16 Best Pens for Bullet Journaling: Bujo Supplies You Can’t Live Without

best pens for bullet journalingWhen I first discovered bullet journaling, I spent hours looking at other people’s amazing designs. Soon I was looking for some tools of the trade to try it out myself. Being a technical-minded person, I, of course, wanted to understand the “how” of the bullet journaling process. What was the best method? What was the best paper and journal type to use? What were the best pens for bullet journaling?

Beginning bullet journalers may feel at a loss for how to begin. For a breakdown of the bullet journal process, please check out my post on How to Start a Bullet Journal and Master Your Productivity. Once you understand the bujo basics, choose your preferred supplies. In future posts I’m going to share the best journals and supplies, I’ve found, but here I thought we’d start with the most important tool: the almighty pen.

I’ve broken down the 16 best pens for bullet journaling. I also conducted interviews with top bujo bloggers and got their take on the best supplies as well. Here is a comprehensive list of every writing utensil you need to create beautiful, artistic, and functional bullet journals!

Best Pens for Bullet Journaling


Black Pens and Markers

pens and markers for bullet journals

While colored pens and markers are very popular for bullet journaling, it really all starts with your basic black ink. Anja from Anja Home responded to my survey with, “Besides my bullet journal notebook, I couldn’t live without a black ink pen.”

There’s a misconception that bullet journaling needs to be fussy and overcomplicated. As you well-know, I’m a simple guy. I’m all about minimalism and simplification, especially when it comes to organization and work. You don’t need artistic talent or even great handwriting for bullet journaling. Truly all you need is a black pen and paper.

So here are the best basic pens and markers for bullet journaling.

1. Staedtler Pigment Liner, Black

Amazon rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars

Staedtler Pigment Liner

These pens are quite popular for bujo fans. Blogger, Little Miss Rose writes her most popular bullet journal supplies are, “All my pens! But if I had to choose one, it would be my Staedtler Pigment Liners. They don’t tend to smudge and are waterproof.”

This set of 6 Staedtler Pigment Liner pens (for the price of 4) comes with 6 different widths, ranging from .05 mm to .8 mm. They’re perfect for outlining, shading, shadowing, and more. Strong, steady lines are easy to master with the varying widths of these pens—the ideal simple black liner pen for bullet journaling needs.

One Amazon reviewer writes: “I love these pens. I originally bought them for my bullet journal, and I ended up using them for that purpose and more. I love them for any kind of writing or note-taking. I love that this pack came with six different tip sizes. I enjoy writing with each tip size for different circumstances and needs. I keep my pens in the case they came in so I can easily take them all with me in my bag. You know you have a pen obsession when you carry them with you everywhere you go. The case also snaps into its own little stand, which is nice if you are switching between pens frequently. I have used these in my Leuchtturm1917 dotted journal – there is ghosting but no bleeding.”

best pens for bullet journaling


2. BOXUN Calligraphy Brush Pen

Amazon rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars

BOXUN Calligraphy Brush Pen

These liner brush pens are another perfect set for bullet journaling. There are four different size tips in this set (two brush tips, one medium, fine, and ultra-fine), making it versatile for all outlining, shadowing, etc. If you want to learn calligraphy or lettering for the first time, these are great beginner-grade pens.

My friend, who is an avid bullet journaler, recommends these because she’s also learning calligraphy and loves them for both applications. They provide smooth, super-rich black color that doesn’t pool or smear.

A fan on Amazon writes: “I ordered these along with a hand lettering and calligraphy book. I don’t have much experience in art, but I do use other markers to create illustrations. I would say these pens aren’t professional grade but are exactly what I needed to learn how to hand letter for the first time. The various sizes made it easy for me to experiment with what I liked best as I was learning. I will definitely keep these around for various lettering crafts.”

best pens for bullet journaling


3. Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen

Amazon rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars

Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen

Calligraphy brushes and pens are perfect for bullet journaling because of their versatility. You can draw hard, fine lines and soft brush strokes with the same pen. These Tombow brush pens are perfect for fine line calligraphy or shading and outlining. This 2-pack of soft and hard tipped pens are a definite necessity for your bullet journal.

boho berry
Blogger Kara of Boho Berry wrote in my survey that she highly recommends, “My Tombow MONO Drawing Pens! They come in a variety of tip sizes, and the black felt tip writes gloriously!”

