Parker Jotter Stainless Review

The Parker Jotter is a classic with a long history.  I've had one for a while and it's always been a go-to pen when I want to carry a ballpoint and need something sturdy and reliable.  The Jotter is available nearly everywhere, it seems.  It's reasonably inexpensive (typically around $10) and is a great pen for the price.

Materials:  2

The Jotter uses stainless steel throughout the barrel, pocket clip, and plunger mechanism.  It's not heavy, per se, but feels more sturdy and substantial than plastic or thinner-walled metal pens (like some of Zebra's offerings).

Fit: 1

The barrel screws together well and doesn't exhibit any wiggle.  My biggest problem with this particular pen is this: when it's oriented in a certain way it makes a clicking noise while writing.  Presumably, this clicking is from the ink cartridge moving slightly in the barrel.  It can be avoided - when the pen is oriented with the upward the noise stops - but it's incredibly irritating.

Mechanism:  2

Utilizing your basic click-type mechanism, the Jotter surpasses general expectations in one major way.  When the point is deployed the plunger springs back up into position.  This spring-loaded mechanism prevents the plunger from rattling around while the pen is "open."  I have grown quite attached to this feature, and wish it was more frequently utilized on other pens.

Line:  1

I'm currently using a medium blue cartridge from Parker - the pen typically retails with a medium black cartridge.  The medium Parker cartridge isn't anything to write home about.  It doesn't write exceptionally well or exceptionally poorly.  It's exactly what someone would expect from a ballpoint pen.

There are many alternative cartridges available for the Parker Jotter in a variety of colors, sizes, and ink types.

Writing Comfort:  1

The barrel gradually tapers to the tip of the pen.  There is not a "grip" area, per se.  Using this pen for prolonged periods can become a bit uncomfortable because of these design elements.  For most writing tasks it's not particularly uncomfortable.

Design Concept:  2

The Jotter is a very "clean" pen.  There aren't any unnecessary design elements.  The shape has a certain aesthetic appeal to it and the Jotter line itself has a rich design history.  The completely stainless body is far more attractive, in my opinion, than the half-plastic barrels that are available.

Markings & Insignia:  2

The upper portion of the barrel has the words "PARKER" with their stylized "P" trademark and "MADE IN UK E III" stamped into the area closest to the seam between the parts.  The pocket clip features an arrow motif.  The plunger also sports the Parker "P" on the very top.  The markings aren't too aggressive or intrusive and still convey the pen's design and manufacturing origins.

Carry Method:  2

A simple pocket clip is located high on the barrel of the jotter.  It facilitates relatively deep pocket carry and retrieval is not difficult.  Compared to other pocket clips on click-type pens, the Jotter's is among the best.  Many click-type pens utilize a clip system that causes a greater amount of the pen to sit above the pocket line which can become a nuisance.  In that regard, the Jotter's clip design far exceeds the competition.

Carry Durability:  2

The all stainless construction makes this particular model more durable than its plastic-barreled brethren.  It's not going to receive damage that will induce catastrophic failure while sitting in a pocket, even if it shares that pocket with other hard goods.  The clip itself if stamped steel and the slight bend down the middle of it facilitates rigidity and mitigates premature bending that could occur on other thinner clips.  I haven't abused it, but I haven't been particularly nice, either, and I haven't experienced failure or signs of distress.

Carry Comfort:  2

There's nothing particularly uncomfortable about this pen while it's sitting in a pocket.  It's small, lightweight, and streamlined.  The fact that the clip allows deep carry is a plus on the comfort side of things because the portion of the pen that's sitting outside the pocket is minimized which, in turn, minimizes snagging and other undesirables.

Total:  17 / 20


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  2. Could you replace the ink cartridge with a better one from a different manufacturer, and if so, what would you choose? I like the idea of the space pen reliability, as long as it writes smooth. I think the pen I was issued by the Army is a space pen, and it is very scratchy to write with, in my opinion. it doesn't have any brand on it, but on Fisher's website there is a "military" pen that looks just like it.

    My apologies if this is a stupid question, I'm just getting into nicer, non-disposable pens. I currently keep a BIC in my pocket.

    1. You can definitely swap out ink and the Parker-style refill is pretty ubiquitous, so it's very easy to find replacements.

      Fisher's pressurized refills are, indeed, compatible with the Parker. It's not the smoothest writing experience; I would probably compare it to your typical Bic. In terms of hard-use reliability, the Fisher pressurized refills are probably the way to go. The whole upside-down, underwater, hot or cold thing is appealing from that perspective.

      The Schmidt East Flow 9000 is also (apparently) a great choice. I haven't personally used them, but Surefire puts them in their pens and I trust their judgement. They are on my list, once I get around to it, as they have a reputation for being excellently smooth and reliable.

      Hope I've answered your question!

    2. You have more than answered my question. I may just have to try both, seeing as this pen is so affordable and leaves some extra cash in my pocket.

      Thanks for the quick reply. You have an excellently put together website.

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