It has been another fun year of cool office supplies, which means it is time for the Annual Editors’ Choice Awards. Each year I look forward to posting this list, but it is also one of the more difficult posts that I write because there are so many worth products out there. Narrowing it down to just a few items that I consider to be the best office supplies for the year is never easy, but I think that speaks volumes for the items that do end up making the cut.
Best Pen or Pencil – Considering how much I used to hate writing with a pencil, I can’t believe I’m actually typing this, but there is no doubt in my mind that the Uniball Kuru Toga Roulette is by far the best pencil of the year. The Kuru Toga line in general has converted me from a reluctant pencil user to a happy pencil user, but the Roulette actually made me want to grab for it whenever I had a chance, and I’d even just leave it on my desk so I could fiddle with it and look at it when I was on a call or talking to someone at my desk. It’s most impressive feature is that it automatically rotates the lead to stay constantly sharp, and in addition to that, the matte black metal body and knurled grip just make this pencil look awesome. I’ve even come close to buying 1-2 extra of these just in case I lose one or to have a back up if they stop making them. I can’t imagine being without it. (Buy @ Jetpens)
Best Fountain Pen – The TWSBI Diamond 540 Demonstrator Fountain Pen is a slight modification of the TWSBI 530, with the enhancements being a larger ink chamber, and an easier to close and remove cap. Every last part of the pen can be disassembled to make it super easy to clean and take care of should either need arise. The larger ink chamber was probably the best improvement not only because it reduces the number of times you need to refill it, but it also makes for a larger area where your ink reflects on the different facets of the body, giving it a jewel-like look. With all of that said, it doesn’t hurt that the pen is a fantastic writer for the price. (Buy @ Goldspot)
Best Special Purpose Writing Tool – Because I know that most people are not fountain pen users, I would consider fountain pens to be “special purpose” which is why I am selecting the new line of Pelikan Edelstein Inks as the winner for this category. These inks come in amazing looking bottles that all have slightly unique and different shapes, and of the two different inks that I’ve used from this series, the colors are incredibly vivid and they are also really well behaved on most paper. This is definitely priced as a premium ink, and certainly well worth it. (Buy @ Goldspot)
Best Notebook – The new Rhodia Unlimited Soft Touch Notebooks are made with the same super high quality 80g paper that you have come to expect from Rhodia, but it is the cover that makes these notebooks so special in my mind. The covers on these notebooks are slightly thicker than the standard cardboard stock that you are used to, but they also have a super satiny finish on them that made it nearly impossible for me to put down the first time I picked one up. The best way to describe the feel is that it is what you might expect if someone had put a light sprinkling of baby powder over the cover, it is super soft and super smooth to the touch. (Buy @ Goulet Pens)
Best Desk Accessory – When I first saw these See-Through Sticky Notes by Avery, I was a bit skeptical, but I knew I had to try them out. Not only did they impress with their bright colors and cool transparent look, but they are also incredibly hard to rip, so they are great for those of you that need very durable sticky notes. They are available in the standard 3″x3″ squares, and also arrow shaped in both pink and yellow. (Buy @ Amazon – Squares and Arrows)
Best Organizing Tool – For those of you that visit this site regularly, you probably have more pens, pencils and related accessories than you know what to do with. If thats the case (horrible pun intended) then this Nomadic Pencil Case is for you. Personally I am a big fan of all things black and/or orange, so the visual of this pencil case was what first drew me in. Once I actually got my hands on it and started putting my pens and pencils in it though, I was amazed at how much it held without even forcing things in there. (Buy @ Jetpens)
Best Green Office Supply – The Pilot B2P Recycled Water Bottle Pen was a pretty innovative concept from Pilot this year that was also one of the more popular reviews on the site. The folks at Pilot had the smart idea to take old water bottles and recycle them into pen bodies, that also happen to look like your average water bottle. My only beef with these from an environmental perspective is that I wish Pilot would just find a way to make ALL of their pens this way, I’m sure there is enough plastic waste that it would be doable. (Buy @ Amazon)
Best Office Decoration – Originally a reader pointed out this F-Bomb Paper Weight to me, and I instantly thought of a co-worker that it would make a perfect gift for, so I picked it up and thought I’d snap a few pictures for a quick review. The simple yet brilliant idea had everyone laughing when they saw it, and wanting to know where it came from. The really nice thing about it too is that the quality is amazing and it is sold by an independent small artist here in the us, so it is cool knowing you are supporting his work should you choose to buy one. (Buy @ Uncommon Goods)
Best Luxury Office Product – I’ve had a lot of people comment on my personal Saddleback Leather Briefcase, and on the write up here, it is amazing how much attention this bag draws. The quality construction and impeccable design make it worh every penny, and the build quality makes me believe this will last forever…even past their 100 year guarantee. At some point this year there will also be a follow up review to show how well it has been holding up with daily use. (Buy @ Saddleback Leather)
Best New Product – Leave it to Sharpie to pick up their second “Best New Product” award here on the site with their fantastic shiny and new Stainless Steel Sharpie Pen. They picked up their first one with the Stainless Steel Sharpie Permanent Marker in 2009, so this seems like the logical follow up. I love the fact that it is refillable, and the design, look, and feel are fantastic…not to mention the superb writing experience. If Sharpie keeps making cool products like this I may have to just ban them from winning our annual awards here…just kidding, I hope they keep up the fantastic work and keep our annual list of the best office supplies full of great writing tools. (Buy @ Amazon)
So there you have it…our 2011 Editors’ Choice Awards for the best office supplies of the year! Keep in mind, these are the best office supplies as selected by me, so I am sure there are some items that may have been overlooked or never even reviewed, so feel free to yell at me in the comments section if you think I left out a deserving candidate. Either way, I’m looking forward to 2012 being full of many more items that will have me struggling to pick just a few at this time next year….assuming that whole world ending thing doesn’t work out.