Anyone know about gel pens?

I have a bunch of gel pens that I've had for years...most are at least half full still.

And most of them no longer write. Just like all of a sudden they'll stop writing, no matter what I do, and I can't figure out why. Some stopped years and years ago, and some were still working and stopped recently. I have only a few left and I'm sure they'll stop soon enough as well.

Anyone know why this might happen? Do gel pens dry out? (I've always kept them capped and everything) I thought at first it happened because I used to keep them in my backpack in high school, which went between winter outside and warm inside, but the pens haven't been mobile since high school so that obviously doesn't explain those that just quit working. I think I've tried soaking them in warm water and such, but no luck. I also wondered if maybe it was one specific brand (as I thought I'd had it nailed down to them being the ones that didn't work) but I've got pens from at least four or five different brands and all have quit working.

I'd love to be able to use these pens again; I've got some pretty nifty colors and such. If this is what gel pens are like, though, I'm never buying them again!

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gel pens do dry out


I'm a gel pen fanatic as well. I'm not sure anyone can really answer your question about why they stop working. All I know is that there seems to be two camps of gel pens. Those that dry out after awhile and those that just don't work...

For the brands that dry out after awhile, you can try dabbing a small droplet of water on the tip and then attempt to write with it. Sometimes this helps to revitalize the pen. I've never soaked my pens in hot water.

For the pens that just don't work (even if they're new), there's not much you can do except maybe write the manufacturer. It sucks but it's the truth of being a gel pen fanatic.

For the record, i've never had an issue with this brand, so you may want to try them out and see how they work for you:
Yasutomo Gel Xtreme. They seem to never dry out and they work great even after a year or so of sitting in the packaging where I stashed them.

Try wiping the points with isopropyl alcohol

I've had this problem, too. IIRC, I read somewhere - possibly over on Fountain Pen Network - that someone had written to Pilot and received a note suggesting that a quick wipe of a cloth with a bit of isopropyl alcohol on it would get the pens writing again. I think I did it and that it worked for a time, but then they clogged up again.

Mostly now I pick one up, check to see if it works, it usually doesn't, and then I throw it down and pick up either a fountain pen or something more reliable, like a pencil, and then I write.

I do have some that work well all the time, but naturally they are the shiny silver ones with purple edges. I like the idea of the gel pens, but so far haven't found any that really do the trick, though.


I love gel ink almost as much as Innowen... (lol okay i am far from that addicted heheh)

i once contacted the manufacturer regarding a pen that would skip during writing... i recieved a replacement and was told that the formula for gel ink is basically - finicky. the newer forumlas tend to work more easily and smoothly... perhaps you have some of the older formulas...

i gently tap my pen tip to get the ball rolling again... sometimes when fustrated i tap a lil more forcefully. ive tried dipping the very tip in hot water and also the alcohol method... i would say try everything and worse comes to worse - contact the manufacturer. the pen market is so congested - most companies will do anything to keep a customer happy.

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I think the brand makes a

I think the brand makes a big difference.

Pilots seem to always write down to the last drop of ink. Sarasa is good, too, and has a wider range of color.

OTOH, I tried a Staples knockoff -- called 'Clix' -- and they were horrible. I don't think I managed to write more than a couple of pages with any of the ten in the pack. :( Worse, they had opaque metal barrels for the ink, so who knows? Maybe they only had a tiny bit of ink in them to begin with.


If you have those staples pens - I would definately bring them back. That is rediculous. However I have encountered a gel pen that litterally ran out in one journalling session. As I wrote and wrote I watched the ink level drop to the point of empty. I was quite amazed at myself at first until I went back and only had written about 10 classic sized pages of ramblings.

I do love Sarasa pens.. (not just because of the name ;P) the colors are marvelous and they hold up well - even when I get to rambling.

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Are Sarasa gel pens the ones

Are Sarasa gel pens the ones made by Zebra?
I think I saw a pack of mini Sarasa pens at Office Depot Sunday afternoon.

I am a notebook junkie.


yes sarasa are the zebra made gel pens from heaven.

i have a nice pink, grayish blue, dark limey green and yellow set .. .they have held up great for at least two years. I use them to embellish and sometimes for writing letters to friends. I personally recommend them :) I have seen a few sets with multiple colors that I would love to invest in some day...

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This has nothing at all to do with gel pens

but it's not worth a thread of it's own.

I was in a CVS today, and they had a whole bunch of plastic bins with back-to-school type novelties -- erasers and funky pencils and carabiners and mini-pens and whatnot.

What caught my eyes especially were packets of animal shaped spring-loaded clips. They had cows and zebras and lions and frogs and maybe another species or two. The clips are little things, about an inch long, and I doubt they'd hold more than 5-8 sheets of paper tops. And the clips would probably be awkward in use, because the animal sticks out from the clipped papers from the 'waist' up.... and despite all those draw backs I simply couldn't resist them.

So now I have an entire herd of little zebras grazing on the shelf that holds my computer monitor, in blissful ignorance of the pride of lions creeping up on them. :D

Hey, they only cost 50 cents for a packet of four. Every time I notice them I smile -- two bucks well spent. : )

(I think I'm entering my second childhood.)

OTOH, if you insist that your desktop tchotckes serve a purpose: if you clip one of them onto each end of an index card, they will hold it upright. Barely. In landscape orientation. Unless you're near a fan or something....


Those sound like they would be good for a mini hpda... like a stack of notecards just used for quick capture. I'm jealous :D

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Those clips sound cute!

I am a notebook junkie.

I've had good luck with the

I've had good luck with the Office Depot branded gel pens, Foray.
They're Parker-style so you could put them in a Jotter, or obviously, any pen that takes those refills.

I am a notebook junkie.

almost forgot

how could I forget Foray?! I have a 0.5mm black mega tank gel pen... it is so much fun to write with - smooth and the ink dries quickly on most papers. I tend to use it for artistic purposes but have been known to write a check or two with it as well ;P

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A few months ago when I went to Office Depot to get my "fix" of browsing. There were some clearance tables that were just loaded down with goodies!
I bought two 10 packs of the black gel pens, retractable 0.7mm, for $2.50. 20 pens for $2.50!

I am a notebook junkie.

Kat12 wrote: I have a bunch

Kat12 wrote: I have a bunch of gel pens that I've had for years...most are at least half full still.
And most of them no longer write.

In my experience cheaper gel pen ink seems to last less than 2 years - especially in warm conditions. I'm guessing that the gel ink either hardens or partially evaporates after a while and 'clags' in the barrel.

Perhaps gel pens are like markers - they have a limited lifespan

Papermate Liquid Flairs?

Has anyone tried these? The blurb says:

"Enjoy the feel of a fountain pen in an economical porous point pen"


"Bright, vibrant color, quick-drying inks prevent smearing"

which sounds good but...

Colors are black, red, blue, pink, purple, green, orange and turquoise. An 8 pack, one of each, is about $15.

I haven't seen these pens.

I haven't seen these pens. Yet!

I am a notebook junkie.


I have a red and used up a purple of those... they are very smooth and wonderful becaues it doesnt require pressure to write.

The line was a bit broader than I had initially expected so ... if you write tiny - you may need to look for the smaller tips. :)

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