Choosing the best pen is crucial for any stationary lover, writer, or note-taker.
There are a lot of factors to consider: the feel of the pen in your hand, how the ink flows, and the thickness of the tip, just to name a few.
If you’ve found yourself looking for a pen that will always feel smooth no matter what kind of paper you’re using, and that will be able to write as quickly as you can think, you may want to consider a rollerball pen.
The first appearance of rollerball pens was in the 1970s when companies started marketing them as pens with the convenience of a ballpoint pen with the feel of a fountain pen. Unlike their ballpoint pen predecessors, they use water- or gel-based liquid ink as opposed to an oil-based ink. This gives rollerball their signature smooth, “wet ink” writing style that’s akin to writing with a fountain pen.
Rollerball pen fans love that the liquid ink flows consistently across paper which means you can write faster and smoother with a rollerball pen than with a ballpoint pen, and the pen is much less likely to “skip” or create occasional gaps in lines or letters. The consistent flow also means that rollerball pens require less pressure, which means fewer pesky hand cramps if you’re writing for long periods of time.
The downsides? That liquid, fast-flowing ink can take longer to dry than a ballpoint pen, so is more likely to smear, especially for lefties.
But waiting a few more seconds for the ink to dry is a small price to pay for the smooth-writing comfort of a really great rollerball. If you’re looking to upgrade your writing tools to some of the best rollerball pens we’ve tried, here are six of our favorites:
Okay, so the name is a mouthful, but this pen is all-around awesome and is a team favorite at Ink+Volt. The “N” in its name stands for the needle-point tip, which allows for a super precise, controlled flow of ink as your hand glides across the page. I like to use this page for my daily journaling when my thoughts are flowing fast, and I need a pen that can keep up. Another plus? The ink dries instantly, so no smearing!
This #1 seller on Amazon is one of the best rollerball pens for a reason, with over 7,000 five-star ratings. Chances are you’ve encountered this one in your office’s supply closet, so you may already know, but fans (like me) love the comfortable grip, the smooth-flowing ink, and the price! It’s also a really long-lasting pen, so you won’t find yourself stuck in a meeting frantically trying to get your ink flowing again so your note taking can keep up with the conversation.
“America’s favorite rollerball pen” is the best pen for you if you like fine lines when you write. The fine tip delivers a super smooth flow that’s also precise. It’s a great entry-level, daily-use pen that you can throw in your bag or desk drawer and pull it out at any time, confident that it will flow easily and write beautifully.
Named JetPens’ top rollerball pen in 2018, the Uni-ball Vision Elite is one of my go-to pens for note taking at work. The ink is dark and skip-free, and it doesn’t take a ton of pressure to start the flow, so it can easily keep up with quick writing. There are a couple options in tip sizes — 0.5 mm or 0.8 mm — so you can be sure to select the line thickness that you prefer.
Artists and architects love this rollerball pen that comes in a range of line sizes, from extra fine to bold. The finer pens are a little more scritchy on paper than the bolder pens, but the ink has a consistent flow and looks fantastic on all kinds of paper.
If you’re a scrapbooker, this is the pen for you! The water-based gel pigment ink is acid free, lightfast, pigmented and archival, so it’s the perfect pen for writing in journals, scrapbooks, and memory books. I love the rubberized grip on this pen, which makes it really comfortable for marathon writing sessions. The ink is smudge resistant once it’s dry and, like all of the rollerball pens on this list, it’s incredibly smooth flowing!
Here’s to many days of smooth writing! For more pen recommendations, be sure to check out this blog post that includes fountain pens, ballpoint pens, and gel pens!