You’ve probably stumbled across ballpoint, gel, and rollerball pens in your quest for the perfect stationery before. They all look similar, but have their own quirks--so what exactly makes each one different from the other? In this guide, we’ll explain what distinguishes these pen types, and when to use them. Read on for our recommendations on the top pens in each category!
Ballpoint, gel, and rollerball pens all have one feature in common: they use a small, revolving ball in the tip to dispense ink. As you write, the surface of the ball is exposed to the ink reservoir, thus coating the ball and continuing the flow of ink. Where they differ is how the ink is formulated.
To learn more about low-viscosity ink, check out our guide.
Because ballpoints require some pressure to write, they work well to ensure dark marks when paired with carbonless copy paper.
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|Dyes dissolved in mixture of alcohols and fatty acids||Writing anywhere, everyday carry||Uni Jetstream|
|Fisher Space Pen|
|Pigments suspended in water-based gel||General note-taking, color-coded writing||Uni-ball Signo UM-151|
|Dyes dissolved in water||Prevent heavy writing, alleviate hand cramps||Uni-ball Vision Elite|
|Morning Glory Pro Mach|