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Felt tip pens vs. flair pens

Should you switch from felt tip pens to flair pens? 

Felt tip pens are a staple of the stationery world. They’re small, easily portable and reliable. The quick-drying ink is delivered from a soft nib that’s easy and satisfying to write with. While this writing utensil is tried and true, is there a better way to take notes?

If you’re a pen aficionado, you may be eyeing Paper Mate’s flair felt tip pen. Flair pens have been around since the ‘60s. While it’s one of the most iconic felt tip pens, its unique qualities are often overlooked. 

Flair pens have a firmer and wider tip that’s smooth and consistent. It’s great not only for writing but for drawing as well, which is why many students love it. Flair pens, like their felt counterparts, come in a multitude of colors and point sizes. 

Felt tip pen details 

Felt tip pens are dependable writing utensils (as long as you keep the cap on). They’re bright, bold and easily visible. The consistent ink delivery keeps your writing smooth and even, and it dries almost instantly on the page. The felt nib is covered by a firmly secured cap to keep it from drying out. 

While you don’t get the convenience of clicking it open like with some other pens, the comfort of the writing and reliability make up for it. 

Felt tip pens are inexpensive as well. A pack of 12 will typically cost you between $10-$25. 

What you’ll love about felt tip pens

  • Felt tip pens are light and easily maneuverable, which makes them comfortable to use and easy to keep on hand.  
  • They come in all sorts of bright, fun shades. They’re great for organizing notes by color and creating bold visual cues.
  • The reliable flow of ink makes them convenient and dependable. 
  • The soft felt tip creates smooth, accurate lines. 

What you should consider about felt tip pens

  • They dry out quickly if the cap is left off or loose. 
  • They aren’t refillable. Once the ink runs out, the pen is unusable.
  • There’s little to no line variation, so you don’t get a lot of versatility out of a single type. 

Top felt tip pens

Sharpie Black Felt Tip Pens

These high-quality pens won’t bleed through paper and the ink will never fade. They have a fine point and are designed for detail. The quick-drying pigment is water-resistant and non-toxic. 

Sold by Amazon and Staples

Lelix Black Felt Tip Pens

These pens feature durable tips that will last as long as the ink does. The medium point is perfect for both writing and drawing, which makes it more versatile than the average felt tip. The ink is bright, smear-proof and odorless. 

Sold by Amazon

Mr. Pen Colored Felt Tip Pens

This pack of pens offers a wide variety of eye-catching colors. The ink is smooth, bold and resistant to both smudging and fading. The fine point is made for accurate and detailed use. 

Sold by Amazon 

Flair pen details 

One of the most popular types of felt tip pens is Paper Mate’s flair pens. The flair pen is a classic that brought the felt tip pen to life. While there have been many iterations of the felt tip pen since then, the flair pen has stayed original. Not only is it incredibly smooth, but it also has a much firmer tip that lasts significantly longer. It comes in a huge array of bold colors that are hard to find anywhere else in the pen world. 

Packs of flair pens usually cost $15-$30. 

What you'll love about flair pens

  • The durable nib lengthens the longevity of the pen.
  • They’re great for drawing as well as writing, which makes them more versatile than a typical felt tip pen.
  • The secure cap prevents drying and is easy to remove.
  • They’re light and comfortable to use. The metal clip fits onto notebooks, aprons and purses. 
  • The ink is bright, smooth and consistent. 

What you should consider about flair pens

  • The tip is known to wear out before the ink is used up, but it still lasts longer than most pens.
  • Some flair pens will bleed through thinner paper. 
  • Some customers experience dry or leaky pens upon opening. 
  • They’re slightly more expensive than other felt tip pens. 

Best flair pens

Paper Mate No-Bleed Black Flair Pens

These pens are reliable and fun to write with. The no-bleed feature and quick-drying ink reduce smudging and pigment transfer. They even have a point guard to keep the tip from fraying and wearing out. 

Sold by Amazon and Staples

Paper Mate Bold Tip Assorted Colors

These pens are perfect for drawing and journaling as well as writing and note-taking. The tip is thick and durable for long-lasting and bold use. The bright ink is bleed and smear-free. 

Sold by Amazon and Staples 

Paper Mate Retro Accents Flair Pens

This set features all of the benefits of flair pens with unique shades rarely found in stationery. The colors are bold yet don’t transfer or bleed through paper. The non-fraying tip keeps your lines clean and accurate, no matter how many times you use them. 

Sold by Amazon and Staples

Should you get felt tip pens or flair pens?

If you like the feeling of writing with a felt tip pen, you’ll love flair pens. They’re smooth and satisfying to use. You get a consistent delivery of bold ink that’s hard to smear and harder to miss. Flair pens even tend to last longer than normal felt tip pens because of Paper Mate’s no-fray features. 

While there are a few more cons to consider with this pen type, it offers all of the benefits of the basic felt tip and more. The versatility, brightness and comfort of flair tip pens can’t be beaten.


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Anabelle Weissinger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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