Tag Archives: multi-pen

My Favorite Pens

Sometimes, a notebook is only as good as what you write in it with. A notebook can have the best paper in the world, but it still won’t be enjoyable to use with a crappy pen. Over the years, I’ve tried many different pens, but I’ve finally narrowed my choices down to a few favorites, all gel ink rollerball pens:

Uniball Signo RT 0.38

This is my #1 pen for daily use, and you’ll usually see it as the first thing I try in a notebook I’m reviewing. I love the fine, smooth, opaque line and I have found these pens extremely reliable– they don’t get blobby or scratchy, they don’t skip, and though the bodies and mechanism are lightweight plastic, I’ve never had one break. The body color matches the ink, and it has a rubbery part toward the tip so it’s comfortable to hold. You can even buy refills in a few colors in order not to have to throw out the bodies when the ink is gone. They come in a great range of colors– my favorites are black, blue-black, and lavender-black. (The black and blue-black are available in refills, but for lavender-black, you have to buy a whole pen.) The refills are $1.35 and whole pens are $1.65. There’s also an 8-color set available for $13.00. There’s nothing fancy or flashy about these pens– they just do their job quietly, simply and beautifully.

Uniball Signo MF3 Multi-pen

I definitely have a soft spot for multi-pens. I love the idea of being able to keep multiple ink colors and a pencil with me at all times without having lots of extra pens floating around in my bag. This is probably the best all-around multi-pen I’ve used. This pen includes black and red ink in a 0.5 width, plus a pencil. The thing that really distinguishes it from other multi-pens is the mechanism– you twist the barrel to rotate between the inks. When the pencil is selected, you push down on the cap to advance the lead. There’s an eraser under the cap. I like the twist mechanism because you never have to worry about accidentally retracting the ink you’re writing with if you bump the button that selects another color– some multi-pens can have a hair trigger in this regard. The body is comfortable to write with, with a non-slip rubbery surface at the tip. Though I often prefer the 0.38 width to 0.5, the line this pen gives is also a nice weight, and I always find it writes very smoothly and evenly, with a clean, dark line. The body comes in various colors. The pens are $6.75, and refills are $1.00.

Uniball Style-Fit Multi-pen

Yes, I like the minimalism of carrying one pen, but I also like to maximize my color and line weight choices, which is why I love this pen. This is the Build-a-Bear of multi-pens: you pick the empty pen body , which comes in a variety of colors, and then pick 5 refills to insert, including various ink colors and widths, and a mechanical pencil option. (A slimmer 3-color version is also available.) The first one I bought was a silver body and when I opened the package, I couldn’t help saying “OOOH!” because it looked like a sleek little rocket! About 2/3 of the body length is silver, and then the tip is a clear plastic so you can see the ink colors. (This makes it a wee bit less comfortable to use than the MF3, as you don’t have the softer rubbery surface.) The pen inserts give the same smooth, fine writing experience as the other Uni-ball pens mentioned above, with .28, .38, .5, and .7 weights available. The mechanism for this pen is 5 separate buttons to select the different inks, the clip being one of the 5. If you use the pencil insert, it has to be inserted corresponding to the clip, as an extra push a bit further is what advances the lead. The buttons are sensitive– if you hit one without pushing it down all the way, you’ll retract the ink you’re using. The body is light-weight, and the only concern I’ve had about durability is that with one of these pens, I must have tightened it a bit too much after replacing an ink, and a crack developed. (I have two– the other pen has been opened and screwed closed quite a few times with no cracks.) The empty body is $4.25, ink refills are $1.35-$1.65, the pencil component is $3.00. (There’s also a “Mystar” body for $8.25 which looks a little different, but I haven’t tried one of those… yet!)

Zebra Sarasa 3+S Multi-pen

Most of my pen faves have been Uni-ball, but I also like the Zebra Sarasa pens I’ve tried. This is another multi-pen, this time with black, blue and red inks in a .5 weight, plus a mechanical pencil. It’s very sturdy, and the inks are nice and smooth. One distinguishing feature is that the clip opens wider than most other pens. Again, the buttons are a bit sensitive, perhaps a little more so than on the Style-Fit. But it’s nice that the buttons are the color of the ink within, so it’s easier to see what you’re selecting, and the body has the comfortable soft rubber coating around the tip. The filled body is $10.00 and refills are $1.10. Various body colors are available.


I bought all of these at JetPens, where they have lots of other delectable goodies for pen and notebook lovers. For full disclosure, I have to say JetPens have given me some free pen and notebook samples to review, but I am also a frequent paying customer. Their $25 minimum for free shipping makes it pretty hard to stay away!

How about you? What are your favorite pens?

The First Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper

Welcome to the first edition of the Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper!

Some carnivals have roller coasters, fried dough, and oversized stuffed animals as prizes. This carnival offers just as much fun and variety, if you love handmade Japanese paper, fountain pens, Filofaxes, and 15-year old spiral notebooks. Every month, a different blog will host this traveling collection of the best posts about pens, pencils, notebooks, and other related topics. (More information here and here.)

