Although many people think of coloring as an activity for children, recent studies have revealed that the act of coloring has health benefits for people of all ages!
Coloring has been proven to improve focus and motor skills. It has also been linked to the practice of mindfulness, relieving anxiety.
Gel pens are a great choice for creating bold and eye-catching art pieces. Their bright, metallic, or glittery shades really pop off the page.
However, trying to color using the wrong type of gel pen can quickly undo all the positive effects of your coloring project.
Unfortunately, achieving even, smooth, and seamless coverage with some gel pens can prove to be a struggle. If the pen is not ergonomic to use and the stream of ink isn’t smooth enough, you’re likely to end up with patchy color and hand fatigue.
That’s why I’ve put together this selection of the best 5 gel pens for coloring. Remember to check out my buyer’s guide and FAQ section down below for extra tips and advice.
Best Gel Pens for Coloring Reviews
Best Overall: Smart Color Art 140 Colors Gel Pens
In my option, the best overall gel pens currently available on the art supply market are the Smart Color Art Gel Pens.
The first thing to mention about this gel pen set is that it contains 140 pens, so you get a great variety of colors from a single purchase. In the set, you can find shades of every color in the rainbow and more! Glitter and metallic shades are also included.
The reason these gel pens are so good for coloring is that they feature 0.8 mm tips. For context, most gel pens have tips measuring between 0.5 and 0.7 mm, so these pens are thicker than the average. This means that they are able to release more ink with each stroke, delivering thicker, smoother lines for the best coverage.
Of course, the downside to the pens releasing more ink is that they run out relatively quickly. However, the refills are all replaceable, so you don’t need to dispose of your pens once they run out.
These are highly versatile gel pens, suitable for many different artistic endeavors. They make excellent coloring pens, but they’re also great for writing, drawing, and even nail art!
Moreover, the gel ink inside these pens is non-toxic, meaning that it’s free from harmful chemicals. It’s also eco-friendly, so it won’t release any volatile organic compounds or other substances that could harm the environment.
- 140 pens – Wide color spectrum
- Replaceable refills – Long-lasting
- 0.8 mm tips – Thick, smooth lines
- Suited to writing, coloring, drawing, and nail art – Highly versatile
- Non-toxic and eco-friendly – Safe to use
- Ink runs out quite quickly – Frequent replacements may be necessary
- PROFESSIONAL QUALITY: None of toxic, acid free, lead free and all the materials are eco-friendly. Safe using! It's made of high end refill, Which contains superior ink and hard tip (tip size 0.8mm) that makes the pen writing smoothly and using durable!
- VARIOUS COLORS: We collect all the popular colors together and make each not single to avoid the refill of being used up quickly. Multiple colors become the guarantee of your perfect works!
- DIFFERENT USAGES: Perfect Art Ink Pen for Scrapbooking, Coloring, Journal, Nail Art, Kids, Sketching, Painting, Drawing, Writing , Tattoo & Custom Artistic Creations! Get busy with art projects or relax with an adult coloring book!
- CLASSIC PACKING: Easy to take. Could be an amazing gift for children and adults!
- Get it and Enjoy it!
Runner-Up: Tanmit 100 Coloring Gel Pens Set
My runner-up pick from the best coloring gel pens is this set of 100 coloring gel pens from Tanmit.
This set contains pastel, neon, glitter, metallic, fluorescent, and ‘normal’ colors, so no matter what your artistic style is, you’ll be able to express it with these gel pens.
Like my best overall pick, the Tanmit gel pens have 0.8 mm tips. This tip size is ideal for coloring because it’s thicker than the average, so it’s easier to achieve full coverage. However, they’re also not as thick as felt tip pens or markers, so detailing and neat line work will be easier, too.
With that being said, the ink in these pens does run quite quickly due to the larger tip size, so be careful not to exert too much pressure if you want to avoid messy work.
Tanmit’s gel ink is non-toxic and acid-free, so the pens are suitable for use by children as well as adults and won’t cause any harm to yourself or the environment.
The ink is also water-resistant, which is a testament to the longevity and durability of the pigment. The water resistance of the ink means you could even experiment with smudging and other water-based techniques without damaging the pigment.
