Best Gel Pen Reviews 2018

Writing can become more exciting and showcase a lot more character with gel ink pens, but not just any kind; you need the best gel ink pens available. And yeah, we know how finding those can be a herculean task (been there, done that. Phew!). After our hectic research, we put together this detailed review on our top five picks of gel ink pens, all made by top brands. We’re sure you’re gonna lov’em. If you’re also in the market for colored pens and highlighters, fret not. We already did reviews on those for you. You’re free to check those out too!
Our Top Choice
Pilot FriXion Clicker Erasable Gel Pen
Pilot believes that writing can be a pleasurable experience, and as such made a commitment to always research and reinvent itself to produce the best writing solutions.
Retractable design. Fine point for minute detailing. Comes with Frixion erasable gel ink. Eraser at the top of the pen. Erases completely. 7-pack of assorted colors. Refillable.
Writing might disappear in the heat.
Retractable; ballpoint
Erasable; thermo-sensitive
Extra fine; fine
2; 3; 7; 12; 72
8 colors available
Best Value
Uni-ball Needle Retractable Gel Pen
Uni-ball is committed to seeing you succeed, hence it goes the extra mile to seek innovative ways to make everyday writing fun, more efficient, and more affordable.
Durable tip for intricate writing. Premium grip for control and comfort. Uni Super Ink protects against water, fading, and fraud. Medium point. Retractable. 12-pack. Black.
A few isolated reports of skipping.
Retractable; rollerball
Jetstream; fast-drying
Fine; medium; bold
4; 5; 12
Blue; black
Cross Edge Real Teal Gel Ink Pen
Shopping with Cross comes with the added confidence that you’re shopping from one of the largest international manufacturers of writing instruments and personal accessories.
Innovative slide-open and snap-shut technology. With polished chrome center and appointments. Metallic fusion resin for style. Convertible to ballpoint with jumbo ballpoint refill.
Might be a bit pricey for some folks.
Slide-open; rollerball
6 colors available
Sakura Gelly Roll Moonlight Gel Ink Pen
In its quest to ensure that brilliant painting is achieved and with convenience, Sakura stops at nothing to introduce high-performing art materials that deliver on the job.
Comes in bold-point rollerball pens. Chemically-stable fluorescent ink that’s waterproof and fade-resistant. Easy and comfortable grip. No smears or bleed-through.
Can fade if exposed to direct sunlight.
Rollerball; capped
Water-proof; fade resistant
74 colors
Avery eGEL Retractable Gel Ink Pen
Over the years, Avery has been manufacturing products with some of the smartest solutions customers seek today thanks to its wealth of experience and expertise in material science.
Retractable design. Roller ball pen. Comes with pocket clip for attachment. Comes with durable metal tip. Contoured barrel for comfy grip. Water- & fade-resistant, smooth ink.
Might have been more preferable in a pack.
Retractable; rollerball
Acid-free; fade-resistant

(Updated )
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Watch Our Gel Pen Review

How Do I Choose the Best Gel Pen?

Gel ink pens are relatively new kids on the block in the world of art. They only go as far back as er… ’80-something, while others such as markers, colored pencils, crayons, and the likes have been around for donkey years.

Indeed, gel ink pens are a real-life representation of the maxim that says that it’s not how far, but how well. Although so young, gel ink pens have become so popular that there are many who swear by them. In fact, most won’t write with anything else, even if it’s a plucky calligraphy pen!

A quick science class: a gel ink pen is called that because obviously, its ink is made of pigment and a gel-base, which makes their ink really viscous. Because of this viscosity, colors show up more vibrantly on paper and even on cloth! It should make sense to you now why most artists don’t joke with gel ink pens.

Another plus for them is that they show up boldly on many surfaces that other types of pens coyly shy away from. For instance, they show on dark surfaces and slick surfaces, too. Most other types of inks, water-based or oil-based, wouldn’t even dare.

Like we’ve mentioned, gel ink pens can be used for other things aside from art. Many use them to write, especially kids in grade school or high school, because they are much more fun than normal pens (we all know how kids love to express their individuality via any outlet possible, be it their backpacks or their notebooks).

Nevertheless, it’s not all rainbows and Jell-O’s in “Gelly Land”; there are still quite a few things you must know about gel ink pens before you decide to purchase some. If you stay with us, you’ll discover them.
For a wide range of prices, you can get a cool gel ink pen set that works. It normally shouldn’t cost you anything outside the range of $5 to about $40. Cost increases as count (number of gel pens in a pack) increases, and of course, gel pens from famous elite brands will not come low-end.

