Planners are meant for PLANNING, which means a lot of writing. This post is going to talk the best pens for planners, and more specifically the best black finer-liner pens I use in my happy planner (but will work with any of the other high quality planners)
I am a planner addict. I don’t use a ton of stickers (although I do love my Washi) and I really USE my planner to plan my day intentionally.
But I just go INSANE if I have a bad pen. So, I decided to take the test to see which ones I liked best.
Best Pens for Planners
Pen or pencil for your planner?
I carry both. I have two pen-loops on my Happy Planner and I always have both on hand. For each day, I mainly use a fine-tip pen, but for planning a few days in advance or on the month view I use a pencil.
FAQ’s about Pens in Planners:
What am I looking for in a good pen for my planner?
Best No Bleed Pens for Planners
This mean if you can see the pen on the back side of the paper. There is also “shadowing” where you can just faintly see the pen. I prefer neither of these.
Fine Tip Planner Pens
I really enjoy writing small and having a very fine tip. I have pretty good handwriting and I like to jam a lot into my planner boxes. So, an extra fine tip pen is my favorite. I even prefer it in my color pens, although it’s not as important.
Colored Pens in Planners
Full Disclosure: Some of the pens listed were sent to me for me to review, many I bought on my own, but these are my total and honest opinions, I was not paid to post by them.
Personally, I would put LePen, Sharpie and The Sakura Micron in their own categories.
They aren’t the type of pen I would use every day — but I do carry them around for different reasons (I sometimes love using color pens for color coding in my planner)
LePen is awesome for their huge range of colors. They’re a great pen, they write really well — but their colors are SO bright and bold. Recently, I took a class where I knew I wanted to share my notes with friends. Putting each section in different colors helped my brain, but also made the notes way more readable for myself and friends. They also have a less-bold set that comes with extra blacks and blues (their blue pen is awesome).
Sharpie Ultra Fine Point has been my go-to for writing on Washi. it never smears and I keep one on hand all the time. I use Washi to plan my editorial calendar. It is just an easy way for move-able events. OR, if you have glossy stickers. Sharpie is the one!
buut…. I LOVE the Tombow Mono Twin. It’s a bit pricier than the Sharpie but the versitility of the larger nib and the smaller one makes my heart swoon. Again, no smearing, on washi or stickers. #swoon.
Sakura Micron is the best for bold, black writing. I do not like their colored pens as much as I like the LePens. BUT, for black writing, I just don’t think they can be beaten. They’re so smooth and delicious. Just too bold for my every-day pen. Personally. I prefer the PN vs the other one (But both are fine)
I am in LOVE With these Tombow Pens. They’re some of my favorite to color in designs. The colors are so vibrant, and I love how they come with a blender. If you want to just write in your planner I LOVE how thin these twin tones are, also from Tombow. Good stuff — SO bright and colorful!
Papermate Flair Pens are some of the most popular felt-tipped pens. I found that they bleed a bit, and the pack I bought had a lot of ink that was leaking out (leaving it on my fingers). I still love them, and use them in my scripture journal.
One more set that is worth note are the Spectrum Noir Artliners. A few things I LOVED about this set: ZERO bleeding. None, no shadowing, but still plenty of good ink on the front of the page. I loved the large variety of sizes. The 005 makes my heart swoon — but there’s also a lovely thick one. Pretty awesome!
Colored Pens that Don’t Bleed Through
I haven’t found that any of those pens bleed TOO much. I sometimes see some shadowing if I go over an area more than once — so you might need to be careful with that.
Using Colored Pens on Black Paper?
Oh my gosh, I can’t not mention how much I LOVE these Spectrum Noir metallic pens. I seriously want a full black notebook — they are AMAZING!!!! I know a lot of people like to pan on black, and these would be an awesome fit! Their metallic colored pencils also do a great job.
Eraseable Pens in Planners
Honestly, up until now I haven’t even THOUGHT about using an “eraseable” pen in my planner. Until I heard about the Pilot Fixion pen. While I don’t have a whole lot of experience with it — I am loving what I have heard:
- The eraser is used via friction (vs rubber) — so there are no bits of eraser left
- Pen erases cleanly, vs the old erasable pens you might remember from high school
- You may still have the pressure on the paper left behind, but that can’t really be helped.
- I have heard that in the cold or heat the pen may disappear — so I would definitely not use this in a planner you want to remember forever (or checks or any other documents).
Best black pens for planners 2019
Ok, so I narrowed mine down after a lot of research.
I knew I wanted a VERY fine tip. I have super small writing, so a super fine line is important to me, to be able to pack in a lot of info in a small space.
Also, because I write a lot — writing smoothly is REALLY important to me — and you’ll see that as I review these.
MOST of these pens (and frankly, most pens anymore) are a gel ink. Most dry pretty quickly, but I will note if they don’t. I don’t use fountain pens. Maybe just to worried about smears.
Prices are current as of March 2018.
Signo Uniball Ultra Micro 207 Planner Pen
Initially, I tried this and found it really scratchy. A lot of these fine tip pens seem to be like writing with a pen tip. Which, isn’t my favorite.
However, I tried this one for a week and ended-up REALLY liking it. I got used to that scratchy-tip feeling. I ended up a fan. But I still don’t love the ease of use or how smoothly it writes.
Pilot G2 05 Planner Pen
In my initial test, I loved this. It doesn’t have that pin-type tip, so it was smoother to write with. It’s a bit thicker than the other two.
I still REALLY like these pens. Super smooth. Still, a huge favorite, especially if I have a lot to write (I find my hand gets less tired because it’s so smooth.
Pentel Energel 03 Planner Pen
This one really is like writing with a pin. I didn’t give it a full week’s trial because it was so scratchy. I plan to try it soon though.
For the past few months, I’d been using a thicker Energel (which I felt was too thick for my tiny writing) and I really liked it — so I hope to commit to this pen for a week to see what I think.
There they are in real writing in my planner. None of them had any bleeding or shadowing.
My Favorite Black Planner Pen for 2020
Initially, the winner was the UniBall Signo Ultra Micron 207. I had my husband try the 3 as well, and he found that one to be the winner for its fine tip and smoothness of writing. However, right now I’m using the Tombow Mono Twin, a Ticonderoga Pencil and the Pilot G2 05 most often in my planner. The G2 is just easier to write with, smoother. They all make me very happy.
So, do you have a favorite? Tell me in the comments.
In the meantime print out my hexie stickers for use in your planner. If you print them on non-glossy stickers, you could use any of these pens on them — and I absolutely love using them. 🙂 And check out my other planning posts below that.