Writing utensils: they unite us, stimulate lively discussion among us, and even cause tensions between us. Every student has his or her preferences. After 3.5 long years of high school, I too have developed my preferences, and am here to share them with anyone who appreciates the ingenuity behind a good pen or pencil. From ballpoint to gel to mechanical to wooden, here is a list of the 10 best high school writing utensils in order from good to great.
Paper Mate .05mm Clearpoint – The extra thick grip of this mechanical pencil is controversial among students; most either love it or detest it. This pencil has become popular because of its uniquely wide eraser and side button for releasing lead. Unfortunately, the lead’s typical thickness of .05mm can make words faint and hard to read, and the wide barrel makes them difficult to quickly store in a book or binder.
Sharpie Permanent Black Marker- Traditional Sharpies have been around awhile for good reason. These markers are an essential add to any student’s writing utensil collection because they produce dark lines necessary to outline significant aspects of any school project. Though black is the most common color, they come in all hues of the rainbow. Drawbacks include their tendency to dry out quickly and a nauseating scent.
Papermate Flairs – Also known as “teacher pens,” these felt-tipped colorful pens create beautiful letters. They are perfect for when you’re feeling a little extra and want to color code your notes. One drawback, and the reason why Flairs did not rank higher than seven, is that one must write very slowly and carefully to still remain neat.
Sharpie Highlighters – Because of Sharpie’s Smear Guard technology, students can annotate notes without worrying about smearing highlighter ink across the page, something especially helpful for the left-handed. The ink is bright and lasts for a long time, and the caps attach to the back of the highlighter for convenient storage (or to make long highlighter swords).
GEDDES Fighting Frog Light-Up Boxing Pen – Even in high school, these fun pens are still the epitome of cool. They feature a standard black ballpoint on the bottom with a frog on the top that throws punches with extendable arms when its levers are pushed. What’s more, as students write a bright light illuminates the frog’s torso. This light can be especially helpful for students who want to show teachers that they are paying attention and taking copious notes.
Bic .7mm Xtra Sparkle – Though many students do not know the technical name for this popular writing utensil, this is the basic Bic mechanical pencil that many students use. It come in various colors and is called “Xtra Sparkle” because of the subtle shiny flecks in the plastic. These pencils are versatile and the lead shows up dark and neat.
Dixon Ticonderoga HB #2- For cool hipsters who still write with wooden pencils, Tinconderogas are a must. They have dark, legible lead and the softest, most functional eraser known to high schoolers. They also give you an excuse to get up several times during class and use the pencil sharpener, a major benefit for those who can’t sit still for long periods. Also, Ticonderogas are affordable at less than $10 for a box of 96.
Bic .7mm Xtra Shine – This mechanical pencil is similar in both lead and structure to its cousin, the Bic .7mm Xtra Sparkle, except it comes in a shiny silver wrapping. As one senior said, “They show that I’m studious but I like to party.” Xtra Shines are perfect for writing assignments or drawings because they are very easy to erase.
G2-.7mm Pilot, black – The G2 Pilot is hands down the president of all gel pens, and black is the go-to color. G2 Pilots are widely known across Broughton for their dark, bold marks. G2’s come in .5mm, .7mm, and 1.0mm. The latter two work nicely, but a .5mm does not produce the lusciously thick lines that make G2’s famous. These pens also feature comfortable grips for long essay writing.
G2-.07 Metallics – If the black G2 Pilot is the president of gel pens, G2 Metallics are the gods. Writing with one feels like skating on a smooth sheet of glass, while the shiny blue, green, pink, grey and gold colors show both youth and professionalism. G2 Metallics are slightly pricier than other pens at $11.05 for an 8 pack, but they last for many months and can be refilled with G2 refills rather than replaced altogether.