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The best pens (according to nyt's wirecutter)

Discussion in 'Pens, Pencils, Notebooks, and Notebook Covers' started by oke, Oct 7, 2021.

  1. oke

    oke Loaded Pockets

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    Well, I should know better after the back-to-back responses from @Sentinel-14 & @MatBlack, yet here's one group's ideas of the best writing instruments of 2021 to buy/use (just included archivedotorg's cache of the article, in case ya didn't have a subscription to nyt, since they only allow a few free articles).

    Of course, ymmv, and ya may have different criteria about what makes a great pen... For instance, they don't recommend the Pilot G2 'cuz of how the cartridge performs. They do say, in its own section, why you should trust their pov, though, so there's that. I often like writing instruments which use the Parker-compatible International G2 ink refills for the variety, yet they don't even have the Jotter as one of their best, as it's merely a good one.

    Whatcha think of their assessments?

    :cool:
     
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  2. jag-engr
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    jag-engr Semper Bufo!
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    That's not a bad list, though I really think that the Pilot Precise V5 RT should be a little higher up in the list.
     
  3. Tesla

    Tesla Loaded Pockets

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    Meh...like most reviewers, it's simply opinion. The only choice I really agreed with was the v-5, although I prefer the V-7. In the end, unless you've been living in a cave, you already know your choices and preferences, so pieces like the author's "review" come across as least common denominator choices for the masses. I will admit to using the Jetstream 3-in-1 type refills in a Tofty adapter in a Zebra Compact pen. I find it the ideal EDC pen and much prefer it to the "bullet pen" for pants pocket carry. I doubt anyone on this forum hasn't heard of all the pens he mentioned & knows of better choices, so I found it pointless.
     
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  4. Sentinel-14

    Sentinel-14 Loaded Pockets

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    I admit I mostly just skimmed thru the article: I did not read it word for word.

    I appreciate the author making it clear she meant to keep the price down so that replacement wasn't a problem. That puts a very clear frame of reference on the entire study and lets the reader know it's very budget and neophyte oriented.

    Her commentary on the test panel, and why you should trust her, is only solid if you understand who the panel is. I recognized The Well-Appointed Desk and The Pen Addict, but I've never heard of the others. The neophyte reading that article wouldn't know any of them and thus have no frame of reference for the supposed expertise. So, while it's good that Ms. Pinola sought out experts, it doesn't mean much if you don't know who the experts are.

    Some of the panel's reasons for rejecting other pens seem somewhat arbitrary. They reject the ubiquitous Zebra F301 because it produced fainter lines than other ballpoints. Maybe they just got a bad cartridge, because I picked up a 40-year-old F301 (my father's) and while the lines were lighter than a G2, the thing still wrote. After 40 years. This pen was too rattly, that pen was uncomfortable, blah blah.... subjective opinion. Only 2 things matter about a pen: how well it writes, and how much you like the aesthetics. I love F301s for being compact and simple pens. I dont EDC one, but I have many of them stashed about.

    Now, my opinion of each of their top picks.

    I've never used the Jetstream so I really have nothing to say.
    I've never used the 3-in-1 either, so I can't comment on it other than to say I don't care for multi-pens. Cute gimmick in middle-school (I might still have that old Papermate laying in a box somewhere) but not needed for me as an adult.
    As for the Precise, I used the liquid-ink cap version of that pen to take notes with in high school. Absolutely loved them because they took no effort to write with. Ballpoints always seemed to require pressure to get the ball to roll: the Precise started writing the instant it touched paper. I eventually gave them up though because they bleed badly on crappy paper, which is 99% of what gets used around here. I also tend to write very, very small and liquid-ink pens do not facilitate that very well, especially with bleed issues on poor paper. And when I say small, I can use a 0.5mm mech. pencil to write legibly in size 8 font, maybe smaller but I can't print off a reference of smaller font.
    They talk up the Dr. Grip but it's just a standard Pilot G2 cartridge (my Dr. Grip was anyway, before it broke). Yes, the wider grip is nice and that's why I had the office buy it for me, but I didn't want just any wide-body pen: I wanted a widebody that used the G2. It's a decent desk pen or lab-coat-pocket pen, but not all that great for EDC and especially not pocket-friendly.
    Never used the Signo they show, but I once bought the Signo 307 refills they mention later and used them in my Machine Era Original, because I prefer the narrow 0.5 tip and for a while couldn't find 0.5 G2s. They were fine for what they were.

