Guide to Ergonomic Pens

A Guide to Ergonomic Pens

Pens are often advertised as being ergonomic, but this word tends to dissolve into a haze of marketing speak. What makes a pen ergonomic? There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution, since ergonomics vary from person to person, depending on hand shape and size as well as medical conditions, such as carpal tunnel or arthritis. This guide will help you parse through ergonomic pen options and also give some tips and tricks for preventing hand injury.

Characteristics of Ergonomic Pens

There are a few considerations to keep in mind when selecting an ergonomic pen. Here is an overview of qualities that are conducive to comfortable writing.

Shape

Pen Shape
Pen Shape

Generally, pens that are long, balanced, and thick are considered more ergonomic because they are easier to physically grasp. Manufacturers have also played with various designs, and as a result, there are pens with hourglass figures, chiseled contour lines, and even pens that follow one smooth curve—all in the pursuit of the perfect ergonomic shape.

Weight

Pen Weight
Pen Weight

A pen should be light enough to hold comfortably, but heavy enough so that it doesn’t require too much pressure to write. Most ergonomic pens are tip heavy for this reason—the weight naturally pushes the tip down, whereas a top-heavy pen sways with each stroke, forcing the hand to grip harder to compensate.

Grip

Pen Grip
Pen Grip

A good grip can help alleviate finger discomfort, especially during long writing sessions. We recommend a rubber grip that is gentler and easier for fingers to stick to as opposed to slippery metal or plastic surfaces. Grips range from extremely soft and cushioned to firm and grooved. Choosing the right grip depends on your particular grip. For example, someone with a death grip probably needs a squishier pen grip.

Ink Flow

Pen Ink Flow
Pen Ink Flow

A pen with good ink flow reduces the amount of exerted force required when writing, minimizing fatigue. For this reason, some people prefer using gel or rollerball pens for their juicy flow. However, ballpoint pens have come a long way—many brands now offer smooth flowing inks in their ballpoint pens, which yield legible, attractive letters and characters.

Product Recommendations

Gel Pens

Pentel EnerGel X Gel Pen

Pentel EnerGel X Gel Pen
Pentel EnerGel X Gel Pen


Demo of Pentel EnerGel X Gel Pen

While the Pentel EnerGel is a gel pen favorite for its smooth, fast-drying ink, it’s also great for preventing hand discomfort, as it comes with a latex-free Comfort Zone grip and a lightweight body that provide extended writing control. It comes in 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm tip sizes, which are ideal because they are big enough to prevent feedback, but thin enough to create neat, precise lines.

Uni-ball Signo 207 Premier Retractable Gel Ink Pen

Uni-ball Signo 207 Premier
Uni-ball Signo 207 Premier


Demo of Uni-ball Signo 207 Premier

The 207 Premier was designed for those with strong grips. It has the same smooth flow as the Pentel EnerGel but comes with a squishier rubber grip that makes it easy to hold. For those with large hands, it is a more comfortable alternative than a skinny, small pen.

Pentel Hybrid Gel Grip Gel Pen

Pentel Hybrid Gel Grip Gel Pen
Pentel Hybrid Gel Grip Gel Pen

Demo of Pentel Hybrid Gel Grip Gel Pen

Featuring a slim body and producing thick luscious lines, the Pentel Hybrid Gel Grip has a balanced weight and body. It also flaunts a dimpled rubber grip that provides maximum hand comfort, whether you’re writing in your journal or creating illustrations. The white and silver iterations of the Hybrid write well on dark paper.

Ballpoint Pens

Pilot Dr. Grip Ballpoint Pen

Pilot Dr. Grip
Pilot Dr. Grip Ballpoint Pen


Demo of Pilot Dr. Grip Ballpoint Pen

This award-winning pen boasts an innovative double layer grip design where the outer layer is firm while the inner layer is soft, providing ideal softness while offering support. It also has an optimal weight balance, featuring a bottom heavy body that makes it easier to write. Read more about the multi pen and mechanical pencil forms of the Pilot Dr. Grip in our Dr. Grip Mechanical Pencil guide.

