The Best Pens for Left Handers

Posted by: Lindsay

It's International Left Handers Day! Being the only lefty on the iPenstore team, I've been tasked with coming up with a list of left handed friendly writing instruments. I've spent my entire life as a left-hander, so I guess that qualifies me for this.

When you think of a person who is left handed, you probably immediately think of smudged letters and palm prints. This is because we drag our hands across the letters we've just written, pulling the ink to the right as we go. Some lefties have adapted writing styles to combat this, such as 'the hook' where your wrist is bent at an extreme angle and you write from above. Others bend their wrist back and approach the lines on the paper from below to avoid the smudge. Our handwriting tends to be much more sloppy than right-handed writers as well, it's very difficult to write neatly when your hand covers the last letter you've just written. A good tip to help with letter visibility and smudge avoidance is to hold your wrist straight and just tilt the paper a few degrees to the right. Much more comfy, and will cut down on hand fatigue!

We're said to be more artistic and creative, musically inclined, more competitive, and have an advantage at sports. Famous lefties such as Buzz Alrdrin, Leonardo Da Vinci, Babe Ruth, and Jimi Hendrix surely back up those claims.

Only approximately 12-15% of the population is left handed, so you could say we're living in a right-handed world. That means things like using scissors, tools, sporting equipment, kitchen knives, and paper and pens designed for right-handed people can prove to be difficult or even painful. Luckily you can find special products readily available in all of these categories that fit your left hand and make life easier. I've put together this list of some of my favorite writing instruments for lefties. Embrace your smudged chicken scratch handwriting, and read on!

Genuine rollerball pens use slow drying water based ink. The water allows the ink to flow extremely freely, but the slow dry time means it can smudge easily. So, no true water-based rollerball refill made our list. On the other side, standard oil-based ink dries quickly, but they don't flow easily and they need more hand pressure (leading to hand fatigue). Luckily, there is an option right in the middle: Gel and Hybrid ink. Gel and Hybrid type pens are essentially the best of both worlds. They dry much faster, and still have the smooth writing qualities of the genuine rollers. There are dozens of options available, so I've included a list of a few of our more popular, and best selling Gel and Hybrid pens iPenstore has to offer.

Pentel EnerGel Rollerball
The Pentel EnerGel pen is easily the most popular gel pen we carry. The wide range of colors, smooth and consistent flow, and quick dry time make this pen (and the refills) a favorite. The EnerGel pen refills are available in fine to broad point, and will fit many pens taking the standard international rollerball refill (including our best selling Rosetta Magellan rollerball pen). My personal favorite is the purple ink in a broad point (the Pentel LR10-V refill).

Schneider Haptify Ballpoint
Schneider has perfected the ballpoint pen with their ViscoGlide technology. ViscoGlide ink is a high performance hybrid ink that combines the best features of traditional ballpoint ink and gel ink to create super-smooth writing action and very fast drying. The Schneider 755 ballpoint refills come in a standard Parker style size, and will fit any pen taking the Parker style ballpoint refill. I love writing with the Haptify pen, but the Memo and Epsilon are great too! All three pens are equipped with the left-handed friendly ViscoGlide ink.

The Schneider Haptify features a shaped ergonomic grip section that assist with the "4 finger grip" that a lot of lefties (including myself) do!

Fischer Space Pens
Fischer Space Pens are best known for their ability to write anywhere - even in the vacuum of space! The smooth flowing pressurized ink refill allows the ink to glide across the paper and helps to cut down on hand fatigue, which lefties are more prone to. I'll always love my Pentel EnerGel and Schneider pens, but many other lefties I've talked to have this one on the top of their lists.

Fountain pens and left handers have always had a tough relationship. The slow drying ink requires us to invent new and strange writing techniques such as underwriting, overwriting, side-writing, and as I mentioned earlier, the acrobatic and somewhat strange looking "hook-writing". However, lucky for us, most fountain pen companies don't want to leave 12-15% of their potential customers without options. Some fountain pen manufactures make nibs just for left handers (left handed nibs, angled slightly to help get the nib in the correct position on paper). I know some left handed fountain pen users that will only use left handed nibs. However I personally can't tell much of a difference between those nibs, and a standard medium. My (and probably a million other fountain pen users) favorite fountain pen is the Lamy Safari in a medium nib. With the right technique and supplies, I've managed to make left-handed writing with a fountain pen an enjoyable experience. There are still some challenges that righties will never know, but good fountain pen friendly paper (such as Rhodia or Tomoe River) and a faster drying ink can help to make all the difference. My favorites are listed below.

