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The 10 Best EDC Pens To Buy Right Now

Best EDC Pens 00 Hero
Photo: Tactile Turn Bolt Action Pen

No matter how digital our world becomes, there will always be room for the written word — especially when technology fails us. That’s not to say we’re going to regress into post-apocalyptic tribal warfare, but rather that knowing how to write is a valuable art and can sometimes be more convenient and reliable than, say, trying to jot down notes on your phone. As such, we’re huge proponents of carrying a pen along with the rest of your everyday carry.

However, like all pieces of EDC gear, the pen you choose is going to be very personal to your own style, preferences, and even how much space you have to spare. As such, there’s not a single pen that works perfectly for everyone. That being said, there are definitely a few options available on the market that stand out from the crowd. And it’s our opinion that this list of the 20 best everyday carry pens has one that can fit just about anyone’s needs perfectly — regardless of budget, tastes, etc.

The Best Pens For Everyday Carry

Everyday Carry Writing Requisites

The Main Areas To Consider When Shopping For An EDC Pen

With the first ballpoint pen being patented all the way back in 1888, there’s a very decent likelihood that you’re familiar with basic pen designs. With that said, there are a few finer points that are crucial to consider when shopping around for a new everyday carry pen. Below, we’ll briefly touch on the most pivotal areas to think about before making your purchase. 

Size: Most modern pens tend to span somewhere between 5” and 6” in length. Everyday carry pens, however, are designed to be more pocketable, and as such are often more compact — a fact that’s lead to EDC pens being produced in a wider array of sizes. The longer, full-sized EDC pens on the market tend to be offer better balance and more grip space, though aren’t as pocketable as their smaller counterparts. What’s more, some of our favorite EDC pens are also offered in multiple sizes — in terms of length, as well as diameter at times.

Materials: One of the biggest areas that separate high-end EDC pens from cheaper models on the market is the materials used to craft the pen. Pretty much all of our favorite everyday carry pens feature all-metal constructions, though these items can be machined from everything from brass to stainless steel to copper to titanium. There are even some super-high-end EDC pens that feature zirconium barrel constructions. 

Deployment Method: This area refers to the means in which a pen’s ballpoint ink tip is deployed. In the EDC pen space, this can consist of everything from top click pens to side click pens to bolt action pens to traditional wrist-off or slide-off caps. 

Ink Refills: Unlike regular plastic pens, everyday carry writing instruments are almost always designed to offer a lifetime of use. As such, the ability to refill a pen’s ink cartridge is absolutely crucial. While the reality is that it’s exceedingly easy to order just about any type of refill cartridge these days, it’s still worth looking into what type of cartridge a given EDC pen accepts. It’s also worth noting that some models are capable of accommodating multiple ink refill cartridges and types. 

Supplementary Uses/Features: Though every EDC pen’s primary purpose is to be used as a writing instrument, some models on the market also boast additional features. This includes everything from bottle openers and integrated pry bars to built-in glass breakers and striking tips for self-defense use. 

Zebra F-701

  • Offers unbeatable bang for your buck
  • Features stainless steel construction
  • Barrel boasts knurled grip pattern
  • Sold w/ included all-metal refill
  • Lacks performance & quality of pricier pens

Best Affordable EDC Pen: You don’t have to opt for a plastic disposable writing utensil if you don’t have a ton of money to spend. In fact, there are some folks who would suggest, despite its low price, the Zebra F-701 is one of the best pens ever manufactured. It’s crafted from stainless steel (both inside and out), has a handy and convenient clicker mechanism and pocket clip, and won’t even come close to breaking the bank if it needs to be replaced.

Material: Stainless Steel
Ink: Zebra F-Series
Deployment: Clicker

Parker Jotter Ballpoint

Parker Jotter Ballpoint Pen
Photo: Amazon
  • Iconic design unchanged after nearly 70 years
  • Equipped with Parker’s signature arrow pocket clip
  • Features chrome trim
  • Great fit & finish for the price
  • Also offered as mechanical pencil
  • Smooth barrel finish mitigates grip

Best Vintage-Style Pen: First released in 1954, the Parker Jotter is an iconic writing instrument that’s remained in production for nearly 70 years. Originally debuting with a nylon barrel, the Jotter now features a stainless steel body with a click-top mechanism, as well as a modern QUINKflow ballpoint refill and Parker’s signature arrow-shaped pocket clip. Parker also sells the Jotter in a wide number of different variants including the Jotter XL, Jotter Core, Jotter Luxury, and even a mechanical pencil version of the Jotter. 

