Rollerball Pens vs. Ballpoint Pens

Published: 18th August 2010
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Rollerball pens are a popular writing instrument that combine the high quality results of a fountain pen with the ease of a ballpoint pen. Ballpoint pens and rollerball pens are in fact very similar, with one key difference: the type of ink each uses.

A ballpoint pen uses a more viscous oil based ink, whereas a roller ball pen uses a less dense water based or gel ink. This lighter ink allows for a more distinctive writing result because it is saturated more deeply into the paper. In this way, rollerball ink pens, or "inky pens" as they are sometimes called, mimic the formality and traditional feel of fountain pens.

There are several advantages to using a rollerball pen over a ballpoint pen. Firstly, many people find it easier and more comfortable to use. Because the ink flows from the tip more freely and saturates the paper more deeply, the user does not have to press the pen down as firmly when writing. This also means they do not have to grip it as tightly with their hand, which is a huge bonus to those who suffer from arthritis.

Secondly, fine rollerball pen ink comes in a much broader range of colors. This is because of the wide variety of pigments and dyestuffs that are available in gel or liquid based inks, but not in oil based ones. For this reason, rollerball ink pens are quite popular among artists and calligraphers.

Lastly, many people prefer to use a roller ball pen because it tends to write more clearly and produce finer lines. This trait can come in handy when trying to write more neatly, or when attempting to fit a large amount of text into a small space. It can also help improve one's handwriting.

A fine rollerball pen is not perfect, however. The lighter water based ink has a greater tendency to smudge, transfer onto hands or other pages, or bleed through the page underneath. The gel based ink does dry much faster but the risk of running is not completely eliminated.

Another disadvantage is that a roller ball pen uses much more ink than its ballpoint counterpart, and therefore dries out much more quickly. People who prefer to use a rollerball pen on a daily basis will find themselves spending more money on writing utensils.

Rollerball pens that use gel based ink also carry the risk of "skipping". Because this ink is more viscous than the water based variety, the ball is not always consistently covered in ink, which may cause the pen to cease writing intermittently.

Whether you choose ballpoint pens or rollerball pens for your every day writing needs is completely up to you. But a fine rollerball pen can make a great impression for those writing tasks that require a little extra attention, such as a formal letter or a job application.


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