Personalizing your pen will also mean you have to part with more cash, but you know that already so we will drop a word about what you might have the wrong notions about: cheap gel ink pens. Total waste of money! Which is why you won’t find any here. From their looks to their feel to the actual writing, there’s hardly anything to commend about them, and you’d find yourself immediately regretting your purchase, even with the money “saved”.
There are quite a number of things to consider when you want to get yourself a colored pen set, but we will highlight the most basic ones here:
  • Type of tip
  • Grip
  • Caps
  • Opacity
  • Use
  • Shortcomings of the gel ink pen
Let’s get into the details already!
Construction and Design
Type of Tip

Gel ink pens differ in their types of tips, and the type of tip present in each pen determines what kind of effect to expect.

For instance, gel ink pens with brush tips or fiber tips will give you thick lines akin to what a paint brush will give you. Those with ballpoint pens, you can guess, will give you much thinner lines pretty much like a standard ballpoint.


Of course, you have to consider the grip of your pen; that much doesn’t change. It has to be as comfy as possible to have a good writing experience in the very least.


Also, many do not like the inconvenience of caps; they can get lost and taking them off is, for some, the height of all hard work. So, if you’re one of those people, a retractable design might be your best bet.
Performance and Ease of Use

Gel ink pens have different levels of opacity. Some will completely cover the surface on which they are applied, while others appear much lighter and you can still see the surface beneath the ink. Whichever you pick should depend on the type of effect you’re looking to create.


A gel ink pen intended for writing cannot and should not be the same as one intended for art projects. Writing pens should have thinner tips obviously, while those for art projects should have larger tips. Caveat though: an art project might also require gel ink pens with thin tips for certain intricate detailing.

Shortcomings of the Gel Ink Pen

One small thing to note though: remember how we said it’s not all candies and Jell-O’s in “Gelly Land”? Well, here’s the gist: gel ink pens are amazing and we love them, but they have this tendency to smear and smudge quite unlike other normal pens because their ink is so wet.

Also, because they release so much ink by nature (it’s the reason you like them so much: rich colors), they run out pretty fast.

But then if you can live with these few shortcomings, then by all means, go ahead and snag yourself some popping gel ink pens!

What is the Best Gel Pen?

Now you know the whole gist about gel ink pens. It’s time for us to slide into our reviews now. Grab a helmet!
Our Top Choice
Make mistakes a thing of the past with the Pilot FriXion Clicker Retractable Erasable Gel Pen. Between its fantastic eraser and its thermo-sensitive ink, you can be sure that all mistakes disappear completely and no one has to know. Or would you prefer them all in blue with bold points? Then see the Pilot G2 Premium Gel Ink Roller Ball Pens – Bold Point. It’s affordable and comes in a 4-pack.
Pilot FriXion Clicker Retractable Erasable Gel Pen – Available in Multiple Pack Size & Color Options

Pilot Gel Pen 31472 – 7-Pack Pouch – Assorted Colors

Pilot has built a huge customer base within and outside the US to which it delivers thousands of its quality products daily; even with this outstanding feat, it still keeps in mind who’s king, and that’s you, its customer. It works hard day and night to ensure that you’re kept satisfied with only the best writing products possible in order to make writing a pleasurable experience you’ll always want to engage in. Research and development are core values of this brand and this shows in its diverse product lines from writing instruments to correction products.

There’s no way you cannot love an erasable pen. None at all! And that’s why we present to you the Pilot FriXion Clicker Erasable Gel Pen. Because of its thermo-sensitive ink (i.e. the ink is sensitive to heat), the heat produced by the friction from rubbing your eraser (which is at the butt of your pen, by the way) over your writing, makes it disappear completely!

Also, these pens are fine-point and come in 7 assorted colors for that precise detailing or writing. And thank goodness! They’re also retractable and refillable!

Pilot still offers other quality products that you might need. Check some of them out:
  • The Pilot MR Retro Pop Collection Fountain Pen - This is a really cute fountain pen with a turquoise barrel that you might like.
  • The Pilot the Better Retractable Ballpoint Pens - These are retractable ballpoints that come in a pack of 12.
  • The Pilot Highlighter Frixion Light Soft Color Set - This gives you colors in softer hues.
  • The Pilot Hi-Tec Gel Ballpoint Pen - This is a ballpoint gel pen that looks really cool and comes with extra-fine points.
  • The Pilot Juice Gel Ink Ballpoint Pens - These give you more juicy colors.
Best Value
Why not make a striking statement with a high-performing pen like the Uni-ball Needle Retractable Gel Pen? Its durable metal tip is specially-made to last and to help you create those intricate and precise details that you desire. If you’d prefer some color, you can get a 19-color set of extra-fine gel ink pens at an affordable price. Check out the Uni-ball Signo Gel Ink Pen – 19 Colors Set.
Uni-ball Needle Retractable Gel Pen – Available in Multiple Pack Sizes & Colors

