Pentel Energel – Multiple Pen Review

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*****UPDATE: Now doing an Energel Pen giveaway. Details are at the bottom of this post*****

Welcome to the first multiple pen review done here at That One Pen. We’ll be focusing on the various forms of the widely available Pentel Energel pens. Energels most commonly come in two point sizes: 0.7 mm (M) and 0.5 mm (F). You can buy 1.0 mm (B) and 0.35 mm Euro needle-points online, but I generally only find the (M) and (F) pens in my local office supply stores. All the pens shown in this review are 0.7 mm (M) points.

Going left to right in the picture above we have: Energel Deluxe RT blue, Energel Deluxe RT purple, Energel Deluxe RT pink, Energel Alloy RT, Energel Stick blue, Energel-X RT blue, Energel-X RT purple and Energel-X RT sky blue. You’ll see samples of other colors later; I just want to show the array of options available in the Energel line right now. The Deluxe RT version (3 on the left) also come with grips colored the same as the ink and not just the white grips as shown. If you imagine the colored grips of the Energel-X’s (3 on the right) on the Deluxe versions, you pretty much have it. The Energel Alloy RT also come in different colors. What’s nice is that the Deluxe RT, Alloy, Stick and Energel-X all take the same Energel Liquid Gel refill (LR 10, LR 7 or LR 5 depending on point size). If you’re into the whole hack thing, the LR refills are plastic tubes that can be easily cut to fit other pen bodies. The particular shape of the refill tip limits the pen bodies you can get the LR refills to work with so we’ll leave it to the reader to experiment. In the US, you can find the blue and black refills at Staples and other major office supply stores if you want to experiment with the refills without getting the actual pen.

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Given that all versions use the same refill, there are obviously a lot of similarities to the writing experience. The Energel refill is smooth and, most important to us lefties, very, very fast drying. To me, the writing experience of the Energel is a touch smoother than that offered by the widely available Pilot G2 pens but there’s no doubt (none – I’ve checked several times) that the Energel dries faster than the G2. I won’t dismiss the G2 at all. It’s a fine pen with a great range of colors and might even be a bit easier to find than Energel. I find that the 0.7 mm tip of the G2 leaves a thinner line than the 0.7 mm tip of the Energel but again, the G2 is just a touch rougher of a ride.

Let’s get to some of the differences, starting with the grips. Below is a close up of the grips for the Stick, Alloy, Deluxe RT and Energel-X RT (L to R). Not surprisingly, the Alloy has the hardest feel followed by the Stick then the Energel-X then the Deluxe RT. I did not measure the grip widths with a caliper, but to my fingers the Deluxe RT feels the widest, the Stick and Alloy follow and are very similar and the Energel-X feels a touch thinner still. Don’t get me wrong – the widths of all the grips are very close. Still, I do feel a difference – certainly between the wider Deluxe RT and the thinner Energel-X.

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Let’s talk clips. With the exception of the Energel-X and its all plastic build, the pens have metal clips with some plastic tabs near the top. Including the Energel-X, all the clips feel strong and well made. The edges of the clips on the Stick and the Deluxe are a bit sharp and could possibly scratch/dig into the lip of pocket material if you’re not careful. The other noticeable difference is that the Energel-X clip has some printing on it and, unlike the other three pens, the bottom of the Energel-X clip curves away from the pen barrel a bit.

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When deployed (and capped in the case of the Stick), there are some clear differences in length as you can see below. The Stick is the longest followed by the Alloy. The Deluxe RT and Energel-X are similar with the X possibly being shorter by a hair. When posted, the Stick also feels noticeably wider than any of the other pens.

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Also when deployed, the Deluxe RT and Energel-X can rattle just a bit because the button does not stay in the pushed-in position. As you can see in the picture above, both buttons are depressed for the Deluxe RT and Energel-X, but they easily slide out to create the rattle noise. The noise is not terribly loud or distracting, but it’s definitely there. The Stick, as you might expect, is perfectly quiet and the button of the Alloy has some added spring tension that keeps it stuck out whether the refill is deployed or not so it’s nearly 100% silent as well.