Tanmit’s 100 Coloring Gel Pens Set comes in a foldable PVC case that is lightweight, compact, and easy to store away when you’re not using the pens.
- 100 colors – Plenty of variety
- 0.8 mm tips – Smooth coverage
- Non-toxic – Child-friendly
- Water-resistant – Long-lasting color
- Foldable PVC case – Convenient storage
- Ink runs very quickly – Can be messy
- Colored Gel Pens: 100 Unique Colors Ink Pens in a Variety of Styles including Red, Blue, Yellow, Orange, Green, Purple, White, Black, Gold, Silver, Chrome, and many more!
- For Adults, Kids Coloring Books, Sketching, Drawing, Painting, Writing, secret garden. We Promise superior ink and hard Tip (tip size 0.8mm) which are More Thin than Markers,that makes the pen writing smoothly and using durable!
- TANMIT Coloring Pens are Environmentally Friendly Materials Non-Toxic & Acid Free, Perfect for All Ages.Get busy with art projects or relax with an adult coloring book! Also you can use it as a highlighter pens
- Packaged in Case: Compact colorful Storage - Foldable design makes it easy to store in a backpack, drawer, locker, or shelf!
- Gift Idea for Halloween,Christmas and any festival: Get it and Enjoy it! Money Back Guarantee from the Manufacturer - If any are inoperable, damaged, or if they're not up to your satisfaction the Manufacturer will offer a Free Replacement or a Full Refund.
Best Value: Smart Color Art 140 Colors Gel Pens
Gel pens can be expensive compared to other types of coloring pens, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily need to break the bank.
This pack of 200 gel pens from Reaeon is excellent value for money. For a reasonable price, you get 100 gel pens along with 100 refills. This means that even when the first ink cartridges run out, you won’t have to make any more purchases – just insert your next refill, and you’re ready to continue coloring!
The 100 colors included in this gel pen set range from classic colors to glitter, neon, metallic, pastel, and swirl shades, so you get a lot of variety as well as quantity for your money.
Reaeon’s gel pen tips range between 0.8 and 1.0 mm, so some are just on the thicker side while others are significantly thicker than average. Each pen has been manufactured with 30% more ink, so despite the higher ink output from the thicker tips, the pens won’t run out too quickly.
Better still, the Reaeon gel pens come packaged in a high-quality, foldable storage case. This makes it easier to keep your pens safe while in storage and also makes them more easily portable.
My only complaint about these gel pens is that the coded labels on the pens are a bit unclear. Since it’s difficult to tell the different color variations apart through the pens, finding the color you’re looking for can be tricky.
- 100 colors – Extensive color range
- 100 refills – Minimizes extra purchases
- 0.8 mm – 1.0 mm tips – Smooth application
- 30% more ink – Long-lasting
- Storage case packaging – Portable and convenient
- Unclear labeling – Finding the right color can be difficult
- 100 Unique Colors: Including 28 Glitter, 18 Metallic, 16 Neon, 15 Pastel, 14 Neon-Glitter, 6 Swirl, 3 Classic. We know that Gel ink runs more quick than usual pens, So we bring more 20% ink in our pens for you.
- 100 Matched Refills: Extra refills are easy to be refilled and bring long lasting for coloring, drawing, writing, sketching, doodle, crafting, making cards, bullet journaling and more.
- High Quality Gel Pens Set: 0.8-1.0 mm Tips which providing Free-Flowing, Smooth Application. Acid-Free & No-Toxic inks bring minimum bleeding on paper.
- Bright Colors and Value Pack: You can choose pens from light to dark colors easily on Reaeon coloring gel pens set. It's the best choice for coloring, also a great gift for Christmas & other festival in our life.
- You can get: If any are inoperable, damaged or if they're not up to your satisfaction, please feel free to contact us and we will provide friendly customer service for you.
Best Premium: Sakura Gelly Roll Pens Gift Set
Regardless of whether you use coloring as a relaxation exercise or a creative project, you deserve to have high-quality pens for your artwork. If you’re prepared to pay premium prices for premium quality, the Sakura Gelly Roll Pens could be perfect for you!
The 74 pens included in the Sakura Gelly Roll set all have rollerball tips that deliver a smooth, fluid, and uninterrupted distribution of ink. This makes these pens ideal for coloring since you’ll rarely need to go back and fill in any gaps or build up the color.