Zebra nuSpiral CC Ballpoint Pen

Zebra nuSpiral CC Ballpoint Pen
Zebra nuSpiral CC Ballpoint Pen


Zebra nuSpiral CC Ballpoint Pen

The wavy spiral design allows this pen to rest naturally in the hand. Moreover, it can be adjusted according to how it is held. The firm rubber grip is lightly contoured with shallow grooves to help guide finger placement, making it a great alternative to the softer Alpha Gel or Dr. Grip pens.

Zebra Airfit LT Ballpoint Pen

Zebra Airfit LT Ballpoint Pen
Zebra Airfit LT Ballpoint Pen


Demo of Zebra Airfit LT Ballpoint Pen

Designed to accommodate slim fingers and small hands, the Airfit’s grip feels similar to that of the Dr. Grip. It features a layer of air cushion between the grip and body which provides not only comfort, but also heat insulation. It’s especially helpful for those in humid or muggy environments, preventing hands from over-sweating. This is an appropriate option for those who like the Dr. Grip, but prefer something slimmer and more lightweight.

Kokuyo FitCurve Ballpoint Pen

Kokuyo FitCurve Ballpoint Pen
Kokuyo FitCurve Ballpoint Pen


Demo of Kokuyo FitCurve Ballpoint Pen

The FitCurve’s hourglass shape and low center of gravity provide a balanced body weight that prevents the pen from wobbling during writing sessions. Its thinness allows users to write at an ergonomic angle—according to Kokuyo’s calculations, when pens are held at a 30° tilt, 1.15 times the diameter is experienced in the hand. The FitCurve mimics an 11.5 mm diameter feel when held at that angle for a comfortable and ergonomic experience.

Uni Alpha Gel Ballpoint Pen

Uni Alpha Gel Ballpoint Pen
Uni Alpha Gel Ballpoint Pen”


Demo of Uni Alpha Gel Ballpoint Pen”

The Alpha Gel is the king of all cushioned grips. Squishing the gel-like grip is as satisfying as squeezing a stress ball. The original Alpha Gel line comes in three different shapes—the original has a slightly contoured grip for better finger placement; the Shaka Black has a contoured body for hand comfort; and the Slim, for smaller hands and fingers. The Alpha Gel grip is also available with Jetstream ink, mechanical pencils, and more.

Rollerball Pens

Stabilo Worker Colorful Rollerball Pen

Stabilo Worker Colorful Rollerball Pen
Stabilo Worker Colorful Rollerball Pen


Demo of Stabilo Worker Colorful Rollerball Pen

The soft, light rubber-coated body of the Stabilo Worker Colorful rollerball pen is a reprieve from hard plastic pens that are frequently found in the workplace. The high-quality nickel silver tip provides an extremely smooth writing experience while dispensing the latest Stabilo liquid ink technology.

Tombow Zoom 505 Liquid Ink Rollerball Pen

Tombow Zoom 505 Liquid Ink Rollerball Pen
Tombow Zoom 505 Liquid Ink Rollerball Pen


Demo of Tombow Zoom 505 Liquid Ink Rollerball Pen

The Zoom 505 represents over 20 years of fine design from Tombow, winning the international “IF Design Award” in 1990. While it has a durable aluminum body, the Tombow Zoom 505 rollerball pen also has a thick rubber grip and a low center of gravity that is ideal for writing quickly with ease.

Fountain Pens

Pelikan Pelikano Junior Fountain Pen

Pelikan Pelikano Junior Fountain Pen
Pelikan Pelikano Junior Fountain Pen


Demo of Pelikan Pelikano Junior Fountain Pen

Fountain pens are well-loved for their vintage aesthetic, juicy flow, and substantial weight. The last quality may go against pen ergonomics, but it’s not necessary to forego the joy of fountain pens to prevent hand injuries. Coming in cute bold colors, the lightweight Pelikan Pelikano Junior Fountain Pen sports a special grip that guides fingers and provides comfort. It also comes in models that are made specifically for lefties.

Pilot Penmanship Fountain Pen

Pilot Penmanship Fountain Pen
Pilot Penmanship Fountain Pen


Demo of Pilot Penmanship Fountain Pen

Targeted towards students as a pen for writing practice, the Pilot Penmanship Fountain Pen is a light fountain pen with a smooth elongated body and purposefully indented grip for maximum comfort. It has an extra fine nib which makes it a great option if you want to create precise, clean lines.