*****UPDATE: Now doing an Energel Pen giveaway. Details are at the bottom of this post*****

Interestingly and/or unfortunately, you cannot swap parts of one pen with parts of another. The picture below shows all the pens disassembled. The Deluxe, Alloy and Stick separate at the body/grip divide while the Energel-X opens at the button/body divide. The thread sizes and female/male sections are all different from pen to pen so you won’t be using the grip section of the Deluxe on the Energel-X or, most disappointingly, you won’t be attaching the Energel-X grip to the Alloy body. In fact, the Energel-X grip section appears not to unscrew from the body at all. It does look like the grip sections of the Stick (far back in picture) and Deluxe (front in picture) should be interchangeable but it’s definitely a no go.

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Getting back to the writing experience. Bottom line, I really like the way these pens write. I rarely use an Energel for extended writing sessions, limiting most of my time to writing short notes or, more commonly, to grading tests and quizzes. The writing action is smooth and consistent. I have yet to find a paper surface that causes an Energel to skip. Even Post-It Notes, which can be notoriously difficult for various pen types, are no problem for the Energels. (Aside – I like Parker gel refills but Post-It Notes or slightly glossy paper wreak havoc on them so they’re out). Have I mentioned yet that they dry faster than any pen I’ve found to date. Is the ink waterproof? Honestly, I don’t know and it’s not a test I really care about.

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Being gel pens there are, of course, several color options available. Having used these pens in all their colors for several years, I’ve noticed that the regular blue and black flow more readily than the other colors. For me, the blue and black are almost too slippery on something like Rhodia but work fantastic on “toothier” copy or Field Notes paper. Because they can be purchased readily on their own in the Deluxe version, I’ve used purple and green more than any other color besides blue. But, having recently grabbed a multicolored pack of Energel-X, I see the sky blue and orange getting quite a workout soon.

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So, do I have a preference between the Deluxe RT, Energel-X, Alloy and Stick? Well, the Stick is definitely in last place for me. In my work flow, gel pens are meant to add a bit of color to lecture notes, write a quick list or grade so I prefer the efficient retractable versions. The Stick is well built and the cap attaches with a satisfying “click” when capping or posting so there’s nothing wrong with it; I just prefer the convenience of the retractable pens. I want to like the Alloy more than I do. The body colors options are cool (especially the black) and they feel built to last. But, the balance is off for me as I wish it was weighted more towards the grip section. For the longest time, I used the Deluxe RT much more than any of the other models. That said, I’ve spent time with the Energel-X recently and I’m changing my allegiance. The ever so slightly thinner feel of the Energel-X, its comfortable but not too soft grip along with its less sharp clip compared to the Deluxe RT work better for me.

*****UPDATE: Now doing an Energel Pen giveaway. Details are at the bottom of this post*****

Importantly, these great refills come in a variety of colors and body styles that most folks should be able to find something that works. Do you prefer a longer, wider pen? Go with the Stick. Do you want something sharper looker for the office or to give as a gift? Go with the Alloy. Do you like clean lines and Apple-inspired white style? Go with the Deluxe RT. Do you like a slightly thinner grip and/or prefer that the color you’re grabbing to be blatantly obvious? Go with the colorful Energel-X style.

Rating
The Energel is a “Carry It”, “Desk It” and “Give It” pen for me. I carry them everywhere. There are probably 2, 3 or more on my home and office desks right now and I’ve given them as Secret Santa gifts to make a few converts.

Analogy
The Energel is like my collection of Peter Gabriel albums. I may have too many pens and too many albums to name (and goodness knows I do on both counts). Still, no matter how many pens or albums I get I always come back to my Energel pens and Gabriel albums. The Energel just works for me each and every time just like Peter Gabriel’s albums work for me at any time, while in any mood and for any occasion. Do yourself a favor. Check out the Energel in the style that would work best for you.

Here are some other reviews of Energels, including a couple for the Tradio. The Tradio is more refined-looking version of the Stick that takes the same refill and comes in a variety of colors.
Review on Pentel’s Site
Gourmet Pens (A colorful review of the full line of Energel-X.)
Pen Addict (Tradio review)
A Penchant for Paper (Stick review. See embedded links for other Energel reviews.)
Pens! Paper! Pencils! (Energel-X review)
Clicky Post (Tradio review)

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Energel Pen Giveaway!!! I will be giving away 1 Energel Deluxe RT blue, 1 Energel Stick blue, 1 Energel-X blue plus two(2) other Energel related surprises. The pens I’m giving away will be new or very, very close to new. To enter, simply leave a comment to this post. The giveaway will close Sunday, February 23 at 5:00 pm Eastern time US. I’ll ship the pens to any US address. The posts will be numbered in the order they are received and a random number generator will select the winner. Feel free to leave up to 3 comments if you’d like to enter multiple times. I may respond to your comments, but obviously my comments are not counted or numbered as entries.

