Lefties, we know you have it rough when it comes to finding good pens, since most of them are designed to be used by right-handers.
A typical right-handed person using a pen pulls it toward the right in a smooth motion, leaving a line of fresh ink untouched behind the writing hand.
A left-handed person has to push the pen from left to right. That requires the writer to press harder on the pen, which can be uncomfortable and can force the paper to foul the writing tip. Meanwhile, the writing hand drags over the ink and smudges it.
Obviously, then, the two most important qualities in a pen for left-handed people is that the ink dries quickly and that it flows as smoothly as possible. With that in mind, these are some of the pens left-handers might consider:
Sharpie Pen – Several left-handed readers over at the excellent Pen Addict blog reported that they’ve had good experiences with the Sharpie. It has a plastic tip that lays down a smooth, even line of quick-drying ink that, according to the maker, won’t bleed through most papers. Although the pen isn’t specifically designed for lefties, the smudge-resistant ink at least will help you avoid those annoying smears.
Uni-ball Jetstream – A rollerball pen might not be the first choice for a lefty because the ink can smudge if your hand passes over it as you write. However, that’s the main selling point of the Jetstream: It’s a hybrid that combines the fast drying ink more common to a ballpoint with the gentle glide of a gel. You get fewer smudges and a more comfortable experience.
Fisher Space Pen – Actually, any quality pen with a pressurized cartridge can be a good choice for left-handed people, including the Uni-ball Power Tank or the Inka Pen. The advantage is that since there’s always downward pressure on the ink, you’ll get a constant smooth flow, whether you’re pushing the pen across the paper or pulling it. You won’t be rubbing the ink off the ball, “drying up” the pen, as sometimes happens when lefties use ballpoints. And the pen will even write upside down. How cool is that?
STABILO ’s move easy – This rollerball pen is designed for kids, but there’s no reason adults can’t use it also. What’s important is that STABILO makes a left-handed version of the pen that is molded with grip recesses so that your thumb and finger fit comfortably without any odd contortions. The idea is that you can hold it with a light grip, and it still will move easily across the paper. Available in .5mm and .3 mm. The smaller size is recommended for faster drying. Usually ships with blue ink, although you can order black ink refills.
Yoropen – The advantage of this ballpoint pen is that it’s adjustable to fit whatever position is comfortable for you. Just rotate the tripod grip to the left, and the angled design is supposed to allow you to relax your fingers and give you a better view of what you’re writing so you don’t smudge the fresh ink. You can get the refillable Executive (a bit pricey at more than £30) or inexpensive disposables.
Pelikan Pelikano Junior – There’s much discussion online about whether left-handed people can use fountain pens. Some lefties say they’ve tried and found it impossible, while others swear they’ve been comfortably using fountain pens for years. The general consensus seems to be that it’s difficult because the left-to-right upward motion distorts the tines of most pens. However, the Pelikano Junior, another pen for children that also works for adults, comes in a version specifically for left-handers. The two key features are a slightly rotated grip (nice but not all that useful) and a ball at the tip of the nib that keeps the pen moving smoothly over the paper, even when pushed left to right. This pen tends to write wet so you might want to try one of the optional fine nibs.
Of course, these are only a few of the pens available to left-handed people. We’d like to hear about your experiences with pens for lefties. Have any favourites that have worked for you, or any that you’ve tried and know just don’t do the job? Let us know.