Lefties, we know you have it rough when it comes to finding good pens, since most of them are designed to be used by right-handers.
A typical right-handed person using a pen pulls it toward the right in a smooth motion, leaving a line of fresh ink untouched behind the writing hand.
A left-handed person has to push the pen from left to right. That requires the writer to press harder on the pen, which can be uncomfortable and can force the paper to foul the writing tip. Meanwhile, the writing hand drags over the ink and smudges it.
Obviously, then, the two most important qualities in a pen for left-handed people is that the ink dries quickly and that it flows as smoothly as possible. With that in mind, here are some of our favourite pens for left-handers to consider.
Quick Drying Pens for Left-Handed Writing
Pentel EnerGel pens contain EnerGel ink which is specially formulated with a combination of liquid and gel ink. This gives you super-smooth writing which is quick drying and smudge proof, making it ideal for left-handed writers. They are available in a range of styles and tip sizes, the Pentel EnerGel XM BL77 being one of their most popular pens with its wide barrel, retractable 0.7mm tip and a choice of 12 vibrant ink colours.
If you prefer a more luxurious pen then the Pentel EnerGel Sterling Premium Gel Rollerball pens are ideal as they have an aluminium barrel which can be laser engraved with a name or personal message.
The Pentel EnerGel Tradio is another popular pen in the EnerGel range. It is a capped pen with a slightly slimmer barrel than the XM BL77, giving it a more modern look and feel.
For those left-handed writers who prefer a finer line, the Ohto Rays gel pens are ideal, they feature the latest in super fast drying ink technology with an extra fine 0.5mm tip that writes a 0.2mm wide line. The pens resemble the original Parker Jotter with a plastic lower barrel and metal upper part before Parker updated the design of the Jotter a couple of years ago. They also come in six beautiful barrel colours.
Another cool thing about the Ohto Rays is the PG-105NP refill that is available to buy separately. It is a Parker G2 style refill which means it can be used with many other brands.
Zebra pens are renowned for their exceptional value for money and the Zebra Sarasa 0.7mm gel pen is one of the most popular pens that Zebra make. It is is a super smooth retractable pen with acid free ink that is of archival quality.
The Sarasa has the latest generation ink with an improved formula that is exceptionally quick drying on most types of writing paper, eliminating smearing and smudging and making it a firm favourite with left-handed writers. Zebra Sarasa gel pens are available with black, blue or red ink.
The Zebra Sarasa Porous fineliner pen contains Zebra’s latest rapid dry quick drying ink to prevent smearing and smudging, it is also acid free and water resistant. The pen has a 0.8 mm needle tip and is ideal for making precise lines as well as drawing and colouring. These pens are available in five colours; black, blue, green, red and violet. You can also purchase a pack of eight which contains 3 extra colours; orange, pink and light blue.
A rollerball pen might not be the first choice for a lefty because the ink can smudge if your hand passes over it as you write. However, that’s the main selling point of the Jetstream; it’s a hybrid that combines the fast drying ink more common to a ballpoint with the gentle glide of a gel pen. You get fewer smudges and a more comfortable experience.
Pressurised Pens for Left-Handed Writing
Any quality pen with a pressurised cartridge can be a good choice for left-handed writers. The advantage is that since there is always downward pressure on the ink, you’ll get a constant smooth flow, whether you’re pushing the pen across the paper or pulling it. You won’t be rubbing the ink off the ball 'drying up' the pen as sometimes happens when lefties use ballpoints. And the pen will even write upside down or on wet paper. How cool is that?
Fisher invented the pressurised refill and it was first used in space by astronauts on Apollo 7 in 1968. They have a huge range to choose from and any one of them would be a good choice for someone who writes with their left hand. The following are some of the more popular Fisher Space pens. All can be refilled with Fisher pen refills which are available in 10 different colours and with a fine, medium or broad tip.
The Cap-O-Matic S251 is Fisher's entry level retractable pen. The lower barrel is made from a sturdy plastic and available in five colours, while the upper part is made from metal with a chrome finish. The pen takes its name from the fact that you simply press its cap to advance and retract the nib.
The bullet shaped space pens are Fisher's most popular pen. They are a compact pen that is an ideal size to carry around. When the cap is removed it slides over the barrel to make it a more usable length. There are over 20 different finishes to choose from ranging from chrome to black titanium nitride.
The Fisher AG-7 is the original space pen and its classic design has stood the test of time. If you are looking for a gift for someone who is left-handed they don’t come much better than this. How cool to own the same pen that the astronauts still use to this very day!?
