Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Stabilo Point 88 Pens

Stabilo Point 88 pens are first cousins to the Stabilo Pen 68 which I reviewed earlier this year, although the Point 88's are, I am glad to say, much more like pens than like markers.  Again, however, I find myself puzzled by the cryptic numbering.  Just what does that "88" mean, anyway?  I assume that it refers to the nib size in some way, but how?


But let's get back to business.  The Stabilo Point 88 is a felt-tip pen similar to the Sharpie Pen, Marvy Le Pen, or Staedtler Triplus Fineliner, but is less expensive than any of these (Point 88's sell for 80 cents each at JetPens).  It is marked as 0.4mm, but because it has a softer tip than, say, a gel pen, it actually writes with a slightly wider line than you might expect - perhaps around 0.5mm or a bit more, in my totally non-scientific estimation.  It feels similar to the 0.3mm Staedtler Triplus Fineliner, and a bit finer than the Sharpie Pen or Marvy Le Pen.  It writes very smoothly and crisply and the colours are bright.  I expect that, as it is a felt-tip pen, the tip might wear down and spread out a bit over time, but I've been using my Point 88's for a couple of months now and they are still firm and crisp.  On poorer quality papers, the ink does show through a bit, although the back side of the paper still remains usable, and on better papers there is no show through at all.


The Stabilo Point 88 is designed, like the Pen 68, to resemble a wooden pencil.  It has a long, narrow, hexagonal body with no grip or clip and, unlike the Pen 68, the Point 88 is even the same yellow-orange colour as a typical wooden pencil.  (The Point 88 is actually identical in appearance to the Pen 68 in every respect except this.)  As I've already discovered with wooden pencils, the hexagonal shape is surprisingly comfortable to write with and the lack of a grip doesn't bother me.  The lack of a clip might be an issue for some, but it doesn't bother me as I rarely use clips on pens.  Ink colour is indicated by the knob on the end of the pen, and by the cap.  Be careful with that cap, by the way.  It is so small that I would imagine it could be easily lost if you didn't make sure to post it securely on the end of the pen every time you took it off.


The Stabilo Point 88 is a surprisingly decent pen for the price.  It is a low-cost alternative to the Sharpie Pen and, frankly, unless you needed a waterproof pen or you had a strong preference for the look and feel of the Sharpie Pen, I don't know why you'd pick the Sharpie over the Point 88.  And the Point 88 is available in a much wider selection of colours.  The store where I bought my Point 88's sadly didn't have too many different colours in stock, so I just ended up with the strangely festive combination of red and green, but there are a lot more fun colours available, such as azure blue, dark ochre yellow, and light lilac purple.  The pens are also available in sets of up to 25, so you can sample all of the colours at once.


Overall, I'd say that the Stabilo Point 88 is a great basic pen.  There are other pens in my pen case that I like more, but I would not hesitate to recommend the Point 88 if you're looking for a cheap, functional pen that comes in a wide selection of colours, and especially if you like the Sharpie Pen but want something cheaper and more colourful.  A set of these would be great to have on hand for doodling and sketching, but they are also great for everyday writing.  And at that price, it's hard to go wrong.

Related reviews: The Pen Addict, Amy (Up North), Paint Daubs, On Fountain PensThe Pen Chronicles (review of the mini version).

15 comments:

  1. I really like these pens. Especially Stabilo Pen sets. You can also store them together in a jar, it looks cute!

    By the way, I also use Stabilo Point 68. They have thicker tips than Point 88.

    Cheers

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    1. These pens would look good together in a jar! Unfortunately, I do not yet have that many of them :)

      And I actually reviewed the Stabilo Pen 68 a few months ago. If you're interested, you can read the review here: http://apenchantforpaper.blogspot.ca/2012/02/stabilo-pen-68.html

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  2. Back when you did the review for the Marvy, I linked you to these:

    http://www.amazon.com/Stabilo-Mini-Pen-18-color-Xtreme/dp/B001OHVOK8/ref=pd_sim_dbs_k_7

    Appropriate now, at least, even tho they don't make that set anymore - the itty bitty ones are still cute :D I *still* love these things!

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    1. Thanks, Gwynne! The mine Stabilo 88's would definitely be fun - and perfect for slipping into my pocket for sketching in the field.

      I'm not sure if they are quite the same thing, but JetPens sells a set of mini Stabilo 88's that you can check out here: http://www.jetpens.com/Stabilo-Point-88-Mini-Fineliner-Marker-Pen-0.4-mm-18-Color-Set-Wallet/pd/7584

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  3. I ordered a few 88s to round up a Jet Pens order that had been hanging fire. What I like about the Marvy Le Pen, Gelly Roll, and, I guess soon, the Stabilo 88 is they seem to occupy a fair middle ground between the least expensive stick pen and the least expensive fountain pen. You get up-from-stick pen good looks, a color selection for highlighting and doodling, and a still affordable price. Nice review, Heather.

    Jack/Ohio

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    1. I think I would agree with that assessment, Jack. These kinds of pens are certainly better than most ballpoints for sketching, smooth writing, and colour selection, but are still very cheap. Though I would put the Gelly Roll in a different class because it's a gel pen rather than a felt-tip and I use it in totally different situations - I think of it as more of a "craft pen" while the Stabilo 88 is more of a writing/sketching pen for me.

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  4. I'm using the Stabilo 88 pen since 1984, when I was at university. At that time they were "reserved" for art and design students but I enjoyed taking notes. I can have a look at my notebooks and the colors are still bright. :-)

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    1. These would be great for notetaking! They come in so many different colours and their slim size would make them portable and easy to carry in your bag. And it's great that the colours have stayed fresh for all those years!

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  5. Jet Pens order with Stabilo 88s arrived. I like 'em. My sister, to whom I gave a few, became an instant fan. She'd introduced me to Lindy pens many, many moons ago, which were notable for having a color selection beyond black and blue.

    Also, the Uniball Signo white, which I ordered at the same time on a what-the-heck basis, is just plain fun. I've written to-do lists on cut down paper bags and well-used kraft paper envelopes (channeling my inner cheapskate), and done some mad doodling in the "New York Times Magazine". Nice reviews, Heather.

    Jack/Ohio

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    1. I'm glad that you like your Stabilo 88's, Jack - and the white Uni-ball Signo pen. I absolutely love that pen. It is without a doubt the best white pen I have found, and is indeed very fun to use.

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  6. This makes me remember school when I had a whole pack of stabilo's with me to doodle with on classes where I listned but didn't take any special notes. Love doodling with these!

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    1. Yes, these are great for doodling! So easy to use and so many bright colours... makes them hard to resist.

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  7. Since I was working Germany a few years back, the Stabilo 88 became one of my favorite writing instruments. I love fountain pens, but these are great for note taking. I'm a note taker and like the thinner barrel unlike the "fat" grips That seem to be the current trend these days.

    It took me a while to find them in the US and finally found them here: www.dickblick.com/search/?q=Stabilo+88&x=36&y=8&sp_cs=UTF-8

    Luckily I have a store near me as well!

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    1. I like fat grips on pens as well, but I don't mind the thin barrel of these pens either. I always thought that it would be uncomfortable, but it actually isn't bad!

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  8. I just bought a set of 25 off Amazon for 16.95 plus shipping.
    Haven't tried them yet. They are in a rollup.

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