The 5 Best Gel Pens for Coloring in 2022

Gel pens have come a long way since the 80s when they first appeared. Gel pens are different from ballpoint pens in that their powdered pigments are mixed in a water-based gel and they tend to flow much smoother than a ballpoint pen. The best gel pens for coloring have a nice selection of colors, a fine tip, ink that flows smoothly, has acid-free gel ink, and the gel ink isn’t toxic.

Fun fact: Gel pens were created in Japan in the early 80s. At first, they were used by business professionals who drew for a living, but eventually, gel pens made it to the adult coloring scene.

A gel pen is an excellent option to color, draw or sketch vibrant scenes and images. An interesting side note is that adult coloring has been found to reduce anxiety and depression after only one week of consistent coloring.

So which gel pens are best for adult coloring books, drawing, or other artistic activities? Read more below to learn which gel pen brands are some of the top sellers as well as the different types of gel pens to choose from.

Types of Gel Pens for Coloring

Gel pens are different from a ballpoint pen in that they come in a variety of colors not just blue, black, or red. Some gel pen sets come with neon, metallic, and pastel gel ink. How can gel pens be used for very fine lines commonly found in adult coloring books? Luckily, gel pens also come in different tip sizes for thicker and thinner coloring.

As a general rule, if using colored gel pens for an adult coloring book, a finer tip is best. If used for drawing, sketching, or coloring, then thicker tip sizes will suffice.

Neon Pens

Neon pens have neon pigments floating in a water-based gel. Most have a fine point tip and like most gel pens allow for smooth writing.

Some neon colors include neon green, pink, yellow, and orange. What’s more, some brands sell neon glitter gel pens that make a very cool combination for drawings.

Metallic Pens

Metallic pens, similar to neon pens have metallic pigments that create an interesting metallic sheen once the ink dries.

Depending on the brand, some gel ink takes longer to dry than others so left-handed users might want to consider only quick-drying ink to avoid smudges.

Glitter Pens

Glitter pen enthusiasts will love color gel pens that have glitter pigments to create fun and interesting artwork.

Adults and kids alike will appreciate the glittery gel ink that comes in a large variety of colors. A good glitter gel pen has acid-free gel ink so as not to ruin different types of paper or surfaces.

Pastel Colors Pens

Pastel gel pens like neon gel pens have pastel pigments and are excellent for coloring or drawing spring or Easter artwork. Some pastel colors include pastel blue, yellow, orange and pink.

Capped or Retractable Gel Pens

Most artists prefer retractable pens since they don’t have to worry about the cap, although most gel pen sets don’t have retractable tips. Some single pens that are purchased separately can be found without the cap.

Our Recommendation List for the Best Gel Pens for Coloring

  1. Best Colored Gel Pen Set Overall: Shuttle Art Gel Pens
  2. Best Glitter Gel PensChromatek Glitter Gel Pens
  3. Best Metallic Gel Pens: Gelly Roll Pens for Dark Paper
  4. Best Gel Pens for Adult Coloring BooksFeela Gel Pens
  5. Best Regular Coloring PensColorit Gel Pens

 

#1 Best Colored Gel Pens Overall – Shuttle Art Gel Pens

  • Price – ~$19.99 (Was $21.20) – Our score: 9/10
  • Color selection – 120 – Our score: 9/10
  • Fine tip – Yes, 1.0mm – Our score: 9/10
  • Ink flows nicely – Yes – Our score: 9/10
  • Non-toxic – Yes – Our score: 9/10
  • Acid-free – Yes – Our score: 9/10

Most gel pens don’t have the variety that comes with this set of Shuttle Art gel pens for coloring, drawing, or journaling.

These non-toxic, acid-free gel pens come with one of the largest variety of any gel pen sets, including neon glitter, rainbow, metallic, swirl, and pastel gel pens. The swirl and rainbow pens have multi-colored ink.

Some gel pens bleed, but these fine-tip gel pens will not bleed through pages. Left-handed artists will be happy to know that this colored gel pen set does not smear on most paper types, and these gel pens dry quickly. Note that some of the pen tips may dry if the cap is left off so storing them upside down does help.

Pros

  • Ink flows easily
  • Excellent for all drawing, writing, or coloring
  • Includes seven gel pens with multi-colored ink, the only ones of their kind
  • Each color type is grouped together for easier reference
  • Colors are vibrant enough to be used on dark paper

Cons

  • Metallic colors tend to take longer to dry

2. Best Glitter Gel Pens – Chromatek Glitter Gel Pens Set

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  • Price – ~$17.99 – Our score: 8/10
  • Color selection – 50 – Our score: 7/10
  • Tip size – Fine 1.0mm – Our score: 9/10
  • Ink flows nicely – Yes at an angle – Our score: 8/10
  • Non-toxic – Yes – Our score: 9/10
  • Acid-free – Yes – Our score: 9/10

These Chromatek gel pens are a good starter set for beginners just exploring the world of coloring pens. The glitter pens each come with a refill for double usage and they are the best gel pen that produces smooth ink flow that also dries quickly.