Private Reserve Fast Drying Ink
Fountain pen ink is not known for drying quickly. But, there's good reason for that. If an ink dries too fast, it can not flow properly and may clog your nib and feed. However, some ink companies have developed ink formulas specifically for fast drying which makes left handed fountain pen writing a bit easier. Some of the best I've found is Private Reserve's Fast Drying Ink. Private Reserve took some of their best selling colors, and tweaked the formulas to give them a faster dry. My favorite is Midnight Blues, but the other colors are great as well.

Lamy Safari (I like the medium, but can be equipped with a Lamy Left Handed nib)
The Safari is the best selling fountain pen in the world. Me and a million other fountain pen users love our Lamy Safaris. I don't think I have to write anything more on this one!

Pelikan Pelikano Junior and Up Fountain Pen
If you are curious about a left handed nib, Pelikan has a few fun options available. The Pelikan Junior fountain pen is designed to be a beginners pen, but the great design is loved by experts as well. The Pelikan Up is a bit more sophisticated, and the excellent and economical grip provides for easy and comfortable writing.

Along with the Pelikano Junior, the Pelikano Up is available with a Left Handed nib

Schneider Ray Fountain Pen
Similar to the Pelikan, Schneider offers a few great options with a left handed nib. My favorite is the Ray. The glossy plastic with rubberized grips give this pen a cool futuristic look, but the excellent design also makes this one very comfortable to hold.

There are two important parts of a pencil. The first is the lead. The softer the lead, the more likely it is to smear and smudge. Lead is measured by hardness. The harder the lead, the lighter it will be, but the less likely it will smudge. The standard school pencil is typically a 2B. I've found that the 2B is still just a little on the soft side and will still smudge and smear. Obviously harder pencils will be more left hand friendly, but I don't like a really light line. So, my favorite lead is an HB. It's right in the middle of the scale, so it's the perfect balance of hardness vs. darkness. If you're curious, check out our Lead Hardness Chart for more information on leads.

The second important part of a pencil is the grip. If you're going to write or draw for long periods the grip is crucial. I've found two excellent pencils in the iPenstore lineup that are perfect - and they're both from Rosetta.

Rosetta DaVinci Sketch Pencils (2 mm & 5.6 mm)
The DaVinci Sketch Pencils by Rosetta nail the criteria for a good pencil perfectly. They both offer excellent grip areas, and both have leads available in a range of hardness (including HB). On top of that, Rosetta offers colored leads in both 2 and 5.6 mm.

The 2.0 Da Vinci is available in black or blue, with HB, 2B, 4B leads, in a rainbow of other lead options.

Even though I'm not great at it, I love to occasionally sketch or doodle. The pencil fits perfectly in my hand, and the rubber grip feels like it was made for hours of tireless drawing.

Felt tip pens don't technically fit into a pen category. They are basically a marker (think Sharpie) with a really thin tip. However, the tip allows for the ink to transfer to the paper perfectly - no skipping or bubbling. Also the ink dries incredibly quickly, meaning I can drag my hand all over the paper with no issues. Felt tip pens have become my new go-to for making lists or quick notes, and for everyday general writing.

Schneider Xpress Fineliner Pen
The best felt tip I've found is the Schneider Xpress (the green barrel pens in the photo). The shape and feel is exactly the same as another one of my favorite pens, the Schneider Slider Memo. The felt tips can wear down over time, so these pens are inexpensive and disposable. The Xpress is the last pen on this blog, but it's always the first pen I grab when I need to jot something down.

What's your go-to pen as a left-hander? Or, (for lefties or righties), do you have any suggestions for any other pens that we need to try, or that you'd like to see iPenstore carry? If so, send us an email at, or let us know in the comments below!


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