Writing Instrument Review Methodology

In an effort to keep reviews consistent and objective, I will be adhering to outlines devised for various categories of gear (e.g., writing instruments; knives; flashlights; bags and backpacks; etc.).

I'll evaluate writing products based on ten categories, each on a scale of zero to two.  Zero being a complete failure, one being an average and workable, and two being exceptional.  This will result in an overall score between zero and twenty; zero being a complete failure in every way and twenty being product perfection (or as close to perfection as possible).

Being focused on everyday carry, I'll be testing most products by carrying them on my person - typically in a pocket.  I'm sure I'll come across some things worth reviewing that I don't typically carry in my pockets (highlighters, for example; I use a ton of highlighters); in those cases I will focus on how I principally carry them (in a backpack, for example) but will do some in-pocket carry for good measure.

I'll try to test a product for a minimum of two weeks before posting results.  This will include use through my everyday tasks, including various law classes and work (reading, strangely enough, is writing intensive) as well as my experiences tossing things into my gym bag at the end of most days.  I'll be sure to detail anything out of the ordinary that happens if it weighs heavily on my consideration of the product.

I'll keep an open mind when trying new products and leave as much prejudice at the proverbial door as possible.

Writing Instruments


In scoring the materials used in construction I'll try to remain objective. Certainly, a modicum of subjectivity falls into this category if the pen itself feels "cheap" in my hand.  I'll make sure to address any and all concerns and qualify the score I give with a well-reasoned opinion.


Just what it seems.  Do the pen's parts fit well together?  Or, do they parts fit poorly as evidenced by rattling, wiggling, or other such annoyances?


The mechanism used to "deploy" the pen (i.e., click, capped, twist, etc.).  This will evaluate how the mechanism has been executed in terms of quality and performance.


I'll be evaluating consistency, thickness (expectation v. actual), and ink quality.  With fountain pens the ink itself won't become too big a consideration (as it's really what I'm loading into it) whereas "disposable" pens will receive greater scrutiny.

Writing Comfort:

Both in short- and long-term use.  Basic ergonomics, I think; whether the grip section is easy to become accustomed to, whether the pen itself is well-balanced and fits nicely into the hand, etc.

Design Concept:

The overarching design concept of the pen.  I'm a bit of a minimalist when it comes to design; I'm sure my personal tastes will weigh slightly into the consideration of this factor.  Clean lines and well-executed design will receive higher scores while kitschy design will be scored lower.

Markings and Insignia:

I'll look to the text and markings on the pen itself (e.g., instructions, bar-codes, etc.).  Overly cluttered and superfluous markings will receive lower scores.

Carry Method:

This will principally focus on the pocket clip and how it functions.  Clips that allow deeper carry and easy access will receive higher scores while more intrusive clips that inhibit retrieval will score lower.

Carry Durability:

Durability will be measured in terms of both the carry method (i.e., the pocket clips durability) and the design of the pen itself.  If it's easily damaged or broken it will receive a lower score.

Carry Comfort:

Evaluated in front pocket carry (I don't believe pens should be carried in back pockets as normal movement can cause premature damage).  Comfort will be a metric of the pen's shape, size, weight, and how it sits in a pocket.  Bulky and oddly shaped designs will likely score lower.


I'm sure I've missed something or neglected to consider something important; as such, comments and critiques are welcome and appreciated. 

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