    Ultimately the guide is decent for a total neophyte who has never thought about pens before, however said neophyte is very quickly going to grow out of these pens and want something better. It's a good guide for determining what refill you might like, but that's just as easily done by buying a two-pack of a few different pens at Staples and using them for a while. Basically, I'm not sure what the point of this article really was other than to simply have something to post. People do'nt go to some random website like Wirecutter or The NYT for pen recommendations. They'll search google, and then end up a pen-focused sites like Well-Appointed Desk, Pen Addict, Fountain Pen Network, and possibly even here.
     
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  5. smokingfish

    smokingfish Loaded Pockets

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    If I had to write a lot, I would go with one of those on the list, as they have rubbery grips and comfortable.

    I'm a chef, so I don't do too much writing. My tactile turn bolt pen with gel insert is plenty fine for me.
     
  6. jag-engr
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    jag-engr Semper Bufo!
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    I don't consider Wirecutter to be the final word on these things, but they're usually not far off the mark.

    Blasphemy! Seriously, some adults do need multi-pens. I like to take them to meetings because I can carry three or four pens in one for color-coding drawing mark-ups. I like to have blue, green, and red available.

    I use Wirecutter all the time to make a quick decision on things about which I have limited knowledge. It may not help a novice make a perfect decision, but it can help them make a better decision. I disagree with some of their recommendations, but most of their recommendations will put you in the top 80th percentile of available products.
     
  7. Sentinel-14

    Sentinel-14 Loaded Pockets

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    Hence why I said "not needed for me". I do drawing markups myself but I just take as many pens/highlighters as I need colors, and it can be upwards of 8-9 total. Multi-pens are not useful to me. I don't use them, and I can't really comment on something I don't use, which is precisely what I said.
    You're the first person I've encountered that uses a site like Wirecutter for information. I guess maybe I was projecting my own habits there, because I will find a topic-specific discussion forum and do my research there. All too often websites and writers are shilling the product they're talking about which makes their commentary suspect. YouTube reviews are very much the same. At least on a discussion forum I can find people who own whatever product is being discussed and get a (reasonably) unbiased review, along with user-suggestions of comparable options.

    I did give Ms. Pinola, and Wirecutter, credit in that they assembled a panel of credible individuals to use and review the various pens, giving at least some measure of credibility to the article's conclusions. If it's useful to some people, great, but it's probably not something I would recommend: instead I'd recommend self-guided research. I also can't recommend a site behind a paywall: not everyone knows how to use archive.org to get around that.

    Furthermore, when people come to me asking for EDC advice, I give them advice based on my own experiences and the experiences of others that I have read or spoken to. They usually dont want to do their own research. They're asking me for a suggestion because they want an answer right now. So if someone asks me for a pen recommendation, I'm not going to say "Go read this article on The New York Times' Wirecutter to see what you think is best." I'm just going to suggest either a Pilot G2 or a Zebra F301 because they're ubiquitous and they work, unless they want to be a little more upscale in which case I'd suggest a Parker Jotter.

    I guess that's my takeaway from the article: I used it to educate myself about the performance of the various ink cartridges (because most everything else is user-subjective) in order to expand and improve my own recommendations.
     
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  8. jag-engr
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    jag-engr Semper Bufo!
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    That is the essence of Wirecutter. Most people aren't going to spend a great deal of time deliberating which pens to buy.

    I'm not going to buy a car based on a Wirecutter recommendation, but, if I want a quick recommendation for a non-critical purchase, Wirecutter is usually my first stop.
     
  9. Tesla

    Tesla Loaded Pockets

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    The review is a great example of the tail wagging the dog. They picked stuff that people buy anyway and said "hey it's good". The only requirement for being a pen reviewer is having an opinion...
     
  10. jag-engr
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    jag-engr Semper Bufo!
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    That's not entirely true. If it were, their top recommendation would be a cheap Bic pen.

    That's true of any review.
     
  11. Tesla

    Tesla Loaded Pockets

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    My point exactly...as to the BIC recommendation, I think it would actually be a G2 Pentel...which didn't get recommended for some reason...