Ballpoint Pens

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Even though we spend more and more time on the computer these days, thereís still the need for a trusty ballpoint pen. Whether tried and true or pure luxury, most people may not give much thought to their writing utensil, but we do. We head back to class and see which pen has the ìwriteî stuff.


The Basics

  • If you write a lot, you may want to consider a pen with refillable ink in order to cut down on excess plastic waste.

  • You can buy pens at varying levels of fineness.

    • If you tend to have messy handwriting, a fine tip will help tidy things up.

    • Fast note takers may find a medium tip to sail faster across the paper.

  • If people tend to borrow your pen a lot, you might want to go with a less expensive option since it will likely disappear often.


We tested:

  • BIC Cristal: 35¢
  • Paper Mate Capped: 35¢
  • Sanford PhD Ultra: $12
  • Mont Blanc Classic 164: $330

Ink Test

Using a special lathe that spiraled until each pen expired, we tested which one lasted the longest:

  • 4th place: BIC wrote 1,509 ft.
  • 3rd place: Mont Blanc wrote 3,360 ft.
  • 2nd place: Paper Mate wrote 4,725 ft.
  • 1st place: Sanford wrote 5,289 ft.

Writing Test

  • Sanford was the pick of our male writer; he liked the larger ergonomic grip and smudge-free writing.

  • For us note takers with smaller hands, we all preferred the economical Paper Mate for its perfect glide as you moved across the page.

  • The Mont Blanc is obviously for those with champagne tastes and is good for signing those big cheques. But for those who do a lot of writing, the weight of it got us down…not to mention the heavy price tag.


If you like a little more substance to your pen, consider the Sanford PhD Ultra. However, we were pretty satisfied by the Paper Mate.


top of page | | back to posts |
  • Subscribe to the A&K Newsletter