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Best Retractable Ballpoint Pens 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated December 1, 2018
Best Retractable Ballpoint Pens of 2018
Customers need to be careful on how they spend their money on these products. So, what exactly would anyone want to know about retractable ballpoint pens? I know most of us don’t really care much about the history and the origin, all we want to know is which of them is the best. Of course, I will spare you the history and go straight on to the best retractable ballpoint pens. I have taken the initiative to educate you on the top three best retractable ballpoint pens that you can buy this year. Here, I will review 3 of the best retractable ballpoint pens of 2018, and we will also discuss the things to consider when looking to purchase one. I hope you will make an informed decision after going through each of them.
Test Results and Ratings
|Ease of use||
Why did this retractable ballpoint pens win the first place?
I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! The material is stylish, but it smells for the first couple of days. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing!
Why did this retractable ballpoint pens come in second place?
The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made.
Why did this retractable ballpoint pens take third place?
I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. A very convenient model. It is affordable and made of high-quality materials. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment.
Retractable Ballpoint Pens Buyer’s Guide
Uni-ball Signo UM-151
Having spent more time with these pens than is probably safe or sane, we feel confident in saying that the Signo UM-15is the best overall fine-tip gel pen. Its super-smooth ink and great selection of colors and tip sizes make the UM-15an easy pen for anyone to love. There are other great fine-tip gel pens, but if we had to pick just one to recommend, this would be it.
Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.2mm
For the absolute finest lines, the 0.2mm Hi-Tec-C is the clear winner, beating out the 0.2Pentel Slicci, whose wetter ink flow gives it a slightly wider line. Considering it’s fine tip, the Hi-Tec-C is surprisingly smooth, making it equally well-suited to writing and drawing.
Some people prefer the security of a capped pen, while others can’t go without the convenience of a retractable pen. Caps help protect the pen from drying out over time or from being accidentally deployed while in your pocket. On the other hand, caps can get lost and are a bit more cumbersome to use.
Most pens are around 5.inches (1cm) long and or 1millimeters in diameter—a good fit for the average person’s hand. Other pens are mini-size, which makes them easy to carry in a small pocket or planner loop but also uncomfortable to use for long writing sessions. Between these two ends of the spectrum are slim pens, which are thin enough to fit in a small planner loop or let you carry a bunch of different colors in a pen case while still being a normal, comfortable length.
Fine-tip pens tend to be a bit scratchier than bolder pens. This is because their small tips are more affected by the texture of the paper—moving in and out of surface irregularities instead of gliding over them. Choosing a fine-tip pen doesn’t have to mean giving up smoothness, however. Most of the pens we’ll show below gel pens are surprisingly smooth despite their small tip sizes, and a few are just as smooth as any 0.or 0.7mm gel pen.
Slow drying times lead to smudging—a problem lefties are particularly susceptible to. Most gel pens dry a bit slower than a conventional ballpoint, but these pens counteract that because their fine tips put down less ink, letting them dry quicker. Still, some are faster-drying than others, and we’ll see which those are in our tests below.
Drawings were done using waterproof ink (left) and non-waterproof ink (right). A water brush was used over both.
You don’t need to be a sailor or storm chaser for waterproofness to play a role when choosing a pen. In fact, a smudge from a damp finger can ruin writing more than a prolonged soaking. On the other hand, many artists prefer working with non-waterproof gel pens so that they can create cool wash effects like in the image to the left.
If you use checks or sign a lot of documents, fraud resistance is something to keep in mind when choosing a pen. A lot of inks, especially conventional ballpoint and rollerball inks, can be washed away with solvents like rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover, creating opportunities for check washers and identity thieves to do their work. Many newer pens claim to use fraud-resistant inks that can’t be removed with solvents.
Fine-Tip Gel Pens
Before we jump into comparing the different fine-tip gel pens, let’s take a quick look at the pens themselves. There are nearly 20 different gel pen lines with sub-0.5mm tip sizes, but for most points of comparison we can condense into pen “families” whose members perform virtually identically. For example, when we say below that the Pentel Slicci family has one of the darkest black inks, this applies equally to the standard Slicci and the Slicci Techo Mini.
Style Fit Slim *These retractable pens use Signo ink like the UM-151, but they have a slightly drier ink flow than the capped Signo pens. This affects their performance in a number of areas, including smoothness, darkness, and waterproofness. *Read more about the full range of Zebra Sarasa pens in our Comprehensive Guide.
Use the table below to compare the tip sizes and line widths for each pen line. The wetness of a pen’s ink flow also affects its line width, so two different pens with the same tip size might make slightly different line widths. For example, the 0.2mm Pentel Slicci writes slightly wider than the 0.2mm Pilot Hi-Tec-C.
