Ballpoint and Rollerball Pens - How are they different?

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Same, Same But Different

The names are similar enough to be confusing, but ballpoint and rollerball pens each have their own strengths. Here's a quick breakdown of the difference between ballpoint and rollerball pens so that you can find the right pen for you.

It’s All In the Ink

The ball-bearing at the tip of both the rollerball and ballpoint pens regulates the flow of ink and also gives these pens their namesake. What separates the two types of pen is the type of ink they use.

Ballpoint pens use an oil-based ink that is made by blending oil with alcohol and then infusing a dye into the mix. What results is a viscous ink that writes smoothly, thanks to the alcohol, with a nib that doesn’t dry because the oils keep the lubricated ballpoint rolling. 

The advantage of ballpoints is that they write reliably well, the ink dries quickly with little or no bleed-through (though this varies on the paper quality). The viscosity of oil-based inks makes them uniquely suited to writing on glossy surfaces, such as receipts, where water-based inks would easily smudge. Another quality of ballpoint is that the ink is waterproof due to the oils. Naturally this makes the ballpoint a great pen for daily use. 

The HMM Ballpoint Pen  is a superb choice for those who need a pen that can keep up with their busy schedules and can be relied on when writing something down quickly. It is also helpful to note that ballpoint pens are ideal for using on airplanes as they are resistant to leaking at altitude. Taking a rollerball with you onto a plane can turn into a messy affair!

HMM Ballpoit Pen

Featured: HMM Ballpoint Pen

For travelling or as an everyday carry, the HMM Ballpoint Pen is ideal due to its, finely machined aluminium body that is durable without being too heavy. It’s also sure to  look stylish wherever you take it!

Smooth Writing 

While ballpoints are really reliable, they can tire your hand after extended periods of writing because they require  more effort to write with. If you find ballpoints to be too fatiguing, consider a rollerball pen. They have an ability to lay ink on the page so smoothly that less effort is required when writing for longer periods. That tired hand of yours will thank you.   

Rollerballs use water or gel-based ink that provides for a smoother feel. Not only that, but the gel-based inks also produce brighter, more dynamic lines than the oil-based ink in ballpoints. The vibrant ink makes rollerball pens ideal for special occasions; writing cards for birthdays, holidays, or any other special event. For your next handwritten card, note or letter, look no further than Ystudio’s White Rollerball Pen which is a beautifully crafted pen that will feel secure in your hand and produce beautiful lines, making your handwriting shine. 

yStudio Rollerball Pen in White

Featured: yStudio Rollerball Pen in White

The beauty and vibrancy of rollerball pens does come with a drawback. As its ink flows more generously, rollerballs are more prone to smudging because it takes longer for the water-based ink to adhere and dry. If you tend to write quickly or you are rushing to write something with a rollerball pen, be mindful that the ink requires extra time to dry. Also, the ink will blotch and the words may become ineligible if it gets wet (the oil-based ink in ballpoints resists water better). Using higher quality paper such as those in Ola's notebooks would also lessen the risk of smearing your lines. 

A Difficult Choice

When it comes down to it, both ballpoint and rollerball pens offer separate advantages depending on the writing style. For speedy writing, a ballpoint is a great choice; whereas you might seek out a rollerball for something with more elegance. In an ideal world you would have both kinds of pens in your stationary arsenal - if you like having the best tool for the task at hand this is the way to go. 

No matter what life throws at you, ensure that you are equipped with the right pen!  To browse our range of pens, click here




Written by Adam James

Notebooks Stationery Writing

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