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Home > Education > Ballpoint and Rollerball Compared

Difference Between Ballpoint and Rollerball

Ballpoint vs Rollerball

Ballpoint and Rollerball are two very popular varieties of pens used in all parts of the world. In fact, the two of them are dominating the world of articles being used for writing on paper in such a fashion that pencils and fountain pens come a distant second and third today. Who would have thought that the ubiquitous fountain pen would one day give way to the convenience and smoothness of ball pens? And why would the world call them pens with balls? Because, both make use of a unique writing mechanism that literally has a ball of metal inside their nibs. But we are here to find out differences between a ballpoint and a Rollerball. Read on if you think they are the same.

Fountain pen was ruling the roost when ballpoint pens made their entry into the world of writing as an alternative. These pens attracted millions towards them because of ease of use and long lasting ink that was oil based. One can use it for months at a stretch. This was appealing to those who found filling in water ink every now and then in their fountain pens. They also welcomed these pens because their nibs were safer than those of fountain pens. Fountain pens also left stains on fabrics whenever the user forgot to replace the cap.

Despite all these convenience, many loyal fountain pen users said that they missed the smooth flow of ink that was a feature of a fountain pen and the way this ink could be felt on a paper. A new pen was introduced to fulfill the demands of those loyalists; that was called Rollerball pen. Though this pen used the same kind of nib that contained a ball that moved continuously leaving behind ink on paper, there are some differences between a Rollerball and a ballpoint that are enumerated below.

What is the difference between Ballpoint and Rollerball?

• The first and most notable difference between a Rollerball and ballpoint pen is that ballpoint pens make use of a thick, viscous oil based ink, whereas Rollerball pens contain free-flowing water based ink. This ink spreads on paper widely and goes inside the paper a little deeper than oil-based ink of a ballpoint pen. This makes Rollerball pens a cross between ballpoint pens and fountain pens; those who love fountain pens get satisfied by the writing of a ballpoint pen as it reminds them of a fountain pen.

• Another difference lies in the push mechanism of ballpoint pens that are different from removable caps of Rollerball pens. This is because there is no question of drying out of oil based thick ink of a ballpoint pen. In such pens, the user twists the barrel to reveal the nib of the pen. On the other hand, there is a removable cap jus like fountain pens in the case of Rollerball pens because there is a chance of their water based ink drying out.

• Rollerball pens are so smooth that they writer smoothly with the least amount of pressure. On the other hand, more pressure is required to write with ballpoint pens. This has played a large part in making Rollerball pens hugely popular.

• The chance of text written on a piece of paper with a Rollerball pen getting smudged is higher as it utilizes water based ink and takes longer to dry than the text written by a ballpoint pen that contains oil based thick ink.

• People have a wider choice as far as the color of inks is concerned as there is more water based dyes available than oil-based ink of ballpoint pens.

• Rollerball pens have greater consistency, and there are never chances of skipping which is common in case of ballpoint pens. However, roller point pens also have greater chance of smudging a paper with their water based ink than ballpoint pens.


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