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Best Rollerball Pens 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Last Updated December 1, 2018
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Billy JacobsHey friends! I’ve got something important to talk about today! One of the most important sections in the article – the comparison charts for best rollerball pens in 2018!

In this article, I will be categorizing the items according to their functions and most typical features. What I would like you to remember as you browse my website is that I don’t work in the industry so the reviews I have are based on good old fashioned honesty.

Best Rollerball Pens of 2018

Customers need to be careful on how they spend their money on these products. If you get well acquainted with these basics, you shouldn’t have a problem choosing a rollerball pens that suits your need. I’ve based my selection methodology on customer feedback, the size, functionality, and budget to meet various demands. Like choosing clothes or cosmetics, choosing rollerball pens should be based on your purpose, favorite style, and financial condition.

Test Results and Ratings

Rank №1 №2 №3
Product
Total 4.8 4.5 4.3
Design
4 points
5 points
4 points
Materials
5 points
5 points
5 points
Durability
5 points
4 points
4 points
Value
5 points
4 points
4 points
Awards 1
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№1 – uni-ball Jetstream Ballpoint Pens

 
uni-ball Jetstream Ballpoint Pens

Pros
Delivers fast, clean writing that keeps up with your thoughts
Quick-drying ink helps minimize smudging–ideal for left handers
Embossed grip and stainless steel accents make a stylish statement
Cons
I didn’t notice a single drawback yet
 
Total:
4.8

Why did this rollerball pens win the first place?

The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. The rear part fits perfectly! It is mounted really tight and reliable. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product.

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Design
4

4star

Materials
5

5star

Durability
5

5star

Value
5

5star

 

 

№2 – Waterman Hemisphere Blue

 
Waterman Hemisphere Blue

Pros
Designed and manufactured in France.
Elegant refined and slim shape.
Lacquered in deep WATERMAN blue.
Cons
A bit bulky.
Bad customer service for warranty.
 
Total:
4.5

Why did this rollerball 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. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office.

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Design
5

5star

Materials
5

5star

Durability
4

4star

Value
4

4star

 

 

№3 – BIC Gel-ocity Retractable Gel Pen

 
BIC Gel-ocity Retractable Gel Pen

Pros
Smooth writing retractable gel pen
Contoured grip for comfort and control
Fashionable translucent barrels
Cons
I didn’t like the attitude of managers and the overall quality of service..
Small size.
 
Total:
4.3

Why did this rollerball pens take third place?

This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. The material is incredibly nice to the touch. It has a great color, which will suit any wallpapers. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time.

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Design
4

4star

Materials
5

5star

Durability
4

4star

Value
4

4star

 

 

Rollerball Pens Buyer’s Guide

If you keep the before points in mind, you can easily go out to the market and buy rollerball pens, right? No!

Barrel Width

AS a vague rule of thumb, pens get fatter as they get more expensive – consider the 13mm Parker Premier and the 14mm Laban Mento. The most popular pens measure 9-11mm, whilst the 6mm Ohto Slimline is ideal for tucking inside a journal or bag

Fashion meets function. Consider Parker’s iconic arrow, or the Laban set with Swarovski crystals. Brands such as Otto Hutt use spring-loaded clips which clamp down to prevent the pen getting lost

If your pen’s only to be used for the occasional signature, consider Platinum’s ‘Slip and Seal’ cap which prevents ink drying for up to two years without use.

And then there’s using a fountain pen.

Putting aside one’s ballpoint and picking up a fountain pen is akin to making the switch from shaving with a cartridge razor to using a safety or straight razor. The nature of the tool requires more skill and attention on your part, but the experience is richer and the result sharper.

If you’ve always wanted to see what it’s like to literally get the ink flowing, this article offers an accessible primer on the basics you need to know to get started.

A Brief History of Fountain Pens

While the earliest record of a fountain-like pen dates from the 10th century, fountain pens as we know them today didn’t exist until the late 19th century. In 1884, an American named Lewis Waterman patented the first practical model after supposedly having a sales contract ruined by a leaky precursor. Before Waterman’s version, fountain pens were plagued with ink spills and blots, and were unreliable and inconvenient.