Uni-ball Gel Pen 1736097 – 12-Count – Black

Uni-ball is psyched about your success and will do anything to ensure that you achieve all that you set out to accomplish. Believing strongly that it all begins with a pen, it has carved a niche for itself in the manufacturing of writing tools. All products at Uni-ball are made to give their users the most effective use in the most convenient and efficient way possible. With a team that works hard and treats the customer right, it’s easy to see why customers are so impressed by this brand. And of course, we can’t take away the fact that customers love that products here are really affordable too!

Meet the Uni-ball Needle Gel Pen. It’s a great choice for those intricate and precise lines you’re looking to achieve, thanks to its durable metal tip. Plus, its premium grip and retractable design mean that it’s so convenient to use.

With its patented Uni Super Ink, your writing is preserved and protected from water, fading, or fraud. Your message remains indelible for years!

And since it comes as a 12-count, you need not worry if you lose one of these amazing pens. If you want a different size or color though, more options are available.

Still from Uni-ball, check out these fantastic products:
  • The Uni-ball 207 Colors Retractable Gel Pens – Medium Point - These are colored gel pens that you’ll love.
  • The Uni-ball KuruToga Mechanical Pencil - This is a pencil, and a great mechanical one at that.
  • The Uni-ball Vision Elite BlX Infusion Rollerball Pens - These are also really cool bold-point pens.
  • The Uni-ball Onyx Rollerball Pen – Micro Point - This is for those really fine details.
  • The Uni-ball Signo 207 Retractable Gel Ink Rollerball Pens – Purple Ink - This is absolutely amazing and you can even get it in a 12-pack.
You can still have some fun while you get down to business. Let the Cross Edge Real Teal Gel Ink Pen show you how! Its slide-open and snap-shut technology is not only sleek; it’s fun and won’t distract your colleagues at work. How about a nice blue gel ink pen that’s simple and classy, and with a simple click-mechanism? Then check out the Cross Pearlescent Blue Gel Ink Pen. It’s also pretty affordable!
Cross Edge Real Teal Gel Ink Pen – Available in Multiple Colors

Cross Gel Ink Pen AT0555-10 – Teal

An international manufacturer of writing instruments, the A.T. Cross Company, simply known as Cross, is a household name that has become quite synonymous with quality, class, and elitism. It has been making quality pens since 1846 and from then till now, quality has never once been compromised. If anything, it keeps increasing with the overwhelming research going on. In fact, its pens are handcrafted, so you’re sure that for every pen, you get uniqueness and individuality—not a product of mass-manufacturing. A stunning quality about Cross pens is that they all come infused with jewels! Truly pens fit for royalty!

You already know the brand, so you should know what to expect: nothing less than class. But this time, the Cross Edge Gel Ink Pen is bringing more than class; it’s bringing fun! Its slide-open and snap-shut technology gives you something fun to do while you chew on your idea other than plain old clicking (plus it’s distracting).

Of course, this pen stands out with its teal color and polished chrome appointments. Plus, you can also convert it into a ballpoint, if that’s what you prefer, with the Jumbo Ballpoint Refill. Want a different color? Cross has you there, too, with multiple colors available!

Does it come in a gift box? Duh… you betcha!

If you still want to roll with Cross for a minute or two, check out some other stylish pieces that you just have to see:
  • The Cross Executive Italian Leather Pen Case - This is an elegant pouch where you can keep your Cross pens or any other pen, for that matter.
  • The Cross Classic Century 10karat Gold-Filled Ballpoint Pen - This is also a really beautiful ballpoint with a gold finish.
  • The Cross Tech 2.2 Ballpoint Pen with Stylus - This one is for those who like a pen with a stylus.
  • The Cross Aventura Ballpoint Pen - This one helps you keep things simple with its cool blue finish.
  • The Cross Ballpoint Pen – Chrome Barrel - This is a really slim pen that comes with a chrome finish.
Add some brightness and animation to your handwriting with the Sakura Gelly Roll Moonlight Gel Ink Pen. It comes with chemically-stable fluorescent ink of vibrant colors that are water-resistant as well as fade-proof. Would you prefer fine point? Then check out the Sakura 10 Piece Gelly Roll Gel Ink Pen Set – Fine Point. This set comes with 10 assorted colors and is pocket-friendly, too.
Sakura Gelly Roll Moonlight Gel Ink Pen – Available in Multiple Styles, Colors& Buying Options

