The Difference Between Rollerball and Ballpoint

Some of you may be confused and not know the difference between rollerball and ballpoint pens, well let’s clear this up for you.

There is a fairly simple yet quite confusing answer in itself. A rollerball uses a small ball at the end of the nib to spread around the ink that comes from the ink cartridge in the pen, I’m sure you all knew that. Now to make it even stranger I am going to tell you that a ballpoint pen also has a small ball at the end of the nib that spreads the ink over the paper in just the same way the rollerball does. Confused yet? Well, there is one simple distinction between the two types that may clear this up, and yet still leave you wondering why on earth this is the case.

So if the rollerball and the ballpoint pen have the same construction of nib, what makes them different enough to call them by different names?

The only real difference between a rollerball pen and a ballpoint pen is the ink they use. It may seem a strange answer right? Well, it is that’s for sure.

We all know what a ‘Biro’ is right? A Biro is a ballpoint pen which uses an oil-based ink that writes smoothly and dries quickly, which is the type of ink our Traveller Pen uses.

A rollerball pen uses a water-based ink that may take a little longer to dry and may be a little more inclined to smudge if not left to dry for an adequate amount of time. This is the type of ink our Writer Pen uses with its pilot G2 ink cartridge which is one of the most popular ink rollerball type and preferred by millions of architects and designers worldwide.

Easy now you know right?

Even though it may not quite make sense in your head that it has nothing to do with the mechanism of the pen nib, at least you now know as much as anyone else.

Which are easier to write with?

It must be said that there is a difference in the two inks the ballpoint and rollerball use and the difference between them may affect the choice you make when knowing what to buy.

Ballpoint inks are oil-based and can be a thicker ink to write with. This thicker ink can induce more writing fatigue in your hand as more work is needed to move the pen across the page. Rollerball inks are water-based and gel-based which allow the pen nib ink to flow a little easier and give a nice smooth feel when writing across the page. The downside to this more free-flowing ink in the rollerball is that they take a little longer to dry and so are more prone to smudging, whereas the ballpoint pens oil-based inks dry almost immediately and therefore are less prone to smudging.

Do you want to write quickly with a ballpoint or smoothly with a rollerball and a little more drying time needed?

This is really all there is to decide when contemplating a ballpoint or a rollerball pen, the choice is yours. Our Writer Pen rollerball is super smooth to use and the ink stays a little wetter for longer but has a beautiful elegant feel to its movement, while our Traveller Pen uses an oil-based ink and so dries almost immediately. The choice is entirely based on your preference.

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