The pen tips of this gel pen set are a fine tip size making them ideal for coloring small lines. Unlike an average ink pen, this gel ink has smooth ink flow and airtight caps to protect the gel ink from drying out.

Each gel pen comes with a comfort grip to decrease the likelihood of hand fatigue while writing. For best results, hold this gel pen at a 90° angle.

Pros

  • Fine pen tips
  • The glitter is bright and especially useful for creating cards, invitations and other formal crafts
  • This brand also sells gel pens with a 0.8mm tip size
  • Ink produced by this brand gel pen is thinner than most others

Cons

  • Some pens take longer to dry
  • If the pen is dropped and air bubbles form, the pen won’t be usable

3. Best Black Light Gel Pens – Gelly Roll Pens for Coloring

  • Price – ~$16.99 – Our score: 7/10
  • Color selection – 10 – Our score: 7/10
  • Fine point – 0.5 – 1.00mm – Our score: 8/10
  • Ink flows nicely – Yes – Our score: 9/10
  • Non-toxic – Yes – Our score: 9/10
  • Acid-free – Yes – Our score: 9/10

One of the more popular gel pen brands, these Gelly Roll pens are the best coloring pens for their Pigma ink. It allows them to glow under black light. The fluorescent colors range from yellow to green to blue and the bright and bold colors are perfect for use on darker paper.

Gelly Roll also sells gel pen packages that include a large selection of different color options from jewel-tone, metallic, pastel, or neon colors.

They also offer a set of white gel pens for writing or drawing on darker pages. It is perfect for artists switching from colored pencils to gel pens.

Pros

  • Highly pigmented colors
  • Vibrant enough to color rocks and other surfaces
  • Incredibly smooth ink
  • One of the best gel pens for black or gray paper
  • They do not bleed through paper

Cons

  • Caps must be kept on the pens otherwise they will dry out

4. Best Gel Pens for Adult Coloring Books – Feela Gel Pens for Coloring

  • Price – ~$28.99 – Our score: 7/10
  • Color selection – 360 – Our score: 9/10
  • Tip size – Fine – Our score: 9/10
  • Ink flows nicely – Yes, depending on angle – Our score: 7/10
  • Non-toxic – Yes – Our score: 9/10
  • Acid-free – Yes – Our score: 9/10

A gel pen user will love the variety of color gel pens in this set of 360 vibrant colors that come in two packs of 180 gel pens each. These colored pens are ideal for an adult coloring book and include pastel, swirl, regular, metallic, and neon glitter shades.

Unlike colored pencils, these gel pens are bright enough to stand out on darker papers while the metallic and glitter pens create a nice sheen under different lighting.

Busy artists will appreciate the clear body that allows them to see how much ink is left to be replaced with one of the 180 refills for each color that is included with the purchase. Feela sells a variety of tip sizes in their other color gel pen sets.

Pros

  • Comes with a nice selection of metallic gel pens
  • Ink flow allows for smooth writing
  • Includes multi-colored ink swirl pens

Cons

  • Out of 180, 100 are glitter pens
  • Pen colors aren’t labeled

5. Best Premium Gel Pens – Colorit Gel Pens

  • Price – ~$35.99 – Our score: 7/10
  • Color selection – 192 – Our score: 8/10
  • Tip size – Fine – Our score: 9/10
  • Ink flows nicely – Yes at an angle – Our score: 8/10
  • Non-toxic – Yes – Our score: 9/10
  • Acid-free – Yes – Our score: 9/10

This gel pen set includes 192 vibrant colors, including 48 new Colorit glitter gel pens, 12 neon, and 12 metallic gel pens. The set also includes regular gel pens for maximum creativity for creating crafts, drawing, or coloring.

Since the ink dries quickly, they are excellent for left-handed artists who are worried about smearing valuable artwork.

Colorit has also labeled each gel pen with its respective color so artists can easily identify favorite colors or ones they’ve already used. The set comes in a durable and handy case that is easily transportable and aids in organizing the different shades and pigments.

Pros

  • There are no duplicate color gel pens in the set
  • Ink is very smooth
  • Comes with 48 refills
  • Ink lasts longer than Fiskar gel pens

Cons

  • Caps must be left on when not in use to avoid drying out the ink

 

Conclusion

We hope you found our guide to the best gel pens for coloring helpful. We’ve covered the different types of gel pens for coloring along with our recommendations in various contexts.

We’ve discussed how you can choose the best gel pens for coloring on dark paper, adult coloring books, rocks, and other surfaces. Lastly, we’ve combined our recommendations for the best gel pen brands for drawing, coloring, sketching with a large selection of colors or with specialized uses such as the fluorescent Gelly Roll pens that glow under black light.

Thanks for reading. We hope our suggestions help you choose the best gel pens for coloring, whether needing glitter, neon, metallic, swirl, or pastel gel pens, there is something for everyone from the selection above.