Is It Faster To Write In Pen Or Pencil?

Pens and pencils are the two most common writing mediums in the world. These two tools allow people to quickly jot down ideas and lists, fill pages in a journal, write lengthy stories, but anyone who writes a lot will find themselves wondering if writing with a pen or a pencil is faster?

It is faster to write in pen than in pencil as the pen nib provides more consistency, reliability, does not need to be sharpened, and has less writing friction. Gel and fountain pens write the fastest due to a lack of friction. Pencils write slowly due to friction and must be sharpened frequently.

Writing with pens and pencils have their own sets of advantages and drawbacks, but the speed at which one can write with each of these tools is very different and depends on a number of factors. Let’s explore the differences between writing with a pen and a pencil to determine which is the faster writing implement.

Is Writing With A Pen Faster Than Writing With A Pencil?

If you are someone who enjoys writing, or if you are required to write a lot for whatever reason, sometimes speed is important. Being able to write quickly allows the writer to put ideas down quickly without forgetting anything, to move through a storyline quickly without forgetting any details, or even makes writing a quick list less of a chore.

This leads many to wonder if writing with a pen or a pencil is faster? The truth is, it is significantly faster to write with a pen than it is to write with a pencil for many reasons. 

Writing with a pen is usually faster than writing with a pencil because the pen is an overall smoother writing implement, offers less friction on the page, is easier to use, is more reliable, does not need to be sharpened, is not likely to break, and is generally more consistent to write with as well.

All of these are factors in the speed with which a person is able to write. Writing quickly is a good skill to possess, and it makes general workflow significantly faster and easier in many circumstances, but writing speed is dependent on the writing implement as well as writing technique.

Much of the speed and smoothness that comes with writing with a pen is due to the nib of the pen versus the graphite lead that is used in pencils. 

The pen is an easier writing tool to control, which means that the writer is able to use a more consistent writing technique. The consistency that pens offer leads to faster writing speeds and more legible handwriting as well. This consistency is provided by the reliable nib of the pen.

The fact that the nib of a pen never changes size or shape is also a reason why it is faster to write with a pen over a pencil. The consistent size of the writing nib of a pen also allows the writer to write with good technique, increasing speed and efficiency. The pen nib also never requires sharpening, which saves time as well.

Pen nibs tend to glide more smoothly over paper which reduces friction and allows for smoother and faster writing compared to a pencil. The nib of a pen is also not likely to break or chip, which makes writing far easier than pencil graphite.

Another aspect of writing with a pen that makes writing quickly easier is the shape of the body of the pen. Some pens are similarly shaped to pencils, but most pens these days have sculpted body shapes or grips that make the pen better to hold and easier to control. As we have already pointed out, better control equates to better technique which allows the writer to write more quickly. 

Writing with a pen is generally quicker than writing with a pencil, and anyone who needs to write quickly or write a lot in as short an amount of time as possible should always opt for a pen over a pencil.

What Makes Writing In Pencil Slower?

Writing with a pen is faster than writing with a pencil because of the way the pen is designed and the way this implement writes, but what is it about a pencil that makes it slower to write with? 

Many people prefer writing with a pencil, but this is usually because pencil marks can be erased and written over, pencils are cheap, and many people write with pencils because it is what they learned to write with.

However, the pen was invented to be a superior writing tool to the pencil, and it has achieved its goal, especially regarding writing speed.

Pencils are slower to write with than pens simply because of the graphite lead that is used within a pencil for making marks on paper. This graphite must be rubbed off to leave a mark on the page, which means that the pencil requires friction to write, which makes the act of writing with a pencil inherently slower than a smooth-nibbed pen.

Writing with a pencil also wears away the graphite within the pencil, either by friction or by the graphite breaking. This inevitably means that a pencil will have to be sharpened, which is a significant time factor for anyone writing large volumes with a pencil.

These factors make a pencil slower to write with than most pens, but the truth is that not all pens are smooth, quick writing implements either, so it is always best to try out several options of pens before determining which is best for you and your writing speed requirements.

Are Some Pens Faster To Write With Than Others?

As we have briefly mentioned above, not all pens write as quickly as others. This means that pens are typically faster for writing with than pencils, but some pens are significantly faster, while others write at the same speed as pencils or only write lightly faster. Which pens write the fastest and which are the slowest to use?

There are several types of pens available right now, even more than many people realize, and most of them are quicker to write with than other writing implements, but some are not as fast as you may want them to be.

For example, ballpoint pens are much slower to write with than other types of pens. This is due to the mechanism that ballpoint pens use to make lines on the page. The nib f the pen contains a ball that must be rolled along the page to distribute ink, and in order to roll the ball, the pen must be pressed down relatively firmly while writing.

This action of pressing down while writing is not very efficient and is typically slower than other nib types, especially pens such as fountain pens which only require the lightest touch for writing smoothly and consistently.

This light touch found when using fountain pens, or even gel pens allows the writer to write far quicker than with other pen types because there is very little friction, the hand does not fatigue quickly, and only one direction of travel is required to write, rather than pressing down and writing simultaneously.


Writing with a pen is significantly faster than writing with any pencil, but some pens are faster to write with than others. All pens are quicker writing tools than pencils are because of the lead used in pencils to mark the page.

Fountain pens and gel pens are the fastest writing pens because of the light touch required to write, but the best pen for you is only found by exploring and experimenting with various pen types. Take the time to find the ideal pen for your writing style, and you will never find yourself writing slowly again!

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