Amazon reviewers seem to feel the same, writing: “There honestly isn’t any competition when it comes to brush pens. These two Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pens are all you need for calligraphy and illustration. The hard tip pen is blue, and the soft tip pen is green. I use both for calligraphy, but I prefer the soft tip for darker/heavier lines and the hard tip for thinner, delicate lines. Either way, you need a steady hand and control over pressure to get good quality lines. Both pens give you good control, but overall, I prefer the soft tip more. Both pens feel great when you use them. The lines are dark and do not bleed easily, and it makes you feel just THAT much more professional. I highly recommend these pens, and I will probably buy another set after mine run out of ink!”

best pens for bullet journaling


4. Faber-Castell Wallet Pitt Pen Nibs

Amazon rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Faber-Castell Wallet Pitt Pen Nibs

Another popular pen, these artist-quality Faber-Castell Pitt Pen Nibs, come in a variety of tip sizes and use pigmented India ink that is archival, meaning the ink will last and last on paper. They’re a reliable set of jet-black pens perfect for simple journaling needs.

elizabeth journals
Elizabeth Journals writes, “I could not live without my Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens because they do not smudge in my notebook, and I love the way they write.”
the petite planner
Erin of The Petite Planner writes, “I recommend Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens. I use them pretty much all day long.”

On Amazon, one reviewer wrote: “I love these pens for sketching, and this pack is a great sampler. Highly recommend if you want to experiment with different art styles and pen techniques. They last a good long while, and the packaging can be used as storage if you want (it has a closable flap up top). The ink is a nice dark black, and the variety of brush tips is fun to switch between – half are smaller, technical pen types, while the other half are larger and more brush-like.”

best pens for bullet journaling


Colored Pens

best pens for bullet journaling

Many journalers love using colored pens for their bullet journals. It’s easier to track your goals, progress, and activities when you use a color-coded system. Additionally, the color is beautiful and makes your bujo stand out.

I personally find it’s more motivating to use something that looks nice and is easy to read. Color-coding your bullet journal really helps increase the functionality. In my survey, Sylvia from Mommy Over Work wrote that her top bullet journaling supply was “Colored pens! I love items that combine functionality with aesthetic, so having a variety set allows you to color-code your writing.”

5. Crayola Super Tips Washable Markers

Amazon rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars

Crayola Super Tips Washable Markers

Crayola markers are reliable, washable, don’t bleed through paper, and last for quality use. This 80 count set includes 42 unique colors, 25 duplicates of the favorite colors, and even scented markers! It’s a perfect set for both children’s coloring and adult bullet journaling, so it’s a multi-purpose set.

A friend of mine has these, and she loves them. She uses them for her adult coloring books as well as bullet journaling and says they’ve lasted for over a year.

Another blogger from Planning Mindfully says these Crayola Super Tips are her favorite!

best pens for bullet journaling


6. Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens

Amazon rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars

Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens

These medium-point felt tip markers are another bullet journaling favorite. They’re smudge-proof, waterproof, and won’t bleed through the paper. The .7mm tip is the perfect size for precision lines with bold color. They’re also perfect for note-taking and coloring.

Amazon featured this promising review: “I bought these for my planner and was pleased to see that they don’t bleed through the paper. All markers worked perfectly; none were dry or empty like other reviews. They dry pretty quickly, so I haven’t had any issues with transferring or smearing. Love these!”

best pens for bullet journaling


7. Fineliner Color Pen Set

Amazon rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Fineliner Color Pen Set

Vibrant colors and a fine-point tip make these markers ideal for journaling, note-taking, color-coding, and even basic doodling. They’re slim and comfortable in your hand and write smoothly with no bleeding through the page.

According to some of the reviews, they don’t last as long as other pens but are really ideal for bullet journaling.

