In this guide, we’re reviewing some of the best no-bleed pens. Whether you need pens for journaling, note-taking, or highlighting a book with thin pages, these options have you covered.
If you’ve ever got a beautiful new Moleskine notebook or a paperback textbook you wanted to make notes in, you’ll know how precious they can feel. If you write on the page, or underline an important section, and then turn the page and notice bleed. The ink may have seeped through and ruined other pages.
For artists, you might have an art journal or a notebook you use to sketch or experiment with new ideas. You don’t want to be working on one page and discover you’ve ruined another in the process.
The best way to avoid this problem? Finding pens that don’t bleed. This means quick-drying ink, and pens that don’t perforate through thin paper.
Five of the Best No-Bleed Pens
On to the reviews. Below, we look at five of the best pens and pen sets that won’t bleed even on thin pages, such as bibles and textbooks.
Sharpie S-Gel Medium Point Pens – Classic Gel Pens
These gel pens feature boldly-pigmented ink specifically designed not to smear or bleed. But you don’t have to sacrifice richness in ink for practicality’s sake. The pens are a standard 0.7mm tip and the 12-pack features 3 colors (black, blue, and red), so you’ll get 4 of each color.
While that color selection may be ideal for people looking for a little variety in their note-taking, if you plan to inject bold colors or color-coding into what you’re writing, you may want to choose even more pens.
Each pen comes with a contoured rubber grip, so they fit comfortably in your hand as you write. Since they’re made by Sharpie, you can trust they’re well-made and will do the job well. The Sharpie brand is known around the world.
These pens glide smoothly over paper and feel very satisfying to write with. However, some users have noted that the ink can transfer onto other surfaces while it’s still drying. This is common with gel pens.
If you’re left-handed or tend to drag your hand across the pages when you write, these may not be for you. They’re also not waterproof, so don’t expect them to stand up to spills or wet media such as watercolors. There are specific watercolor pens for that!
Bible Micro-Line Color Pens – Best for Underlining and Detailing
These pens are made to be used on the super-thin parchment-style pages of a traditional Bible, so you know you’ll be able to trust them not to bleed through paper of all thicknesses. This is thanks to their ultra-fine 0.25mm tips and specially-designed no-bleed ink. The bible micro-line pens make a great choice.
The archival pigment inks are waterproof and fade-proof as well, so your writing is safe from spills or the occasional water droplet and will mark your book permanently.
Don’t think that these are just good no-bleed pens for bibles, they work for thin textbooks and even just thinner notebook paper.
The set comes with 8 different colors, the full rainbow plus pink and black. This gives you the freedom to play with color and color-coding your notes – perfect for textbooks.
The colors are designed to each correspond to a different Bible study theme, but you can just as easily use them for whatever you want. And the clamshell case the pens come in can be repurposed for storage or transportation, so you never have to worry about losing your pens or getting them jumbled up.
One thing to note: although ultra-fine tips are perfect for fine lines and writing in small spaces (like the margins of a book), these might not work well if you want bolder lines or want to use them for everyday writing. Some reviewers have mentioned that the trips are prone to breaking under more intense use. So while you can trust they won’t bleed through pages no matter what, they might not be the right choice for every task.
BIC Intensity Fineliner Marker Pens – Best for Fine Lines
The water-based ink in these pens writes smoothly and delivers vibrant colors without bleeding through pages. The fact that the BIC Intensity markers help prevent bleeding and smudging while delivering a writing experience that some people just like better than a ballpoint or gel pen.
The 1.0mm medium point is bold enough to stand out on paper without being prone to bleeding. If you’re looking for a finer line, this same set is available in 0.4mm fine-point as well. However, traditionalists may find the 0.4mm and 1.0mm to be too fine or too bold for their taste, and the set isn’t available in standard 0.7mm.
In this set, you’ll get 10 bold, distinct colors. Each cap has a clip, so you can attach your pens to your notebook or the pockets inside your bag. It also comes in a reusable case that you can use for storage and keep them organized on the go.
Overall, this set is perfect for a variety of projects including coloring and shading, note-taking, everyday writing, doodling, or journaling.
Zebra Pen Z-Grip Retractable Ballpoint Pens – Best for Everyday Use
When you’re looking for a no-nonsense pen that you can use all day without worrying about bleeding through your pages, this set from Zebra is a solid option. This awesome Japanese brand is known for pens that don’t bleed and feel gorgeous to write with.
