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The Best Customizable Multi Pens

The Best Customizable Multi Pens

April 27, 2021 - Posted by Zoe to Guides, Multi Pens, Pens

The Best Customizable Multi Pens

Have you ever dreamed of a pen that writes in only your favorite colors, or wanted to switch between gel ink, ballpoint, and pencil with just a click or two? Customizable multi pens are sold as empty pen bodies and separate individual components, creating a dazzling array of possibilities. We’ve laid out the details of our entire selection of customizable multi pens, so read on to assemble a pen that’s perfect for you.

Pen in hand
The Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto won us over with its slim design and color-coded tabs.
The Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto combines an incredible range of components with a few standout design choices. Unique among our customizable multi pens, the components of a Coleto come with colored tabs, making it easy to extend the right color on the first try. Coleto pen components write with vibrant Hi-Tec-C gel ink, available in needlepoint sizes and many, many colors. Also available are two fine mechanical pencil sizes, plus an extendable eraser. We found inserting components easy and intuitive: simply flip off the hinged top cap and slide one in. Coleto refills are a little more expensive than the competition, but we think the quality of their ink and the convenience of their color-coded components makes them worth it.

The Coleto comes in a wide selection of body sizes and capacities, ranging from two components to five. The two-component is the simplest multi pen you’ll find, and the five-component Coleto is slimmer than any competitors with the same capacity. We found the click of extending a component to be audible but not too loud, though it may vary between pen sizes.

Customizable Multi Pen Characteristics
Multipen with different types of components

Separate Components

Since none of the components come pre-filled, you have full control over what you put into your pen. Students, for instance, might pick classic ink colors like black, red, and blue, as well as a mechanical pencil component for math and science class. Artists, on the other hand, may want more unique and fun colors in their customizable multi pen.

Four sizes of the Coleto multipen

Number of Components

The number of components a customizable multi pen can carry will differ across brands and models. It can range anywhere from two to five components in a pen, although three and five are the most commonly available capacities. The Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto, pictured above, has the largest range in capacities of our selection.



We know we’re stating the obvious, but more components means a bigger pen. If you hate writing with a chunky pen, perhaps pick up multiple smaller multi pens, or select a slimmer medium-capacity option like a Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto or the Zebra Sharbo X.

Top-insert and body-insert refills example

Refillable and Interchangeable

When you get tired of a certain combination, or if the ink runs out in one of your components, all you have to do is pop out the dud, switch in a shiny new refill and voila! A brand new pen. Some pens use top-loading components, but most are filled by putting components into internal slots, accessed by unscrewing the pen barrel.

Comparison of clicking and twisting

Component Extension Mechanism

Most multi pens extend a component with the usual click of a tab. A few luxury options, like the metal Uni Style Fit Meister and the Zebra Sharbo X, extend with a twist of the pen body instead. Most top-click picks in this guide are distinctly audible. If you lead a life where silence is key (librarian? international spy? mime?), you’ll want to invest in a twist-extend multi pen.

Uni Style Fit with refills from the brands Uni, Pentel and Zebra

Cross-Brand Component Compatibility

Some pens aren’t limited to just the components their manufacturers intended. If you like one brand’s ink but not the pen design, or if you want to create a pen you truly can’t find anywhere else, check for cross-brand refill compatibility. The Uni Style Fit, for example, can write with Pentel Sliccies and Zebra Sarasa refills, although some may need to be trimmed to fit. We’ve noted what cross-brand components work with each pen in the end table.

