The 8 Best EDC Pens of 2022

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Best Pens for EDC: Winners

I use pens.

All the time.

This makes sense. I go on many adventures, but I make my money writing.

This means I always have to have a pen with me, whether for taking notes on a mountain or writing out a manuscript by hand.

I have chewed my way through many pens, from fancy fountain pens that cost over $100 to the cheapest of cheap pens you seem to accumulate for free.

The following pens are the pens I trust to always write when I need them to, whether you’re at home or miles away from your truck.

You won’t find a single pen that’s on this list because it looks cool or because it has fancy advertising materials.

Some of the results may surprise you. That’s because I don’t care if a pen is a good fit for those “What I’m carrying today” photos.

All I care about is if the pen is a good pen.

Curious? Let’s get started.

The Best EDC Pens

Fisher Space Pen Bullet Chrome overall best EDC pen available

Best Overall EDC Pen – Fisher Space Pen Bullet

We’ll start with one of the most commonly recommended EDC pens, the Fisher Space Pen.

Specifically, the Bullet model.

Fisher Space Pens are known for using pressurized ink cartridges. This lets ink flow at any angle, at almost any temperature, and even in space1!

It’s also a tough little tool, being made from durable brass. That brass can be covered in a variety of finishes, such as chrome or matte black.

The Bullet is on the smaller size so it fits in your pocket without poking you when you set. The cap posts on the end so it’s a full-size pen when you’re writing with it so its small form isn’t a negative factor.

All this good stuff means it has to be expensive, right?

Actually, the Bullet is fairly inexpensive for such a high-quality pen, and you can pick one up for under $30!

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Specs

  • Pen Mechanism: Cap
  • Ink Type: Pressurized Ballpoint
  • Body Material: Brass
  • Point Width: Fine, Medium, or Bold
Pros
  • Comfortable form factor
  • Durable construction
  • Writes in almost any condition, even underwater
Cons
  • Either doesn’t include a clip or the clip adds to the cost
Who's it For?

The Fisher Space Bullet Pen is the perfect EDC pen for somebody who isn’t looking for specific features and wants a small, high-quality pen that will last decades.

Pilot Precise V5 RT best budget EDC pen rollerball

Best Budget EDC Pen – Pilot Precise

I learned how to EDC a pen from my father.

However, he tended to lose pens. This means his “EDC pen” method was to find a pen he liked, buy a bunch, and scatter them wherever he may need them.

On the computer desk. In the truck’s glove box. In the bathroom. Everywhere.

The Pilot Precise series is perhaps the best choice for this style of keeping a pen with you.

Pilot Precise V5s and V7s are rollerball pens, a bit different from standard ballpoints. Writing takes less pressure and is very consistent, for a better experience than ballpoints.

I’ve found them more reliable than ballpoints, too. Pilot Precise V5s are the only non-fountain pens I’ve emptied rather than thrown away because they’ve dried out!

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Specs

  • Pen Mechanism: Click
  • Ink Type: Rollerball
  • Body Material: Plastic
  • Point Width: 0.5mm, 0.7mm
Pros
  • Inexpensive but not low-quality (these are my favorite non-fountain pens)
  • More reliable and comfortable to use than ballpoints
  • Smooth writing
Cons
  • Plastic construction means these aren’t notably durable pens
  • Rollerball ink can bleed through cheap paper and doesn’t last as long as ballpoint ink
Who's it For?

Pilot Precise V5s and V7s are perfect for individuals who want a budget EDC pen or who want a better writing experience than you get with ballpoints.

Rick Hinderer Investigator upgrade pick better EDC pen than competition

Upgrade Pick – Hinderer Investigator

The Fisher Space Pen ink cartridge is so effective at writing in terrible conditions that it’s the ink of choice for most premium EDC and tactical pen manufacturers.

The Investigator Pen, designed by Rick Hinderer, is basically a Fisher Space Pen after a regime of self-defense classes.

It’s designed to function as a kubaton, so you can use it for self defense if necessary. Grooves improve your grip if you need to strike with the pen.

Unlike some tactical pens, one end is flat and the strike end is bare. This makes it look like a click pen, though the cap actually unscrews.

The strike end unscrews, too. The Investigator is modular!

You can add different strike end styles if you want to disarm your pen or prefer a more aggressive strike end.

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Specs

  • Pen Mechanism: Screw Cap
  • Ink Type: Pressurized Ballpoint
  • Body Material: Brass
  • Point Width: Fine, Medium, Bold
Pros
  • Takes Fisher Space Pen pressurized ink cartridges for all-weather performance
  • You can swap out the strike end
Cons
  • On the small side for a kubaton, limiting how you can use it in a self-defense situation
Who's it For?

The Hinderer Investigator is a good choice for someone who wants a pen that can not only write during a rainstorm but can help you strike an attacker’s pressure points.

UZI Tactical Bolt Action Pen best bolt-action pen for EDC security without leaking

Best Bolt Action EDC Pen – Uzi Tactical Bolt Action Pen

Have you ever stuck a retractable pen in your pocket only for it to betray you by getting clicked and dumping ink into your clothes?