I’m so excited to be launching the Carnival with such a great collection of posts. The submissions were everything I’d hoped for: a wide range of topics from a variety of blogs, some that I knew well and some new ones I’ve just discovered. It was hard to select a few favorites to highlight as Editor’s Picks, so I chose a few from the blogs that were new to me.

ferris wheel

Editor’s Picks:

archer notebooks

Clement Dionglay presents I Love Notebooks posted at Rants of the Archer.
Nifty says: If this hadn’t been in the carnival, I definitely would have made it an “Addict of the Week” post!


Kim presents Head to Head Highlighters posted at Prosaic Paradise.
Nifty says: you don’t see too many side-by-side highlighter comparisons–especially not ones that conclude that they’ve found the holy grail of highlighters!

blackwing pencil

Blackwing 602 pencil presented by pencil talk, who says, “a pencil review, in fact :-)”
Nifty says: wow, there is an incredible amount of detail and history in this review of a no-longer-made pencil with an unusual design. Great photos too.

dar minutes

Monda presents Reading the Minutes posted at Fresh Ribbon, saying, “Sometimes old notebooks have secrets…”
Nifty says: I love it when notebooks can capture bits of history like this.

Now on to the rest of our carnival, organized by topic.

cotton candy

New Product News

Tom Oddo presents Cross 2009 Fall Line Sneak Peek posted at Goldspot Pens, saying, “New Cross products due out Sept 1st.”

Alberto presents Pentel Slicci 0.8 mm metallic gel pens first impression posted at Lung Sketching Scrolls, saying, “Some sketches and initial review of the new Pentel Slicci 0.8 metallic gel pens”


Notebook Reviews

Sam presents Review: Asda Executive Notebook posted at Future; Nostalgic.”

Judy Hudgins presents School (supply) Time! posted at Knottyneedle, saying, “Just a general statement on the advent of school supply time and notebooks purchased recently”

Michael C presents The Quo Vadis Habana Notebook posted at Takenotesonthis’s Blog, saying, “Hopefully my wonderful experience will radiate through this review. I intended for this review to spark some great interest in not only Habana and Quo Vadis products, but also in all notebook and stationary products alike.”

Flea presents Ode To Shakespeare posted at Be A Survivor.

CynthiaNiklas presents Review: Pen and Paper Test in a Ciak Journal posted at Journaling Arts.

tilt a whirl

Pen Reviews

Nrepose presents Zebra Clip On Multi posted at Unposted.

Okami0731 presents Featured Pen – Retro 51 Cioppino posted at Whatever.

dowdyism presents Review: Zebra F-701 posted at The Pen Addict, saying, “The Zebra F-701 is a pen that has been around for a while, but it is new to me, and many other readers as well.”

Kew L. Ang presents Lamy Safari posted at My So Called Life, saying, “Lamy Safari is an entry level fountain pen and it is also the cheapest from this German Company. The pen has a black chromium plated steel tip and the body was made of ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic. In the middle of the body, there is a little window displaying the ink level and the pen cover has a gigantic clip. At first glance, it is young, chic and colorful. The pen screams our practicality rather than something that look nice on your pocket. The pen comes in Blue, Black, Red, Yellow, Orange and recently in bright Pink as a special edition.”

Margana presents Time for a Purple Fix posted at An Inkophile’s Blog, saying, “Inkophile is about fountain pens, ink, and the paper that suits them best.”

John Hartzog presents Tommy And The Platinum Pro-Use 03 MSD-1000A posted at Pens And Pencils, a drafting pencil review.


Sketchbook Art

Cheryl Lowry presents Ampad 8×5: Notebook of my youth posted at Strikethru.


From Our Own Collections

Nan Barber presents It’s That Time Of Year Again!! posted at Philofaxy.

James presents A Fountain Pen of Note posted at Everyday Correspondence, saying, “Not exactly from my collection, but from Thomas Jefferson’s. On a recent trip to Monticello I was able to photograph this pen from the 1820s. In my post about it, I also mention Jefferson’s ivory notebook and provide a link to the history of Jefferson’s involvement in the development of the modern fountain pen.”

Steve presents Filofax – My Own Story posted at Steve Morton.

Jackie Flaherty presents Pens & Notebooks posted at Letters & Journals, saying, “I am one of those people who collects notebooks and pens unabashedly. I don’t even need a reason to write…just a fine tip pen and smooth writing paper.”

Vintage Writing Keepsakes, because I’m Sick of Talking Politics is presented by No Telling, who says, “…because sometimes the perfect little notebook has a bit of history…”

Mom Birthday Cards Printable is presented by Home Life Weekly, who says, “I have put together my printable Mom Birthday cards to share with you. They are really easy to make all you need to do is download the Mom Birthday Cards print and fold”

Hilary presents Decorative Japanese Bindings posted at A Yen For Paper.

That concludes this edition, but don’t worry, another Carnival will be rolling into town soon! The next edition will be hosted by The Pen Addict on September 8th. Make sure you submit your post by5pm on September 6th using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page. The carnival is organized by me, Nifty at Notebook Stories, so if you have any feedback or suggestions about the frequency or topics of the carnival, or if you’re interested in hosting, please contact me! Thanks for reading!