This story was originally published on July 1 and updated on July 20.
Throw it back to middle school with these vibrant gel pens. You probably remember keeping at least four gel pens on your desk at a time to color-code your notes. Or maybe you doodled instead. We’re not judging. No matter how you used your gel pens, you probably got a kick out of writing in pink, purple and orange ink. The smooth ink from the gel pen made it easy to read your own writing. Even if your handwriting wasn’t exactly neat.
It’s time to bring back gel pens into your life. Whether you’re a bullet journal convert or live and die by your meticulously crafted to-do list, you could use some gels pens. Gel pens last longer than your average pen, and the ink dries fast and smooth. You can go with a classic black pen set and always have one on-hand. Or you can go ham color-coding your planner and calendar with a set of bright pens. If you loved shopping for new school supplies every year, take that energy and treat yourself to some high-quality pens. Elle Woods and Cher Horowitz would approve of your bright pink and purple pens, for sure. Check out our picks for the best gel pens.
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1. Pentel Gel Ink Pen
This liquid gel ink comes out legible and vibrant, promising no smudges, globs or annoying smears. Writing stuff down won’t be a chore with these inky pens. You won’t have to wait for the ink to dry either—it dries as soon as you put words down on the page. This 12 pack of pens includes bright colors like pink, orange and purple. The design of the barrel is professional, so your colorful pens would not look out of place at an office.
2. Paper Mate Gel Pens
If you want to channel your 13-year-old self and color-code your to-do list in colors like Yellow Twirl, Pink Pop Bright Blue Bliss and Wild Berry, look no further. This is your set. In addition to the awe-worthy bright colors, this pack of 14 does include your traditional blue and black pens for filling out forms and signing bills. There’s a lightly padded grip along the barrel of the pen to make writing more comfortable. It boasts that the ink dries three times faster than its competitors.
3. Pilot G2 Retractable Premium Gel Ink Pens
You can’t go wrong with the classic black pen. If you like having one type of pen and never deviating from it, you’ll like this long-lasting set. This gel pen set is perfect for people who have to do a lot of writing, whether you’re a college student or just love to take meticulous notes at work. The pen creates smooth, legible words on the page. There’s a rubber grip around the barrel to make writing more comfortable for you.