Top 10 Best Rollerball Pens

best rollerball pen, cross rollerball pen, parker rollerball pen

Invented in 1963, the rollerball pen was created as a direct improvement on ballpoint pens. Pen aficionados find ballpoint pens to be unrefined and slower-writing. The advantages of the rollerball come down to two key differences.

While ballpoint pens (which we collected here) tend to hang around the one millimeter point size, rollerballs are smaller, generally between 0.5 and 0.7 millimeters. The smaller ball reduces drag somewhat, which, when combined with the second quality of rollerballs, means less pressure.

That second quality is the use of liquid or gel inks. Ballpoint pens use oil-based ink, which is thicker and tends not to saturate as well. Liquid rollerball ink flows very freely and will yield far fewer gaps in the writing line. The liquid quality means a lower viscosity than ballpoint oil ink, and even than gel, which improves consistent inking. Rollerballs are available in a wider variety of colors because pigments and water-soluble dyes can be used, and especially in the case of gels, this color tends to be more vibrant.

On the other hand, rollerballs have their disadvantages. For one thing, they don’t dry as quickly as ballpoints, which can lead to smudging. If this is an issue, you’ll want to choose one of the gel options below or on our best pens for writing list. Because of their deeper saturation, rollerball inks are more likely to bleed through the paper.

Nevertheless, rollerballs were created to combine the convenience of ballpoints with the wet ink style of fountain pens. Often, they’re used as the everyday pen for folks who would really prefer to do all their writing with a fountain pen. They’re also better loved among devout pen fans than the lowly ballpoint, primarily because of their clearer lettering. Rollerball pens also make a good choice for those prone to hand fatigue.

For everything from classrooms to journaling, here are our picks for the top ten best rollerball pens.


Basic Rollerball Pens

These are the classic, inexpensive rollerball pens commonly seen everywhere. They’re usually in the range of $1 per pen. Typically meant for one-time use, but refills are available for some models.


1. uni-ball Vision Elite Rollerball Pens

best rollerball pen, cross rollerball pen, parker rollerball pen

(uni-ball)

Available in two fine point tips — the 0.8mm Bold Point and the 0.5mm Micro Point — the Vision Elite pens combine the efficiency of rollerball writing with the safety of modern technology. These pens are “airplane safe”, which means they won’t leak due to changes in atmospheric pressure. That also means they’re less likely to leak in your pocket for everyday use, too. Like all uni-ball pens, they use the company’s Super Ink, which is resistant to attempts to fade with water in order to prevent fraud. The Elites are a little bit finer writing, but if you don’t mind a thicker line and want to save a few bucks, the normal uni-ball Vision pens are quite good, too, and offer you a window for ink level.

Need more options? Browse more uni-ball products here.

Price: $18.75 for 12 black (51 percent off MSRP)

Buy the uni-ball Vision Elite Rollerball Pens here.


Specs:

Find more uni-ball Vision Elite Rollerball Pens information and reviews here.



2. Pilot G2 Retractable Premium Gel Ink Roller Ball Pens

best rollerball pen, cross rollerball pen, parker rollerball pen

(Pilot)

One of the greats of the rollerball pen genre, this is one of the few gel pens I actually kind of like. As I said in the ballpoint pen post, I have a heavy hand, so I tend to prefer ballpoints, but this pen is nevertheless on my desk at this moment. They’re very sturdy and I especially like the heavy, satisfying click of the retractable mechanism. The G2 is well-loved because despite being a gel pen, the ink lasts a long time. They also stand apart from the rest of the crowd with four tip sizes to choose from, so you can have one for every need. They also have a wide variety of pack sizes, from two pack through 144 pack. The construction of these is such that refilling them makes sense, so you may only need a couple to last you long while. If you want to step up a bit, there’s also the G2 Pro.

Need more options? Browse more Pilot products here.

Price: $10.75 for 12 black fine point

Buy the Pilot G2 Retractable Premium Gel Ink Roller Ball Pens here.


Specs:

  • Colors available: Black, blue, red, green, purple, navy blue
  • Ink type: Gel
  • Tip size: 1, 0.7, 0.5, and 0.38 mm
  • Grip type: Contoured rubber
  • Refillable?: Yes — refills here

Find more Pilot G2 Retractable Premium Gel Ink Roller Ball Pens information and reviews here.



