Any office supply enthusiast will tell you that a pen is never just a pen. There are plenty of folks out there who understand good teacher pens can be the difference between getting the job done or putting it off — again. And when it comes to lesson planning and grading papers, putting your work off can have a ripple effect that nobody wants to deal with.
So whether you’re planning ahead to the next school year or you’re looking for a bit of inspiration to get through the spring semester, we’ve put together a list that has a little something for everyone. From classic BIC pens that everyone knows and loves to new-fangled erasable pens and from fine point Sharpies to an affordable fountain pen, this list is chock full of office supply retail therapy. Ahead you’ll find the 20 best pens for teachers.
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1. Paper Mate Gel Pens InkJoy Pens
With an ergonomic grip that wraps around the entire pen, Papermate Inkjoy pens are comfortable enough for lengthy writing or grading sessions. These teacher pens also boast a drying time that’s three times faster than most gel pens, so there’s no fear of smears or smudges.
2. iBayam Journal Planner Pens
Jam-packed with 18 vibrant colors, these pens are great for just about anything. Whether it’s outlining an essay prompt, grading that stack of papers, or breaking the monotony of managing your calendar, these journal planner pens offer plenty of color choices (18 in all) to keep things interesting. These pens feature intense water-based color with minimal bleed through, and the felt tips are super-fine, so if you need a minute with an adult coloring book to find your zen, you can do that too.
3. Pilot G2 Premium Gel Pens Fine Point Gel Ink
Not only is the Pilot G2 gel pen the #1 selling pen in America, but it also earned the Good Housekeeping seal of approval. These pens are ergonomically designed with a wide comfort grip for all-day comfort and less cramping. Pilot’s G2 gel teacher pens are smudge-proof (so they’re great for lefties), and the ink won’t bleed through your papers. While G2 is also proven to be the longest writing gel pen, there are refills available for purchase.
4. Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip, Purple
Papermate’s felt tip flair pens are one of the best pens for teachers because they dry quickly, and there’s little to no bleed-through. Of course, purple is always an excellent choice for grading papers because it cushions the blow of full-page markup.
5. Pilot FriXion Clicker Erasable Gel Ink Pens
If you like the flexibility and impermanence of pencils but prefer the look and feel of a pen, try the Pilot Frixion erasable gel pen. With an erasable, thermo-sensitive gel ink, nothing is written in stone (this may not be the best choice for grading papers). The Pilot Frixion pen writes smoothly and erases cleanly with no ink ghosting. Even better, there’s no wear and tear, so you can write, erase, and rewrite without tearing the page.
6. Pilot Metropolitan Collection Fountain Pen
Fountain pens are usually off the list for teachers for plenty of reasons; efficiency, price, and sticky little fingers are just a few that come to mind. But with this fountain pen by Pilot, you can easily add a little “fancy” to your day. This pen features an elegant black barrel, silver accents, and it comes with a 12-pack of refills. At least that takes care of efficiency and price…
7. Amazon Basics Felt Tip Marker Pens
If you’re a fan of Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip pens but not so crazy about the price, Amazon offers an affordable alternative. These pens feature a no-fray felt tip, highly pigmented water-based colors, and they’re smear-resistant. The best part is that you get 24 beautiful pens for less than $16.
8. Uni-Ball Vision Elite Rollerball Pens
The Uni-Ball Vision Elite offers a smooth writing experience with consistent color intensity for the life of the pen. As an added bonus, it features archival quality ink (also known as Uni Super Ink) that protects against fraud and fading so no one can tamper with your checks or that C+.
9. Pentel Retractable Liquid Gel Pen
Pentel’s Energel RTX is where standard ink and gel ink meet, and the result is a smooth writing experience. Pentel’s Energel gel ink also dries quickly, so there’s no smudging, smears, or pooling. These pens feature a colorful assortment of barrels and refined metal accents for a stylish stylus. What’s more, the latex-free grip offers exceptional comfort and control.
10. Inspirational Sayings Uni-Ball Retractable Gel Pens
If you need a little motivation to grade a few more papers, try these retractable gel pens from Uni-Ball, with inspirational sayings. Perhaps a reminder to “seize the day” or “embrace the journey” are all you need to make it over the hump. These pens feature a soft gel grip and fade-resistant ink that even stands up to liquid spills. This three-pack features an assortment of black, blue, and red ink.
