Review Info

Pen, paper and ink reviews are a fascinating lot… An incredible number of variables affect each person’s overall writing experience, whether they’re holding a 25¢ promo pen or a $2,500 Montblanc. Two people can have entirely different reactions to the same pen, filled with the same ink, on the same paper!

On Bias

Every review is biased, full-stop. Whether subtly or blatantly, every genuine review comes from a human, and for better or worse, we humans are just fundamentally not-that-great at being objective! As a consumer of pen and stationery reviews for years, I’ve always preferred reviews and reviewers that are up-front and transparent about their biases over those that tilt at journalistic purity.

Since every review is biased, the reviews on this site are biased. The reviews you’ll find here are influenced by my writing style and speed, grip, selection of available companion products, personal brand affinities, personal pen configuration preferences, sample-to-sample variation, the climate and season where I live (yes, seriously), my mood on the day of the review, and likely dozens of other factors I’m not even aware of. In capturing these biases and influences here, I recognize and (to the extent necessary) embrace them.

I’m also a super-geek with two engineering degrees. I’ve read and written a lot of academic papers, so I know a thing or two about representative samples, proper design of experiments and experimental controls. Wherever possible I’ll try to eliminate sources of variation and uncertainty – but eliminating every variable is neither practical nor possible nor (if I may) desirable. Part of the fun of pens, ink and paper is the damn-near-infinite permutations we can explore, and hunting down those that work best for us as individuals. I feel that turning reviews into science experiments takes away some of this joy, so I’ll try to limit that.

Products & Compensation

Unless otherwise noted, I’ve personally purchased all products reviewed here on Left Hand Guild. If I’ve received a reviewed product on loan, as a sample, or as a gift (whether from friends/family, or from a manufacturer/retailer/other business), at a discount, or in any other way that doesn’t involve me paying the same price a reader can pay, I’ll disclose this prominently on the review.

This site may contain affiliate links. Using them supports the site, and helps defray some of the cost of operating it, purchasing products for reviews/giveaways/etc. If you’re technically-savvy enough to be aware that affiliate links exist and have strong feelings about not using them, then you’re probably technically-savvy enough to Google your way to the product in question at the vendor of your choice. I choose to use affiliate links whenever I see them to intentionally support creators.

Rating System (or Lack Thereof)

I don’t care for numerical rating systems when it comes to pen and stationery reviews. They attempt to turn something subjective (writing experience) into something objective (a numerical rating), but in the end that “objective” measure does not universally apply – few writers feel this inconsistency more than left-handed writers.

For now, in lieu of a numerical rating system here, I’ll start off with reviews that focus on the qualitative aspects of writing experience. If any sort of rating categories begin to congeal with time, I’ll begin rolling them into new reviews, and update this section accordingly.