Most languages are written and read from left to right and since right-handers will have the pen tip to the left of their writing hand position, there’s no risk of the ink being smeared across the page. Left-handers, on the other hand, have to position their hand in such a way as to avoid rubbing them over freshly written words. This can cause hand fatigue faster for lefties. They also have to push the nib against the page instead of pulling it the way right-handers do, which makes writing feel scratchy. For these reasons, the type of pen a lefty chooses is really important and this article aims to help you choose from the best pens for lefties so that smeared ink, hand cramps and skipped writing is a thing of the past.
When choosing the best left handed pen for your needs, the pen should use ink that dries quickly to minimize smudging, and it should flow smoothly without skipping or gunking on the page. Some pens are better than others for one or more of these reasons, so we’ll break them down for you by type.
You don’t have to stop at just writing, if you use a computer, think about getting a keyboard for left-handers.
Table of Contents
- 1 In a Hurry? Here are Our Picks for Best Pens for Left Handed People…
- 2 How to Choose the Best Pen for a Left Handed Person
- 3 Best Ballpoint Pen for Lefties
- 4 Best Rollerball Pen for Left Handed People
- 5 Best Pressurized Ink Pens for Lefties
- 6 Best Gel Pens for Lefties
In a Hurry? Here are Our Picks for Best Pens for Left Handed People…
- Retractable & refillable
- Uni Super ink in 5 colors
- 0.7mm medium line and 1.0mm bold line
PILOT Precise V5
- Capped & disposable
- Rollerball liquid ink in 12 colors
- 0.5mm extra fine precision line
Pentel EnerGel RTX Retractable
- Retractable & refillable
- Liquid gel ink in 12 colors
- 0.7mm medium line and 1.0mm bold line
How to Choose the Best Pen for a Left Handed Person
Common Left Handed Writing Problems
- Left handers sometimes exert more pressure while writing in order to maintain ink flow and prevent ink skipping as they push against the paper instead of pulling the way right handers do.
- Left handed hook writing is a common way to hold the pen and write from above instead of from below in order to avoid rubbing the hand across freshly written words, which often causes smudging. Our guide on how to help a left handed child learn to write also has useful tips for adults.
- Pushing the nib against the paper instead of pulling can feel scratchy and damage the tip. If this is a common problem for you, you should use very smooth paper as recommended in our list of best notebooks for lefties.
- Book spines, especially on spiral bound notebooks, are quite uncomfortable as they dig into your writing hand.
- How many left-handed desks are there in a typical school? Sometimes zero! Right-handed tablet arm school desks force kids to use bad posture and an uncomfortable writing style. That’s why schools need to have a good number of left-handed student desks in each classroom.
Most ballpoint pens can be a nightmare for lefties, as the ink is usually highly viscous oil-based, which requires more writing pressure. This is especially challenging for lefties who write from above or the side. Many ballpoints also suffer from blotting or gunking, which causes smudging. A good ballpoint pen for lefties would incorporate a low-viscous ink cartridge so that you don’t have to exert a lot of pressure.
On the other hand, ballpoints tend to be fast-drying and smudge-resistant, so if you can find one that doesn’t blot and is comfortable to write with, you should put it on the top of your list.
In contrast to ballpoint pens, roller ball pens use liquid ink rather than oil-based viscous ink. The ink found in the rollerball pen produces a writing style that is more akin to a fountain pen’s smoothness. When you write on paper, the tip of the ink pen literally rolls around, allowing the ink to move from the ink reservoir to the paper. If you like the feel of rollerball pens, choose one that uses a special rapid-dry ink instead of normal liquid ink.
Gel pens, which have a denser ink, are expensive but the ink is more vibrant. Gel ink flows smoothly, so causes less cramping, but it can sometimes take a long time to dry. Because of this, most popular gel ink options are hybrids or specifically designed to dry quickly despite their flowy properties.
They come in bigger packs with more colors to choose from, as well as colors that are harder to find. You can even get a yellow that is quite visible on a white page.
