In the argument over the best gel ink pens, the Pilot G2 and the Uni Jetstream usually get the most attention. But there’s an overlooked contender that, in our opinion, could beat them both for writing quality and comfort.
That’s the Pentel EnerGel. And, in the EnerGel family, there are two versions that compete for best of the best.
The Pentel EnerGel BL27 is the basic 0.7mm metal tip model, offering a slim aesthetically pleasing capped barrel in a pen that delivers dark, even lines. It’s big brother is the Pentel EnerGel Deluxe BL57, which is everything the basic model is and then some.
Both pens boast sleek metallic designs that give barrel and cap a slightly futuristic look, making them appropriate for use in any setting, whether at home or the office. The EnerGel has a slimmer, slightly sexier profile, while the EnerGel Deluxe is the more solid-looking of the two.
The EnerGel Deluxe has two curving inlays of black plastic at the top of the silver cap, adding to the pen’s forward lean. That gives it an edge in appearance over the base EnerGel, which has grooves cut into the cap in the same spot. The clip on the Deluxe is also a little more attractive, since it is tapered, compared to the straightforward blunt clip on the EnerGel clip.
Both pens also are made of about 50 percent recycled materials.
The EnerGel has a thin, short barrel that does not fit nearly as well into the hand, especially if the cap is not posted. It also has almost no grip to speak of, making it an uncomfortable pen for extended use.
Meanwhile, the Deluxe has a comfortably thick barrel that is weighty and well-balanced, and it offers a rubber grip that, while not as substantial as we’d prefer, serves as a much better cushion than on the base model.
There is considerable difference in the writing experience between the EnerGel and the EnerGel Deluxe. Where the smoothness of the base model is slightly above average, the Deluxe is remarkable, providing an incredibly frictionless writing experience thanks to its easy-flow tip and combination liquid/gel acid-free ink.
Like the base model, it lays down bold dark lines with little bleeding, even on cheap paper. There is almost no skipping or clumping, and little to no blotting at pause points in the writing. That said, the Deluxe does write slightly wetter, so there is the possibilty of smearing, as you can see in the writing sample.
The Deluxe is likely to run out of ink before the EnerGel, but where the Deluxe has the major advantage is that it’s refillable, while the base pen is not. And, for those who prefer larger pen tips, the Deluxe also is available 1.0 mm, instead of just the 0.7 mm tip.
With the advantage in appearance, comfort and performance, the Deluxe is clearly the better choice of pen, especially when the difference in price typically is a matter of pennies.