One reviewer on Amazon writes: “These pens are gorgeous. The colors are vibrant, and next-to-no bleed through or bleed out. I absolutely love colored pens and have bought many, many brands, and these are better than any I have used. The value is remarkable. I like them better than Sharpie and Papermate fine point markers. None of the markers were dried out, as I have experienced on multiple occasions with Papermate markers. The colors are vastly different from each other, and the packaging description is pretty spot on. Will absolutely be making these a staple in my collection!!”

best pens for bullet journaling


8. ZEBRA Sarasa Porous Pen

Amazon rating: 4 out of 5 stars

ZEBRA Sarasa Porous Pen

These fine-liner pens are colorful, write like butter, and are perfect for drawing, journaling, or everyday note-taking. Zebra is an excellent brand for journaling pens because of their long-lasting quality. Color-code your journal, calendar, notes, etc. with the bright, vibrant colors and create perfect lines with the reliable fine-point tip.

The reviewers on Amazon highly recommend these pens: “I LOVE these pens! They are excellent “scratchy pens” – they write wonderfully, the colors are vibrant, and make taking work notes so much better. I’ve already bought some for myself and another pack for a friend as a gift.”

best pens for bullet journaling


9. Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens

Amazon rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars

Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens

These ultra-fine point pens are .3mm, making them perfect for intricate, fine lines and designs. The tip is metal-clad, reinforcing the fine tip for steady penmanship. The barrel of the pen is an ergonomic triangle shape, making it ultra-comfortable in your hand.

marsha plans
Blogger One of my bullet journaling interviewees, Masha Plans, highly recommended these as a top bullet journal supply, “It’s so hard to choose just one thing. I have a crazy amount of stationery, and all of my supplies are must-haves for me. But if I had to choose, I’d say it’s probably my Fineliners. Fineliners are the basis of all my doodles and page setups, so I can’t imagine planning without them.”

On Amazon, these Fineliner pens receive rave reviews: “These are gorgeous pens! All of the felt tips were functional – not dried out and not too rough on the pages. I use these mostly in my Leuchtturm1917 journal. There is some bleed through on thin papers, such as the sheets in that particular journal.”

“The pens are shaped with three angles; as someone with joint problems, I’ve found this extremely helpful in minimizing pain when I write. This function also helps the pens click back into the container. The container’s lid has a pop-back function that lets you stand the entire case upright for easy organization while you write. They are made very well, though I did notice my most-used colors’ felt tips were smushed a little after prolonged use (I’m talking a few months of heavy use). Overall, these are quality pens in brilliant colors, and I would buy more from Staedtler.”

best pens for bullet journaling


10. Sharpie Art Pens

Amazon rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Sharpie Art Pens

I will personally vouch for the perfection of Sharpie pens—these are my go-to felt tip pens for writing, doodling, journaling, basically any note-taking. You can get these pens in an 8, 12, 16, or 24-count set. They come with a hard case so you can keep them organized while using them. Sharpie pens are designed with the well-known Sharpie quality, but with no bleed-through on paper.

There are quite a few Sharpie art pen fans on Amazon too: “I’m a full-time writer and am always on the hunt for a good pen. I have standards, and most pens will skip, run out of ink too quickly, lack a variety of colors, hurt my fingers, or tear the pages I’m working on. It is incredibly frustrating to be mid-scene/note-taking/brainstorming to have your pen die on you or be finicky.”

“Enter the holy grail of pens: Sharpie.”

“These don’t bleed through the page for me, and I even use them in my bullet journal I keep (Leuchtturm1917). They are my staple, and I routinely buy back up packs of these, so I always have my favorite colors on hands–the dark green is a beautiful color. These are also excellent for marking up manuscripts during revisions. The only color I don’t use is the yellow because it’s too light and not easily legible. If you’re looking for a great pen that is trusty and sturdy and won’t bleed, I highly recommend these, especially if you’re a writer. I’ve used these exclusively for the last two years, and I’m never looking back!”

best pens for bullet journaling


11. Pilot FriXion Clicker Retractable Erasable Gel Pens

Amazon rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Pilot FriXion Clicker Retractable Erasable Gel Pens

Remember the hype of erasable pens back in the day? You were the coolest kid in class if you had magic pens. Well, Pilot FriXion pens are the modern-day cool kid’s erasable gel pen. These pens are reliable, smooth pens that last. This pack comes with multiple colors, including basic black. Use for bullet journaling, everyday note-taking, planner art—they’re so versatile, and if you screw up, erase and continue!

