The Best Pens
Some retractable pens feel (and sound) shaky; this one is solid and glides effortlessly across the page. Quick-dry ink minimizes the risk of smudges. Available in blue, black, and red.
To buy: $40.50 for 12, staples.com.
Featured September 2011
An old-fashioned nib is fun and fancy and gives each stroke John Hancock elegance. Steps up penmanship for important letters and makes filling out forms less of a chore. Available in seven colors.
To buy: $5, walmart.com.
Paper Mate Flair
So beloved, the design has barely changed since its 1963 debut. With its soft tip, the pen relates to paper almost like a tiny brush and needs only a light hand. Available in 16 colors.
To buy: $16 for 12, staples.com.
Sleek, chic, and ultra-thin, it feels delicate in the hand. Plus, one tester left this pen uncapped for a whole weekend and discovered it still delivered a rich, fine line on Monday. Available in 18 colors.
To buy: $2.50, papyrusonline.com.
Paper Mate Silhouette Elite
Perfectly weighted, with an hourglass shape and a rubber grip, it’s downright silky on the page. The white body is easy to spot in your bag. Available in blue, black, and red.
To buy: $6.50 for four, amazon.com.
Uni-Ball Onyx Micro
So sharp, it’s almost scratchy, this pen is a favorite of the Real Simple art department. It worksgreat for checks, since the microfine tip delivers legible carbon copies. Available in blue, black, and red.
To buy: $9 for 12, officedepot.com.
Sharpie Gel Highlighter
Waxy, weird, and fun to use. Most important, it won’t dry out. (Warning: Could inspire excessive highlighting.) Available in five colors.
To buy: $4 for three, walmart.com.
Post-it Flag Pen
Yes, you read that right. Now you can mark important sections without rummaging around the room for sticky notes. The barrel on top contains 50 refillable flags.
To buy: $9 for three, amazon.com.
Pilot FriXion Light
Highlight and erase without harming the paper. Imagine the possibilities when it comes to marking up text-books. Available in five colors.
To buy: $4 for three, amazon.com.