3. Pilot Precise V5 Stick Rolling Ball Pens

best rollerball pen, cross rollerball pen, parker rollerball pen

(Pilot)

Pilot will make several appearances on this list because of their dedication to great rollerball pens. This one is the first rollerball I can remember interacting with. With the extended tungsten carbide tip, this makes for a delicate and precise writing implement. Like the Vision above, the window lets you see how much ink is left. You can also see the ringed ink feeder that ensures consistent flow. You can buy a single pen or 36, with a few package sizes in between. If you want a slightly bolder line, the Precise also comes in 0.7mm V7 tip point. This is for those with superior control who demand exacting results.

Need more options? Browse more Pilot products here.

Price: $13.28 for 12 black

Buy the Pilot Precise V5 Stick Rolling Ball Pens here.


Specs:

  • Colors available: Black, blue, red, pink, purple, turquoise
  • Ink type: Liquid
  • Tip size: 0.5mm
  • Grip type: None
  • Refillable?: Yes — refills here

Find more Pilot Precise V5 Stick Rolling Ball Pens information and reviews here.



4. Pentel EnerGel Deluxe RTX Gel Ink Pens

best rollerball pen, cross rollerball pen, parker rollerball pen

(Pentel)

This Pentel offering uses special ink to solve the smudging issue for rollerballs. The hybrid liquid gel ink offers the fast-writing, low-fatigue benefits of liquid in an ink that dries very quickly to prevent smudging. The textured grip is very comfortable for long writing sessions. These are nicely appointed with metal accents, but you can also upgrade to the EnerGel Alloy pens, which offer an aluminum body and matching textured grip. Both use the LR7 refills for use again and again.

Need more options? Browse more Pentel products here.

Price: $8.98 for six multicolor (56 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Pentel EnerGel Deluxe RTX Gel Ink Pens here.


Specs:

  • Colors available: Black, blue, violet, green, red
  • Ink type: Liquid gel hybrid
  • Tip size: 0.7mm
  • Grip type: Textured rubber
  • Refillable?: Yes — refills here

Find more Pentel EnerGel Deluxe RTX Gel Ink Pens information and reviews here.



5. Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens

best rollerball pen, cross rollerball pen, parker rollerball pen

(Paper Mate)

These are the gel versions of my beloved InkJoy 500 ballpoint pens. I absolutely love those pens, and find the gel versions to be every bit as delightful in rollerball form. First, they’re just nifty to look at, with the grip that wraps around the entire pen. Second, the ink in these was formulated to go head-to-head with the venerable G2 above and claims to dry three times faster than even the G2’s quick-drying ink. If you’re having trouble with smearing, try these out. The 14-pack includes one of each color available in the range.

Need more options? Browse more Paper Mate products here.

Price: $16.96 for 14 multicolor medium point

Buy the Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens here.


Specs:

  • Colors available: Black, pink, red, green, teal, bright blue, blue, purple, orange, yellow, lime, slate blue, fuchsia, brown
  • Ink type: Gel
  • Tip size: 0.5 or 0.7 mm
  • Grip type: Full-pen rubber
  • Refillable?: Yes — refills here

Find more Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens information and reviews here.



6. Pentel Arts Hybrid Technica 0.3 mm Pen

best rollerball pen, cross rollerball pen, parker rollerball pen

(Pentel)

Aimed at the drawing crowd, these high-quality pens use acid-free, archival safe ink. The ink is designed not to fade or bleed, making them excellent for a variety of tasks from sketching to notebooking. They also make the most of the rollerball format by being available in very fine tips down to 0.3mm. The tips are made of tungsten carbide for long-lasting performance. Choose these if you want options in the smaller line widths paired with a normal-sized barrel.

Need more options? Browse more Pentel products here.

Price: $27.59 for 12 black (23 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Pentel Arts Hybrid Technica 0.3 mm Pen here.


Specs:

  • Colors available: Black
  • Ink type: Gel
  • Tip size: 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.8 mm
  • Grip type: Textured rubber
  • Refillable?: Yes — refills here

Find more Pentel Arts Hybrid Technica 0.3 mm Pen information and reviews here.



