Types of Pen Tips: Fine, Extra Fine & Medium—Explained!

Updated 2/1/2021.

Know your preferred pen tip size before putting pen to paper—or logo to barrel—for better writing and marketing results.

When you grab a pen to jot a note, sign a receipt, or draw a caricature of your significant other, you may not think the size of the pen tip matters. But trust us, it does! We know types of pen tips. And tip size matters!

Tip size is the thickness of the line the tip leaves when it’s rolled across the paper. And it can make the difference between a “one and done” writing experience and a “Mind if I keep this pen?” reaction. And if the role of said pen is to promote your brand or celebrate a special event, you’ll want to aim for a long-term engagement between your customized pen and your target audience.

With that in mind, next up are the two primary types of pen tips and the users they match with most. And lest you think we’ve just added another layer of complexity to your giveaway game, we’re making this an easy win for you by including a few best-selling promo pens representing each category:

Smaller Pen Tip Size

A smaller pen tip size is called fine or extra fine. Focus on this size pen tip for:

  • Small writing
  • Writing on paper that is more porous or absorbs ink more easily (like tissue paper)
  • Including fine detail as in drawings and diagrams, and adult coloring books
  • Writing in written symbols, especially Chinese characters, called hanzi (Chinese), kanji (Japanese), or hanja (Korean)

A note on types of pen tips and Chinese characters: Some of these symbols are extremely intricate and require a fine or extra fine tip to render correctly. One of the most complex kanji characters requires a whopping 33 strokes and means “rough”, which it clearly is—to write that is!

Another requires 35 and translates to “missing a tooth.” And is “missing a tooth” worse or better than trying to get a 35-stroke character between two lines on a sheet of notebook paper? Especially if you’ve got the wrong type of pen tip!

When precision is in order, fine tips are in. A couple sure bets:

Fine Tip, Rollerball

Deluxe Madison Pen: Exceptionally smooth rollerball ink and gold trim make this fine tip rollerball a sophisticated choice.

Bic Grip Roller Pen: This fine point rollerball delivers an effortless writing experience, while the elegant matte finish and black rubber comfort grip make a lasting first impression.

See all custom rollerball pens at

Fine Tip, Gel

Soft Touch Accent Gelebration™ Gel Pen with Colored Stylus: This pen’s gunmetal body, bright colored stylus and barrel ring make for an eye-catching combination, while the fine tip, black gel ink delivers a smooth writing experience every time. 

Soft Touch Cozy Gel Pen: This gel ink pen boasts a soft touch and delivers smooth lines.

Soft Touch Hughes Gelebration™ Gel Pen & Stylus Top: This professional-looking fine point gel pen with integrated stylus is destined for daily use.

Soft Touch Athos Gelebration™ Gel Pen: This bright, compelling cap pen features chrome colored trim, see-through cap detail, comfortable rubberized finish, and smooth-writing, fine point gel ink.

Uni-Ball Deluxe Fine Point Roller Ball Pen: Here’s a fine tip roller ball pen that offers elegant style, too!

Gel Writers™ Gel Pen – Extra Fine Point: All the colors of the rainbow in extra fine gel ink for drawing and writing with all the detail you can imagine.

See all custom gel pens at

Best Sellers at

Medium Pen Tip Size

A medium pen tip size delivers a line that’s about 1.0 mm-1.2 mm in width for a ballpoint pen, and narrower for a gel or rollerball ink pen. You can’t go wrong with a medium tip if the desired writing falls into one of these categories:

  • Medium to large handwriting
  • No fine detail necessary
  • Writing in an alphabet-based language like Germanic and Romance languages

When choosing a pen to promote your brand among a varied audience, a medium size pen tip will fill the needs of the majority and is the way to go. Here are a few customer favorites in the medium tip category:

Alpha Soft Touch Pen with Stylus®: With its rubberized finish, chrome accents, and compelling design, our best-selling, medium point Alpha Soft Touch Pen with Stylus does not disappoint.

Soft Touch Diamond Stylus Pen: This retractable stylus pen with medium tip is remarkable for its comfortable rubber finish, diamond textured grip, and design detail throughout.

Alpha Soft Touch Bright with Stylus: For bold brands, you can’t represent better than on this bright stylus pen with medium tip, vibrant barrel colors, and matching stylus. 

Bright Soft Touch Diamond Stylus Pen: When bright is best, this medium tip stylus pen has you covered. Cheerful barrel colors and design detail throughout make for a lasting impression.

Soft Touch Thompson Pen: With a medium tip and a super soft touch, this ballpoint pen’s got it all.

Pacifica Pen: This ballpoint pen sports a 1.2 mm ballpoint and includes a comfort grip and eye-catching color accents.

Pen Tips and Ink Types

Depending upon the type of ink, different line widths or tip sizes are considered typical . For instance, in a gel ink or roller ball ink pen, a fine tip produces a line that measures .5 to .7 mm and is ideal for gel ink consistency, whereas in a ballpoint pen a medium tip produces a line that measures 1.0 to 1.4 mm, and is considered standard for the composition and behavior of ballpoint ink.

In general, you can expect a finer line from a standard roller ball or gel ink pen tip than with a standard ballpoint pen tip. (Read more about pen types.)

We know you’ll rock your promotional game with the right customized pen. And now you’ll know what types of pen tips are in order to keep your pens and your brand name in steady circulation!

Shop for Pens & More

Shop your favorite pen types at Plus browse custom notebooks, personalized gifts and more.


Karleen Wise Andersen

From marketing tips to product recommendations, I’m here to help small businesses be their best.

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