Customizable Multi Pen Recommendations
Best Beginner Customizable Multi Pen: Pentel i+
Pen in hand
The Pentel i+ is a cheerful and straightforward pen.
The Pentel i+ is a gentle introduction to the wide world of customizable multi pens. While other pens may offer an overwhelming number of options, the i+’s more limited range of sizes and refills is straightforward to navigate. The i+ is available only in a three-component version, intended for use with bright Pentel Sliccies gel ink. It’s also compatible with smooth, quick-drying Pentel Energel refills, Pentel Vicuna ballpoint refills, and mechanical pencil options.
Like with most multifunction pens, you add a component to the i+ by unscrewing the pen barrel and inserting the component into an internal slot. Writing feels secure, with no risk of sudden retraction, though the click of deliberately retracting a component is a little loud. The pen is available in cheerful solid colors, and as a last charming touch, the i+ has a hole like an MP3 jack to decorate it with charms or other accessories.
Best Ergonomic Customizable Multi Pen: Zebra Sarasa Select Soft Grip
Pen in hand
The Sarasa Select comes in soft grip (pictured) and hard grip options. Both are very stylish.
The design of the Zebra Sarasa Select is distinctly fanciful—the swirl of its tip reminds us of blown glass—but comes with practical benefits. The wide and slightly squishy rubber grip of the Zebra Sarasa Select Soft Grip will cut down on hand strain during long note-taking sessions. If you love its style but don’t love the squish, the standard Zebra Sarasa Select replaces the grip with clear hard plastic that showcases your choice of refills. Both styles of the Sarasa Select write with vivid and quick-drying Sarasa gel ink and water-resistant low-viscosity Surari emulsion ink, as well as a wider selection of pencil lead sizes than most other picks in this guide.
The Sarasa Select is only available in three- and five-component sizes. Both are comfortable in the hand, though the three-component size is a little slimmer.
Best Luxury Customizable Multi Pen: Zebra Sharbo X
Pen in hand
The sleek Zebra Sharbo X stands out from the competition.
A sleek contrast to the typical plastic multi pen, the slim, sturdy Zebra Sharbo X blends into any office or conference room. Most Sharbo X styles are machined from brass, though a few are made from aluminum and carbon fiber or even wrapped in faux leather. The twist-extend mechanism of the Sharbo X makes switching between components perfectly silent, though it may take a little practice to turn to the right component on your first try.
Its refill selection includes smooth-writing low-viscosity ballpoint ink, vibrant gel ink in fine tip sizes, mechanical pencils, and cross-brand compatibility with bold Kaweco ballpoint refills. Every Sharbo X also includes a cunningly hidden eraser in the top of the pen. Sharbo X refills have to be compact to fit in the slim pen body. We recommend sticking to ballpoint for note-taking, as gel refills may run out after two or three pages.
Best Versatile Customizable Multi Pen: Uni Style Fit
Pen in hand
The Uni Style Fit boasts breathtaking compatibility with a wide range of refills.
The Uni Style Fit is the customizable pen for the writer who wants as many options as possible. Originally designed to spotlight Uni's best writing instruments, its gel ink refills feature the classic Signo ink, while the ballpoint refills feature the famous Jetstream ink. The mechanical pencil component is prefilled with NanoDia leads, infused with nano-diamond pieces to create a strong, high-quality lead. However, bursting through brand boundaries, it’s compatible with a number of other refills, including Pentel Energel and Zebra Sarasa gel inks and Pilot Acro ballpoint ink.
If you want an upgrade without a huge investment, grab a Uni Style Fit Meister. Choose between metal bodies with twist-extend mechanisms or built-in erasers. And for a comprehensive dive into this versatile pen, our Uni Style Fit blog will walk you through the details.
How We Approach Research and Testing

Our writers draw on their personal expertise, consult our in-house subject matter experts, and do extensive research to make our guides as accurate and comprehensive as possible. We then test every finding that makes it through the research stage. Only the techniques and tools whose performance we personally confirm make it into our guides as recommendations.


Customizable multi pens are perfect tools for note-taking, annotating, editing, or doodling, and with a customizable multi pen in your pencil case, you’ll always be prepared. If you have a favorite customization trick or use for a multi pen, let us know in the comments below.

ProductPentel i+Pilot Hi-Tec-C ColetoUni Style FitZebra Sarasa SelectZebra Sharbo X
Component Capacity 3 2, 3, 4, 5 3, 4, 5 3, 5 3, 4
Ballpoint Refills (mm) 0.5 No 0.5, 0.7, 1.0 0.5, 0.7 0.4, 0.5, 0.7, 0.8, 1.0, 1.2
Gel Ink Refills (mm) 0.3, 0.4, 0.5 0.3, 0.4, 0.5 0.28, 0.3, 0.38, 0.4, 0.5 0.3, 0.4, 0.5 0.4, 0.5
Low-Viscosity Emulsion Ink Refills (mm)NoNoNo0.5, 0.70.5, 0.7
Mechanical Pencil Refills (mm)0.3, 0.50.3,, 0.5, 0.70.3, 0.5, 0.7
Eraser RefillsNoYes (component)NoNoYes (end of pen)
Grip Diameter (mm)10.9 9.6, 11.2, 12.1, 12.610.3, 11.2, 13.612.3, 13.99.3, 10.3, 11.1, 11.7
Standout FeatureSpace to attach charmsMany choices, colored tabsMany choices, sturdy extensionMany choices, stylish, soft grip optionMetal construction, sleek and professional
Cross-Brand Refill CompatibilityPentel onlyPilot onlyYes; Pentel, Pilot, Platinum, ZebraZebra onlyYes; Kaweco
Click NoisinessHighMediumHighHighSilent