Battle of the Pens: Paper Mate Ink Joy Gel vs. Sharpie Pen


Paper Mate Ink Joy Gel vs. Sharpie Pen | The Rebel Planner

It’s been all over your favorite Facebook group and now you’re stuck. Should you pick up a pack of the new Paper Mate Ink Joy Gel pens that have taken over your feed, or should you stick with your HG, tried and true Sharpie Pen? Today I’m here to share with you my pros and cons of the two pens and tell you which one I prefer!

Paper Mate Ink Joy Gel Pen:
This pen is fairly new and when it came out, the planner world freaked out. Everyone went out and bought a pack and in every color. And there is a reason! This gel pen writes smoothly and is rich is pigment, but never smudges as your write. It dries down almost instantly on direct paper. It’s available in two sizes; a fine point (0.5 mm) and a medium point (0.7 mm) and has a click-based barrel. Both come in a array of colors that range from dark browns and blues to bright reds and yellows. I bought the fine point pens and I love how tiny the point is. My handwriting looks thin with this pen when normally it’s huge and kind of ugly. However, this pen doesn’t dry down quickly on top of glossy sticker paper. Although it dries down eventually, it doesn’t dry as fast as other pens I’ve used. Another downside is that I could only find the 0.5 mm at Staples. I went to multiple Targets and CVSs and those stores only had 0.7 mm. That was kind of annoying.


  • Tons of colors.
  • Different points.
  • Quick drying and smudge resistant on direct paper.


  • 0.5 mm wasn’t easily found at Target, CVS, etc.
  • Doesn’t dry quickly on glossy paper.

Bottom line: Makes your handwriting look awesome, dries fast on paper, but not ideal for glossy sticker fans.

Sharpie Pen:
This pen has been out for a while and is familiar to any Sharpie user. This is the pen I’ve been using since I started my planner last August. They come in two points; fine and medium and the standard model has a cap (pictured below.) I find the fine to not be very fine though. There was a learning curve with this pen for me since I was so used to writing with a ballpoint pen for my entire life, but after about a month of constant use, my handwriting looked nicer than with a ballpoint since I had to slow down a bit to write with the marker point. This pen doesn’t smudge in paper and dries really fast. But like the Paper Mate pen, it smudges on glossy sticker paper. However, it doesn’t smudge as easily since it dries down a little faster. I usually wait a few seconds before I peel the sticker up from the paper and the ink is dry. This pen is easy to find, but it can get expensive. These are not the pens to lose or hand off to classmates. The color selection is also pretty small. There are only 10 colors, and the more fun ones like coral and turquoise are a little harder to find. There are also different barrel types ranging from standard (the one shown below) to click bases pens to ones with silver caps.


  • Different points.
  • Easily found at stores.
  • Different barrels.
  • Dries down fast on glossy stickers.


  • Ink not that black.
  • Bit of a learning curve if you’re used to ballpoint pens.
  • Lack of color range. (Editor’s note: The color range has expanded since this article was published.)

Bottom line: Great for marker-point fans and glossy sticker users, but those that like to color code or have a ton of color are limited in range of selection.

Paper Mate Ink Joy Gel vs. Sharpie Pen | The Rebel Planner

Above is a sample of my handwriting with each pen. As you can see my handwriting looks the same with both of them, but the Paper Mate pen is a little thinner, sharper and darker.

So, what is my preferred pen?

I like them both. Sorry to be anti-climatic.

Like I outlined above, I like the pens for two different reasons. I like writing directly on the planner paper with the Paper Mate pen, but I hate writing with it on glossy paper. It takes forever to dry (and by forever I mean a minute or two.) I liked the Sharpie on paper, but after using the Paper Mate, the Sharpie looks gray.

Did this review help you decide which pen you may prefer? Have a different pen you’d like to see my try out? Let me know down below!

You can buy both of these pens on Amazon using the links below!


  • Megan 07/24/2016 at 12:01 pm

    Hi! Does the Ink Joy bleed through notebook paper?/Could you write with it on a page of notebook paper, then write on the back of that same page without it looking like a jumbled mess? I’m looking for a good pen for they school year 🙂 Thanks!

    • alliesteinberg 07/24/2016 at 9:01 pm

      Hi Megan!
      No, the Ink Joy does not bleed through paper. You could write on both sides without and bleeding through. However, this is a slight shadow, but nothing horrible that would mess up your notes.
      Thanks for reading!

    • Stephanie 12/02/2016 at 1:12 pm

      Nope! I bought these pens thinking they might bleed, but they don’t! They are my favorite pens right now!

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