Waterman solved this airflow issue by cutting a series of three fissures in the pen’s feed. This created a capillary-esque mechanism that functioned by drawing ink into these small channels at the same time that air came back in over the fissures and entered the reservoir. The modern fountain pen was born.

Though Waterman’s innovation made fountain pens much more effective and convenient to write with, filling the pen remained a messy and tedious affair. You had to unscrew a portion of the barrel and use an eyedropper to fill the reservoir drop by drop. At the turn of the 20th century, companies began introducing self-filling reservoirs that allowed users to put the nib in the inkbottle and fill the reservoir by pulling a lever or twisting the barrel.

Despite the introduction of the ballpoint pen in the early 1900s, fountain pens maintained their dominance as the go-to writing instrument up until the mid-point of the century. It was not until the 1960s, when the ballpoint pen’s reliability increased, and its price decreased, that fountain pen sales began their long and steady decline in the United States. While they’re still widely used by students in private schools in England and the rest of Europe, in America the fountain pen is largely seen as more of a collector’s item, a status symbol, or the focus of a twee hobby. However, thanks to the internet’s ability to connect enthusiasts, the fountain pen has seen something of a resurgence in the U.S. Today you can find countless forums and blogs dedicated to the virtues of this classic writing instrument.

Why Write With a Fountain Pen

Think you might like to branch out from your ballpoint? Here are a few reasons to give fountain pens a try:

It feels better. Because you don’t have to press down as hard to write as you do with a ballpoint pen, writing with the fountain variety is much easier on the hand. It allows for extended periods of writing without fatigue. It’s easier to get in the flow, when using something that truly flows.

It’s better for the environment. With a ballpoint pen, once you use up all the ink, you toss it into the trash. While you can buy disposable fountain pens, most fountain pens aren’t meant to be thrown away. When you run out of ink, just refill the reservoir and you’re back in business.

More economical in the long run. I don’t want to think about the amount of money I’ve thrown away or lost in the form of half-used ballpoint pens. Because of their disposable nature, I’m pretty careless with them. If I lose one, oh well, I can buy a whole new pack of ‘em.

There’s something about a fountain pen that inspires you to take care of it. The hefty price tag of some models certainly has something to do with that. But the fountain pen’s storied tradition provides an aura of timelessness and permanence that encourages the owner to safeguard it; it may even become a family heirloom.

The result is that, besides the initial investment of the pen, the only recurring expense you’ll accrue is just buying more ink every now and then. Consequently, you save money in the long run with a fountain pen compared to a ballpoint.

It makes cursive handwriting look better. Besides reducing fatigue, the light touch and flowing hand movements that are necessitated by a fountain pen make your handwriting look better.

Notice the slit down the middle and the breather hole.

The nib is the metal tip of the fountain pen that touches the paper. Early fountain pen nibs were fashioned from gold due to the element’s flexibility and resistance to corrosion. However, most modern nibs are made with stainless steel or gold alloys because of their strength and durability.

If a nib is made from pure gold, it’s usually tipped with a hard-wearing metal like iridium or some metal from the platinum family. Steel nibs already have a hard tip, so tipping them with another metal isn’t necessary.

Along the center of the nib runs a small slit that helps bring ink down the tip by way of the aforementioned capillary action. You’ll also find a “breather hole” bored into the top of the nib to help bring air back into the reservoir to prevent a vacuum from forming. The breather hole also serves a structural purpose by acting as a stress-relieving point, which helps prevent the nib from cracking with the repeated flexing that occurs during use.

Nibs come in varying tip shapes and grades. The three basic shapes are round, stub, and italic. Round is the most common shape and provides a fairly uniform-looking line on the paper. Stub and italic nibs are typically used in calligraphy.

Nib grades designate the size of the tip. Five basic grades exist: extra fine (XF), fine (F), medium (M), broad (B), and double broad (BB). The most common nib grades are fine and extra fine.

