I love writing implements. I would love expensive ones, but I lose them too often. There is an art to finding the best cheap one.
One of my go-to places for advice is the Wirecutter blog, about which I have blogged in the past. They are great because they give you the best of the category, but with extensive discussion and links to others who have discussed the item. They do nearly everything.
Their latest review is for the Best Pen. Their initial criteria warmed my heart: under $5, easily available. What makes this review great is that they talk about the difference in types, and the pros and cons of each. They also link to the main pen bloggers (for those days when you are obsessively avoiding work).
In the end it comes down to a section titled “So which one should you get?”. That’s because their best pen, the Uni-ball Jetstream, comes in many flavors. They ended up going with the experts, with the following criteria: Smoothness of writing, uniformity of line, fineness of point, flow, skipping, comfort, pressure required, feathering, bleeding, drying time, reliability and design. They have a couple different recommendations. The most pleasing conclusion this morning: my dept stocks one of the recommends!
As for pencils: amongst others there’s the pencil revolution.