Devotees of FriXion pens highly recommend them: “Love, Love, Love!! I have purchased these pens over and over! I am a 4th-year college student, and these have truly helped me organize my notes. They are so great for color coding, and I love that you can erase because I know for a fact if I wasn’t able to, my notes would be so sloppy! I have recommended these to other students and friends, and they too have loved them. The pens do write like a gel pen, so you have to be careful to let the ink dry a little before going over it with a highlighter, for example. I would also suggest trying not to erase hard as you will either rip your paper or make it all wrinkly! Overall, these are my favorite!”

best pens for bullet journaling


12. Pilot FriXion Colors Erasable Marker

Amazon rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars

Pilot FriXion Colors Erasable Marker

If you are amazed by the existence of erasable pens, wait until you hear about erasable MARKERS. Yes, that’s right—FriXion markers are erasable, vibrant, and have the perfect fine-to-medium point for smooth and versatile writing.

A note on FriXion pens: the ink erases due to heat created by the friction of the eraser so that ink will reappear in the right temperatures (-10 degrees Celsius, or 14 degrees Fahrenheit). Pop your journal in the freezer and watch the ink appear! Likewise, don’t leave pens or your journal in a hot car, as the ink may disappear under heated conditions.

An Amazon reviewer writes, “I was recently introduced to FriXion pens. I bought these to use on my Everlast and Wave notebook, and I’m pretty amazed. The markers are sturdy with a fine tip that produces vibrant color. They erase using the rubber tip on the cap, a FriXion eraser, or a hairdryer. I’ve printed off several of my toddler’s favorite cartoon characters and let her color them with these markers, and she is amazed when I use the hairdryer to make the ink disappear like magic for her to color again. Definitely saves a lot of paper since she LOVES to color. They are definitely worth the money, in my opinion.”

best pens for bullet journaling


13. Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens

Amazon rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars

Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens

InkJoy pens are one of the most reliable pens I’ve found. The vivid color ink dries quickly, eliminating the risk of smearing. The fine point is perfect for smooth writing or journaling, and the pen grip is comfortable. They’re super versatile for use and they last, making them a great go-to pen not only for bullet journaling but any note-taking!

shannon from wellella
Shannon from Wellella writes, “I’m always looking for the perfect pen to write with. My current favorite is the Paper Mate InkJoy gel pen in blue. It’s a cheap pen, but it writes like an expensive pen, with smooth yet fast-drying ink. I have a hard time putting it down!”

The Amazon reviews support the hype on these pens as well: “These Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens ROCK! I have an obsession with pens, seriously! I’m left-handed and fellow lefties reading this know the struggle of Gel pens and our left hands. Nothing but smeared ink, colored hands, and smudged writing – but not anymore. A coworker had bought a single one of these paper mate pens and let me try it, within 30 seconds I was hooked. First of all, the ink dries quickly, so I didn’t smudge it at all. Ever. Second, they write so smoothly. Third, the colors are vivid and bright, and fourth, the pens feel nice in your hands! I have to hide these pens from everyone else because they are always trying to run off with them.”

best pens for bullet journaling


Highlighters and Markers

highlighters and markers for bullet journaling

Highlighters and markers are also popular supplies for bullet journaling. You can use highlighters to emphasize certain items on your list. Markers are useful for drawing, adding color, filling in grid trackers, and other bujo activities.

Again, while highlighters and markers aren’t critical to bullet journaling, they make the process more aesthetically pleasing and fun. I definitely heard popular reviews of highlighters during my bullet journal supply survey.

14. Zebra Pen Mildliner, Double Ended Highlighter

Amazon rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars

Zebra Pen Mildliner

When it comes to highlighting markers and pens, I LOVE these double-ended pens. One end is a broad-point highlighter, and the other end is a fine point, perfect for journaling and fine, steady lines. The color of these pens is a perfect mild hue, making them ideal for layering colors (without bleeding or smudging).

love from lisa
Many of my interviewees also mentioned highlighters as an important writing implement for bullet journaling. Love from Lisa told us, “I couldn’t live without highlighters, as I use them to highlight new dates and even color-code my to-dos. For example, groceries are highlighted yellow, kids’ activities blue, and priorities red.”