Their low-viscosity ink makes for smooth, consistent lines without skipping or bleeding. That means you can jot down ideas faster without worrying about the ink skipping or bleeding through your pages if you press too hard. For a 1.0mm medium point pen, that’s refreshing to hear. You don’t have to sacrifice bold lines to avoid bleeding.
Bleeding concerns aside, these are designed to be an easy-to-use pen for daily use. You won’t have to worry about taking care of them the way you would a fine-tip pen or felt-tip marker. The ballpoint design makes them ideal for heavy use.
The latex-free rubber grip lets you hold it comfortably and prevents the pen from slipping out of your hand. It’s great for taking notes or scribbling down a great idea before it slips out of your mind.
The flexible metal pocket clip is also helpful for keeping your pens secure. With a 24-pack, you’ll always have an extra anyway.
However, there are drawbacks to this set. It’s only available in black, so you’ll need to supplement with another set if you want your pen collection to involve highlighting choices. While these can certainly be used for doodling or drawing, that’s not their express purpose, so artists may gravitate to other options.
Zebra Pen Mildliner Dual Tip Markers – Best for Highlighting
As far as preventing bleeding, this Zebra Mildliner set has a few different things going for it. First, the ink is quick-drying and water-resistant. The quicker ink dries, the less time it has to bleed through pages. And since every color in this set is soft, rather than bold and hyper-saturated, you run less risk of seeing your writing on the other side of your pages.
They’re also solid, versatile markers for note-taking, underlining, reading, and color-coding.
They’re dual-tipped, with a broad chisel-tip highlighter on one end and a fine bullet tip on the other. This way, you can highlight sections, underline passages, or do whatever you need to in between. The 15 soft colors go beyond basic rainbow colors, which sets them apart from the other sets on this list. If you’re looking for pens that give you dual-tipped options without bleeding through your paper, look no further.
How to Prevent Bleed Through Paper?
There’s no denying that your pen should be your number one tool when it comes to preventing bleed through paper. You need a pen that is quick-drying first and foremost, but also one that doesn’t produce too much of a thick and bold result on your paper.
There are other ways in which you can prevent bleed through the pages of a notebook, a bible, or a textbook. We recommend getting a dry piece of high-GSM paper and placing this under the page you are currently writing upon. This provides a layer of protection. Think of it as an insurance policy, if the pen does bleed through, at least it won’t go onto the next full page of your notebook or bible. This isn’t always the most practical thing to do, especially when you are on-the-go, but it is a good way to test out a new pen to see if it will bleed.
Do Sharpies Bleed Through Paper?
Most Sharpie pens dry quickly and do not bleed through paper. That said, if you are looking to use a Sharpie pen to highlight on incredibly thin paper such as parchment bible sheets, you might experience some bleed. The Sharpie S-Gel Medium Point Pens are a good option for avoiding bleed and still taking advantage of the Sharpie brand.
Do Gel Pens Bleed?
If you are looking for pens that don’t bleed, gel pens are often not the best options, but the S-Gel pens an exception due to the quick-drying ink.
Gel ink can look fantastic and it opens up a world of color for your artwork, journaling or writing, but it can take a long time to dry. If this is the case then it becomes more likely that it will soak through the pages and cause bleed, or smudge along the page. They’re bad for lefties for this exact reason.
Paper Choice for Artists – Choosing Paper That Won’t Bleed
Finding pens that won’t bleed is essential in certain situations. This is why so many people who are looking to make notes on a bible or textbook need pens that do not bleed through.
If you don’t have this problem, and you are just looking to create artwork or notes in your journal without any bleed, then it is worth looking at paper too. High GSM paper is thicker, which means that pen soaking through is less likely.
If you are an artist looking for a sketchbook, you will want to go for something that is thicker, with a high GSM rating. This prevents bleed but also gives a great feel to your art. It allows for the use of far more media too, and you can use wet brushes or ink without any fear of ruining the other pages.
Bleed doesn’t have to be a problem. There are pens that can help even if you are writing or drawing on the thinnest paper.
Pens like the Bible Micro-Line Color Pens are ideal for this. They’re made to be quick-drying and work on books like the bible, but you can use them for anything. They’re great for underlining sections on thin book pages.
Other pen brands like BIC and Sharpie also make some pens that are ideal for avoiding bleed. Choose your weapon and make sure there’s something in your pencil case or art bag to cope with thinner media.