Refillable Rollerball Pens

Ranging from fine writing implements to just a solid disposable pen upgrade, these pens are meant to be used for years by purchasing refills. These will be your tried-and-true writing implements, as much for making a statement as writing one.


7. Pilot Dr. Grip Rolling Ball Gel Pen

best rollerball pen, cross rollerball pen, parker rollerball pen

(Pilot)

Like its ballpoint pen counterpoint, the Dr. Grip is a good first step for those looking to have a pen to call their own and stop throwing pens away. It shares all the advantages of Arthritis Foundation-backed ease of use, especially for those with chronic pain. The gel version would be a little bit better than the ballpoint to that end, given the difference in the nature of the ink. Combined with Dr. Grip’s wide ergonomic grip, the reduced pressure needed for the gel ink should further alleviate suffering during long writing exercises. Though they all ship with black ink, you can use a standard G2 refill of any color if you want it to write in different ink. These pens come in the pictured Platinum Metallic, Ice Blue, Charcoal Gray, Metallic Mauve, Electric Blue Neon, Fuchsia, and Ultra-Violet Neon.

Need more options? Browse more Pilot products here.

Price: $8.49

Buy the Pilot Dr. Grip Rolling Ball Gel Pen here.


Specs:

  • Colors available: Black (though other colors are available with refills)
  • Ink type: Gel
  • Tip size: 0.7mm
  • Grip type: Contoured rubber
  • Refillable?: Yes — refills here

Find more Pilot Dr. Grip Rolling Ball Gel Pen information and reviews here.



8. Machine Era Co. Solid Brass Pen

best rollerball pen, cross rollerball pen, parker rollerball pen

(Machine Era Co.)

Again taking advantage of the widely-available and widely-loved G2 refills, this pen offers you a distinctive writing implement for not much more than a box of one dozen disposable pens. This all-brass pen will quickly develop a golden brown patina, wearing into a distinguished piece. The cap is threaded so you won’t lose it in a bag. This is a weighty piece, so if you like a heavier pen, this is certainly the one for you. This pen also comes in stainless steel, if you want a silver look.

Need more options? Browse more Machine Era Co. products here.

Price: $38

Buy the Machine Era Co. Solid Brass Pen here.


Specs:

  • Colors available: Black (though other colors are available with refills)
  • Ink type: Gel
  • Tip size: 0.7mm
  • Grip type: Textured barrel
  • Refillable?: Yes — refills here

Find more Machine Era Co. Solid Brass Pen information and reviews here.



9. Cross Townsend Rollerball Pen

best rollerball pen, cross rollerball pen, parker rollerball pen

(Cross)

Cross make excellent fine, yet accessible, writing implements. The Townsend line is a classic choice, available in seven different Art Deco-inspired colorways so you can match your outfit. The one pictured here uses black lacquer and rhodium-plated metal accents. The Townsend also comes in ballpoint and fountain pen in case you need the whole set. You could use this as your everyday pen and the fountain version as your pen for special occasions.

Need more options? Browse more Cross products here.

Price: $88.55 (49 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Cross Townsend Rollerball Pen here.


Specs:

  • Colors available: Black and blue
  • Ink type: Gel
  • Tip size: 0.7mm
  • Grip type: None
  • Refillable?: Yes — refills here

Find more Cross Townsend Rollerball Pen information and reviews here.



10. Parker Duofold Rollerball Pen

best rollerball pen, cross rollerball pen, parker rollerball pen

(Parker)

Originally debuting in 1921, the Duofold is a classic, timeless writing utensil. Like the Townsend above, it comes in fountain and ballpoint configurations. As the price indicates, this is a fine pen made of black resin, trimmed in gold and hand-assembled. In addition to this color, it comes in Red and Gold, Black and Palladium, Lapis Lazuli and Gold, and White and Gold.

Need more options? Browse more Parker products here.

Price: $294.40

Buy the Parker Duofold Rollerball Pen here.


Specs:

  • Colors available: Black and blue
  • Ink type: Liquid
  • Tip size: 0.7mm
  • Grip type: Contoured barrel
  • Refillable?: Yes — refills here

Find more Parker Duofold Rollerball Pen information and reviews here.


If you’re looking for other styles of pen, check out our top ten best pens for writing or best ballpoint pens for students.


Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.
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