Material: Stainless Steel
Ink: QUINKflow
Deployment: Click Top

Lamy Safari Fountain Pen

  • Features fully blacked-out matte finish
  • Equipped w/ black-coated steel nib
  • Compatible w/ Z24 cartridge converter
  • Great for calligraphy
  • Plastic body much weaker than allow barrels
  • Cartridge converter sold separately

Best Fountain Pen: Calligraphy is undoubtedly verging on the edge of becoming a lost art, but there are those who still partake in this remarkable skill. If you fall into that category and you’re looking for a budget-friendly fountain pen to get the job done on the daily, the Lamy Safari fountain pen you see here is the perfect option. It’s built from durable and lightweight ABS plastic, has a click-on cap with a handly wire pocket clip, and comes with a black-finished steel nib.

Material: ABS Plastic
Ink: Lamy T10, Z24
Deployment: Click-On Cap

Fisher Space Bullet Pen

  • Utilizes tech used by NASA
  • Ultra-compact pocketable design
  • Offered in wide array of finishes (including Cerakote versions)
  • Capable of writing upside-down, in zero gravity, underwater, & at temps up to 250°F
  • Small barrel lacks ergonomics

Best Overall EDC Pen: Although it’s not the original Fisher offering, it could be said that the Bullet is the best all-around EDC pen this legendary company has ever produced. Not only does it contain the pressurized ink cartridge that was made famous for its treks into space — not to mention it can write upside-down, in outer space, or underwater — but it’s also made from sturdy solid brass, comes in a variety of colorways, measures just 3.75″ when closed but opens into a perfectly-balanced full-sized pen, and it comes with an unconditional lifetime guarantee. This USA-made modern marvel is even on permanent display at NYC’s MoMA.

Material: Brass
Ink: Fisher Pressurized Cartridge
Deployment: Click-On Cap

Big Idea Design Titanium Pocket Pro Pen

  • Features all-titanium barrel & pocket clip construction
  • Barrel auto-adjusts to accept ink refills of varying length
  • Compatible with 80+ different ink refills
  • Machined pattern offers excellent grip
  • Fairly wide diameter (0.45”) for an EDC pen

Best Titanium Pen: For some folks, versatility is the name of the game when it comes to everyday carry. And if you fall into that category, especially in regards to money-saving measures, then you might be interested in the Big Idea Design Titanium Pocket Pro Pen. Crafted from solid titanium, this twist-operated writing utensil is perfectly suited to pocket carry, but also boasts one major leg-up on the competition: it’s compatible with over 80 different ink refills and can automatically adjust to suit whichever one you’re keen on using. So if you’ve got a bunch of refills sitting around or you want to toy around with which ink cartridges work best for your purposes, don’t pass this pen up.

Material: Titanium
Ink: Compatible With 80+ Refills
Deployment: Twist

Machine Era Field Pen

  • Perfectly centered & balanced
  • Equipped with unique grip pattern
  • Body fortified via matte black DLC coating
  • Ultra-tight tip tolerance boasts zero play
  • Has Japan-made ink, German-made mechanism, & USA-made clip
  • Can be difficult to find in stock

Best Twist Pen: Another take on the firm’s best-selling writing utensil, this version of the Machine Era Field Pen boasts a few noteworthy differences that help set it apart from its comrades. For starters, this one comes with a black DLC-coated precision-machined stainless steel body. It also boasts an anodized aluminum twist-operated deployment mechanism (finished in orange), a stainless steel pocket clip, and it’s compatible with Parker style refills. Just to add to its excellence, it was also assembled in the USA, it’s superbly balanced, and it measures up at under 5″ — making it perfect for everyday carry.

