Things to consider when purchasing metal detectable pens and markers

April 2024

When designed correctly the metal detectable pen or marker can be easy to use, easy to store and almost impossible to break. However the wrong pen design could pose a serious risk to the reputation of your brand, along with your chances of audit compliance.

With this in mind we have put together a comprehensive guide to help you find the right detectable pen/marker for your situation.

  • Ink life
    • This is an area that is commonly overlooked, even though it is a prime opportunity for you to drive down costs and boost efficiency. Througout the industry ink life can vary from 1-2km to 10km of writing length. This is worth remembering when evaluating the cost of your pens, as a pen offering 1-2km may appear to be the more cost effective choice, when if fact a 10km pen with a slightly higher price point is the one that will save you money and time in the long run
    • It is also worth noting that a majority of pens are thrown away before the ink runs out, beacuse the ball point has been damaged. Look for pens with a Tungsten carbide tip, as this is much harder than a nickle or stainless steel alternative, so the chances of it being damaged are significantly reduced.
  • Type of ink
    • It’s important to consider the type of ink used in your pens. If your factory operates in chilled or sub-zero temperatures a gel ink pen will be the best solution for this environment. If you need to write on soiled or greasy surfaces a pressurised ink pen would be the best option for you. Colourful ink will support the colour coding of your documents, a fine tip permanent marker is ideal for writing on shiny surfaces and then of course there are regular ink pens suited to most standard applications
  • Shatter proof designs
    • Opting for a shatter proof design is a great way to prepare for everyday occurances such as your workers dropping their pens on the floor or banging them against equipment. Instead of having to deal with plastic splinters that could fly across the factory, your shatter proof pens will remain intact. This is also a benefit when it comes to the detection process, as the smaller the foreign body is, the less likely it is to be detected


  • Retractable v non- retractable
    • If retractable pens are not permitted in your factory, you will need to select a pen with a fixed cartridge that will stay in place no matter how much pressure is exerted on the writing point.
    • If retractable pens are permitted, it is still worth ensuring the cartridges in your pens don’t jump out of place. A pen with a positive retracting mechanism will make this possible – hold the cartridge in position at all times.
  • Metal springs
    • Even the very best metal detectors will struggle to pick up on a small coiled piece of wire. So having a metal detectable pen with a spring could result in foreign body contamination and an expensive recall. This is an unecessary risk to take when there are pens on the market with a unique cartridge suspension system that provides a firm writing experience without the need for any metal springs.
  • Pocket clips and Lanyard loops
    • Features such as pocket clips and lanyard loops might seem like small details, but will make it much easier for your team to safely store their pens.

If you would like help with any of these aspects, please reach out to our team by filling in the form below and we will be back in touch with you ASAP.