Reservoir or Filling Systems

The reservoir is the cavity inside the fountain pen that holds the ink. This part has seen the most innovations over the course of the pen’s evolution. We could devote an entire article to the various types of reservoirs and filling systems that you can find on antique fountain pens, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll stick to the most common ones you’ll find in modern models:

Cartridge. This is the most common type of reservoir in fountain pens today. A cartridge is a small, sealed disposable plastic tube that holds the fountain pen ink. When a cartridge runs out of ink, you simply remove the old cartridge and put in a new one. The main benefit of cartridge reservoirs is the convenience. The downside is that you often have to rely on the propriety cartridge made for your particular pen. Consequently, your choices of ink will be more limited. Also, there’s the cost factor. While cartridges aren’t too expensive, refilling your pen yourself can save you money in the long run.

Converter. If you don’t like the idea of having to buy new cartridges every time you run out of ink, consider buying a cartridge converter for your fountain pen. A cartridge converter looks pretty much like a cartridge and can fit most cartridge pens, but it has a filling mechanism that allows you to refill it with ink whenever you run out. The upside is that you open yourself up to a variety of inks to use, the downside is convenience; while it’s not hard to fill your cartridge converter, it’s certainly more of a hassle than simply throwing away an old cartridge and installing a new one. Here’s how to fill a cartridge converter.

How to Write With a Fountain Pen

Post your cap (or not). Posting your cap means putting the cap on the end of your pen while you’re writing. The pen usually feels more balanced in the hand when you have it posted. Of course, some folks prefer to write with the cap set aside. Experiment and find what works for you.

Hold it at the correct angle. The pen should make a 40 to 55-degree angle with your writing surface. A fountain pen’s “sweet spot” is usually in this range, as ink flows more easily at these angles. The exception is a pen with a round nib; in this case, you want the nib’s top to point straight up and not be rotated to either side.

Use less pressure. You don’t need to press down to get the ink to flow like you do with a ballpoint pen. In fact, too much pressure can prevent the ink from flowing properly or can damage the nib. Keep your strokes light.

Use your arm. Most people are “finger writers,” meaning that they just move their fingers to write. Finger writing has a tendency to cause you to apply too much pressure to the pen, which rotates it and in turn causes ink flow problems. Instead, focus on using your shoulder and arm more while you’re writing. It will feel weird at first, but this style of writing keeps your nib steady and helps reduce the pressure on it.

How to Take Care of Your Fountain Pen

Don’t let others borrow your pen. As you use your pen, the nib will adapt to your writing style. If you let someone else borrow it for extended periods and apply their own style to it, the nib can get out of whack. If they just need to sign something, let them borrow it; it’s a gentlemanly gesture. If they need to write an essay, lend them a cheap-o ballpoint.

Give your pen a regular flush. It’s recommended that you give your fountain pen a flush once a month. It ensures proper ink flow by removing any build-up in the nib or feed. Here’s how you do it.

In addition to flushing, you might consider soaking your nib in a cup of cool water overnight to remove any stubborn ink build-up.

The Fountain Pen Network.

A forum dedicated to fountain pens. The folks there are super helpful with beginners, so if you have a question, ask. They also have lists of groups, meetings and events dedicated to fountain penning (yeah, I just used fountain pen as a verb), as well as a marketplace where you can buy or trade new fountain pens.

Some Basic Definitions

I could write a whole glossary just on the terms and terminology used in the fountain pen world, but that’s not my goal here. My goal is simply to give you the most basic definitions you’ll need to understand the rest of this article. I want to focus on things that someone who doesn’t know much about fountain pens wouldn’t know, while not getting into details that are unnecessary for someone just getting started.

The nib

The nib is the part of the pen that touches the paper, and that the ink comes out of. On most pens it will be stainless steel, and on higher end pens it will be gold. By changing a nib, you can completely change the experience of writing with a pen. One of the first decisions you’ll have to make when buying a fountain pen is the size of the nib’s tip.

