How Long is a Pen?

There are thousands of pens in the world made by hundreds of different manufacturers and it got us to thinking as to what the average length of a pen is? There are no set standards that to be classed as a ballpoint pen you must be a certain amount of length in mm, cm or inches.

Yet when you are in a stationery store that sells lots of different pens they all look similar in length. This means that the pen manufacturers must have done testing to find the optimal length of their pens. So we dug a little deeper well actually a lot deeper and looked at the length of the pens that are sold by one of the major online retailers to find out how long is a pen?

1. What is The Average Length of a Pen?

Length of Writing Pens

The total number of pens used in this study is 8200 which includes ball pens, brush pens, gel pens, fountain pens, and various types of markers pens. This is not 8,200 different pens as some will be duplicates of the same pen and may just have different colors or tip sizes. But as we are just trying to find out how long is an average size pen so it does not really matter.

As you can see from the chart that the most popular length of a pen sold by the store is between 130 and 140mm, or 13 – 14 cm and for those of you that prefer imperial measurements it is 5.11 – 5.51 inches. This was closely followed by pens in the 140 – 150mm range.

What is interesting to see is that of the smaller sizes there are more pens in the 100 -110 mm range which is what the manufactures must consider being the optimal size for a compact pen.

The pens In this chart include several different types of pens so we thought we would take a look at each type and see if there is any difference in the average length compared to the average. If you are unsure about what the difference is between a ballpoint, gel, or rollerball pen the check out our guide on ballpoint, rollerball, or gel pen which pen is best for you?.

2. How Long is a Ballpoint Pen?

Length of Ballpoint Pens

Lazio Biro invented the ballpoint point and filed his first patent in March 1946 the patent is quite detailed about the ink delivery and ball mechanism but unfortunately, we do not know how long it was as the actual length of Biro’s pen does not seem to be included. However, we do know how long a modern ballpoint pen is.

The length of 415 ballpoint pens was stated on the retailer’s website that was for sale and we can see that the average length of a ballpoint pen is between 130 and 140mm, 13 – 14 cm or 5.11 – 5.51 inches. This is exactly the same length as the average length of a pen that took all the different types of pens into account.

How Long is a Bic Crystal Pen?

How Long is a Bic Crystal Pen

Marcel Bich bought Biros patent in the 1950s and formed the Bic pen Company and hence the legendary Bic Crystal ballpoint pen was born for those who may be wondering how long is a Bic Crystal Pen? It is 149mm, 14.9cm, or 5 78  inches.

So you now know what the average length of a ballpoint pen is but how far does it write?  If you want to know check out our post How Far Will a Ballpoint Pen Write? You may be quite surprised at the answer, not all ballpoint pens are born equal and there is a massive difference between the longest writing ballpoint pens and the average.

3. How Long is a Brush Pen?

Length of Brush Pens

Brush pens followed the trend of the most popular pen length being between 130 -140 mm long. For the study, the length of 1161 pens was measured with a total of 396 falling in the range of 130 -140mm which is the average length of a pen. The next highest number of pens was 219 which measured between 180-190 mm in length.

How Long is a Tombow Brush Pen

This is a lot higher than any other type of pen which makes you think that some artists must prefer having a brush pen that is a lot longer than the average length of a pen. I am not an artist but suspect it probably has something to do with the balance of the pen and quite possibly is closer in size to an artist’s paintbrush.

However, when I dug a little deeper I found that a lot of the brush pens between 180 – 190 mm in length were in fact dual brush pens with a tip at either side that accounted for why they were bigger than the average length of a pen.

4. How Long is a Fountain Pen?

How Long is a Fountain Pen

Out of a total of 2038 fountain pens, a whopping 1087 were between 130 -140 mm. 417 were slightly longer than the average measuring between 140 – 150 mm, and 174 between 100 and 110m. So what can we take from these facts apart from fountain pens are still very popular. Fountain pens have been around for a lot longer than ballpoint pens with the first fountain pen dating back to 1827 when Petrache Poenaru filed a patent in France. This was nearly 120 years before Lazio biro’s ballpoint pen.

Length of Fountain Pens

It could be reasonable to assume that the optimum length of the fountain pen was perfected during this time for balance, comfort, and general writing performance. When Biro made his ballpoint pens he copied the length of what was already available and all the modern pen manufacturers have followed suit.

This could also explain why a typical compact fountain pen measures between 100 and 110mm which is the same range as compact ballpoint pens.

5. How Long is a Gel Pen?

How Long is a Gel Pen

Gel Pens are a relatively modern pen and were invented by the Japanese Pen manufacturer Sakura in the early 1980s. They had spent many years developing the technology. As you can see from the graph the most popular length of gel pens falls between 140 – 150mm which is slightly longer than ballpoint pens. But why would the gel pen manufacturers choose to make their pens longer than the typical average length of a pen, which is the most common size of both ball pens and fountain pens?

Length of Gel Pens

The answer is probably due to the fact that because the ink in gel ink is thicker they write a lot less than distance than a ballpoint or fountain pen. To compensate for this a gel ink pen refill is usually wider and longer than a traditional ball pen refill. Hence it needs a longer barrel to accommodate it.

How Long is a Pilot G2 Pen

How Long is a Pilot G2 Gel Pen

The Pilot G2 pen is one of the most popular gel pens there is and rightly so as it is a great pen. If you are not familiar with the Pilot G2 then check out The complete guide to Pilot G2 Pens for more information. But what about the length of the pen, how long is a Pilot G2 Pen It is 143mm, 14.3cm, or 5.6 inches.

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Peter Warrior: Pen & Pencil Expert

With nearly a decade of experience in the pen industry, I successfully ran an online pen business for 9 years. My deep-rooted passion for pens and pencils led me to become a part-time blogger, where I've dedicated myself to sharing the wealth of knowledge I've amassed over the years. I'm a firm believer in the power of the written word, as echoed by Malcolm Forbes: "Putting pen to paper lights more fire than matches ever will." My expertise is not just rooted in business, but in the genuine appreciation and understanding of the art of writing instruments.

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