By Christine Song

The Best Ballpoint Pens: Our Favorites and Why We Love Them


If you have never asked yourself “what is the best ballpoint pen out there?” you’re missing out. A ballpoint pen is one of the most popular, frequently used, and commonly owned pens out there. No surprise considering its non-leaky, non-smeary attributes and overall ready-to-perform, can-do attitude. Don’t take these amazing little pens for granted. Even […]

If you have never asked yourself “what is the best ballpoint pen out there?” you’re missing out.

A ballpoint pen is one of the most popular, frequently used, and commonly owned pens out there. No surprise considering its non-leaky, non-smeary attributes and overall ready-to-perform, can-do attitude. Don’t take these amazing little pens for granted.

Even with the advances of technology, just about everyone uses or has ballpoint pens in their desk, car, or bag. Even at the post office or a restaurant to sign a receipt, that pen you use is likely a ballpoint.

The workhorse of the pen world, ballpoint pens are a go-to writing instrument. Whether you’re writing a quick note, doubling down to do some extensive note taking, or making an important list, a ballpoint pen has got you covered. And they last for what seems like forever and ever. Plus, you may be surprised to learn (as I was), that ballpoint pen artwork is a thing and it is pretty incredible!

There are some awesome ballpoint pens out there, so if you’re looking for the best ballpoint pen, let us walk you through our favorites. Plus, we’ll share a little ballpoint pen background and details. Who knew the ballpoint pen was so fascinating?!

What makes the ballpoint pen so special?

For your basic, pen-writing needs, a ballpoint will do just about everything you need. A ballpoint pen’s exterior might look simple, but the guts are what make it so special.

Today, you have a range of prices, bells and whistles, and options available to you – from the super basic to the Bentley Motors and Faber-Castell partnered luxury ballpoint pens. But the basic components of a ballpoint pen are pretty straightforward:

  • There’s the ball that the ink rolls over before coming into contact with the paper
  • The ink reservoir
  • And the socket that holds the ball

Ballpoint pen ink is traditionally oil based, but some ink is mixed with water based ink to lower the viscosity (to make it less sticky and clumpy) yet still dry faster than purely water-based inks. Water-based ink is associated with rollerball pens that have a fluid ink flow, but need more time to dry and are prone to smudging.

And why is the ballpoint pen called a ballpoint pen? Because the ink is distributed over a metal ball at the tip, or point, of the pen. Though the first ballpoint was patented by John Loud in 1888, it didn’t become commercially successful until after World War II. There was no turning back after that.

And ballpoint pen fun facts do exist!

  • Ballpoint pens have been a medium for artists, who create amazing pieces of art with just a ballpoint pen. The doodles you make during your weekly meeting are maybe more artistic than you ever gave them credit for!
  • The government’s go-to pen is, of course, the ballpoint. The Skilcraft ballpoint pen can withstand extreme temperatures, write for almost a linear mile, and comes in a slightly shorter length that equates to 150 nautical miles, perfect for measuring distance on a map. And if you’ve ever seen an emergency tracheotomy performed with a pen barrel on television, yes, this pen could do that too.

The best ballpoint pens

Compared to other pens, ballpoint pens are pretty awesome and they’re the top pen choice for all your basics for a few reasons:

  • They are easy to use (no dipping or writing at a certain angle necessary)
  • Reliable and seem to last forever
  • The ink dries quickly and smudges less
  • The ink is on the thicker side, because it is oil based, so it uses less ink overall and lasts longer
  • Comes in disposable and refillable options

Now that you know a little more about the ballpoint pen then you did a few minutes ago, let’s share some of our favorites and what makes them so great! We’ve got some tried and tested ballpoint pens for you to choose from (and many more on our site if you’re interested).

  1. The Caran d’Ache 849 Ballpoint Pen is a great option if you want a little more sophistication without an unreasonable price tag attached. Hailing from Geneva, Switzerland, it has some weight and is comfortable to write with. It’s also refillable, unlike some of its less expensive counterparts, so the pen itself will last you a lifetime.
  2. Facing hand cramps and fatigue? Looking for a comfortable ballpoint pen to get you through note-taking or long periods of writing? The Schneider ID Ballpoint Pen might just be the perfect fit for you. Uniquely formulated with Viscoglide® technology, the pen moves across the page with such smoothness! Its comfortable grip and ergonomic design make it a no-brainer for marathon writing sessions or just everyday comfort.
  3. A simple, no fuss option comes in the form of the Uni Jetstream Ballpoint Pen. It is available in a variety of point thicknesses, is retractable, has waterproof fast drying ink, a rubber grip, and clip for easy use. This pen is recommended for left-handed writers because the low viscosity ink = even faster drying time.
  4. If you carry your pens around in your pocket and don’t want to fear leaks or pokes ever again, you need a ballpoint pen with a cap. A great option, also from Schneider, is the Schneider Slider Memo XB Ballpoint Pen. The XB in the name isn’t just to make the name sound fancier, but stands for “extra broad” line width. Pleasantly surprising is the pen’s versatility and ability to adapt to the paper it’s being written on, e.g. a broader point on soft backed paper and a finer one on harder surfaces.
  5. Cheap isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it comes to ballpoint pens. The BIC Round Stic Xtra Life Ballpoint Pen is your basic, no frills option that won’t break the bank when you need to buy in bulk. It is disposable, though, and not meant to be refilled.
  6. Lastly, the BIC 4 Color Retractable Ballpoint Pen is especially versatile with four color options in one pen. So handy!

The pen you can’t live without

Ballpoint pens are one of those things that you either (1) have so many of you wonder how you could have possibly accumulated such a large collection, or (2) can’t seem to find one when you need it the most. Sigh…

But after giving the best ballpoint pens from today’s post a try, we doubt you’ll let yourself lose track of them, you’ll love them that much! Give them a try and let us know which ones you like!