On most standard fountain pens, nibs can come in various points from extra fine to bold. The tip of the nib will determine just how much ink is released, and the thickness of the lines that you will put down. In addition to extra fine to bold, there are also a variety of other nib types like a cursive italic, or a stub. These special grinds are best suited for specific handwriting styles.

To further complicate matters, nib sizes aren’t standard. A “fine” nib on a Japanese pen, will tend to be finer than a “fine” nib on a German pen.

Certain nibs work better with certain inks, and certain handwriting styles.

Nibs made of softer materials, like gold, will wear in such a way as to adapt to the handwriting of the person using it. As such, if you have a very soft nib on a pen, and you lend it to someone else, the ink flow will seem strange to them, because the pen will have literally adapted itself to you.

Converter

A converter changes a cartridge filling system into refillable solution. There are various types of converters and filling systems, but the main purpose remains the same: a refillable reservoir that holds the ink that your pen uses to write. Some pens come with converters, others need to be ordered. For instance, a Pilot Metropolitan comes with both a cartridge and an empty converter, whereas a Lamy Safari comes only with a cartridge. If you want to refill a Safari, you either need to buy more cartridges, or you need to buy a converter plus ink.

Get Used to Writing With It

The day I got my Lamy Safari, I started using it immediately. Admittedly, my first impression was less than stellar. I found the pen scratchy to write with, and found that it was skipping. I began to wonder if I was doing something wrong, and then questioned whether getting a fine nib might have been a mistake.

I stuck to it, and a few hours into taking notes with my pen, somethign magical happened: the ink started to flow better!

This was my first fountain pen lesson. The way a fountain pen works is different from the way a ballpoint or a gel ink pen works. Pen doesn’t just start flowing automatically. The ink needs to work its way through the entire nib. In addition, if ink has been sitting in the pen for a while, it may have dried slightly, which will give you a less smooth writing experience. In general, using it will allow you to get through the drier ink and then it will start to flow.

As I continued to write with my fountain pen, the more I found I liked it.

Try it on Different Papers

As I started using my new pen, I began to notice something that I had never really taken stock of using my old ballpoints or gel pens: paper quality. I soon found that some papers worked great with my pen, while others made it feel scratchy, or caused the ink to bleed.

You can read exhaustive articles on which paper is the best to try with what ink and pen combination. However, my best advice is to try a bunch of different things.

Write on whatever plain pad of paper you have lying around the office. Write on post-it notes. Write in your favourite notebook. Write on scraps of paper.

You’ll soon get a feel for the difference that paper can make.

Brad recently wrote a great piece for Rhodia about how paper is like the tires on a car, and it’s true. You don’t really notice what kind of tires are on your car until you have a high performance car that can take advantage of them. The fountain pen is a little bit like the high performance car.

Returning to my car analogy, it’s kind of like having your every day tires for the commute to work, and saving your performance tires for the track on weekends.

Notice the Colours

One of the great things about fountain pens, and refilling them is the sheer variety of different colours. It’s not unusual for a single ink company to produce a few dozen colours. And before you think that after a few primary colours, all other inks are just variations of the same thing, you are missing a huge part of the ink experience. It is only when I started using fountain pens that I started to truly understand what it meant to appreciate an ink’s texture and depth of colour.

Even the standard blue that came with my Lamy Safari had more variation and depth than any other ink I’d ever written with before.

The moment you start getting excited about watching the ink of your pen dry, that’s when you know you’re hooked. So, at this point, I would suggest that you buy at least one ink refill.

Try Different Inks

Before you spend a fortune on a Nakaya or some other crazy expensive pen, realize just how much fun you can have just by trying different inks.

In my mind, inks are a seriously under-appreciated part of the fountain pen experience. Most articles you will read about fountain pens focus on the pens (with good reason, it is what you’re using to write!). However, changing the ink in your pens is a more affordable way to get a great variety of experiences with your fountain pen.

Think about it. Instead of spending multiple hundreds of dollars on new pens, you can spend a few bucks on a new bottle of ink, ink your favourite pen, and boom, just like that, whole new writing experience!