A bolt action pen won’t turn traitor like this.

The Uzi Tactical Bolt Action Pen has a design similar to a bolt action rifle. You need to move the nub down, around, and back up for the point to be exposed and locked in place.

This makes this Uzi pen safe for your pocket.

And keeps the point strong if you need to jab it in a bad guy’s throat.

This pen is made from aircraft-grade aluminum so it’s both durable and lightweight.

The only real problem is that the included ink is, well, bad.

Thankfully, Uzi made their bolt action pens compatible with Fisher Space Pen refills, so that’s not a big problem.

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Specs

  • Pen Mechanism: Bolt Action
  • Ink Type: Ballpoint
  • Body Material: Aluminum
  • Point Width: Meh (See Details)
Pros
  • Bolt action mechanism for security
  • Compatible with Fisher Space Pen ink cartridges
Cons
  • Comes with low-quality ink cartridges
Who's it For?

The Uzi Tactical Bolt Action Pen is great for anybody who wants a simple yet effective EDC bolt action pen that can also be used as a self-defense weapon in a pinch.

HongDian Black Forest best EDC pocket fountain pen fine nib

Best Fountain Pen for EDC – HongDian Black Forest

Honestly, I’m a fountain pen enthusiast. Whenever I can, I use a fountain pen instead of a ballpoint, rollerball, or gel pen.

The smooth writing, minimal writing pressure, lack of waste, variety of inks, and just plain good feeling you get when writing with a fountain means one is never far from my hands.

However, my most commonly used pen (a 1.1mm stub nibbed TWSBI ECO currently inked with Diamine Skull and Roses) is made of a bulky and somewhat-fragile clear acrylic body. I don’t want to risk losing or breaking this fine pen, or having its nib bent by someone borrowing it.

This is why I recommend the HongDian Black Forest as the best EDC fountain pen.

It’s made of durable metal without being too heavy. The cap snaps on tightly enough you don’t have to worry about leaks. And the Forest series is classy looking without attracting too much attention.

Also, if you lose it, the HongDian Forest isn’t expensive for a fountain pen.

Why not a Pilot Vanishing Point?

Vanishing Points were the #1 EDC fountain pens when released but Pilot doesn’t manufacture them to the same quality level as they used to be. They’re still expensive, though.

I’d rather carry the Black Forest at 1/10th the price.

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Specs

  • Pen Mechanism: Snap Cap
  • Ink Type: Fountain Pen Ink
  • Body Material: Painted Metal
  • Point Width: Bent, Fine, or Extra Fine Nib
Pros
  • Comes with a converter so you’re not stuck with proprietary ink cartridges
  • The HongDian Forest is a great budget fountain pen even disregarding how it’s a good EDC pen
  • Tough and inexpensive
Cons
  • Fountain pens require extra care to use
  • Painted metal
Who's it For?

The HongDian Black Forest is a great choice for any fountain pen enthusiast who wants a pen they can slip into their pocket and not worry if it gets dinged up or lost.

UZI Tactical Defender Pen best for self defense with DNA catcher

Best Pen for Self Defense – UZI Tactical Defender Pen

The Uzi Defender Tactical Pen is similar to the Uzi Bolt Action Pen from before but drops the fancy mechanism in exchange for a more aggressive design with a DNA catcher.

The DNA catcher is a jagged end to the pen. It’s covered with a rubber cap but, if you’re attacked, you can pop off the rubber and thrust that end at your assailant.

It’ll cause more pain than a pointy tip alone and will catch some flesh to aid in DNA identification later.

The Uzi Defender is usable as a pen, too, though it also comes with meh-at-best ink.

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Specs

  • Pen Mechanism: Twist
  • Ink Type: Ballpoint
  • Body Material: Aluminum
  • Point Width: Not Stated
Pros
  • Can take pressurized Fisher Space Pen cartridges
  • Jagged DNA catcher to help identify your attacker
Cons
  • Twisting the pen to retract the point is a bit finicky
Who's it For?

The Uzi Defender Tactical Pen is an excellent addition to your kit if you need to travel in sketchy areas but are unable or unwilling to carry a firearm to defend yourself. Though, it’s a backup weapon at best.

Fisher Space Pen Black Titanium Nitride best titanium EDC pen for long life without damage

Best Titanium Pen for EDC – Fisher Space Pen AG7-BTN

Titanium, despite its reputation as a wonder metal, isn’t a good material for making pen bodies.

However, it is a great material for covering other metals.

The Fisher Space Ben AG7-BTN takes uses a black titanium nitride finish to upgrade the solid brass body, making for a hefty-feeling and damage-resistant pen.

Like many pens, the AG7-BTN uses Fisher pressurized refills.

This lets you choose the color you want along with your preferred point size. Plus, you get the ability to write in any orientation.

