Review: Muji Gel Ink Ballpoint Pens

Muji capped gel ink pens in a row

Intro:

Muji pens are widely known among pen enthusiasts for their smooth ink and aesthetically-pleasing pen bodies. I heard good things about these pens so I sought to buy them as soon as a local Muji store opened in my city. Are they as good as everyone says they are?

Caps of Muji gel pen
The caps are useful for identifying the colours and pen nib size

Today I’ll be reviewing the Muji Capped Gel-Ink Pens in various colours. These are light-weight gel ink ballpoint pens encased in a smooth, matte semi-translucent plastic body. The colour and pen point size are indicated on the top of the cap.

Different pen nib sizes for Muji gel pens ranging from 0.25mm to 0.7mm
Top to bottom: 0.7, 0.5, 0.38, 0.25mm

Testing:

I’ve used these pens for the majority of my last year at uni where I switched to handwritten notes instead of typing. It’s important to use pens that make your writing effortless and efficient. The pens are available in four different sizes: 0.25, 0.38. 0.5, 0.7mm and vary in their colour selection depending on the size. 0.38/0.5mm seems to have the most colours while 0.7mm is available in the basic colours such as black, blue, blue-black, and red. There’s also the 0.25mm pens which have coloured , hexagonal pen bodies that have more grip to them – a sort of rubber feeling – compared to smooth, matte body of the 0.38mm pens.

Lecture notes written with muji 0.38mm pens
My tiny scribblings using Muji’s 0.38mm gel ink pens

The 0.25mm pen isn’t too different from the 0.38mm pen. I prefer the 0.38mm size because I find the 0.25mm a little too thin – almost as if it’ll break if I press too hard. 0.38mm is great for character writing to keep strokes crisp and clear. It’s my favourite size among these pens because I like to write very small and fast in lectures.

I actually don’t own any 0.5mm Muji Capped Gel-Ink pens, so I resorted to reviewing the retractable one one I got as a gift from a co-worker. Nonetheless, I still really like this one for making some quick notes. It has a larger grip for a comfortable hold and you can continuously click it when you’re stressed.

The 0.7mm pen is much inkier than the other sizes, which I did not enjoy. It tended to leave globs of ink where I started to put the pen down on the page, which I would inevitably smear unknowingly. Perhaps I was just unlucky and bought a dud. I would say this size is more suited for those enjoy large writing or like to use 0.7mm pens/pencils. It just doesn’t work for me. Somehow I managed to finish using mine though haha.

Colours:

Sheet showing the different colour of Muji's capped gel ink pens and it's waterproof capabilities and highlighter safe.
Majority of the colours are highlighter and water-proof.

It’s difficult to capture the true colours of the inks. Majority of the colours are a little deeper than what’s shown above and the Sakura colour resembles a highlighter, coral colour. Perhaps the 0.25mm pen contains a different type of ink because it seemed less waterproof than the other pens and it also smudged a bit with the highlighter.

In the older pens, the colour of the pen is indicated on the label in Japanese, but in the newer ones, they’ve replaced it with the Muji logo. I find a little ironic because their name literally means “no name/no brand”.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Ink is smooth and even; doesn’t skip
  • Dries fast, lasts a long time
  • Very pretty and unique colours
  • No bleed-through so it’s good for taking notes on both sides of page
  • Most colours are highlighter and waterproof

Cons:

  • Muji isn’t accessible to everyone unless you have local stores and online shopping isn’t available in all countries in addition to having to pay shipping
  • Body of the pen is small, so you will not find it comfortable to write with for long periods of time (hand cramps!)
  • Sometimes feels a little scratchy (perhaps I’m too used to the smoothness of fountain pens)

Summary

  • Buy them individually to pick the colours that you want (skip those basic colours you can get in any pen – black, red, blue)
  • Super useful for note-taking especially when you need to write quickly and in small areas
  • Not great for long periods of writing (e.g. an essay)

If you don’t have a Muji store near you, consider ordering from their website or you can also find the pens being sold on Amazon and Aliexpress.


AliExpress.com Product – Japan MUJI Gel Pen 0.38 / 0.5 MM New Anti-reflux Neutral Gel Ink Pen 5PCS

Do you want more pen reviews? Comment down below the kind of pens or other art supplies you want reviewed!

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