Closing Words

At this point, you’re probably thinking to yourself, this all seems like a lot just to buy a pen. And you’re right. It is. However, if you just want a pen that you can pull out at any time and it just works, then I’d suggest grabbing a roller ball or a gel pen. There’s a ton of great ones out there, and you can read through Brad’s reviews to find the best of the best. If you’re looking for a utilitarian tool, that’s the way to go.

However, if you’re approaching fountain pens as a piece of art, a hobby, or worse, a potential addiction, I think it’s worth taking the time to understand the basics with a few of the cheaper options before diving head first into the vast selection of premium pens that exist out there.

Tip Size

The tip size of a nib determines how wide a line it will make. They are typically rated from narrowest to widest as extra fine, fine, medium, or broad. Japanese fountain pens typically write about a size finer than an equivalent pen from a non-Japanese brand. For example, a Pilot medium nib will write about the same as a Kaweco fine nib. People with smaller handwriting should choose a fine or extra fine nib, while those with larger handwriting may prefer a medium or broad nib.

Tip Shape

Nib tips can be either round or shaped. Most are round, meaning that they create the same line width in any direction—just like a regular ballpoint pen. Shaped nibs will have different line widths depending on the direction of the stroke. The most common type of shaped nib is italic, which makes wide vertical strokes and a thin horizontal strokes. If you are new to fountain pens, we recommend picking a nib with a round tip.

Built-In Filling System

Other fountain pens use built-in filling systems like a piston or vacuum mechanism. These pens can be filled straight from a bottle and typically have a much larger ink capacity than a cartridge or converter. On the other hand, they can’t be used with cartridges, so you’ll need to have an ink bottle on hand when they do run out of ink.

Eyedropper

With eyedropper pens, the barrel of the pen itself serves as the ink reservoir. As the name suggests, eyedropper pens are filled using an eyedropper or syringe. They can hold far more ink than any other type of pen. Very few pens are built to be used as eyedroppers, but many cartridge fountain pens can be converted into eyedropper pens by following a few simple steps.

For an in-depth, hands-on look at the different kinds of fountain pen filling systems, check out our video here.

Going Deeper

These pens are ideal for anyone who has used fountain pens for a while and is looking for something a little nicer or more interesting. This is the point where fountain pens really start to branch out and take on their own distinctive styles. They can offer better styling, better build quality, and other cool features like a built-in filling system or all-metal construction.

Cold Steel Pocket Shark

The Alias or Charlie’s Angels of pens, the Cold Steel Pocket Shark is designed to look like your typical permanent marker, but is made with high impact plastic and features walls that are times thicker than your average marker. The look-a-like can also be effectively used as a Yawara stick, a Japanese weapon used in various martial arts.

Schrade Tactical Fountain Pen

The Tactical Fountain Pen by Schrade is pure class and kick ass. The pen offers two options: a standard rollerball pen, and the much more refined, fountain pen. Complete with a black aircraft-grade aluminum body and ribs for added grip, this German-made fountain pen will serve as both a functional and whimsical writing tool; but also an instrument that could viciously tear through someone’s abdomen.

Smith & Wesson Military and Police Tactical Pen

Besides writing and murdering the occasional civilian (kidding!), this in pen and its personal protection tip is perfect for the tablet and eReader user. Which nowadays is just about everyone. The Smith & Wesson brand is synonymous with quality and the logo is laser engraved so it won’t get scuffed. The pen is also available in pink, just in case your girl wants to get her delicate hands on one as well.

CRKT Tao Tactical Pen

This pen was designed by award-winning knife designer Allen Elishewitz. Its many lethal qualities were designed in to protect its handler in three levels. One: the impact crown on the cap can be used to strike the assailant on the head or hands by raking or thrusting. Two: the more pointed butt of the pen may be used to thrust or provide a disabling pressure point behind the ears, at the armpit or throat. And three: the pen point may be thrust for penetration in soft tissues of the throat, chest or abdomen with potentially lethal results. So, yeah. It’s pretty hardcore.

Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen

Made alongside law enforcement professionals, the Impormpu Tactical pen can smash glass like the Uzi, but has much less complexity to it, making this option much easier to store and carry around without people thinking you’re some kind of white-collar Survivorman.

Tuff Writer Tactical Pen

First off, the pen labels you a “tuff writer” which is badass in and of itself. The pen also grants users the unnecessary ability to write in temperatures of -30 to 250 degrees Farenheit, in the slight chance you’re in a near-deadly circumstance (either frozen or completely melted) with the sudden urge to write your memoirs.

Mil-Tac Tactical Defense Pen

This pen is made from aircraft grade anodized aluminum, for crying out loud. If that’s not enough to secure your purchase, it’s also one of the more understated tactical pens on the market—meaning nobody will know this little tool could peel the flesh off anyone in the boardroom (again, not recommended). The pen comes in an assortment of colors as well, just in case you like your deadly weapons a little more personalized.

Surefire IV Tactical Pen

If you’re more in the market for a good-looking pen that writes well, but can also kick some ass when times get shady, your best bet is the SureFire IV Tactical Pen. The pen is slim and sleek, but heavy duty as well, made with high-strength aerospace aluminum.

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.

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.

Mechanism

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.

Smoothness

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.

Drying Time

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.

Waterproofness

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.

Fraud Resistance

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.

Signo RT1

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.

Railroading Resistance

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.

Rollerball Pens

Rollerball pens offer an alternative to the ballpoint pen as an everyday writing instrument. A rollerball pen provides a smooth writing experience, similar to that of a fountain pen, thanks to the fact that they use gel or water based ink. They have the advantage over ballpoint pens that less pressure needs to be applied to make them write cleanly. This means less stress is placed on the user and people tend to write more quickly.

Sailor 1911L Large

Length Capped : 5.5625″Length Uncapped : 4.875″Length with Cap Posted : 6.125″Diameter at Section : 0.45″Diameter at Cap Band : 0.63″Weight : 0.9ozNib : 21k GoldFilling Mechanism : Cartridge / Converter

Take a hands-on look to see how the 191Standard and Large match up with one another in our video comparison below. 

In the video, Tom uses a Pelikan M600 to compare against the 191Standard. Hopefully, this would help in establishing a point of reference for those who are unfamiliar with the Sailor brand. Although the 1911L is “larger” than the Standard, the size is still quite manageable for both men and women to handle and write with.

Choosing a Nib Size

As with any Sailor fountain pen, the main attraction is the NIB. The Japanese pen maker is dedicated to the finely crafted art of writing. Each nib is given the proper attention to ensure that writing quality is consistent and exceeding expectations. Seven different types of nibs are available standard.

With many pen manufacturers paring down their nib selection to 2-choices (usually fine, medium or broad), it might seem a little intimidating that you would have to choose between possible nibs. Hopefully, we can shed some light on the subject so you would be able to make an informed decision on which nib is “write” for you.

In general, Japanese nibs tend to run thinner than their Western counterparts. That means a Western extra-fine is equivalent to a Japanese fine/medium.  With that being said, Sailor offers extra-fine, fine, medium-fine, medium, broad, music, and zoom nibs. Watch our nib comparison video below to see these nibs in action and compared with some Western-style nibs to see the subtle differences in line width.

Approximately, this is what you could expect from a Sailor nib if you are familiar with Western nibs:

Western Broad -> Sailor ZoomWestern Medium -> Sailor BroadWestern Fine -> Sailor MediumWestern Extra-Fine -> Sailor Fine

The extra-fine size is so thin, it does not have any Western analog. The Zoom is also a unique offering, as it lays down a different line width based on the angle that the nib touches the paper. Writing at an acute angle produces the thickest, wettest line possible, which is thicker than the Sailor broad. Writing at an angle that is perpendicular to the page will yield a line of medium thickness. 

The Music nib is not a traditional, three-tined music nib. It does have a thick downstroke that results in the broadest line possible with a Sailor pen, while the horizontal line is a thinner, medium size. Although the original intention of the Music nib is to write music, most writers who opt to own one of these pens seldom use it for that purpose. The shape of the nib instantly gives your handwriting a flair of line variation it did not have previously. The nib performs beautifully upside down as well, laying down a drier, thinner line for more concise writing.

