Review: Sharpie S-Gel, Gel Ink, 0.5mm

The popularity of The Sharpie Pen brought with it a lot of hot competition. Pens like the BIC Intensity and the Foray Stylemark began to encroach on Sharpie’s shelf space, so it was inevitable that Sharpie was going to fight back. And here it is, the S-Gel, a pen destined to take a slice from the lucrative gel pen market-share (they’re looking at you, G-2).

The S-Gel is currently available in three tip sizes: bold (1.0mm), medium (0.7mm), and fine (0.5mm). Medium seems to be the default size you’ll find in most places, but I decided to order a box of the fine tipped version online. They ended up costing a little over $1 per pen, but it ended up being a good choice, as the ink in this size never seemed too thick or runny.

Overall, Sharpie did a good job with these pens. The black ink is dark, and it fills a space very well with little-to-no bleeding or smearing. It’s smooth, and it feels good to hold. The grip section is firm and rubbery, and, though the entire body of the pen is made of plastic, the whole thing, including the clip, is quite sturdy. The black and silver color scheme looks good, or, at least, better than most of its “premium plasticcompetitors, in my opinion.

But the S-Gel is similar enough in function to many other gel pens you’ll find in the market that I can’t exactly recommend it over other favorites like the Pentel Energel or Zebra Sarasa Clip. So unless you find the S-Gel on sale or you just happen to really like that Sharpie logo across the barrel, you won’t be missing out by letting these pass you by. That said, I always appreciate when stationery companies decide to try new things, so I hope we continue to see more from Sharpie.

Five Pens to Try – October 2015

There is an updated version of this list! Click Here

Not all of these pens will be a good fit for everybody, but I think they are all at least worth considering if you’re looking to try out something new.

1. For the Pen Cup: uni-ball Signo 207 micro

uni-ball Signo 207 micro

The Signo 207 micro doesn’t only look professional, it also writes very well. And unlike most other gel ink pens, the ink practically never smears on standard papers (and I really tried hard to make it smear). This is definitely one of the best pens you can find on your average store shelf, and they’re cheap enough to lose or loan without much thought. (see full review)

2. Your “Nice” Pen: Retro 51 Tornado

Retro 1951 Tornado

I’ve never owned a pen that I like to hold as much as my Retro 51 Tornado. It’s balanced nicely, looks good, and writes great. It’s perfect for writing letters, journaling, or just making you look good in a meeting where everyone else is using pens from the supply closet. And at 20-30 dollars, it wont break the bank. (see full review)

3. An On-the-Go Pen: Tombow Airpress

Tombow Airpress Orange

Need a pen that can write at odd angles or on dirty surfaces? The Tombow Airpess has got you covered. It’s also light weight, has a good clip, and fits nicely into a pocket. On top of it all, you could probably hurl the Airpress at a brick wall without doing much damage to the pen. (see full review)

4. The Everyday Writer: Sharpie Pen

The Sharpie Pen

The Sharpie Pen writes such clean and crisp lines, it seems like everybody who uses one instantly has better-looking handwriting. It’s a great pen for making lists or writing a quick note. I personally like the original model over the retractable and titanium models, as the original is relatively inexpensive and can be found in most stores. (see full review)

5. A Pen for Your Artistic Side: Kuretake Bimoji

Kuretake Bimoji

I should be clear that I’m a very inexperienced brush pen user, but I love to pull the Bimoji out and doodle all over my notebook. It might not be a great pen for writing, but you might want to bring it along to boring meetings to keep yourself entertained. At the very least, you’ll have the most unique-looking pen in the room. (see full review)

So that’s that so far. I’ve got plenty more pens to review, so this list will likely need updating eventually. If there are any pens I’ve neglected, please let me know in the comments below. Thanks!

Colors Review: Sharpie Pen, Basic Six Color Set

Sharpie Pen Colors

Lately I’ve been a big fan of the Sharpie Pen – they draw such clean lines, it feels like my handwriting always looks better when I use one. So I was excited to play around with this set of six basic colors: black, blue, red, orange, green, and purple.

The blue and green look fairly standard to my eye, but the orange and red are quite bright. On the other side of the scale, the purple is fairly dark. In fact, I would actually consider using the purple in place of a black pen for writing.


These pens aren’t the greatest at filling an area with color. However, this might be a good addition for anyone using Sharpie permanent markers in their artwork, as it could allow for adding more details. And luckily, I didn’t have any bleeding issues with these colors like I did with the standard black Sharpie Pen.


Review: Sharpie Pen Retractable, Porous Point, Fine


Having passed by the Sharpie Pen on the store shelves for years, it was a revelation to me when I finally used one for the first time. Its clean, consistent lines seem to improve the way handwriting looks, it barely smears, and Sharpie even managed to make the pen look nice. Because I have a predilection for retractables, I was eager to grab the Sharpie Pen Retractable, and though this version improves upon the original, I’m sorry to say that it didn’t quite meet my high expectations.


Let’s start with the good: The Sharpie Pen Retractable has the same great writing performance as the original, adding a couple great features. The grip was a good idea – though I never had too much issue handling the original, a grip makes it much easier to write with for longer periods. The thicker design helps too, making the whole pen feel a bit more durable, and the flimsy clip of the original has been replaced with metal.

On the other hand, the clicker/knock mechanism is annoyingly long, there’s some slight rattling in the barrel while writing, and, although it’s slightly heavier than the original Sharpie Pen, it still could use a bit of added weight for a good balance. These are all very minor complaints, but at more than twice the cost of the original Sharpie Pen (at all the places I looked), I can’t say that the Retractable is a particularly good value for a non-refillable pen. It might be better to just stick with the original Sharpie Pen.


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Review: The Sharpie Pen, Porous Point, Fine


It may be enough for me to say that The Sharpie Pen has become one of my go-to writing instruments. It’s a porous point pen that makes very clean lines, has very minimal smearing, and dries to a fairly dark black. Consequently, I find that it really improves the way my writing looks, and the consistent ink flow and sleek design make it a great pen to use on the go.

That’s not to say that it’s perfect. While the packaging advertises The Sharpie Pen as no-bleed, I do see some bleeding occasionally while writing – and plenty more bleeding while doodling. The pen is also very light and could use a little bit of added weight to give it some balance. The lack of any grip area, too, makes it a little harder to write with for longer periods of time.

Still, I really like this pen a lot, and I even prefer this disposable version over the stainless steel model. If you haven’t used The Sharpie Pen before, I heartily recommend it. It’s a good pen to always have available.


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