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6 May, 2022

The Pros & Cons Of Rollerballs & Ballpoint Pens - Is There A Winner?

These are probably the two most popular and best-known styles of ink to choose from – Rollerball and Ballpoint. We thought we would list both the advantages and disadvantages of both to help you decide what would work best for you.

Firstly, though I would like to look at a few facts about both styles. So, which came first? The Rollerball or Ballpoint. The first patent for a ballpoint pen came about in 1888 by an American called John J Loud. The problem though was he designed it to write on wood and leather, so when it came to paper, it was too rough and the patent was left to expire. There were others who tried to improve on the design, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that a journalist in Hungary named László Bíró and his brother Gyorgy came up with a new type of ink. It was viscous which spread easily and dried quickly. We’ll delve more into the history of ballpoint pens another time. The first rollerball pen was introduced in 1963 by a Japanese Company called Ohto and was a liquid pen. Gel ink pens didn’t come onto the market until 1982 and were patented by Sakura Colour Products.

So, let’s get down to the Pros and Cons of these two styles of writing instruments

Pro List for Ballpoint Pens

The ink dries instantly ensuring no smudging.
The ink is oil-based so you do not need a cap to prevent it from drying out.
The thickness of the ink ensures it is less likely to bleed through paper.
The dispersion of the ink is very even, meaning there is no light or dark patched.
They rarely get clogged.
Cost is usually cheaper than a rollerball.

Con List for Ballpoint Pens

At times the ink can create blobs.
They require more pressure to write than a rollerball, creating more stress on the hand and slowing down writing speeds.
Ink colours are limited.
Most will note write horizontally.

Pro List for Rollerball Pens

The ink flows extremely consistently.
There is no “skipping” when writing.
Less pressure is required when writing, which means less stress on the muscles of the hand.
Quicker writing times due to less stress on the hand.
Large range of ink colours.
Clearer lines.

Con List for Rollerball Pens

More likely to bleed through paper.
Ink use is greater so they tend to run out of ink faster than a ballpoint.
Uncapped rollerball pens can leak into a pocket.
If you forget to put the cap back on they can dry out.
You can not write over correction fluid. It will clog and often make the ink cartridge useless.

So, there you have it. Both have a strong list of advantages to them. Hopefully, it will help you decide on your next purchase, but if you are unsure, then why not contact us. We have over 20 years' experience with pens and would be happy to guide you to the pen that would suit you best.

The Printed Pens Team