Pressurized Ink Pens
These make really good pens for lefties. The cartridge is pressurized with a small amount of nitrogen gas, which helps maintain a steady downward flow of ink. The flow is consistent no matter how you move the pen from left to right or how you angle the nib. When the pen is not in use, the ink is thick and nearly gel-like, so it won’t leak. When you apply a little pressure to it while writing, it transforms into something as smooth as silk. This means that lefties don’t have to press hard to write, which is a common issue that adds to hand fatigue.
Most left handers will tell you that you absolutely can’t write well with a fountain pen but that’s not really true. Fountain pens and their nibs come in various sizes and designs and a few work very well for lefties because of specific properties. In fact, left-handers may even find calligraphy with a fountain pen OK with a bit of practice. Since they’re quite specialized in design, we have a separate article where we recommend our favorite fountain pens for lefties and calligraphy pens for lefties.
Best Ballpoint Pen for Lefties
Maped Visio Left Handed Pens
A brand that has remembered lefties when developing its products is Maped. It is a French family company that has been manufacturing and marketing school supplies for more than 67 years. The Maped Visio Left Handed Pen comes in black, blue, and red inks and has an ergonomic design adapted for left-handers that when used to write, the thickness of the line is a medium 0.7mm.
Both its curved shape and the non-slip, triangular arrangement of its tip are designed to increase the visibility of your writing and promote the ideal writing angle for lefties. This means there’s no need to hook your wrist and you’ll still avoid smearing the ink as you write.
Its conical tip is made of steel, which makes it firm enough for anyone. For lefties that tend to hook the wrist, this pen would help improve handwriting and prevent hand cramps and pain in comparison to the standard pens. A pack of assorted Maped Visio pens would make a cute stocking stuffer for lefties.
The barrel is designed with a contour, especially for a leftie to grip.
Designed for lefties whose wrist is curved when writing.
The tip facilitates the easy flow of ink.
Helps to avoid smearing of ink.
The ink sometimes doesn’t flow smoothly.
The grip could be softer.
Not so good for lefties that don’t hook their wrists.
The cap doesn’t fit the end of the pen for storage when you’re writing.
Uni-ball Jetstream Retractable Ball Point Pens
The aspects that left-handed people take into account when choosing one pen or another are: ergonomics and the fluidity of the line. The entire range of Jetstream rollerball pens from Uniball is well suited to left-handed writing and is characterized by the high quality and durability of the product. The grip is embossed, the tip is retractable, and it has stainless steel accents for a professional look. Black, red, and blue ink are all available.
As is often the case with ballpoints, Uni-Ball Jetstream’s ink dries quickly, but this ink is even faster. It takes less than one second for Uni’s Super Ink in the Jetstream to dry. Furthermore, the ink actually embeds into the paper, so you don’t even have to worry if you touch it a moment later. An embedding ink eliminates fraud because it’s impossible to erase it. For bank checks and important documents, it is perfect.
An extra benefit is that the pen delivers the ink with minimal pressure, which can make writing easier for left-handed writers, but no matter what hand you use, its many useful features make this pen different from the rest. You can get this pen in 0.7mm fine point or 1mm medium/bold point.
The ink dries very quickly and embeds into any paper.
Prevents hand fatigue.
Provides crisp and vivid lines.
Run out of ink fast.
Best Rollerball Pen for Left Handed People
STABILO pointVisco Rollerball
The STABILO pointVisco Rollerball has won an iF product design award so it must be a good pen. It has a hexagonal shaping on the bottom half of the pen with a tangerine orange and white color barrel and a pocket clip. There is an ergonomic non-slip rubber grip section above that and an end cap for the tip. The end cap, grip and pocket clip denotes the color of the ink, which you can choose from 8 striking colors.
The fine 0.5 tip of the pen emits a pleasing and vibrant ink that is smooth and based out of Stabilio’s own gel formula. It does write more medium than fine, though. Moreover, the ink dries quickly and appears waterproof. There is no gunkiness or inconsistency in the line and the tip glides smoothly over the paper.
Writing is as smooth as silk.
Lightweight and comfortable to hold.
The ink dries very fast.
The cap stays put over the tip as well as the end while writing.
The pocket clip is a bit weak.
You can’t see the ink level.