The colors are divided into several categories: classic, glitter, opaque, metallic, and dual-color. In addition to the color variety, the pens also come in various tip sizes ranging from 0.3 to 0.8, so you also get some flexibility in terms of line thickness.
A color chart is included with the set to help you locate the color you’re looking for without having to swatch each one for accuracy.
Plus, the pens come in a plastic organizer case that will last you a long time as a storage unit.
These are high-quality, high-functioning gel pens in every sense. However, at 74 pens per set, this is the most limited set in my selection in terms of quantity despite retailing at the highest price.
- Rollerball tips – Smooth ink distribution
- Classic, metallic, opaque, glitter, and dual colors – Diverse color range
- 0.3 – 0.8 tip sizes – Various thicknesses
- Includes color chart – Easy color location
- Organizer case – Practical storage
- Only 74 pens – Not many pens for the price
- Sakura 57361 74-Piece Gelly Roll Artist Gift Set
- Gel-ink rollerball is ice cream smooth
- Contains classic fine (6 pc) & medium (11 pc) metallic (14 pc) gold (5 pc) & silver shadow (5 pc)
- Stardust (13 pc) moonlight 10 (10 pc) moonlight 06 (10 pc)
- Re-usable plastic storage organizer case
Best Glitter: ColorIt Glitter Gel Pens
All of the sets I’ve reviewed so far have contained some glitter gel pens. However, if you’re a sparkly person by nature and are exclusively looking for glitter gel pens to enhance your coloring, I’d recommend the ColorIt Glitter Gel Pens!
There are 48 gel pens and 48 refills in this set, which comes to a total of 96 cartridges altogether. For the price, this is a fantastic deal. However, value for money isn’t the only area in which these gel pens (quite literally) shine!
The set includes cool tones, bright hues, and earth tones, so there’s a lot of variety. However, I did notice that there are more pens in some shades than others, so the distribution isn’t equal.
That small issue aside, these gel pens work smoothly and release a good amount of ink thanks to their 1.0 mm tips, so you won’t have to worry about patchy coloring or clogged cartridges. Plus, the ink is acid-free so it won’t bleed through your paper.
The ColorIt Glitter Gel Pens come in a zippered storage case with individual elasticated compartments for each pen. You could take this set with you traveling, to school, or even to work for some relaxing coloring on your lunch break.
- 48 colors – Cool, bright, and earth tones
- 48 refills – Long-lasting purchase
- 1.0 mm tips – Smooth and generous application
- Acid-free – No bleeding
- Storage case with zipper – Easy storage and portability
- Uneven color distribution – More of certain shades than others
- High Quality and Long Lasting - Includes 48 glitter pens, 48 matching glitter ink refills, glittery travel case, and premium gift box. Long lasting and smooth flowing makes this set the best glitter gel pens for adult coloring, doodling, lettering, bullet journaling, and more.
- Easy to Use and Refill - Color coded pens take the guesswork out of coloring. To replace colors, just match up the number-coded barrel to the glitter refill cartridge. Convenient and cost-effective in the long run.
- Exclusive ColorIt Color - We have skin tone colors, earth tones, browns, greens, blues and plenty of purples. Water-based and acid-free ink that doesn't bleed through normal paper. High quality 1.0mm point tip won’t skip, smear or fade. Great for precision writing or coloring in small spaces.
- Organization and Storage - Zippered pen case with individual slots keep each gel pens securely in place. Easy for traveling, take on road trips, or use in waiting rooms. ColorIt’s glitter gel pens are beautifully packaged for gifting and sharing.
- 1-Year Warranty - We back up our gel pen set with a 1-year warranty. Have a problem with your gel pen set? We want to get it fixed... pronto! Contact us and we’ll resolve the issue with no questions asked.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Gel Pens for Coloring
Spending money on art supplies that turn out not to be what you expected can be extremely frustrating. If you want to make sure that you pick the best gel pens for your coloring projects the first time around, there are a few features you’ll need to consider.
This one might seem like it should go without saying, but the process of finding the perfect colors in a set of gel pens is actually trickier than it sounds.
