If there’s one thing teachers need (aside from a pay raise and a vacation to Fiji), it’s reliable pens. Teachers are loyal to their favorites and eager to share their opinions. We asked real educators on the WeAreTeachers Deals group on Facebook to share the best teacher pens, the ones they reach for and use every day. Here are their top picks, along with a few of our own, all recommended by teachers who know what they’re talking about.
Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!
1. Felt-Tip Flair Pens
Flair pens head the top of every list of best teacher pens. Their reliable ink flow and vibrant array of colors make them a perennial classroom favorite. “I use Flair. Always Flair,” says teacher Jessica E., and she’s definitely not alone. (Find out what happened when we asked a real teacher to compare Flair pens with some of their competitors.)
Buy them: Papermate Flair Felt-Tip Pens, 24-Pack
2. PaperMate Inkjoy Gel Pens
If you’ve avoided gel pens because they sometimes smear, these are the pens for you! Users rave over the quick-drying ink that ensures it stays on the paper where it’s supposed to. Take it from this Amazon reviewer: “All the teachers I know are very very particular about their grading pens. These pens are perfection. They were actually recommended to me by another teacher and this is the only kind of pen that I will grade with.”
Buy them: PaperMate InkJoy Gel Pens, 14-Pack
3. BIC Cristal Xtra Smooth Ball Pen
When teachers need inexpensive, reliable pens, these BICs are the ones they turn to. “As a teacher, I have these pens all over my home and classroom for grading papers,” says an Amazon reviewer. “This is just a solid pen that is very reliable. It doesn’t dry up and has good ink flow.”
4. Uniball Signo Gel Pens
“I am a teacher and these have been my favorite grading pens for about 2 years now,” notes one Amazon reviewer. “They have bright colors that dry almost immediately. When grading tests, they do not smear and my marks are clearly visible.” WeAreTeachers reader Amy J. also listed this as one of the best teacher pens and especially recommends the purple one.
Buy Them: Uniball Signo Gel Pens
5. iBayam Journal Planner Pens
These bargain-priced pens have thousands of five-star reviews on Amazon, including this one: “I’m a teacher and I feel like teachers know pens. These are great! They’re perfect for grading, writing notes, putting kids names on things. I’d buy these again and again.”
Buy them: iBayam Journal Planner Pens, 18 Colors
6. Pilot G2 Retractable Gel Pens
These are another popular pick for teacher pens. The only debate is whether to go for the fine point or the extra fine point. This reviewer loves an added benefit: “I’m a teacher and these unique pens make it so kids can’t walk away accidentally with my pen. When they see it lying around, they hand it right to me since no other kid has pens this cool.”
Buy them: Pilot G2 Retractable Gel Pens
7. Amazon Basics Felt-Tip Marker Pens
Looking for an affordable alternative to your beloved (but pricey) Flairs? These might fit the bill. “As a teacher, Flairs are my friend,” shares an Amazon reviewer. “But they are PRICEY! I’m always leery of trying alternatives, but I found this set of felt-tip pens to be just as vibrant. I felt the tips were a little finer too, which I like.”
Buy them: Amazon Basics Felt-Tip Marker Pens
8. Zebra Pen Z-Grip Retractable Ballpoint Pens
Need a comfortable, inexpensive pen? Give these a try. This reviewer raves: “I’m a high-school teacher, have used Z-grips for YEARS. This is the only pen I use… comfortable in the hand, leaves a clean line, great for doodling, and inexpensive enough to lose or give away without worrying about it. I order a bunch at the beginning of every school year.”
9. Bic Gel-ocity Quick Drying Pens
The best gel pens are quick-drying so they don’t smear or leave blobs. These BICs hold up to their promise. “Finding a good teacher pen isn’t easy, but I have found my new favorites!” enthuses a reviewer.
Buy them: Bic Gel-ocity, 12-Pack
10. Maped Visio Left-Handed Pens
Lefties face special challenges when they write. That’s why these pens are such a revelation. Teachers often recommend them for their left-handed students (“My grandson loves them and his teachers said it helps make it easier to read what he writes,” says a reviewer), but lots of them use these pens themselves too.
Buy them: Maped Visio Left-Handed Pens
11. Pilot Dr. Grip Refillable Pen
Tired of hand cramps when you’re still in the middle of grading? “I have arthritis in my hands and these are the only pens I can use,” explains a reviewer. “Not only do they not hurt my hands, they keep them from aching with the large amount of writing I am required to do.”
Buy them: Pilot Dr. Grip Refillable Pen
12. TUL Retractable Gel Pens
These pens have terrific reviews on Amazon, with an average of 4.9 out of 5 stars. An example: “The BEST gel pens! I love to write with TUL pens. As a Language Arts teacher, I use various colors during writing and grading. Of all the brands I’ve tried, TUL is the ultimate writing instrument.”
Buy them: TUL Retractable Gel Pens
13. BIC 4-Color Ballpoint Pens
You loved these pens when you were a student yourself, so add them to your collection of best teacher pens! “Love these for the classroom,” a reviewer says. “Nostalgic too. Used to use these at school when I was a student. Fun and quick to use different colors. I love the pack of 3 so that I can have one on my teacher desk, leave one at home, and one for my purse!”
Buy Them: BIC 4-Color Ballpoint Pens
14. Metallic Marker Pens
Some of the best teacher pens are the ones you don’t use for grading. “I bought these markers to write on folders and notebooks for the kids this school year and to mark all of the stuff in the classroom that belongs to me personally,” one teacher reviewer shares. “I like the colors, they are truly metallic and look super cool on anything black. Definitely a great buy!”
Buy them: STA Metallic Marker Pens, 10-Pack
15. Ultra Fine Point Sharpies
We know there are plenty of Sharpie fans out there, so these ones are for you. “As a teacher I have always been a fan of Sharpie. They have never let me down and always work great on any classroom project!”
Buy them: Ultra Fine Point Sharpies, 24-Pack
16. Pilot Frixion Erasable Gel Pens
Did someone say erasable? “They erase with no marks left behind,” says WeAreTeachers reader Holly R. How amazing is that?
Buy them: Pilot Frixion Erasable Gel Pens
17. Pentel R.S.V.P. Ballpoint Pens
While gel pens are a clear favorite among teachers, our readers also rate these colorful ballpoints highly. “I am a teacher and these are my favorite pens. I like to color code things and want pens that don’t skip and are comfortable to hold for long periods of time.”
Buy Them: Pentel R.S.V.P. Ballpoint Pens
18. NarwhalCo Teal Pens
Need a small pen to slip in your pocket or hang from your teacher lanyard? “I needed a pen I could put in my pocket for work,” a reviewer says. “Women’s pockets are notoriously small but this works.” These pens are refillable, and what’s more, they come with free refills for life!
Buy them: NarwhalCo Teal Pens
19. Pilot Markliter Pen/Highlighter
A pen with a built-in highlighter can be handy for grading, and these get high marks. One reviewer calls it “the most useful pen I carry with me.”
Buy them: Pilot Markliter Pen/Highlighter 12-Pack
20. Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens
Better than Flairs? One reviewer sure thinks so. “These pens are game changers. As a teacher, I always favored my Flair pens. I loved the colors and the way they wrote. Once I got my hands on these I’ve rarely used my Flairs. These write smoothly and I love that they don’t dry out quickly.”
Buy them: Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens
Next to pens, teachers love their dry erase markers. That’s why we did a Dry Erase Marker Showdown: Which Brand Is The Best For Classroom Use?