Not just your average “Red Pen”: Discovering the BEST pens for teachers

Have you seen all the teacher pens around and are envious but wonder what (if any!) great benefit these hold for teachers?!  Well I’m here to help!

If you’re ever wondering which are on sale – RIGHT NOW. Head over to Teacher Flair Pens Page to see deals you can snag ASAP!

I was the person just *eyeing* all the “cool” educator pens and admittedly I have plenty of them. My teacher pen collection has even grown since then, but I wondered when buying or looking at these pens which might *really* be necessary or how can they be formally ranked.

If you are one Pen Obsessed Teacher you need to come join us at Teacher Online Deals! Teacher supply deals are our jam. It’s just such a fun group with lots of deals and teacher advice on what works best!

So here’s just one review – from one educator to another! *affiliate links are embedded* so you can grab some for yourself. I tried to make this somewhat science-y.  Make sure to ENTER the GIVEAWAY to win some goodies as well!

I’m only starting out with Teacher Tools, I classify these writing utensils used in teaching- more extensively for grading or everyday writing. NOT on the board, anchor charts, etc…

The criteria:

  • COST: are they pretty pricey?  Do you get as many pens per pack? 
  • FUNCTION: Do they smear? Bleed through? Do they last long? 
  • FUN FACTOR: How they look? Fun uses? Especially good for?  
  • OVERALL RATING: How I would rate them compared to the others here, based on their other category ratings.

First up- Flair Pens

The iconic teacher choice for years now. Let’s start with the positives…. I like the feel! Very smooth writing, choice of colors, and no smear. The felt tip leads to precision and I like the cap to keep ink in. Flairs tend to last quite some time I have found personally. A huge downside is their cost. They tend to run on the more expensive side but grabbing them on Prime Day or when they are on sale you can get them a cheaper.

Felt Tip Pens are pens teachers use for so many reasons! Pens for teacher appreciation are also VERY popular!

When we’re talking best teacher pens and felt tip ones at that we have two MAJOR contenders! Granted this is an update and judged on a little different criteria than the other pens in this post. You can see the FB Live all about teacher pens that shows exactly what I’m meaning by this pens for teacher gifts comparison list.

Teacher Pens – Amazon Felt Tip

  • no “true” bleed – can see behind paper
  • basic colors names
  • varied color options (skewed more warm/pink tones)
  • more of a slick grip
  • little packaging, white on tips of pens, no heart details
  • less “drag” when writing = VERY SMOOTH
  • Lower $$ price point

Teacher Pens – Flair Pens

  • no “true” bleed – can see behind paper
  • fun color names
  • varied color options (heavy on pastels IMO)
  • a “matte” grip/feel
  • great packaging, full color barrels, heart detail on pen “clip” part
  • more drag when writing – not always noticeable
  • premium price point

So when it all boils down to best teacher pens or best teacher pen gifts, Flairs are still a staple BUT I’d choose Amazon Basic for writing quality if that was only factor. Looks wouldn’t win but quality and feel DOES!

Second – Ink Joy Gel Pens

Ink Joy Gel Pens have become a popular pen and there are definitely some perks to having them in your treasured pen caddy! Gel pens do have a tendency to smear but it is minimal. I love the deep rich bold colors these lean themselves too as they are great to grading and feedback because they are easy to spot vs. the more pastel options. I do like that these come in a capped or retractable option. The grip I like as well vs. pens like a flair that don’t offer a grip. These are a little wider though. Gels inherently tend to not last as long as other types of pens but the tradeoff of beauty really outweighs it.

Third – Sharpie Pens

Sharpie pens are newly introduced and one of the bonuses is familiarity. The design resembles the fine point Sharpies but even smaller. Personally I find these more fun to do details or accents vs. straight writing. They provide really unique colors that I find lighter than other brands – definitely unique in variety.

Four (the Underdog) – BiC Cristal Xtra Bold Pens

Last but not least – the Underdog! It get the stars for price but also functionality. I did the ratings and I am a little biased as a ball point pen is still a trusty fave. I find they last the longest especially versus a felt or gel pen. The especially bold colors lend themselves to easy grading, smooth writing, any use you can think of in the classroom. While some pens have special uses – these can be for all!

I have special spots for all of these in my caddy! What is your favorite pen? Why? Do you have a special spot to store them?

Bonus:  Here are some pen caddies that would be lovely as well:
I’m oogling over these myself…might need an upgrade!


  1. Kim simpson on June 24, 2022 at 6:37 pm

    Love the flairs

  2. Barbara Schiska on June 30, 2022 at 5:17 pm

    I’m a middle school writing teacher. While I love all the deep rich colors of Flair pens, Cristal pens glide over the paper quickly and efficiently. I’ve also found the wide ink traces are better for my color-blind students as the color stays on top of the paper rather than bleeding in.

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