Material: Stainless Steel
Ink: Itoya Aquaroller
Deployment: Twist

The James Brand The Stilwell

The James Brand The Stilwell
Photo: The James Brand
  • Crafted around 6AL-4V annealed titanium body
  • Cap sealed via triple O-ring construction
  • Super compact at only 3.5” (closed)
  • Sold w/ included lanyard
  • Ergonomics become uncomfortable after extended use

Best Keychain Pen: The Stilwell from EDC favorite The James Brand is a compact, highly-pocketable, and thoroughly modern take on an EDC pen. Measuring just 3.5” when closed, the pen consists of a machined titanium barrel with a removable O-ring-sealed cap that increases its length by nearly 2” when attached to the pen’s bottom — making for a surprisingly smooth and well-balanced writing instrument. The Stilwell also sports an integrated lanyard loop — fitted with a lanyard — that allows the pen to be carried in a pocket or on a keychain. TJB also produced a more affordable aluminum construction version of the Stilwell. 

Material: Titanium (or Aluminum)
Ink: XYZ Refills
Deployment: O-Ring-Sealed Cap

Grovemade Pen

Photo: Grovemade
  • Individually made by hand in America
  • Stellar fit & Finish
  • Offered in multiple constructions & anodized color options
  • Pairs w/ Grovemade’s solid aluminum & hardwood stand
  • Stand sold separately
  • Anodized colors only offered in aluminum construction

Best Desk/Office Pen: It took three years for Grovemade to perfect their Pen, but it’s finally here. And it’s here in abundance, with a trio of different material options including raw brass, black-finished stainless steel, and — the cream of the crop — titanium. These beautiful writing utensils also come with and are compatible with high-quality Schmidt P8126 rollerball inserts, they boast a twist-operated tail deployment mechanism, and they can be paired with the brand’s specially-made pen stand for desk usage. Manufactured entirely in the USA, Grovemade hasn’t revolutionized the classic pen, but they’ve definitely improved upon it in many ways.

Material: Aluminum, Brass, Titanium
Ink: Schmidt P8126
Deployment: Twist

Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen

Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen
Photo: Amazon
  • Doubles as Kubaton/striking weapon
  • USA-made & protected by lifetime warranty
  • Has integrated glass-breaker tip
  • Stainless steel bodied fortified via Cerakote finish
  • Uses “Rite in the Rain” ink cartridge that works in all weather & conditions
  • Has very aggressive-looking appearance

Best Tactical Pen: The Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen is an everyday carry item that bestows standard writing instrument designs with a number of features from Kubatons and other tactical self-defense striking weapons. Spanning 5.59” overall, the pen features a barrel that’s been precision machined from stainless steel before being fortified via a Cerakote finish and fitted with an integrated glass breaker tip made from tempered steel. Made in America, this tactical EDC pen utilizes a clicker deployment mechanism and accepts Rite In The Rain’s all-conditions ink cartridges.

Material: Stainless Steel
Ink: “Rite In The Rain” Cartridge
Deployment: Clicker

Tactile Turn Bolt Action Pen

Tactile Turn Bolt Action Pen
Photo: Tactile Turn
  • Outstanding build quartz & fit & finish
  • Features fidget-friendly bolt-action mechanism
  • USA-made & protected by lifetime warranty
  • Offers in 3 sizes & 4 materials
  • Available w/ Timascus bolt upgrade & custom engraving
  • Expensive price (though well worth it)

Best Bolt-Action Pen: Tactile Turn’s Bolt Action Pen is most certainly one of the best offerings in the boutique EDC brand’s catalog. Made in America and compatible with all Parker-style refills, Tactile Turn’s bolt-action pen is machined in small batches in Texas. In addition to being produced in Standard (5.6”), Short (5.1”), and Mini (4.4”) variants, Tactile Turn also offers this EDC pen in titanium, copper, bronze, or ultra-top-shelf zirconium constructions — as well as in an ever-growing number of limited edition versions. Backed by a lifetime warranty, this pen is also offered with an optional Timascus (titanium Damascus) bolt and available custom pocket clip engraving. 

Material: Bronze, Copper, Titanium, or Zirconium
Ink: Parker Ballpoint
Deployment: Bolt-Action

The Best Mechanical Pencils for Everyday Use

Best Mechanical Pencils for EDC 00 Hero

Prefer a writing instrument that affords its user the ability to erase? Then be sure to check out our guide to the best mechanical pencils for everyday use for a curated list of hardwearing lead-fed writing tools that are perfect for EDC.