This may be the best time in history to be left-handed.
The days of psychologists advising parents to train left-handedness out of their children are over. Despite these gains, the left-handed 10% of the world’s population still have to adapt to tools and systems designed for right-handed people. Although lefties used to be regarded with suspicion, few people today would argue that they are more sinister than the average person.The most pervasive example of this is writing.
Writing from left to right as in English, Chinese, and most other modern languages is ideal for right-handed writers, but difficult for left-handers. Lefties’ hands naturally move across the line of writing and smudge the ink. Some languages like Chinese and Japanese can be written vertically, but even then, the stroke order for individual characters moves from left to right.
In the spirit of International Left-Handers Day and in appreciation of left-handers everywhere, we present several writing implements that are especially suited for left-handed writers.
COMMON LEFTY CHALLENGES
In addition to dealing with right-handed writing systems and tools, many lefties do not receive proper handwriting instruction in school. Instead, they figure out how to write on their own. The resulting combination of right-handed materials and awkward hand positions causes many lefties to contend with at least one of the following challenges:
Smudging and smearing
Nibs catching on paper
Poor ink flow
Cramps and hand fatigue
Some writing instruments are specifically designed for lefties, but the right features can help even righty-friendly products solve left-handed problems. Choosing these tools can make your life significantly easier.
QUICK-DRYING, SMOOTH-WRITING PENS & INKS
Pens that write smoothly or feature special ergonomic left-handed grips help prevent cramping and fatigue. Smooth writing and fast drying times can seem contradictory, but some pens balance these competing demands remarkably well.Avoid smudging with ink that dries before your hand moves across your writing. Check out our picks below.
Uni-ball Jetstream Ballpoint Pens
The Uni-ball Jetstream is a lefty’s dream. Unlike stereotypical ballpoints, its specially formulated, low-viscosity ink writes very smoothly with little pressure. It is available in several pen styles. The ultra-comfortable Alpha Gel is a standout option if you prefer a cushy grip. It also avoids the ink blots that some ballpoints suffer from, allowing it to consistently dry within three seconds.With four tip sizes and a total of 13 colors, the Jetstream can fit almost anyone’s life. Check out our Guide to the Uni Jetstream for more information.
Also Consider: Uni Power Tank Ballpoint Pens
Lefties who work outdoors, in hospitals, or in kitchens will appreciate the Uni Power Tank.It dries about as fast as the Jetstream, with all smudging gone within three seconds. It’s not quite as smooth or dark as the Jetstream, but performs well on wet or greasy paper, in hot or cold conditions, and on vertical or sideways surfaces. Those dealing with hand fatigue should choose the Standard model over the Smart Series, as its rubber grip is easier to hold.
Zebra Sarasa Dry Gel Pens
Zebra Sarasa Dry Gel Pens have a truly astonishing drying time – almost instantaneous. The ink dried on most of our tests before we could touch it. The wettest samples dried completely within two seconds. They produce satisfyingly dark lines and write very smoothly. Their grips offer no special ergonomic benefits, although they are composed of a pleasant-feeling rubber. Like other Sarasa pens, the Dry Gels include a binder clip that holds them in place more securely than typical clips. Read our Guide to the Zebra Sarasa to learn about the rest of the line.
Also Consider: Uni-ball Signo Gel Pens
The Uni-ball Signo is well-known for its impressive smoothness, fast drying time, and range of tip sizes and colors. Although it is available in a tiny 0.28 mm tip size, we recommend the 0.38 mm size for the best balance between smooth writing and fast drying. It dried completely within five seconds, wrote consistently, and didn’t scratch at all. The thinner size dries slightly faster but could exacerbate ink-flow problems. The larger tip sizes are naturally smoother and slower to dry. The Signo is available in six tip sizes and 26 colors. For more information, read our Guide to the Uni-Ball Signo.
Pilot Multi Ball Rollerball Pens
Although it is best known as a multi-surface pen, the Pilot Multi Ball also writes well on paper. It dries completely within three seconds. It’s smooth enough for easy writing, but not exceptionally so. The thin grip steps down from the pen body and is made from easy-to-hold rubber. The fact that the Multi Ball can write on glass, plastic, and metal makes it an unusually versatile addition at home or work.
Also Consider: Tombow Zoom 505 Liquid Ink Rollerball Pens
If you want something smoother and more elegant, try the Tombow Zoom 505. It takes about 6 seconds to dry completely. This is slower than our other recommendations, but should be sufficient if you use a grip that does not take your hand across the line immediately. The shiny metal body and rubber grip are fairly thick. Although the pen has some heft to it, it is well-balanced for a comfortable writing experience.
Uni Propus Window Q-Dry Double-Sided Highlighter
The Uni Propus Window Q-Dry Double-Sided Highlighter lives up to its name. It is specially formulated to dry in a third of the time as most other highlighters. It dried within four seconds when we tested it on Rhodia paper. It will naturally take longer on glossy textbook pages. It has both a wide tip for highlighting lines of text and a fine tip for more precise markings. The wide tip has a window that lets you see exactly what you’re highlighting. It is available in five colors.