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Introduction to the best gel pens for coloring – our must read reviews!
Coloring can have a number of benefits that range from stress-relief to mindfulness, and everything in between. While all the bright colors soothe your mind, you might even end up having a lot of fun in the process!
Whether you’re revisiting your favorite childhood activity in an adult coloring book, working on a professional project, or just looking for the best coloring pens for your children, you’ve come to the right place.
Equipped with the best gel pens for coloring purposes, everyone can unleash their creativity with dazzling results.
I’ve rounded up the best sets of gen pens and reviewed each one so you can find the product that suits your coloring needs.
If You Are Short On Time, Here Is My List of Our 15 Best Gel Pens for Coloring:
- Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens
- Aen Art Gel Pen
- Tanmit Gel Pens
- Reaneon Gel Pens
- Color-It Gel Pens
- Sakura’s Gelly Roll Pens
- Caliart Gel Pens
- Shuttle Art Gel Pens
- Smart Color Art Gel Pens
- Lineon Gel Pens
- Feela Gel Pens
- Sargent Gel Pens
- Fiskars Gel Pens
- Bright Ideas Gel Pack
- CastleArt Gel Pens
Here are our recommendations for the best gel pens:
1. Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens
While most gel pens are prone to smudging, this particular set of colors was surprisingly quick to dry up. Since each pen has quick-drying ink combined with an ergonomic grip, it is safe to say that Paper Mate Gel Pens are the best choice for stress-relief.
While each pen of the 20 pens in this set is capable of producing vibrant and rich trails of ink, some might think this set has a limited amount of colors. On the plus side, the limited color range should be more than sufficient for traveling artists or beginner colorists.
- Dries 3x faster than most gel pens
- Smooth and flowing trails
- Ergonomic grip
2. Aen Art Gel Pen
Our next set solves the problem of the previous since it consists of 100 unique gel pens. However, unlike some other ‘full sets’ in the market, all 100 pens aren’t exactly unique colors. This set is divided into neon, metallic, and glitter gel pens, and there are no duplicate colors.
These gel pens also offer longevity because they were designed to be refillable. Moreover, they have offered non-smearing, quick-drying ink, and comfort grips to thousands of satisfied colorists all over the world.
- 100 unique colors
3. Tanmit Gel Pens
Tanmit’s set of gel pens takes it up a notch by offering colorists 240 unique colors and 120 refills. This pack consists of 4 standard, 6 rainbow, 11 dye, 16 fluorescent, 16 pastel, 19 neon, 20 metallic, and 28 clitter colors.
Another great detail about this set is that it offers a variety of pen tips that range from 0.6mm to 1.0mm.
- 240 unique colors
- Multiple pen tips to choose from
- 120 refills
4. Reaneon Gel Pens
Reaneon’s set of 200 gel pens come divided into 100 refillable and 100 non-refillable colors. These include classic, metallic, glitter, swirl, neon, neon-glitter, and pastel options. Each of these pens easily glides over the paper and is completely non-toxic and acid-free.
While we loved everything about this product, the manufacturer’s money-back guarantees for dissatisfied customers is a definite plus point.
- 200 unique colors
- Glides easily over paper
- Non-toxic, making it a pet- and child-friendly
5. Color-It Gel Pens
While this set offers only 48 unique colors and 48 refills, its beautifully designed storage case and aptly labeled and labeled pens translate to a quality product. This set includes 12 neon, 12 metallic, and 24 glitter gel pens, and each of these colors dries quickly.
Since this product comes with a storage case with a zipper and neatly designed compartments, they are better suited for professionals or people who travel with their art supplies.
- 48 unique colors
- Convenient storage case
- Quick-drying ink
6. Sakura’s Gelly Roll Pens
Sakura is among one of the well-known brands in the market, and their gel pens are usually sold in separate sets based on their category, such as meteor, galaxy metallic, glitter, classic, etc. However, this set consists of the best from each category, totaling 75 unique colors.
While its gel pens probably produce the richest and darkest splurges of gel ink in the market, their white gelly rolls can actually cover pencil streaks on paper!
- 75 unique colors
- Rich and dark streaks of ink
- Unique shades of colors
7. Caliart Gel Pens
Caliart Gel Pens come as a set of 32 pieces with 11 Glitter colors, 5 Metal colors, 5 Pastel colors, 9 Neon colors, 2 Classic colors. These pens have 40% more ink than most of their competitors!
Caliart pen tips are fine and have a great flow of color.
- 100 unique colors
- Foldable packaging
- Multiple pen tips to choose from
8. Shuttle Art Gel Pens
Shuttle Art’s set consists of 120 unique colors. Since each of these colors are non-toxic and acid-free, they are perfectly safe for a household with children or pets. To aid the user, each of these pens is made with a fine point tip that delivers smooth jets of ink.
The 12 colors in this pack are divided into classic, pastel, metallic, rainbow, neon, and swirl colors. However, our favorite is the additional magical ink that seemingly colors black streaks but changes into different colors along the way.
- 120 unique colors
- Fine point tips
- Smooth-coloring ability
9. Smart Color Art Gel Pens
The Smart Colors Art Gel Pen set is sold as a colorful plastic brick with 140 tightly arranged colors. The set consists of a mixture of standard, metallic, glitter, pastel, neon-glitter, and each category is divided into sections within its sturdy and see-through box.
Other than just being well organized, these gels pens can add great detail to your projects since their pens range from 0.6mm to 0.8mm fine tips.
- 140 unique colors
- Durable and organized packaging
- A wide variety of fine point tips to choose from
10. Lineon Gel Pens
Lineon Gel Pens are sold in a pack containing 50 gel pens and 50 refills. While it may have a limited range of colors, it offers all the essential categories that include standard, glitter, metallic, and pastel.