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Specs

  • Pen Mechanism: Click with Side Release Button
  • Ink Type: Pressurized Ballpoint
  • Body Material: Brass and Titanium Nitride
  • Point Width: Fine, Medium, or Bold
Pros
  • Damage-resistant titanium nitride coating without the expense of an all-titanium body
  • Fisher Space Pen reputation and quality
Cons
  • You can get the same without the titanium nitride coating for half the price
Who's it For?

The Fisher Space Pen AG7-BTN is the perfect EDC pen for someone who wants a pressurized ink cartridge in a pen that will look new even years down the line.

Uni Ball Power Tank best outdoor adventure pen writes in the rain disposable

Best All-Weather Pen for Outdoor Adventures – Uni-Ball Power Tank

Bet you thought I was going to recommend one of the Rite in the Rain pens here, huh?

In my experience, and the experiences of others, Rite in the Rain makes good notebooks and doesn’t make good pens. That’s why I recommend the Power Tank by Uni-Ball.

It uses a pressurized ink cartridge, like Fisher, but Uni-Ball’s design. Refills are available.

Otherwise, it’s your standard mid-grade plastic clicky pen.

In my experience, pens are the first things you lose when you’re exploring the wilderness, so the above point is in this pen’s favor.

It’s a good option when you don’t want to put your $30 pens at risk.

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Specs

  • Pen Mechanism: Click
  • Ink Type: Pressurized Ballpoint
  • Body Material: Plastic
  • Point Width: 0.5mm or 0.7mm
Pros
  • Pressurized ink cartridge capability without being expensive
  • Won’t hurt the bank when you drop it in the wilderness and have to replace it
Cons
  • Not as durable as a pen with a metal body
Who's it For?

Uni-Ball Power Tank pens are great for when you want to be able to write in the rain but don’t want to feel pain when you drop your pen in the marsh.

What to Look for When Choosing a Pen for Everyday Carry

EDC pens have to accomplish two objectives:

  1. Write
  2. Last long enough for you to write with them

They don’t have to look fancy or anything silly like that.

For much of my life, this meant my EDC pen was a Pilot Precise V5. I still have a few, in fact.

Some people like their pens to also be viable self-defense tools, a third objective.

Let’s look at each of these objectives.

Writing Ability

A pen that won’t write is useless in its intended role.

The standard for EDC pens is a ballpoint tip fueled by pressurized ink. This removes gravity from the equation so you can write at any angle.

More importantly, though, such pens can write under wet conditions.

Anybody who works or spends lots of time outdoors will want a good pen with pressurized ink so a bit of mud or rain doesn’t stop them from taking notes.

Fisher makes the most famous of these ink cartridges, though other manufacturers have stepped up to fill in this niche as well.

If, however, you don’t tend to find yourself writing on a soggy notebook, you can pay more attention to writing comfort.

Gel and rollerball pens are similar to ballpoints but require less pressure on the page, reducing writing strain.

And, if you want to enter into another hobby, fountain pens continue to provide a smooth writing experience no disposable pen can provide. They take maintenance and care, though, and dry out faster than other pens.

Durability

An EDC pen has to be able to withstand your day-to-day life.

This is why so many pens with the label “EDC” are made of aluminum, brass, steel, or titanium.

Honestly?

The importance of metal in your pen is overstated.

A good plastic pen can withstand a year’s worth of abuse. It may not look as nice afterward but it’ll continue to write.

That said, there is something nice about using a pen with good weight.

Just don’t get caught up in the hype about stronger materials. Their advantages are more often in the manufacturer’s bank account.

Self Defense Potential

If you intend to use your pen for self defense, though, it absolutely should be made from metal.

Thick aluminum is good enough, though brass is better.

A good self-defense pen will be strong enough for you to jam it into an assailant’s pressure point to get them to stop attacking you. A great one will have a dedicated strike end and will include design elements to improve your grip.

This means a good, all-metal pen can be either a pain-compliance tool or a striking weapon2.

A self-defense pen is basically a multipurpose kubaton. If you don’t know how to use one, you should learn!

Every tool in your arsenal gives you that much more of an edge.

Final Verdict

EDC pens don’t have to be expensive monstrosities you’re secretly scared of losing every time you leave the house.

Nowadays, I carry an aluminum fountain pen with a Pilot Precise V5 in my bag as backup.

Except for when I head into the wilderness, in which case I leave my fountain pen behind and reach for my Fisher Bullet.

Your EDC pen should be a pen you are comfortable using every day. This matters more than any fancy features.

What is the Point of a Bolt Action Pen?

Bolt action pens seem silly at first glance. However, they do have a purpose.

Unlike a click retracting pen, a bolt action pen locks open and locks closed.

This adds extra security so you can trust the pen not to leak into your favorite pair of pants.

Should I EDC a Pen?

Yes!

Everybody has to take notes sometimes. Pens are inexpensive and lightweight so it doesn’t take much to add one to your EDC kit.

Resources

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nancyolson/2020/06/10/fisher-space-pens-take-flight/
  2. https://www.edcforums.com/threads/has-anyone-actually-used-a-kubaton-or-tactical-pen-here.87771/

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