Railroading is much more likely to crop up with fast, high-pressure writing styles, so we tested each pen to see how well it held up when we wrote with them as hard and quickly as possible.
All of the pens showed some railroading when we really pushed them, but the Energel, G2, and Hi-Tec-C seemed to perform best. When writing normally, the only pens that we noticed occasional railroading with were the FriXion, Juice, and Sarasa.
Sakura 30066-Piece Pigma Micron Ink Pen Set
Whether you are seeking to buy some pens for use at home, office, or school, you should select this brand. This package contains pieces of pens with line size of 0.20mm, 0.25mm, 0.30mm, 0.35mm, 0.45mm and 0.50mm respectively. This is an ideal type for writing and drawing due to its chemical stability with waterproof and fade resistant capacity.
Pilot MR Animal Collection Fountain Pen
Let’s have a smooth skip-free feeling for writing with this ink color pen that will lead you to note a consistent lettering and line every time. MR Fountain Pen is designed as the refillable pen with Pilot or Namiki brand inks so that you can keep using the pen for a very long time. Moreover, this standard of Pilot Fountain craftsmanship is well-known for being a sophisticated premium quality which reflects the fresh modern style to you.
Pentel R.S.V.P. Ballpoint Pen
Pentel R.S.V.P. Ballpoint Pen features a latex-free comfort zone grip for providing extraordinary balance when you write with this instrument. Likewise, the stainless steel tip of this pen will assure for long lasting durability with full comfort and control. You will conveniently produce your smooth writing lines of consistency with this dark vivid ink color without a single problem.
Uni-ball Stick Micro Point Roller Ball Pens
To write as smoothly as a fountain pen for helping you taking notes during the meetings or singing other office documents, let be confident by using this Lamy Safari pen. In addition, to helping to deliver to you the neat and accurate lines of your writing, its stainless steel material proofs the strength and durability made for this pen as well.
BIC Round Stic Xtra Life Ball Pen, Medium Point (1.0 mm), Black
Ana Reinert is The Chair at The Well-Appointed Desk, a blog dedicated to paper, pens, office supplies and a beautiful place to work. To the pay the bills, she works in a beige cubicle at Hallmark Cards designing greeting cards and drawing typefaces and lettering, dreaming of a better workspace
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Pen for frequent travel.
If you are traveling and have a lot of customers, a ballpoint pen can be a good compromise. Certainly, it will not ensure the writing comfort of a fountain pen, but the ink is less likely to leak.
In all cases, it is important that it come equipped with a cap as well as a retractable point to protect it and avoid ink blotches.
If you are an aficionado of the fountain pen and you are experienced with the use of this instrument, then you will give a real impression of seriousness and class to your clients.
Silver ballpoint pen.
Do not forget an important detail, the quality of the ink of a ballpoint pen, as well as its technology, requires a stronger pressure than with a fountain pen. In fact, the ink of a ballpoint pen adheres better to the paper.
As a result, a signature made with this type of pen will be less easy to modify or even to erase. It is also longer lasting over time.
It is therefore the pen preferred to validate important documents, to pass orders for payment, transfers, etc.
The importance of the pen.
A classic fountain pen will be made of stainless steel. This metal is not known for its flexibility so it will be improved by the shape of the pen that will be finer and the stroke more elongated.
In any case, for this metal, this will be the best option. But in any case, a steel pen cannot compete with a gold, platinum or palladium one.
Medium fountain pen.
Ideal for beginners with fountain pens. Indeed, when one wants to be initiated to beautiful writing, it is difficult to know what is suitable. It is therefore best to start with a medium point because it is adapted to all styles of calligraphy. It makes it possible to practice and then to go towards a pen that is more adapted if you feel the need.
Fountain pen in 1carat gold with quill reinforced with iridium.
Given the reputation of certain models, some brands re-issue an old series. This can be a good opportunity to buy a quality luxury pen at a lower price than the original collectible.
It is important to note that the old techniques are put back into operation to make these pens (in fact, the pens are more flexible than those usually available on the current market).
Choose a fountain pen when you are a beginner.
If you are a beginner, and you are looking for a fountain pen, do not consider buying a cheap product.
This is for a simple reason, often the quality of a low-priced pen will be of poor.
Although you may not know what you are looking for, it is better to opt for a quality fountain pen.
Indeed, even if the price may seem high for a first purchase, at least you can keep it all your life and at worst, you will not have too much trouble reselling.
Here are some features of the various pens you can find on the market.
Deluxe ballpoint pen in 1carat gold with carbon ball.
Carbon ball points are those that allow the best ink flow and provide optimum writing comfort in this technology.
We advise you to choose a model either with a cap or with a retractable tip.
Deluxe rollerball pen.
