The Obligatory Pen Test!

I have a deep love affair with pens.  I would estimate that my pen collection is in the hundreds.  There are pens from all over the world: Japan, Korea, Germany, USA, etc.  Some of them I even brought back as souvenirs from Japan, though this isn’t working out well because I want to keep them instead of use them, lol!

Needless to say, when it came time to select a notebook and pen set for my bullet journal, I was very picky.  I knew I wanted a Leuchtturm1917 for the journal, so I did a lot of online searching on how it handles different pens.  I don’t like when pens feather on the page and I especially don’t like it when they bleed through!  I can handle a little shadowing on the backside, but bleeding through is a definite ‘no-go’ for me.  I like every page to look as clean as possible and bleed-through makes it too messy.

Keep in mind, this is my personal preference and whatever pens you choose are the right pens for you!  The important part is to actually do the journaling and planning, right?  But, if you’re looking for a little more information on how different pens behave in the Leuchtturm notebook, I’ve done a quick pen test.

I’ve seen some of these pens tested on other sites and I know that my opinions are going to conflict a bit… one of the biggest differences is the Stabilo fine markers.  I see them used a lot online for bullet journaling in the Leuchtturm, but I can’t use them because they bleed through.  So, without any further ado: the obligatory pen test begins!


I tried to use the same or similar colors for each pen type for a more fair comparison.  And I used different types of pens: fountain pens, rollerballs, felt tip, and even a highlighter.  On the writing side, I don’t see much of any feathering.  There is a tiny bit from the Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen, but you really have to search for it to find it.  All in all, the Leuchtturm handled the front side of all of these pens really well.

The backside of the page is another story though…


Oh no!  The Pilot Metropolitan, even though it’s a fine nib, bled through the worst.  I was really disappointed about this one.

Here are close-up views of the backside of the page.  The pens are listed, with links, below…


Sakura Pigma Micron-01 These are my favorite for the Leuchtturm.  All of the pens ghost but these have a great solid black line without any bleed through.  Love these!!!  I only wish the color selection were better.

Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen, Silver Barrel, Fine Nib  This one about broke my heart.  It might be better with an ink that isn’t so ‘wet’ but it bleeds right through.  I can’t stand how the opposite side of the page looks.

Staedtler Triplus Fineliner  Great for color, but there is a tiny bit of bleed through at the line-stops.  Whenever you stop drawing, it leaves a thick bead of ink and that bead will bleed through a little.  I’m learning to live with it though because for color, they perform the best for me.

Stabilo 88 Point  For adult coloring books, drawing, etc these are wonderful.  But they bleed through too much for my Leuchtturm.  The Staedtler Fineliners have enough color choices and better performance so I stick with those.


Pilot Hi-Tec-C Maica  These gel pens are wonderful, but sometimes they clog up a little bit when you start writing.  If you don’t mind having a scribble pad to get the ink flowing, they’re fantastic, write smoothly, don’t bleed through, and dry quickly.

Zebra MILDLINER  I absolutely love the color of these!  They are my favorite highlighters, but they bleed through so I avoid them in my bullet journal.

Pilot G2  This really surprised me.  The Pilot G-2 07 makes a thick inky black line, but it didn’t bleed through for me at all!  When looking for a gel pen with a thick line, this is my go-to pen.

Paper Mate Flair  Another nice surprise!  I expected it to bleed like the Stabilo but it didn’t.  There is a tiny bit, but I can live with that.  And, they do have some neat color options.

I know this isn’t a very exciting post, but I hope you found it useful.

Happy journaling and happy planning!


4 thoughts on “The Obligatory Pen Test!

  1. Hi! Loved your post. That was the first thing I did when I got my Leuchtturm1917 – checking my pens on the back page! I feel exactly the same about the Pilot Hi-Tec ones. I’ve been thinking to buy some Sakura Pigma Micron pens for a while now, but after reading your post I think I’m convinced. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the microns! Its a little easier to write quickly with the pilot hi-tec-c because the micron has a kind of blunt end. But, they are super consistent and give a great inky black. I love them!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s