Pilot G2 Battle – Black Ink

6 09 2011

The most writing I've done with a Pilot G2 since middle school, when I didn't know any better

I was asked by Arch Drafting Supply via Twitter what my opinion of the Pilot G2 pen was. My frothing knee-jerk reaction was “IT IS THE WORST THING“, followed by conceding that the 0.38mm Pilot G2 was inexplicably not an affront to human decency / everything beautiful in the world. But I still hadn’t done a comprehensive review of the Pilot G2 line. High time we change that.

Oh maaan look at how astoundingly unremarkable they are!

I’ve already laid down pretty much all the harshness I can in my previous post reviewing the 0.38mm Pilot G2—the design has reached the pinnacle of boringness. Can any pen hope to claim this title from the Pilot G2 through innovative use of the most uninspired and unappealing design techniques known to modern man? Unlikely. A design this steadfastly boring is a classic that will stand the test of time and remain just as boring 20 years from now as it is today.

Little plastic windows opening into the void

There are three elements of design that vary among the different sized models. One is the color of the barrel; the two larger tip sizes (1.0mm and 0.7mm) have smoky translucent barrels, and the two smaller tip sizes (0.5mm and 0.38mm) have clear barrels.

The Pilot G2: as exciting as a rollercoaster, provided that the rollercoaster only travels 1mph and never actually makes it out of the station before you give up and get off.

Second element: the writing on the clip—gold for the 1.0mm and the 0.7mm, silver for the 0.5mm, white for the 0.38mm.


And your final element: the color of the plastic on the tip (something that most people probably won’t notice, because who refills a Pilot G2 when it runs out? I’m pretty sure everyone just throws them away) is different for each tip size. But enough about the design. What really matters is what’s on the inside. In the spirit of fairness, I went out and bought these pens brand new for this review, hoping that the abysmal quality control would finally break in my favor, unlike every 0.5mm and 0.7mm Pilot G2 I would attempt to use at my last job.

When people say they love the Pilot G2, it's like when teenagers say they'll love each other forever. They just don't know any better.

Thankfully, I had no experiences of utter frustration resulting in throwing the pen across the room while writing this review (this happened several times with several previous G2 pens). All of the pens did what a pen is supposed to do, which is write.

The 1.0mm vs. the 0.7mm, the 0.7mm vs. the 0.5mm, and the 0.5mm vs. the 0.38mm

Of the bunch, I loathed the 0.5mm the most the 0.5mm was my least favorite. There was something that felt off, unsteady, annoying when I was writing with it. The 0.7mm came in at the cut-off of acceptable: perfectly fine if I need to write something down right now, but if I have the time and opportunity to go find another pen to write with, I will. The two extremes, 0.38mm and 1.0mm, turned out to be my favorites.

Baby bear and Poppa bear

Having such an audaciously huge rollerball made the 1.0mm the smoothest among the G2s. My writing looks awful and messy, but I wasn’t getting resistance from the pen (one of my main concerns). And the performance of the 0.38mm is no surprise; we already knew that one was a favorite, with neat, precise, and constant lines.

I doubt I’ll ever go out of my way to make sure I have any of the Pilot G2 models in my daily arsenal, but the 0.38mm and 1.0mm would be just fine in an office drawer, and those pens can rest easy knowing they probably won’t be evicted from one of my many homebound pen cups.


No link, because you can find these pens pretty much EVERYWHERE. Probably even convenience stores and bake sales. They’re ubiquitous.



22 responses

9 09 2011
Howard (Penacious D)

Baked into the cakes for writers in jail?

Begs the question, though: do you like any gel pens BETTER? (I’m with you on the Jetstream, by the way)

9 09 2011
No Pen Intended

Oh man oh man this is easy. Better gel pens than the Pilot G2 include but are not limited to: Uni’s Signo DX & RT, Zebra’s Sarasa Push Clip (esp. the 0.3mm version), Muji gel pens, Uni Style Fit gel cartridges (granted, these are basically just the Signo line in another form, but whatever), Pentel’s Hybrid Technica, Pentel Energel, Pilot FriXions, Pilot Hi-Tec-C….I know I’m forgetting some, but it’s a start

20 10 2011

Well…just tried a Zebra Sarasa Medium black refill in a G2 Premier barrel (NOW AVAILABLE, at least at SOME OFFICE DEPOTS in NJ, in royal blue and reddish!)…and damn if it doesn’t write better! And it’s a decent fit, though it’s a smidge longer when clicked out for use. Seems to retract fully though.

12 09 2011
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4 10 2011
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[…] model, it seems to be a gel pen? It has that same rust-colored goop section above the ink, like the Pilot G2 gel pen refills. Is it gel? I don’t know. Does it even make a difference? Probably not. Why […]

1 11 2011
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[…] flow, good color. Yet again, we have found a pen I think would be better for office use than the Pilot G2. For best results, use on a backdrop of perfect […]

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2 05 2012
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[…] pens (the kind corporations tend to order), I’d take the RSVP any day, blobs and all, over a Pilot G2 or a Bic stick. But this isn’t a go-to pen for me. Even Pentel’s own Vicuna ink is much […]

18 04 2013

wow this pen sucks

28 05 2013
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8 05 2014

Something that I also don’t like about the G-2 line is the yellow-orange tinted glob of gel that insulates the black colored ink. With a transparent barrel like the G-2 has, it looks really ugly. Am I the only person that gets bother by that?

11 08 2014

Why do you think that G2 is so popular? It doesn’t seem to perform well, and smears like crazy.

11 08 2014
No Pen Intended

I have no idea why people like it. At this time of my reply it has over 1000 people who have given it a five star rating on Amazon. My guess is that people don’t know better and it’s marginally preferable for writing over methods such as carving words into the wall or pricking your finger and writing in blood.

2 09 2015
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12 12 2015

The reason G2 pens are so popular is because of: 1. Good grip. 2. Simple mechanics 3. You can find them anywhere!/many cartridges fom other pens fit.

26 05 2016

I’ve tried most of the current gel pens on sale in the UK and I still come back to the G2! Boring 0.7 was my favourite but now I’ve converted to 0.5 and guess the next stage will be the 0.38 :-)

16 09 2016

I’m interested in buying a Pilot Metropolitan (which uses the G2 refill). Would you happen to know if a Hi-Tec-C refill would fit (I prefer the ink of this line)

1 01 2017
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25 02 2017
the explicit publisher

I would gladly know, if I have another pen which accepts 0,5 mm pilot g2, will this pen also accept refills like the 0,7 or the 1,0 mm too or are they thicker at the poin and will not slide in?

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