The 6 Best Rollerball Pens You Can Buy Today

An OHTO rollerball pen sits on a red notebook next to black scissors and gold desk accessories like washi tape.

If you’ve been looking to upgrade your office tools, you can’t go wrong with a beautiful rollerball pen.

With so much of our daily life spent on screens and devices, and the stresses that they bring, it’s no wonder that more and more people are going analog and writing by hand. There’s just something about putting pen to paper that is deeply satisfying and therapeutic. Plus, writing things down is great for self-expression, organizing our tasks, goal-setting, and unlocking our creativity. 

And writing enthusiasts are turning to rollerball pens for all their writing needs.

You might be wondering: But why can’t I just use a ballpoint pen? Isn’t that good enough?

While ballpoint pens are convenient and inexpensive, they use oil-based ink, which means the line isn’t as clear and bold as you would find with a rollerball pen. Also, we end up pressing harder on the pen to get a darker line, which leads to hand cramps and discomfort. That’s why ballpoint pens aren’t always ideal for note-taking or writing in your journal for long periods. 

Rollerball pens, on the other hand, use liquid ink, which means the ink glides on more easily on the page, making it easier on your hand. Writers like using rollerball pens for their journals, goal-setting planners, bullet journals, and note-taking. 

Other benefits of a rollerball pen:

  • Creates a bold, clear line
  • Glides easily across paper, which makes it ideal for note-taking and journal-writing 
  • The ink doesn’t skip so it looks nice on greeting cards and letters

As for the cons of using a rollerball pen, keep in mind that because the ink is wet and takes time to dry, it may bleed through the page or lead to smudges. That’s why left-handed writers may not particularly like using rollerball pens, because their hand is moving across the wet ink. 

However, these inconveniences can be avoided by using journals and notebooks with good quality paper. And, fortunately, these days, you’ll find more rollerball pen options with quick-dry features. 

Below we’ve rounded up the best rollerball pens for your writing needs. Elevating your rollerball pen is a great way to treat yourself without breaking the bank.

1. Best budget rollerball pen: Pilot Precise V7 Rollerball Pen

I’ve been using the Pilot Precise pen since college and it hasn’t failed me yet. It’s the kind of pen you can easily find at an office supply store, but it seems more elevated than the average pen.

With its streamlined design and jet black ink, the Pilot Precise is more high-quality than the low price would suggest. The vivid ink makes your writing pop on the page, which makes it ideal for writing in my goal-setting planner. My deadlines and to-dos are easily visible and the color doesn’t fade over time.

2. Best rollerball to gift: Retro Tornado Classic Rollerball Pen

If you’re looking to give a rollerball pen as a gift, the Retro Tornado Rollerball pen would be the perfect gift for a recent college grad or coworker or the pen fanatic in your life.

The Retro Tornado has a smooth lacquered surface and ridged twist top, giving this pen a stylish, vintage look. And the fine point and black ink means that it will write smoothly across the page, without exerting too much pressure on your hand. It’s both classy and practical, which means your recipient will definitely cherish your gift and put it to good use.

3. Best rollerball pen for journaling: Zebra Sarasa Grand Retractable Gel Pen

You want to treat yourself to a nice-looking pen for writing but you don’t want it to be so fancy that you’re precious about it. 

Enter: the Zebra Sarasa gel pen.

The Sarasa pen has a great reputation for writing and journaling. A key feature is its Rapid Dry Ink Technology, which means no more worrying about smudges and smears. This is great news for lefties and anyone who likes to write a lot and quickly. Plus, the pen has a sleek, metallic design and a nice weight to it, which makes it feel that much more expensive than it is. 

You could use this pen for journal writing, planner pages, studying, and note-taking.

4. Best rollerball pen for artists and bullet journalers: OHTO Liberty Ceramic Rollerball Pen

If you want to love the lines you create, this is the pen for you. With rich, flowing ink and bold, dark pigment, this pen is amazing for making your mark. The water-based ink allows for ultra-smooth creation; this pen almost feels like a marker or brush pen. It's ideal for addressing envelopes, illustrating, writing greeting cards, and designing the perfect page structure in your bullet journal.

5. Best everyday carry rollerball pen: Uni-ball Vision Elite Rollerball

Sometimes you need a pen that’s great for on-the-go. A pen that you can just toss in your bag or suitcase, and break out when you want to write in your travel journal or take notes during a business trip. Not only is the Uni-ball Vision Elite affordable and high-quality, but it was designed with air travel in mind — it won’t leak or explode on the plane.

6. Best all-around pen: Pilot Precise V5 RT Retractable

This budget rollerball pen is also a New York Times Wirecutter Pick. Similar to the Pilot Precise pick above, this one has the same bold color and extra fine 0.5 mm tip that lends itself to drawing, detail work, and note-taking.

The main differences are: a retractable feature so you don’t have to worry about the ink drying up, and a comfort grip that makes it easy to write for long stretches at a time. This would make a great rollerball pen for rapid logging and habit-tracking in your bullet journal.

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