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You may be the person who has a specific pen that you love and can’t write without, or you may be the total opposite and just pick up whatever pen is lying around your office desk. Whichever type of person you are, it’s helpful to understand the features of these pens. The three types of pens we’ll be covering are the ballpoint, rollerball, and gel. You may be thinking, how can one pen be so different from another, but each pen has several differences that could be the deciding factor when picking your perfect pen. So, what are these differences?

Ballpoint Pen

The ballpoint pen is one of the most common types of pens. One of the reasons why it’s one of the more popular pens is because of its many features, including drying time. It dries fast, which reduces the chance of smudges when writing so you don’t have to worry about messing up your notes or getting ink on your hand. Also, the oil-based ink comes out slower and is thicker which makes it last longer than other types of pens.

As you can probably imagine, a main factor in the function of the ballpoint pen is the ball within it. Within this pen, there is a ball between the ink flow and the paper by a socket. What does this mean exactly? There are two main benefits that the ball provides – it allows for the ink to go to the paper and it acts as a cap that keeps the ink from drying out.  

Rollerball Pen

As you can imagine from the name, the rollerball pen has the same writing mechanism of that of the ballpoint pen, with the main difference being the ink. In this pen the ink is water-based which allows it to flow smoothly, consistently, and fluently on the paper and creates finer, darker lines. However, a water-based ink tends to smudge because it doesn’t dry as fast on the paper. Although the ink doesn’t dry as fast on paper, it does end up drying fast inside the pen itself. This can cause the ink to get thick and sticky and even come out in blobs. To help reduce this from happening, and help prolong the life of the pen, you must always keep your pen capped when you are not using it. When looking to purchase a rollerball pen, the Sharpie Roller Pen is a great choice! This sleek pen has a professional look with a premium metal clip, translucent grip, while creating vivid writing.

A great perk of any rollerball pen is that you don’t need to provide as much pressure when writing compared to say a ballpoint pen. Lightly pressing down on the paper with this pen will do the job, which will reduce your hand fatigue, allowing you to write for longer periods. Because of the liquid ink, we recommend a thicker paper to reduce the ink bleeding through.

Gel Pen

Again, the gel pen is similar to a ballpoint pen with the main difference being the ink, or in this case the lack thereof. Gel pens don’t use ink, but instead a pigmented water-based gel. This gel makes for a bolder line, but it does need a little time to dry because it can smudge. They create finer lines and can write on dark and smooth surfaces. Because of these features, the gel pen is great to use when drawing. Graphic artists and architects love to use these pens because they have more control over the pen, and it has a stronger color when writing or drawing. If you decide the gel pen is right for you, then the Sharpie S-Gel Pen should be at the top of your list! The gel pen is also a great pen to organize and color code your notes. Breaking up your notes by color will help keep your ideas and thoughts organized during and after writing your notes.

The main difference between each type of pen is the ink that is used, which in turn causes a different writing experience while using each one. Now that you have a better understanding of the features of each pen, you can make a more educated purchase when buying your pen, and who knows, you could find yourself a new favorite!

Sources

1. A., Karleen. “Rollerball vs Ballpoint Pens: Ink Differences and More.” Rollerball vs Ballpoint Pens Explained [Plus Video] | Pens.com, National Pen, 24 Oct. 2019, www.pens.com/blog/rollerball-vs-ballpoint-pens/. Accessed 27 November 2020.

2. “History of Gel Pens.” Gel Pen – Facts and History of Gel Pens, www.historyofpencils.com/writing-instruments-history/gel-pen-history/. Accessed 27 November 2020.

3. Contributors, HowStuffWorks.com. “How Does a Ball Point Pen Work?” HowStuffWorks Science, HowStuffWorks, 23 Sept. 2020, science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/science-questions/question683.htm. Accessed 30 November 2020.

4. Bryan. “Rollerball vs Ballpoint Pens: A Complete Guide.” Become a Writer Today, 27 May 2020, becomeawritertoday.com/rollerball-vs-ballpoint-pens/. Accessed 1 December 2020.