On Amazon, reviewers recommend these for bullet journaling, writing, “These markers are great for bullet journaling. Unlike a highlighter, these “mildliners” provide a soft, pastel-like color that looks neater and less overwhelming on the page. They also come in a wider range of colors. I use them to create simple headings on my bullet journal pages or to color in drawings. The grey color is especially cool for a really subtle effect. The other great thing about these markers is that they feature two ends, one a traditional, blunt highlighter end, and a finer point on the other end for detail work. You won’t regret buying these if you are a bullet journal fan or even a student or academic who uses highlighters while reading.”

best pens for bullet journaling


15. Stabilo BOSS Original Highlighter

Amazon rating: 4.4 out of 5 Stars

Stabilo BOSS Original Highlighter

These pastel highlighters are perfect for your bullet journal creation. The highlighters feature a chiseled tip for wide lines and fine lines. The highlighters are designed with an anti-dry out technology, so you can leave the cap off or up to 4 hours without ruining the marker. This set adds the perfect touch of light pastel color to your bullet journal or planner. You can get a dual set of pastel and primary-colored highlighters here, as well.

On Amazon, these are commended for multiple applications: “These are beyond excellent. For researchers or anyone else who highlights text, some regular highlighters are too dense and sometimes too dark. You can’t read the text you highlighted. But with these Stabilo Pastels, you can read the text easily. You can color-code your high lights in a way that can’t be done with darker-ink ones. Also, the pastel color is pleasing to look at, not off-putting like the fluorescents that are too bright and jazzy for the serious researcher. I give Stabilo an A+.”

best pens for bullet journaling


16. Feela Bible Gel Highlighters

Amazon rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Feela Bible Gel Highlighters

These highlighters are designed to highlight the super-thin pages of the Bible perfectly. Reviewers recommend them because the ink is vibrant, the color is bold and stands out, but the ink is gentle and doesn’t bleed through the pages at all. They’re designed for use on light, thin paper, so they’re a perfect option for bullet journaling, using vibrant, intense colors without ruining other pages.

One Amazon reviewer writes: “I use these for Bible journaling, but they would be excellent for a student or anyone needing to emphasize passages they want to remember. These highlighters do NOT bleed through the paper, and there is very little shadow or ghosting on the other side of the paper. These are smooth writing and no grainy looking spots when you highlight words. They glide across the paper seamlessly and deliver a consistent color layout. I love the peach color, which is a new one, and the two greens that are different hues, as well as the blues and purples being different hues. It is a real plus to have colors that vary from similar brands.”

best pens for bullet journaling


Other Supplies for Bullet Journaling

Supplies for Bullet Journaling

Throughout my survey, the other important item (besides a high-quality journal—more on those in a future post) that kept coming up was a ruler. Many bullet journalers mentioned it was so important to use a ruler to create straight lines, grids, and charts in their journal.

tales from home
Kristin from Tales from Home writes, “I really couldn’t draw a straight line on my own if my life depended on it and having a ruler handy for weekly and monthly layouts is extremely valuable.”
planning with maggie rae
Rachel from Planning with Maggie Rae writes, “The one item I NEED is a good pen. Pigmented but not one that bleeds through the paper. Also, I want it to be thin, so my writing looks neater. I have terrible penmanship. A close second is a ruler.”
life by whitney
Finally, Whitney at Life By Whitney told me, “When making layouts, I love to use a little 6-inch ruler to help make my lines straight. I’ve also been learning brush lettering and always have a small black brush pen to make quick, fancy headers in my book to add easy decoration.”

So, as you can see, a ruler is another vital tool for creating bullet journals.

sheena of the journal
Sheena from Sheena of the Journal also wrote among her critical supplies is, “My pen bag! I have a million different pens I like to use, from fountain pens to colorful markers, calligraphy pens, etc. It keeps journaling fun for me. Without a place to keep all my pens, I’d be losing them left and right!”

Again, bullet journaling is as straightforward or as complex as you like, but like any task, it’s easiest if you use proper tools. If you’re ready to start bullet journaling, I recommend exploring the many pens and tools to help you create a beautiful journal that you’ll love to use!

Your Turn!

  • What’s your favorite pen for bullet journaling?
  • What bullet journal supplies are your must-haves?

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