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10 Best Rollerball Pens to Buy in 2021

Rollerball pens 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 less-loved 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.

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Rollerball vs. Ballpoint

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

While ballpoint pens 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.

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