The issue with buying coloring pens online is that, even in real life, gel pen colors can look different inside the pen than they do on paper. Therefore, trying to assess color quality through a screen is doubly difficult.
That’s why I would recommend reading through any available reviews or testimonials available through the online retailer before finalizing your purchase. Reviews will give you an honest, unedited, and experience-based portrayal of the color quality you can expect.
Many gel pen sets include different variations of certain colors. For example, a set might have a classic red color as well as metallic, opaque, and glittery red. Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell these variations apart before they’re applied to paper.
So, if you’re opting for a set with multiple versions of the same color, I’d definitely recommend choosing one that comes with either clear labeling or a color chart, like the one included with the Sakura Gelly Roll Pens Gift Set.
You will also need to think about tip size as part of the gel pen selection process. One of the biggest obstacles to coloring with gel pens is a tip size that is too thin.
Thinner tip sizes are great for detailed line work and accents, but they don’t provide very good coverage and often result in scratch-line pen marks rather than smooth blocks of color.
The majority of gel pens have tip sizes that fall between 0.5 and 0.7 mm, although tip sizes can range from 0.3 mm up to 1.0 mm.
For coloring purposes, I’d recommend gel pens with tips between 0.8 and 1.0 mm. Of course, you can use thinner tips if you’d prefer (these might actually be better for very intricate adult coloring books), but if you want to achieve smooth and even coverage, thicker is better.
Some gel pen sets, like the Reaeon 200 Pack Gel Pens with Case and the Sakura Gelly Roll Pens Gift Set, contain gel pens in a range of tip sizes, so if you’re not sure which size you prefer, you can always opt for variety.
Ease of Use
If your gel pens are difficult to use with good results, you’re unlikely to get much relaxation out of your coloring projects. Therefore, you should select coloring gel pens on the basis of how smooth and precise they are to work with.
I’ve already discussed the correlation between thicker tip sizes and smoother, more even coverage. However, the downside of thicker tips is that they can sometimes release more ink than users might like. This may result in messy work and smudging.
Therefore, the ideal gel pen for coloring in terms of ease of use should be relatively wide-tipped without releasing too much ink at once. There’s ultimately no accurate way to discern this remotely, so the reviews and testimonials should be your guide in this area.
Moreover, I’d suggest opting for acid-free gel pens. Acid-free pens are more water-resistant and fade-resistant. They are also less likely to bleed through your paper, which is especially important if you’re using an adult coloring book with designs on both sides of the page, or thinner paper that tears easily.
Buying a brand new set of gel pens is definitely an exciting time. What’s less exciting, however, is hunting all over your house for one of your new pens that seems to have miraculously disappeared.
Pens have a tendency to roll off surfaces and hide under furniture as soon as you take them out of their packaging. For this reason, I would recommend choosing a set of gel pens that comes in reusable case-style packaging.
Most gel pens are packaged in fold-over PVC cases. These aren’t the most durable storage solutions, but they’re certainly better than nothing when it comes to keeping all your pens in the same place and preventing them from getting lost.
If you’re looking for a more long-term storage solution, I’d suggest something similar to the case that comes with the ColorIt Glitter Gel Pens. Fabric cases with zipper closures and elasticated compartments are more durable than their plastic counterparts – just make sure not to leave any of your pens uncapped, or the ink will bleed into the fabric.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are gel pens good for?
One of the great things about gel pens is that they’re very versatile! You can use them for a variety of artistic tasks.
Whether you’re a writer, drawer, colorer, sketcher, or nail artist, you can use gel pens to enhance your work and express your creativity!
Why are gel pens so expensive?
It’s true that gel pens typically retail at higher prices than other coloring pens. Gel ink is usually denser than typical pen ink, which means that it lasts longer and distributes itself more smoothly and evenly. This is why gel pens are normally more expensive than standard writing or coloring pens.
However, as you can see from the products I’ve reviewed above, it’s definitely possible to find high-quality gel pens for budget-friendly prices.
Do gel pens dry out?
Yes, gel pens can dry out if left unretracted or uncapped for too long. If anything, gel pens are even more sensitive to air than the average ink pen.
So, when you’re coloring with gel pens, always remember to replace the cap immediately after you’ve finished with the color.