Uni-Ball 69000 Vision Elite Rollerball Pen
This Uni-Ball 69000 Vision Elite Rollerball pen is available in a 0.5mm micro-tip and a 0.8mm bold tip. These also use the Uni Super ink that dries very fast and prevents fraud by being unerasable. The pen lets you write smoothly with a vivid imprint.
You can get refills for these pens, and although they’re harder to find in physical stores, they’re always available on Amazon.
You can get these pens in a few different colors and they come with a vented refill to avoid leaking or exploding, which is a common occurrence in pressurized airplane cabins. It is great for a business traveler. You can visibly see the ink supply so it does not run out on you. It is water-resistant and can last for a while.
Smooth and vivid writing.
The ink dries really fast.
Available in micro and bold tips.
Refills are hard to find in physical stores.
The ink runs out a bit fast.
PILOT Precise V5 Stick Liquid Ink Rolling Ball Stick Pens
PILOT Precise V5 Rolling Ball Stick Pens are high-quality writing instruments that provide fine and consistent writing through the 0.5mm extra-fine tip. These disposable pens are an excellent and reliable choice for teachers, students, and professionals even if the design that includes a metal cap clip is a bit ordinary and hasn’t changed in decades. In fact, they’re very common globally and sometimes go by the name Hi-Tecpoint instead of Precise. The body and cap of the pen are plastic, contributing to its very light weight. It has a window that allows you to see how much ink you have left and the grip is smooth and clear as well.
While these pens may not write as silky smooth as the Uniball pens, they won’t skip, you’ll get a nice dark line, and the ink dries quickly. In addition, they’re cheaper. However, they’re not refillable. If you want a refillable V5, there is a version that has a retractable nib instead of a cap and the refills are easily available.
Good for precise writing.
The clip attaches nicely to a pad or pocket.
The neck is smooth and slim and easy to grip.
The tip should be capped when not in use to prevent it from drying.
Not refillable although a refillable and retractable tip version is available.
Best Pressurized Ink Pens for Lefties
Fisher Bullet Space Pen
The Fisher Bullet Space Pen is the most portable and sleek of the iconic Fisher Space Pens that are used by all NASA astronauts. It is short in height when the cap covers the tip and it has a smooth bullet-shaped exterior. It is great for everyday carry. The only thing that prevents it from rolling off a surface is its removable cap clip. The cap extends the pen to an almost normal height when it’s posted on the other end and the ergonomic grip part is revealed. Its construction is of brass and steel, which is reflected in its price point.
The Bullet has the famous Universal Cartridge Refill that contains hermetically sealed thixotropic ink, which is thick and gel-like when the pen is at rest so there’s no fear of leakage even in zero-gravity. This pen will also work well in extreme heat or cold and in water or grease. Unlike the stickiness of some ballpoint pens, this one will write smoothly.
When you start writing, the nitrogen pressurized cartridge pushes the ink out smoothly no matter which angle you write in, which is perfect for lefties who tend to write with a hooked wrist. There’s no need to scratch your way across even if you push the tungsten carbide ballpoint tip against rough paper.
You can choose between a matte black or chrome body and the pen comes with a medium tip, but you can replace it with a fine cartridge if you wish. It would make a nice novelty gift for a left hander too.
Looks sleek and professional.
Good for everyday carry and will fit nicely into any pocket, wallet, or purse.
No need to exert pressure when writing.
Each refill lasts for many months.
The removable cap clip may keep coming off.
Its weight and feel makes it less ideal for long writing sessions.
Fisher Space Pen Cap-O-Matic
The Fisher Space Pen Cap-O-Matic differs from the bullet by not having an end cap but instead has a retractable tip that operates by a clicker cap at the end. It also has a pocket clip so that you can secure the pen in your pocket or notebook. Just as with the other Space pen models, it has a tungsten carbide ballpoint tip and a pressurized ink cartridge that will last a long time and allow you to write smoothly at any angle.
This pen is also completely constructed of brass and steel but it has a more textured body and a slightly more traditional elongated shape, so it’s a better pen for prolonged writing instead of everyday carry that the Bullet is better for.
Light and comfortable for long writing sessions.
Each refill lasts for many months.
Will leak if pressure is applied on it while in your pocket.