Where Lineon’s package lacks in variety, it makes up in quality since their ink doesn’t bleed through paper unless you color the same area repetitively.
- 50 unique colors
- Feels very smooth on paper
- Ink doesn’t bleed through paper
11. Feela Gel Pens
Feela’s set of gel pens might just be the largest package we have seen to date because it consists of a total of 360 pens. Of course, Feela still lacks behind Tanmit and Reaneon’s set because it is divided into 180 unique colors and 180 refills.
Still, these gels pens come in a breakage-resistant and eco-friendly packaging. Moreover, these pens are designed to be left-hand friendly, and their ink is smear-resistant.
- 180 unique colors
- Left-hand friendly
- Smear resistant ink
12. Sargent Art Gel Pens
This set of 100 gel pens is pretty spendy, but it is rated fairly high by users. The set includes metallic, glitter and some fluorescent colors with a compact carrying case.
- Smooth flowing ink
- Large variety of colors
13. Fiskars Gel Pens
This set of gel pens are sold as a pack of 48 unique colors which produce fade-resistant and smooth-flowing pigment. The set includes 3 black, 6 swirl, 9 pastel, 9 neon, and 9 metallic colors with a variety of pen tips ranging between 0.8mm and 1.0mm.
Not only does their ink produce smudge- and acid-free ink, but the fine tips can produce streaks that will not bleed through paper.
- Fade-resistant ink
- Smooth-flowing tips
- Multiple tips to choose from
14. Bright Ideas Gel Pack
Bright Ideas have made it to our list of best gel pens for coloring purposes despite their set only consists of 12 pens. These pens are divided into glitter and neon pens, and each of these makes coloring a vibrant, smooth, and smudge-free experience.
This package, like our top-rated package, is also great for beginner colorists and artists who prefer to travel with their belongings. What’s more, these pens also come with durable protective packaging.
- Smudge-free ink
- Produces smooth gel streaks
- Sold with durable packaging
15. Castle Art Gel Pen Set
This large set of 100 gel pens has 28 glitter, 6 swirl, 15 pastel, 16 neon, 17 metallic, 4 classic and 14 glitter/neon colors. Users report that the ink is richly pigmented and flows beautifully. The range of shades is very useful.
- Highly rated by users
- Four-fold organizer storage case
- Acid free
- Secure snap-on caps
Buying Debates: Buying the Best Gel Pens for Coloring
How to Narrow Down Your Options Based on Tip-Size
Gel pens that are designed with ultra-fine tips (0.3mm or lower) offer the finest detail. However, since their tip is so thin, coloring with them might feel a little ‘scratchy.’ We would recommend using larger tip sizes if you plan on working on textured or rough paper.
Gel pens that have a tip size of anything between 0.35mm or 0.4mm will offer a similar precision (more or less), but more importantly, will feel smooth. While thin tip sizes might be alright for fine coloring details or sketching outlines, thicker tips make for the best gel pens for coloring purposes.
Retractable or Capped: Which One Is Better?
When asked, most people would say that they prefer retractable gel pens since they allow them to get straight to coloring without having them fiddle with a cap. In addition, most of us are accustomed to losing things, especially when we’re really invested in our work. Also, the clicker can be entertaining when you’re bored or just thinking.
On the other hand, capped pens have one distinct advantage; they offer security. A cap is less likely to stay open accidentally or maybe even stain the inside of your pen case or shirt pocket. Finally, experienced coloring enthusiasts would agree that pen caps mark a satisfying ritual at the start and end of each coloring session.
Other Important Buying Considerations
1. Needle Point or Conical?
For the most part, the choice between a needle and a conical point gel pen is based on aesthetics. Needle-tip gel pens appear more high-tech and precise than their counterparts. However, they do provide a slightly lesser obstructed view of the coloring surface as compared to conical points.
Typically, needlepoint gel pens also work better with templates (such as adult coloring books) or with rulers. The only way conical points are better than needle points is that they offer more durability, especially if your pens tend to fall off your desk from time to time.
Some people prefer working with a gel pen that creates the deepest and darkest trail possible. Naturally, all gel pens aren’t created equally, and it is difficult to find such results with ultra-fine tips. Still, we would highly recommend Sakura’s Gelly Roll Pens if gel darkness is what you need.
This is one quality that is desired by most but very difficult to quantify or compare. Still, the smoothness of a pen can be further divided into a number of factors, such as the pen tip, ink composition, and tip size.
4. Drying Time
Drying time should be an important consideration for left-handed people or anyone who is prone to accidentally smear their own handiwork. Most of the gel pens we reviewed seem to dry-up between 10 – 20 seconds. However, the Color-It Gel Pens and Shuttle Art Gel Pens were the quickest to dry up.
If you’ve worked with gel pens before, you might have noticed how some lines are darker around the edges as compared to the center, making them look like railroad tracks. Some gel pens cannot produce nice and solid lines because the ball in the gel pen’s tip pushes the ink off the sides as it rolls on paper.
Slow-drying and darker gel pens are more prone to produce this effect, but every pen will inevitably produce this effect if you press too hard or color too fast.
6. Are They Really Waterproof?
Other than the gel pens with water-soluble ink, most offer a good amount of water resistance. So if you’re caught out in the rain with your art in your bag, they will probably remain undamaged. Still, if you’re looking for the most water resistance, then we would recommend looking for oil-based colored pencils. Please see our review of the best colored pencils here! Or,if you are thinking about delving into markers for coloring, we have an excellent and comprehensive review article on the best markers here!
Here are some fun videos to inspire and help you get started in coloring with your new gel pens!
The gels pen is a modern miracle of coloring technology because nothing else can come close to producing its combination of color, smoothness, and precision. If you have never tried a gel pen before, I hope my review has motivated you to try these fun pens in the near future!