right choice.
With this, we bring our reviews to a close. We’ve managed to cover a wide variety of pens, from felt tips to sketch pens, ballpoints, and fine-line pens.
Whether you like to draw, doodle, sketch, or keep your bullet journal precise and to the point, these pens above are the best in the business. Make an informed decision – and enjoy bullet journaling!