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.

Re-Issues

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.

The tip

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 uni-ball Jetstream.

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.

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. It has a perfect combination of incredibly smooth, incredibly even ink; it dries quickly; it comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes; and it has excellent durability.

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.”

In a review of the 0.mm version, Brian said “When I first wrote with this pen I was very surprised by how smooth the ink flowed, and how effortlessly the pen glided across the paper. I almost felt like if I didn’t focus on controlling the movements of the pen on the paper, I would end up experiencing something similar to what happens when you hydroplane in a car. It really was amazing to me that I was writing with a ballpoint pen “super super smooth” and saying it “is just the best ballpoint that I have ever written with, and it pretty much makes me want to toss every other ballpoint pen that I have on my desk because it will just be disappointing if I ever have to use one of them again.”

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.”

Dip nibs

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

Ballpoint Pens

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.

Fine liners

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.

Technical Pens

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

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.

Highlighters

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.

OHP Pens

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

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.

Refills

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.

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

Included in the matrix are columns

Click on any of the columns to sort the data to help make your decision easier. So many manufacturers and models exist that there is no way that I could have listed everything. However, many exceptional pens are included at every price range and from a wide variety of quality makers. The best fountain pen is out there.

Why buy a pen, and how to go for the best fountain pen?

Fountain pens are often seen today as luxury items and in some cases as status symbols. These pens may also very well serve as everyday writing instruments, like the regular ball pen. A good quality steel and even gold pens are easily available and can be inexpensive.

In Europe the use of fountain pens is well spread. Students in primary and secondary schools in France and Belgium are still required to write all exams in ink. To avoid mistakes special black and blue ink that can be made invisible by using an ink eraser.

Fountain pens are used for artistic expression. Some famous writers today use fountain pens for a whole manuscript, including Stephen King. Others use them for such as expressive handwriting, pen and ink art and professional design. Fountain pens can even be a unique piece of art. Ornate pens have precious metals and beautiful gems and other mineral stones. Some pens are designed with inlaid lacquer.

A fountain pen can be favored over other writing devices for many different reasons. It can be out of a desire of personalisation like other accessories like watches or handbags, it can be for pure elegance because some of these objects are truly beautiful, or for sentimentality because emotions and feelings will be reflected in your handwriting and computers and ballpoint pens simply can not provide this dimension. Finding your best fountain pen is a unique experience.

Fountain pens are back

How To Find the Best Fountain Pen That Meets Your Needs

Above you will find an interactive comparison chart of a broad selection of fountain pens, some of the best and most are on the market today. Choosing one can be daunting, so do have a look at the different criteria in there. Every person has his own criteria of choosing. Your best fountain pen is a unique choice.  The options and criteria will help you make the appropriate buying decision. So, above you will find the Best Fountain Pen Comparison Guide to help you find the perfect pen for you.

I was hesitant in providing my Top because these pens are so different and you are as well. So please see these very simply as only my favorites. Below you will find my top picks for overall best fountain pen along with more a more detailed review of each.

Your Turn

Rollerball or fountain pen

Anyways, I can’t decide between rollerball or fountain. I am considering fountain just to have something different but I don’t know if this is the right decision. I write very little. I am concern about it being messy and having to dip the fountain in ink if I go a week or so without writing. Any suggestions? Are they just as easy to write with or am I going to have to change up my writing style? Any

 

 

 

 

How to save up to 86%? Here is little trick.

You must visit the page of sales. Here is the link. If you don’t care about which brand is better, then you can choose the Rollerball Pens by the price and buy from the one who will offer the greatest discount.

 

 

Final Word

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 Rollerball Pens wisely! Good luck!

So, TOP3 of Rollerball Pens

 

 

Questions? Leave a comment below!

Chatting about Rollerball Pens is my passion! Leave me a question in the comments, I answer each and every one and would love to get to know you better!



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