Sakura Gel Ink Pen 38176 – Gelly Roll – Moonlight Bold 10-pc

Fun fact: Sakura was the first company to produce the gel ink way back in 1984! It wasn’t without its many discouraging fails, but as is with the culture of this company, it persevered with research and several experiments till it paid off. Its habit of setting new trends in the industry of art materials is evidenced in the many patented products under its name, an example being the Cray-Pas (an oil pastel made from the combination of oil and crayon pigment). With a firm belief in the right of expression for all humans, Sakura makes its products high-performing and budget-friendly in order to avail them to as many that require them.

Say hello to bright, animated writing with the Sakura Gelly Roll Moonlight Gel Ink Pen. Don’t think the “Moonlight” there is for fancy; this guy is bright! And its bold point is a great choice for those large, loud lines you’re looking to create.

Its ink is resistant to water and fading, and doesn’t smear or bleed-through. And it literally shows on black paper!

But before you get too excited, bear in mind that it shows on white paper too, though not as bright as on black paper. And if you expose it directly to sunlight, it can fade. Other than that, it is solid and you’d love holding it with its comfy grip.

Window-shopping is totally fine. So, have a look at some other quality products also from Sakura:
  • The Sakura 6-Piece Pigma Micron Ink Pen Set - This is a really cool-looking pen set in black ink.
  • The Sakura 8-Piece Assorted Colors Brush Pen Set - This is a set of brush pens for those who love them.
  • The Sakura Koi Field Assorted Watercolors with Brush Sketch Set - This is for your painting, and is an all-in-one set that even comes with 30 colors.
  • The Sakura Solidifies Paint Solid Marker - This one comes in handy when you have need for a marker. It comes in multiple colors!
  • The Sakura 8 Piece Pigma Manga Comic Pro Drawing Kit - This is a super cool set for the comic art lovers.
Because cash should never come between you and a fantastic gel pen, we present the Avery eGEL Retractable Gel Ink Roller Ball Pen. Aside from its affordability, it also offers you the convenience of working with a retractable pen. Why not add an equally quality red gel ink pen to your cart? This one comes with a medium point and comes in a retractable design too: The Avery eGEL Retractable Gel Ink Pen – Red.
Avery eGEL Retractable Gel Ink Roller Ball Pen

Avery Gel Pen 9943705

Beginning in 1935, Avery started out with a mission to make labeling more efficient and effective for store owners and related users. And from then till now, it has witnessed radical growth in its operations, transforming how brands pass their messages via labeling. With a spirit of curiosity and research, Avery’s expertise has grown and so has the quality of its deliverables. From retail graphics embellishments to labeling and packaging materials, brands have been equipped with better ways to engage their customers, all thanks to a brand that never stops innovating: Avery.

The Avery eGEL Retractable Gel Ink Pen is a fantastic choice for a gel ink pen. It’s quite affordable, and is custom-made for your convenience.

For instance, it comes in a retractable design, so no more missing caps. It also comes with a contoured barrel, so grip feels better. Then it has a metal clip for easy attachment to whatever, so you don’t lose them. Isn’t that just beautiful?

The ink flow of this pen is really smooth, and it’s resistant to fading and water; so whatever life throws at you (or you throw at yourself, of course, mistakenly), your writing is preserved.

Come over and see other excellent products from Avery:
  • The Avery Dennison Flip Back View Binder Check - This is a white binder from Avery; it flips all the way back.
  • The Avery Large Black Ink Marker – Chisel Point - This one is a set of quality markers of different colors.
  • The Avery Purple Application Permanent Glue Sticks – 18-pack - These are really affordable glue sticks.
  • The Avery Pen Style Permanent Markers – Bullet Point - This is what you should go for when you want permanent markers.
  • The Avery eGLIDE Purple Gel Ink Pen - This is just like the featured product but in another color.

Get the Best Gel Pen of 2018!

Are you ready to make that purchase? Of course you are, so let’s do this! But if you still want more options, go ahead and take a look at more offerings from our top brands!

Our Top Choice
Pilot FriXion Clicker Erasable Gel Pen
Best Value
Uni-ball Needle Retractable Gel Pen
Cross Edge Real Teal Gel Ink Pen
Sakura Gelly Roll Moonlight Gel Ink Pen
Avery eGEL Retractable Gel Ink Pen