Lamy Safari Fountain Pen

Lamy Safari Fountain Pen
Lamy Safari Fountain Pen


Demo of Lamy Safari Fountain Pen

While it creates just enough feedback to get a heavy fountain pen feel, the Lamy Safari doesn’t scratch or feather. With a sleek and simple design, it has the elegance of a fountain pen without the heaviness. Its thick body and light weight make the Lamy Safari a convenient pen for long writing sessions. Additionally, it has a smooth, triangulated grip to support fingers.

Posture and Form

Posture

Posture

Comfortable, fatigue-free writing starts with good posture.

Comfortable, fatigue-free writing starts with good posture. No matter how ergonomic a pen is, it is only supplementary to good posture. Practicing bad posture may lead to injuries such as cramping, fatigue, and other serious pain. To reduce the chance of sustaining ergonomic injuries, here are some simple steps to follow, especially if you’re sitting in an office or classroom for prolonged periods of time:

  • Sit up straight and keep your feet planted firmly on the ground.
  • Rest your back against the chair for support.
  • Keep your shoulders and arms relaxed.
  • Don’t sit for long periods of time. Take a stretch break every once in a while!

Form

Form
Have a relaxed grip.

Pen form is also important. Hands and wrists are put through the wringer each day, making them prone to injury. Here are some tips for optimal pen holding:

  • Have a relaxed grip. A lighter grip means less stress on the fingers.
  • Hold the pen in a tripod position, anchored by the thumb, forefinger, and middle finger.
  • Try not to press too hard with the forefinger. This can lead to cramping, so instead, keep the forefinger arched.
  • Prevent strain on the fingers and wrists by moving the whole arm when writing, rather than just the fingers.

Lefty Tips

Lefty Tips
Grip the pen about 1-1.5″ away from the tip to see what is being written.

Lefties will find some of the tips below useful. For specific left-handed tips, check out our guide to left-handed pens and writing supplies.

  • Grip the pen about 1-1.5″ away from the tip to see what is being written without having to adopt a “hooked” posture.
  • Use quick-dry pens or a smudge glove to avoid smudges instead of contorting the hand. Use the pinky as a pivot to lift the palm off the paper.
  • Tilt the paper to keep the arm at a right angle to the bottom of the paper to better view your writing.
  • Keep the hand below the writing line rather than above, as that can injure the wrist.

Conclusion

It’s never too late to fight against bad habits. Ergonomic pens and posture can go a long way in terms of preventing long-term injuries. Let us know your favorite ergonomic pens in the comments below!

Products Ink Type Tip Size Length (cm) Grip Diameter (mm) Weight (oz) Ink Flow Grip Quality
Uni-ball Signo 207 Premier Gel 0.7 14 12.7 1 Superb Extremely cushioned
Pentel Hybrid Gel Grip Gel 0.8 16.8 9.4 0.4 Superb Firm
Pentel EnerGel X Metal-Tip Gel 0.5, 0.7 14.7 10.9 0.4 Superb Firm
Uni Alpha Gel – Original Ballpoint 0.7 14 13 1.2 Good Extremely soft and cushioned
Uni Alpha Gel – Slim Ballpoint 0.7 14.8 0.9 0.7 Good Extremely soft and cushioned
Pilot Dr. Grip Ballpoint 0.7 13.8 12 0.9 Great Firm with some give
Zebra nuSpiral CC Ballpoint 0.7 13.8 12 1 Good Firm and lightly contoured
Zebra Airfit Ballpoint 0.7 14 11 0.4 Good Air layer
Kokuyo FitCurve Ballpoint 0.7 14.2 12 0.5 Good Firm
Tombow Zoom 505 Rollerball 0.5 15.6 11.3 1.1 Good Cushioned
Stabilo Worker Colorful Rollerball 0.5 15.7 10.4 0.5 Good Extremely cushioned
Pelikan Pelikano Junior Fountain Medium 15.2 12.8 0.9 Superb Cushioned
Pilot Penmanship with Ergo Grip Fountain Extra Fine 14.9 11.2 0.3 Good Plastic is rounded and chiseled to fit fingers
Lamy Safari Fountain Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad 16.5 11.8 1.1 Superb Rounded and shaped to fit fingers

SOURCE:https://www.jetpens.com/blog/ergonomic-pens/pt/84

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