“The Art of” TŪL Pens: A student breaks down their quest for the best pen

By: Simon Kwilinski

Everyone who knows anything about pencils knows that the best #2 pencil you can buy is a Ticonderoga. There’s no beating its writing quality and remarkable eraser.

Pens, on the other hand, do not have such a clearly established victor. That is, until I found one particular brand: TŪL.

I was first persuaded to write in pen about five years ago, when I read an essay titled “The Pencil Problem.” The author pointed out that pens have many benefits (clearer and smoother writing, no sharpening the lead and aesthetic designs), but we use pencils simply because we’re determined to erase our mistakes. He argued that the problem is with culture, not pens: if we switch to pens, we might learn from our mistakes instead of hiding them.

Waltonian | The Waltonian Source: Office Depot

But this isn’t an article to advocate using pens. What interested me, once I stopped using pencils, was which pen to use.

Of course, people who go to pen shows and buy fancy, designer fountain pens have plenty of opinions about what they think makes the best pen. But I wasn’t interested in those pens. I’m not going to spend $100 on a pencil, no matter how good it is, and if using pens means taking notes in class is more expensive than filling my car’s gas tank, then frankly, pens aren’t worth it. What I wanted was a quality pen for a sane person’s budget.

So I tried a lot of pens. I found that the ideal pen has a tip thickness of 0.5 millimeters. Anything smaller is unusable, 0.7 mm is slightly too big and 1.0 mm is practically a marker. Thus, when I looked for the best pen, I confined my search to 0.5 mm black-inked pens.

Over a couple years, I went through the entire pen aisle at my local department store, but pen after pen was simply mediocre. I still preferred a good Ticonderoga pencil.

Eventually, I stumbled upon TŪL pens. TŪL, a subsidiary brand of OfficeDepot, makes a variety of pens—I prefer the 0.5 mm gel ink black ones. The fine tips are very precise, but they still release plenty of ink for dark, smooth and readable text. And they do it all with almost no smearing—great for the left-handed among us. Beautiful writing, an ergonomic grip and a retractable point with a satisfying click—it’s all you ever want in a pen.

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