Non-leaky pens

For a long while I used Pilot G2 pens. Very nice (cheap) pens, but after a few leaks (these were standard clickable G2's) while they were in my pants pockets, which ruined some pants, I've been using ball-point pens. I think I read somewhere (wikipedia?) that ball-points are less likely to leak.

But I recently found a good deal on a Uni-ball Vision Elite. It writes beautifully and has a cap rather than a click mechanism. The packaging even claims it won't leak on an airplane.

So would a cap, rather than a click mechanism, prevent a pen from leaking? I'd love to return to the all the nice-writing roller balls, gels, and other non ball-point pens, but I don't want another leak.

Any ideas?

Thank you.

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I believe it is not the pen but the user

A cap will not prevent a pen from leaking, but it may contain the leak a bit. It is my belief that the problem is that you carry your pen in your pants pocket where it is subject to much more abuse than if it was carried in a shirt pocket. I have had pens leak when I carry them in a pants pocket, but never (that I can recall) in a shirt pocket.

Just my opinion. I hope it helps.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

You may be correct.

But there is a reason I use pants pockets. Some shirts have no pockets. But more importantly, I know I'm a geek, but I don't always want to look like one. :)
Hence I put my pens in my pants pockets.

How about a space pen?

I've read great things about the Space pen. Fans seems to swear by the things being able to write in any temperature/terrain. I haven't read about any leaking issues . . . I was just reading user reviews on Amazon a couple of nights ago.

Fisher Space Pens

While it's true that these pens write in just about any condition, they *do* leak. The cartridges are pressurized, which causes the ink to push itself out through the ballpoint over time, especially if you don't use it regularly. At the least, this causes ugly ink blobs when you first start writing. Some cartridges are better than others, implying variability in Fisher's manufacturing tolerances. In the "bullet" model pens, however, any leaks will be contained inside the pen since it is sealed by an o-ring when capped.


About five years ago, I

About five years ago, I bought two Fisher Space Pens--one for a friend, and one for myself. My friend uses hers daily, and has had no leakage problems with the cartridges. (She does, however, complain that the cartridges are expensive.) Mine is my back-up ink pen in my zippered Filofax. It sees very little duty; I'm still on the first or second cartridge. No leakages ever, here.

My only beef is that the clip is a slip-on, and much force is required to keep it on the pen. Additionally, to use the pen, you've got to remove the cap, and jam it on the butt end. This is not a good option, if you lay down your writing implement often, during usage. This operation also lengthens the pen from 3 3/4" long (capped) to 5 1/4" long, incidentally.

Although I'm a fan of the G2s, I usually opt for either a Stainless Steel Parker Jotter ballpoint pen with a gel cartridge ($5.00 or so, at Wal-Mart); or one of my trusty Filofax Classic Silver Pens ($27.00), which twist-to-open, and which are a diminutive 4 1/4" in length.

I have a Bullet Space Pen

I have a Bullet Space Pen with both the medium and fine point refills. They both glob like crazy, especially after not using it for a while. Also, when it does, it takes FOREVER to dry. When the ink goes on well, it still isn't very good because it fades quickly from black to a blueish color in just weeks. I wanted it to be the perfect pen for me, but it simply doesn't work well.

My Space Pen Lives in my Pants Pocket ...

... and I've never had a leak.

For some reason, I get "start-up blobs" in the summer only. Odd because the pen's temperature doesn't change much through the seasons (living next to my body heat). But these blobs cling to the pen, and don't leak at all. Even if they did, there's an O-ring that seals the cap to the pen body.

The refills aren't cheap, but can be bought for under $5, and last a long time. My local Staples sells them.

It's true the clip can slide off, but do you need a clip if the pen lives in your pocket?

Barometric pressure?

Perhaps it's the change in barometric pressure, rather than temperature, that makes the "start-up blobs" appear. Those blobs are the only reason I don't use my Space Pens much - otherwise, I'd keep one permanently in a pants pocket.


Space pen may be a (pricey) option

Thank you for the suggestion. The only hangup I have is that the pens look a little on the expensive side. Unfortunately I am part of that sub-population that has a tendency to lose pens on a periodic basis. Hence, I tend to avoid pens that cost more than a few dollars.

But perhaps I should just try one out.

Pricey, yes, but not the priciest option...

You can get them for about $18 USD at Staples. That's pretty economical considering that the pens are nearly bulletproof and will last a long time. Not so economical if you're prone to losing pens though....


Losing Pens

I find that the more expensive the pen, the more care you take with it. Cheaper pens you tend to not take the care.

Bob H.

You might consider keeping a

You might consider keeping a decent mechanical pencil in the shirt pocket, and keeping those dangerous ink-pens safely zippered away in a planner. All of my potentially-leaky stuff goes into a plastic zip-lock back, and then into my backpack/attache case. Inelegant, but fool-proof.

Maybe a pencil in the pocket...

So I gather the best option may be to keep pens in shirt pocket, or perhaps keep a pencil in the pants pocket.

My problem with mechanical pencils is that I tend to write hard, so the finer leads (0.5 and 0.7 mm) tend to break. I recently picked up some cheap 0.9 mm pencils and they seem to write better, although the quality of writing is nowhere near a pen. I just don't know enough about pencils to pick out a decent pencil.

Any suggestions?

Change your writing style

"Writing hard" is a very bad habit to have - maybe forcing yourself to use a fine-lead pencil will help you to break the habit. So would using a fountain pen. Unless, of course, you look forward to carpal tunnel surgery and poor penmanship :-)


I'm doomed.

Great... now I have to worry about global warming, losing weight, and carpal tunnel! DIY Planner is ruining my life. :(

Seriously, I never put much thought into "writing hard". It sounds like a habit I do need to break. Any suggestions?

Maybe it would be better...

Using less pressure and relaxing your hand a little would probably have long-term benefits. There would be less stress, less fatigue, and you'd avoid carpal tunnel. It's a win-win! :-)

If you want to see how much pressure you put on the point, write normally on a pad of paper and then look at the pages below the one you just wrote on. If you can read the page below clearly just from the impressions, you're writing too hard.

I've noticed that people used to ballpoints do put a lot of pressure on with they write. I cringe when I lend someone a fountain pen because they invariably use the same pressure as with their regular pens. I don't lend them out much anymore.

Start by using a rollerball. Try to consciously relax your hand before you begin writing, and keep it relaxed as you write. You can do what I call the "guitar player's stretch;" spread your hand out and push down on a flat surface. Later, you can try a fountain pen for an even lighter touch.


"If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything." - Mark Twain


Possibly a bit off subject but a Lamy Safari FP or Rollerball and/or 0.5 mm matching pencil. The grip is triangular making it easier to use correctly without the need for pressure. While not cheap, they are also not overly expensive. The only downside with the pencil is the tendency to lose the end cap as they wear over time but you can buy spares.

Put them both in your shirt pocket, geekish maybe but good looking geekish. Just avoid the pocket protector.

Bob H.


That may work. If I were to put it in my pants pocket, I think I could make my own DIY pen pouch pretty easily (i.e. zip-lock bag).

But come to think about it, this may be the perfect solution.

Alternative pen-holder solution

I got one of those pen-pouches while purchasing a Pentel Graph 1000. It even matched the colour of the pen.

In another thread I found a link to an interesting, alternative DYI pen-holder solution. Versatile - and cheap too!

Check out the PDF describing it:


Very nice

Nothing gets me started better than a neat idea -- like this one.
I Googles and found a bunch of other pen-holder ideas.
Posting on a separate thread:
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)