The Pilot Down Force is a heavy duty pressurised pen that is ideal for both left and right-handed people who have to work outside. From builders to delivery drivers to postmen, if you need a reliable pen that will write upside down or even on wet paper, this is the pen for you.
The Uni Power Tank is the poor man’s version of the Fisher Space pens, however, it has a pressurised refill so it has the same benefits of a constant ink flow at its nib which should help when writing with your left hand. The Power Tank has a 1.0mm tip so it will suit those who prefer a slightly wider line, and is available with black or blue ink.
Left-Handed Pens and Pencils for Children
Obviously left-handed children can use any of the pens we have already mentioned that have fast drying ink or containing a pressurised refill to help prevent smudging and smearing while writing. However, when it comes to pens and pencils which have been specially designed for children one company stands out from that rest: Stabilo.
The Stabilo EASY range of rollerball pens are designed for kids, but there’s no reason adults can’t use them also. What’s important is that Stabilo makes a left-handed version of the pen that is moulded with grip recesses so that your thumb and finger fit comfortably without any odd contortions. The idea is that you can hold it with a light grip and it will move easily across the paper.
These pens are available in a wide choice of barrel colours and there is a choice of a 0.5mm or 0.3mm tip. The smaller size is recommended for faster drying. Usually ships with blue ink, although you can order black ink refills.
There are now 3 models in the Stabilo EASY Range:
- Stabilo EASY Original – the original ergonomic pen
- Stabilo EASY Metallics – metallic effect finish and can be personalised with a laser engraved name
- Stabilo EASY Marbled Colours – the latest addition with each pen having a unique marbled effect.
This pencil is designed for children who are learning to write. Just like the EASY Original pens, the left-handed version is moulded for the thumb and fingers to sit comfortably in the correct position.
The Stabilo EASYergo 1.4mm pencil is designed for children aged seven and over who are ready to move on from using the bigger EASYergo 3.15mm pencils. Again, this pencil is available in a left-handed version with a specially moulded grip area.
If you prefer a more traditional wooden pencil then the Stabilo EASYgraph pencil is an ideal choice. The pencil has a triangular shaped barrel and unique non-slip mouldings which allow you to grip the pencil in a relaxed position. Available in both left and right-handed versions.
Left-Handed Calligraphy Pens
Manuscript are one of the few companies that make a calligraphy marker specifically designed for left-handed people. Their left-handed calligraphy marker triple pack contains a 1.0mm, 2.0mm and 3.0mm disposable italic marker. Each tip is cut at an oblique angle for left-handed writers and Arabic style writing.
Left-Handed Fountain Pens
There’s much discussion online about whether left-handed people can use fountain pens. Some lefties say they’ve tried and found it impossible, while others swear they’ve been comfortably using fountain pens for years. The general consensus seems to be that it’s difficult because the left-to-right upward motion distorts the tines of most pens. There are a few companies that claim to make specially designed left-handed nibs but none of these have proven to be any better or worse than a standard fountain pen nib.
When using a fountain pen left-handed writers tend to hold the pen at a different angle to the paper compared to right handers so that they avoid smudging while they write. This means that for most left-handed people a fountain pen with a standard nib in fine, medium or broad will be okay.
However, there is some suggestion that it may be beneficial if you are left-handed and want to write with a fountain pen to try using a finer nib. The theory being that an extra fine or fine nib produces a narrow line with less ink on the paper, so it should dry quicker.
Here are our top left-handed fountain pen recommendations:
This is a great inexpensive fountain pen to try out if you are a left-handed writer and are not sure which nib size suits you, it is available in an extra fine, fine and medium nib. They are also available in a choice of 7 ink colours or they can be fitted with an ink converter that allows the use of bottled ink.
With an aluminium barrel available in a choice of colours, the Platinum Plaisir fountain pen is exceptional value for money and available in a 0.3mm fine or 0.5mm medium nib. This really is a truly amazing fountain pen that does not always get the recognition it deserves. Like the Preppy, it can also be fitted with an ink converter.
The superb Kaweco Classic Sport fountain pens have an octagonal barrel and can be bought with a plastic, aluminium, brass or steel finish. They have a wide range of nib sizes to choose from which are extra fine, fine, medium, broad and double broad.
Share Your Thoughts
Of course, these are only a few of the pens available to left-handed people - browse our full range of left-handed pens for even more options. We’d like to hear about your experiences with pens for lefties. Have any favourites that have worked for you, or any that you’ve tried and know just don’t do the job? Let us know.