49 thoughts on “Pentel Energel – Multiple Pen Review

  1. They look great. If I do not win one, I will have to pick some up. They should be good for lab notebooks.

    1. Keith – Thanks for stopping by and entering the giveaway. I think you’re right; they should work great in a lab notebook. I used the Pilot Explorer a lot for my lab notebooks back in the day.

  2. I know that Uni-Ball Jetstream refills will fit the Alloy RT body with no modification. I can’t remember if the Energel refills fit the Jetstream, I seem to remember that it is a one way fit(Jetstream in Alloy RT, but the other way)

  3. I’m such a sucker for these pens, they’re some of my favorites. I have like three packs of the purple ones. Excellent review, I’d been wondering how the sky blue ink looked.

    1. I’m a sucker for these guys too. Every time I go into a Staples I have to resist the urge to grab another pack of these. Thanks for stopping by.

    2. I totally agree. I had to get like 50 pens because my family keeps taking them; I found a really cheap and cooperative seller selling them for more than half price off of any I’ve ever seen and free fast shipping, nearly cleared out her entire stock. If you keep looking then you should find some for really cheap…

  4. Awesome review! These are some great pens. It’s been awhile since I’ve used them. . . Your post makes me want to revisit them. Much to my surprise I’ve been really liking some larger point-sized pens lately and would love to win some and mix them in the rotation. Thanks so much for the opportunity!

  5. Very excited to try some out – haven’t seen any lately in stores though. Look great for the journal. Maybe if the snow ever melts I will venture forth and find the sky blue. Looks like spring.

    1. I go back and forth between favoring the 0.7 versus the 0.5 lines. Right now, for writing I’m liking the 0.5 but for grading student papers I’m going with the 0.7. Maybe Pentel should make a 0.6 to split the difference for me! :-)

  6. Thanks for the reminder that I bought the Tradio a while back, and it’s been unused!

    1. I like the Sarasa too. When I compared the Energel, Sarasa, G2 and Signo 207 side-by-side-by-side-by-side, the Sarasa was a close second to the Energel for me. The slightly less color saturation and slightly longer dry times (I’m lefty so this sort of matters) of the Sarasa compared to the Energel put the latter over the top for me, but it’s very close. You won’t find me having anything negative to say about Zebra’s gel pens.

  7. So far the Pentel Energel BUN105 05 Blue is my favorite. Just wish they made this with an aluminum housing or other than plastic. Thanks for choosing me as your winner.

  8. I’m on the other side of the fence, tending to favor a pen with a cap over a retractable, but I’d love to give any of these a try.

  9. I like to be able to select my pens by feel, without looking to sort through my pocket. One of these would definitely stand out from the rest.

  10. I really like the couple of Energel pens I picked up recently for a great price; I learned a lot more about them here on your blog via twitter. Thank you!

  11. I LOVE pens. My obsession is pens! My anniversary present – a custom pen holder!!!
    My favorite right now is the Peter rolling writer all colors!!!!

  12. Great review! I’m a huge fan of the EnerGels, but I found the Alloy far superior to the others. I don’t know if it’s the added weight of the metal or what (it’s definitely heftier than deluxe RT I typically use) but it glides even more smoothly – even with the blue RT cartridge I’ve been using put into my latest Alloy. exact same cartridge, improved performance. I got a black and a blue because I love them so much. I never thought I could be this excited over a pen!

    1. Thanks for the compliment. It’s funny how the same refill can seem to perform better in a different pen body. I would think the weight and pressure you apply with your hand contributes much more significantly to the total force applied to the writing tip, but who knows. If it seems like a better writer in the Alloy then that’s all that matters. I go back and forth on the allow myself. I wish they would combine the metal body with the rubber/plastic grip section to make a pen that is high quality and comfortably. Thanks for stopping by.

  13. The Pentel Energel-X 0.7 pens are the only pens I use. I am a teacher, and I keep one clipped to my lanyard at all times. I love pens and keep buying others to try, but I use these consistently. I would love to get some in the mail because they would certainly get lots of use!

  14. Amy – Thanks for stopping by. Sorry, but the give away was completed some time ago. It’s great to know that a fellow teacher uses these great pens too. I’m a fan of the purple, green and orange for grading purposes.

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