Low viscosity or high? Liquid-based or oil? When it’s all about the ink and explanations are clear as mud, what’s a well-intentioned pen shopper to do?
We have quick and easy answers! Whether you’re looking for a pen for yourself or as a giveaway for customers, wondering what the difference is between ballpoint and rollerball is a common conundrum. Considering we’re pen experts and you’re busy, we’re at the ready with everything you need to know. So what the heck is the difference between a rollerball and ballpoint pen?
Rollerball pens use water-based inks, and writing is sharper and more vibrant. Ballpoint pens use oil-based ink, and writing is lighter and more deliberate. There are benefits to each and reasons why a rollerball or ballpoint pen may be preferable in certain situations.
Look how nice that rollerball ink looks compared to the ballpoint! So, why are there so many ballpoint pens out there?
Ballpoint pen ink is preferred by so many because the ink:
On the other hand, those who prefer a rollerball pen have their own strong leg to stand on.
Rollerball ink has its own unique advantages:
And there you have it! No need to understand the mechanics of a pen or delve into history and trivia surrounding writing instruments, folks. (But, you know, as an aside, and because we are in fact pen geeks and on the off chance you’re into that type of thing, here’s a way cool blog post about the inventor of the ballpoint pen.)
If you want to get into the weeds with us, here’s the “why” behind the difference between rollerball and ballpoint ink. First, viscosity describes the flow rate of a liquid. Rollerball ink is a water-based liquid, where ballpoint ink is an oil-based liquid. Water-based inks are thinner, or lower viscosity. They flow faster. Oil-based inks are thicker, or higher viscosity. They flow slower. This makes rollerball ink vivid (more ink flow means the paper is more saturated) but also slower to dry and easier to smudge.
Given our 50 years of business in the promotional industry, we’d be remiss (and daffy) if we didn’t segue into recommending some awesome logo pens in the ballpoint and rollerball realms. With any of the pens below we’ll custom print your logo or text on the barrel for you to distribute to promote your company, cause, or special event.
For a winning rollerball, check out The Deluxe Madison Pen with Gift Box.
Browse more promotional rollerball pens, hand-selected by us and suitable for your custom message!
The Alpha Soft Touch Pen with Stylus is one of our best-selling ballpoint pens, with hundreds of rave reviews from happy customers.
And here are more selections from our custom ballpoint pen category, all including your logo or custom message printed on the barrel.
If this short and sweet summary has left you wanting more-more-more, well, you just may be a pen geek like us and you’ve come to the right place! May we suggest you wet your whistle with this short blog post about Fountain Pens vs. Ballpoint Pens?
Now that the rollerball vs ballpoint pen question has been asked and answered, we wish you a day filled with smooth ink and a comfortable grip. So until next time, gentle reader, thanks for writing with us!
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