11. BIC Cristal Xtra Smooth Ballpoint Pen
This pen is an oldy but a goody. BIC Cristal pens are some of the best pens for teachers because they are inexpensive, so when little hands make off with them, it won’t hurt your feelings, and they’re always a dependable standby. For those who don’t like fat pens, this one has a slim grip, and they’re available in a slew of colors.
12. Zebra Pen Z-Grip Retractable Ballpoint Pen
Zebra Pen’s Z-Grip features low viscosity black ink (so it requires less pressure), and it delivers a smooth and skip-less writing experience. The soft latex-free grip feels great in your hands, and the clear barrel lets you easily keep tabs on your ink supply.
13. Pilot Dr. Grip Gel Ink Rolling Ball Pen
Designed with perfect weight distribution in the barrel and a cushioned ergonomic grip, Pilot’s Dr. Grip pen offers a balanced writing experience and keeps writing stress at bay. It’s so comfortable, in fact, that it received a commendation from the Arthritis Foundation. These teacher pens are available in medium and fine points and blue, black, or red smear-resistant ink. To make things easy, they’re refillable with Pilot G2 refills.
14. TUL Retractable Gel
These TUL pens are a fan favorite through and through. From its clean and sophisticated design to a smooth and balanced writing experience, it checks all the right boxes. What’s more, this eight-pack comes in a variety of vibrant colors, so you have plenty of wiggle room to keep things interesting for you and your students.
15. BIC 4-Color Pen and Pencil
This pen is a fantastic blast from the past, and it’s kind of hard not to crack a little smile (or feel total joy, as I recently did in Target) when you spot one. During its heyday, it was the epitome of efficiency, four pen colors in one, what? Today BIC is still in the game, but they’ve upped the ante with three pen colors and a pencil in one, plus refills. If you were wondering, nostalgia is never a bad reason to click “add to cart.”
16. Uni-Ball Jetstream RT Ballpoint
Lefties, this one’s for you. The Uni-Ball Jetstream is one of the best pens for teachers because the soft grip offers superior control for a comfortable writing experience. What’s more, the hybrid ink dries lightning fast, so lefties need not worry about smudges and smears as their hands drag across the page.
17. Sharpies Ultra Fine Point
It’s hard to argue that Sharpies have a legion of fans among teachers. And while markers are always reliable and great for almost anything, sometimes you need a finer tip — enter, Ultra-Fine Sharpies. These pens make our list as one of the best pens for teachers because they are infinitely versatile for busy classrooms. Use them for writing notes, grading papers, and labeling just about anything. This pack comes with 24 dazzling colors, and the pens are quick-drying, waterproof, smear-proof, and fade-resistant.
18. Pilot Markliter Stick Pen & Highlighter
We love teacher pens that do multiple jobs! Sometimes you need a pen, sometimes you need a highlighter, and with this clever twofer, you have everything you need right at your fingertips. The Pilot Markliter features a cushioned barrel for a comfortable writing experience, with a black ballpoint pen on one side and a yellow chisel point highlighter on the other.
19. Paper Mate Profile Retractable Ballpoint
These Paper Mate Profile teacher pens feature a soft rubberized grip for a comfortable writing experience, and it looks like it has quite the cult following with thousands of five-star reviews. Even better, this 12 pack features an interesting color selection like brown, orange, plum, and lime to help you bring your writing to life.
20. Pilot Fineliner Erasable Marker Pens
Did someone say erasable marker? Yep, you read that right. Using the same thermosensitive ink as their counterpart, the Pilot FriXion pens, you can write and erase to your heart’s content — without tearing the page. This set of markers feature a fine tip, so they’re great for writing and calendar maintenance that’s anything but ordinary. This set includes 12 vibrant color markers, they won’t bleed through your papers, and did we mention they’re erasable?
While everyone has their own idea of what makes the perfect teacher pens, there are few criteria that tend to come up repeatedly. Most folks look for a good hand feel, a cushioned grip, and a smooth writing experience. Pretty pens, elegant designs, and built-in erasers are just nice little bonuses that we all enjoy. Did your favorite make the list?