The roller pen is an evolution of the ballpoint pen. It was created to bring writing comfort similar (which does not mean identical, but which approaches it) to that of the fountain pen.
More fragile, this type of pen should be used with caution. Indeed, it is not recommended to use it over correcting fluid or tape because this material can obstruct the flow of ink from the tip.
The Bad and The Ugly
Not all rOtring listings that look really good on the outside are quite as they seem. I’ve had a couple of pens I’ve purchased arrive at my door with a few imperfections that could make or break a deal for someone.
NOS 600 “gears” on left and heavily used and worn on the right.
With the 600s particularly, where the caps and barrels meet there are little “gears” so to speak that force these parts to line up. Well, an unfortunate flaw in these gears is that they wear down over time with long-term use. The cap and barrel may not have a scratch on them, but if the pen was used a lot during its time even with great care, these parts eventually start to become a bit loose. I purchased a silver 600 rollerball that was flawless on the outside, but once it arrived I noticed that the cap and barrel were a bit wiggly. The pen still works, but isn’t a nice snap fit like you’d find in a brand new one. A deal breaker? Maybe.
The pen we all know and love. Ballpoint pens are probably the most widely used type of pen and are known for their reliability, availability, durability and reasonable prices. The pen functions with a small rotating ball – usually made from brass, steel or tungsten carbide, which ink clings to. The ball rotates as you write, leaving the ink on the paper while at the same time cleverly preventing the ink inside the reservoir from drying out.
The ink used in a ballpoint is generally oil-based viscous ink which is quick drying, will write on most surfaces and comes in a wide range of colours. The thicker ink in these pens can sometimes dry out on the ball when not in use but a quick scribble will usually get the ink flowing again.
Ballpoints come in a range of tip sizes – fine, medium and bold to suit your needs and satisfy your personal preference whether in the office, at school or for personal use at home.
Both disposable and refillable ballpoints are available.
Rollerballs work in the same way a ballpoint does, but using thinner water-based ink so that the effect on paper is similar to that of a fountain pen. The low viscosity ink in a rollerball flows freely with little pressure required whilst writing. This helps reduce the risk of tired or aching hands after a lengthy writing session.
Ink from a rollerball tends take a little longer to dry and may bleed through some of the more absorbent types of paper so a little extra care may be needed, although that’s a small price to pay for the superb, professional looking lines that can be created with these pens. As the ink in a rollerball flows more freely than the ink in a ballpoint, the lifespan of the refill may be shorter.
Rollerballs will either be retractable or they will come with a lid. Ensure the lid is placed on the pen when not in use, to prevent the pen from drying out. Rollerballs start off at a reasonable price and many are refillable so you never need to be parted from your favourite pen. Tip sizes vary from super fine to bold. Which size you choose simply comes down to personal preference and depends on the type of work you will use your pen for.
Fineliners have a fine tip which is ideal for creating those slightly more delicate lines. Whether it’s sketching, illustrating or writing that you’re into – or anything else which requires attention to detail, for that matter. A fineliner gives handwriting a crisper, clearer look, especially small handwriting. Fineliners come in a range of different colours and the line widths tend to be under 0.7mm, with the finest being 0.3mm.
If you’re looking for that perfect finish, technical pens are available to do just that. These pens are favoured by architects, draughtsmen and engineers. They give a precise line and are ideal for use on a range of surfaces, including tracing paper, vellum drawing paper and line board. Most technical pens are refillable with replacement nibs often available. They come in a variety of line widths ranging from the superfine 0.mm to a much thicker 1.0mm. You could opt for one of our Rotring sets which contain the basics to get you started.
Fountain pens are viewed by many as being one of the most luxurious ways to put pen to paper. They work using gravity and capillary action to get the ink through the feed and onto the paper via the nib. Fountain pens offer a smooth continuous ink flow and very little pressure is needed when writing.
The nibs are usually made from stainless steel or gold and are available in a range of sizes: fine, medium and bold. The more expensive fountain pens come in beautiful designs which are often considered treasured items by their owners.
The methods of getting ink into a fountain pen vary, although the easiest and most convenient way is via a replaceable cartridge. Other refill methods use bottled ink which, although they offer a wider range of inks and colours, are less convenient for using on the go. When you’ve found the fountain pen you wish to purchase, it’s always a good idea to research which method it uses to ensure it is compatible with your lifestyle and requirements.
Disposable fountain pens are also available and are suitable for everyday use. These pens are not refillable but still provide you with a smooth, enjoyable writing experience. They come with an iridium ball nib and sizes range from 0.7mm to 0.3mm. The Pentel JM20 has a duel sided nib in sizes from 0.3mm to 0.4mm, allowing you to adjust it to suit your own personal preference and style.