Uni-ball Power Tank Ballpoint Retractable & Fine Ballpoint Pen
With the Power Tank Ballpoint Pen, you can write while you are in any position, laying down or standing up. It can be used on various kinds of surfaces and at any temperature, hot or cold. It can be used outdoors and on slick paper. It operates using air pressure, pushing the ink to the surface. This is what differentiates it from the Jetstream ink cartridges. However, unlike Jetstream, the ink in this Power Tank ballpoint pen isn’t as smudge-proof, so you do need to be a bit careful if you tend to glide your hand over your writing.
Pick this Uniball if you write with a hooked wrist or angle the paper, but pick the Jetstream ballpoint if you write with a straighter wrist across the page or if you have to write on any material other than regular paper.
Good for writing on any slick material.
Can write at any angle.
Inexpensive alternative to the Fisher Space pens.
Ink will never skip.
The refill costs the same as the pen.
Not the most smudge-proof.
Best Gel Pens for Lefties
Pentel EnerGel RTX Retractable Liquid Gel Pen
The Pentel EnerGel RTX Retractable Liquid Gel Pen is the MVP of gel pens for left-handers. The ink combines the best properties of liquid and gel so it dries quickly on the page and doesn’t smudge but also flows smoothly from the tip without globbing or skipping. There are lots of vivid and beautiful colored inks to choose from.
With a soft latex-free grip, the sleek barrel design and stainless steel base are both durable and comfortable. The tip is retractable via a clicker button at the end.
While this model comes with a 0.7mm stainless steel tip, you can also opt for a 1mm tip refill. There are also needle tips available in ultra-fine 0.3mm and fine 0.5mm. The EnerGel refills come in all sizes and all colors that can fit into any of the EnerGel pens.
These gel pens are made of a high percentage of recycled material excluding the ink and refills.
Several colored refills are available.
High performance smooth and quick drying ink.
Comfortable for long duration writing.
Made of 50% recyclable materials.
Some refills run out of ink fast.
Zebra Pen Sarasa X20 Retractable Gel Rapid Dry Ink Pens
The Zebra Sarasa X20 gel pen is very similar to the Pentel EnerGel pen but costs less and there are no metal parts. The point is retractable and the ink dries very fast on a wide range of surfaces. It creates dark lines and writes smoothly. The grip is made of a pleasant-feeling latex-free rubber. The binder clip that holds the Sarasa pens in place is more secure than usual clips.
The available point sizes are 0.5mm, 0.7mm, and 1.0mm and the pen is refillable with LV-Refills. You can choose from 14 different colors to refill a pen once the ink runs out.
The ink dries super fast.
Inexpensive and good value.
Some pens have faulty refills where they stop working even with ink still left.
BIC Gel-Ocity Quick Dry Gel Pens, Medium Point Retractable
As it flows smoothly, the BIC Gel-Ocity Quick Dry Gel Pen‘s fast-drying ink leaves minimal to no ink on your hand. The barrel of this 0.7mm pen is soft with a flared grip instead of tapered towards the point. Those that like a thicker grip will love the feel of this pen. There’s no need to apply much pressure in order to have a smooth writing experience. These are retractable pens, so there’s no worry of losing a cap.
There are four vibrant colors of ink: black, blue, red, and fashion-colored. It’s difficult to argue with the price of a pack.
Ink dries super fast.
The body colors are pretty and match the ink.
Some may dislike the fat grip.
Not as many colors available.
ParKoo Retractable Gel Pens
Bullet journaling, doodling, crafting, and color-coordinated notes are all great uses for these ParKoo Gel Pens. There are 14 different colors within the pack and all of them are equipped with high quality gel ink, which dries quickly, prevents smudging, and leaves no bleed through. Of course, if you only need them for writing, you can get a pack of just the black ink pens. The 0.7-millimeter tips are retractable and there’s a convenient pocket clip to reduce your chances of misplacing them.
There is no discernible grip so if you prefer one you can add one yourself. Although these pens use refills, they’re not easily available so they should be treated as disposable.
Nice colors and body.
Ink dries fast.
The ink doesn’t last very long.
Refills aren’t easily available.
No textured grip.
These are just a few of the best writing pens for left handers. Have we left out any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below.