These pens are used for highlighting text and come in bright fluorescent colours, bringing text to the attention of the reader with ease. Most highlighters have a chiselled tip which produces a broad line through the text but can be used to achieve a finer line when underlining. Line widths range from 1mm to 5mm, making highlighting text of any size an easy task.
Over-head projector (OHP) pens are designed to write on OHP film but are also suitable to use on most other glossy surfaces.
OHP pens offer both a permanent and non-permanent option. If you’re looking to make your presentation colourful and eye-catching you could opt for one of our assorted colour packs which include some, or all, of the following colours: black, blue, red, orange, green, brown, purple and yellow. You can choose from a wide range of line widths, including: 0.4mm, 0.6mm, 0.8mm, 1mm and 3mm.
Pencils are made from a mixture of graphite and clay which is then placed into a protective casing, most commonly wood, or in the case of a mechanical pencil – plastic or metal.
However, a pencil is not just a pencil. Any artist who uses pencils regularly will be interested in the hardness of the lead, which ranges from hard (2H, 3H, 4H, 5H, 6H, 7H, 8H, 9H,) to black (B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B, 8B, 9B). HB is the most common type of pencil, used for most everyday writing tasks. 9H is the hardest and will leave the lightest mark on paper, while 9B is the softest and will leave the darkest mark on paper.
Colouring pens and pencils
A popular drawing tool for both children and adults, colouring pencils are available in either round or hexagonal barrels. You can choose from the standard colouring pencil or the blendable colouring pencil which helps you create those softer edges, and water colour pencils which give your creations a stunning water colour paint effect when brush strokes of water are added.
We also stock long lasting felt tip pens that come in both broad and fine tips, available in a vast range of colours. These are washable, making them the ideal choice for school children, whether in the classroom or at home.
Crayons are particularly suitable for children as they are hard wearing, cover large areas and will not create any unwanted mess. They can be sharpened so you can keep them in tip top condition and are also erasable. They are available in a range of bright, eye catching colours …. Let those imaginations run wild.
Everyone has their one special pen – their first choice when they dip into the pen pot. Once you’ve found yours, you’ll want to know how to refill it so that you can use it for ever and ever and ever….
We stock a selection of refills including Parker, Waterman, Cross and Rotring. Refills are available for ballpoints, rollerballs and technical pens. Fountain pen refills are available in the form of both cartridges and bottled ink.
Either check the packaging, or look at the refill inside your pen to find out which type your pen requires. Most ballpoints, rollerballs and gel pens simply need to be unscrewed for refill purposes. Take care when refilling so you don’t lose any springs or other small parts that the pen may contain.
Refilling a fountain pen which uses a disposable cartridge is straight forward. The cartridge is simply pushed on, piercing the top and allowing the ink to escape. Check the packaging to find out which cartridges are compatible with your pen.
The refill process can sometimes be a little more complicated (or more fun, depending on how you look at it) with a fountain pen which uses bottled ink. These fountain pens may need to be filled via the piston mechanism, which uses suction, or manually via a syringe.
Choosing the line width
The line width you choose for your pen will depend on personal preference and the type of work you intend to use your pen for. Line widths range from a very thin 0.1mm on fineliners, all the way up to a 14.8mm on pens such as markers. The average size of a medium point pen is around 0.7mm or 0.8mm, so that’s a good starting point when deciding how thick or thin you’d like your lines to be.
The response from the experts was unanimous: when it comes to a great pen for every day and everybody, you should get the uni-ball Jetstream.
Brian of Office Supply Geek said “I think the Jetstream line is the winner when it comes to an everyday pen for the masses. It dominates in its super smooth and solidly consistent performance, it dries very quickly, and provides all of the security benefits of being tamper resistant.”
The uni-ball Jetstream.
He complimented the 10Bold for its comfortable grip and being ideal for left-handers. “As with any Jetstream I’ve ever used, these write flawlessly with no skipping or clumping, and the flow was steady and consistent. The most impressive thing about them though came when I tested the dry time, which is what I think makes these pens such an attractive pen for left handed writers.”
The Pen Addict called the Jetstream 10version “almost obscenely smooth,” saying he’s “hopelessly hooked for life” on the entire Jetstream lineup. He mentioned the 0.3mm version is “one of my favorite pens ever”, noting that it’s not too scratchy despite the tiny tip and “it’s hard to believe that a pen this fine can write this smooth.”
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Retractable Ballpoint Pens wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Retractable Ballpoint Pens
- №1 — Paper Mate Profile Retractable Ballpoint Pens
- №2 — Paper Mate Profile Retractable Ballpoint Pens
- №3 — Paper Mate InkJoy 300RT Retractable Ballpoint Pens