The signature you compose and all those personal notes to your colleagues, friends, and family are among the most important words you are ever likely to write.
For this, a good pen is essential. It is probably one with a broad or a medium point. It’s so important to select the pen that you will enjoy working with.
This is a pen you will probably be using heavily on a daily basis, even when you use a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone. The key is choosing a pen that is of the type and has the point size with which you are most comfortable.
If your handwriting tends to be on the small side, you’ll probably prefer a pen that has a fine point. But the bigger and the faster you write, the more you’ll likely want to choose a medium or even a broad point to enable the ink to flow faster.
Working with a pen that suits you and your temperament is something of joy. It can create an intimate way of connecting with paper and your thoughts. And it can become exhilarating.
There are not many of us these days who have beautiful cursive handwriting but it really doesn’t matter. Writing by hand can improve our handwriting even if it’s just by a little. Using a pen slows your hand and creates an effect that no computer can.
There is such a choice of pens these days that it is easy to get confused – why would I ever need a ballpoint these days when there are gel and rollerball pens?
The range of choices we now have is no bad thing. It gives us a plethora of options when we seek a pen that fits our needs. But what is the difference between all these types of pens and what effect does each one have on the way we write?
Rollerball, Ballpoint, or Gel Pen?
What lies underneath each of the labels is basically the type of ink. It could be thick or it could be thin. The thicker the ink the quicker it tends to dry. It lasts longer and makes neater if uninspired lines. The thinner the ink the slower it dries. This type of ink tends to run out faster, but it makes sharper and more vibrant lines.
The rule of thumb is that pens are classed by the ink type and delivery system.
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Ballpoint Pens use an oil-based, thick ink that is like a paste. It is the ball on the pen’s tip that collects the paste and allows it to be pressed onto the paper. An alcohol solvent carries the ink. It dries quickly which is why the ink is left stuck to the paper.
The ink which dries quickly is less likely to smudge. The thicker the ink the less it comes out as you write. This is why ballpoints usually last a good length of time. The ink also tends not
A downside of thick ink is that it is more prone to clump and requires more pressure to apply to the paper. As a result, this type of pen is more uncomfortable to use.
Plus points of Ballpoint Pens
· Not much maintenance needed
· Can write on different types of surface
· Popular and easy to find
There is a wide range of Papermate Inkjoy ballpoint pens. They all feature this manufacturer’s unique low-viscosity ink and come with optimized tips. This means the pens begin writing quickly and are smooth to use with the need for minimal pressure. Expect clean crisp lines exactly where you need them to be.
G2 Premium Gel Roller Pens offer affordable comfort. They are smooth-flowing and easy to use.
If you are looking for something that is that little bit more expensive try the Parker Jotter BP PM BD ST BK GT OHV. It is part of the Parker Urban range and has been among Parker’s most popular pens since the mid-1950s, with good reason. The sleek stainless steel design has been combined with Parker’s unique ink system. This is what ensures a very smooth and consistent flow of ink to suit your writing style.
The Parker Urban BP is part of a new line that offers an unusual bullet-shaped barrel that makes this pen smooth and comfortable for both left or right-handed writers. Because the ink used in Parker pens is water-based it ensures that the color is good for use on any paper. Its attributes make this type of pen easy to choose for many different needs.
The ink used by rollerball pens is thinner and water-based. It comes out as a liquid, hence they are also known as liquid ink pens. The design is similar to the ballpoint: a ball is held in a tip that can be cone-shaped or pronged. It picks up the ink and literally rolls it on the paper. The solvent is water and takes longer to dry than alcohol.
When choosing your pen consider the fact that because the ink will dry more slowly, there is more chance of smudging, especially for left-handers whose hands tend to drag over the page as they write. Because the ink is thinner it also can flow out of the pen at a quicker rate. This means the cartridges have a shorter life than ballpoint alternatives. It is also worth noting that because the paper will absorb the ink more easily bleed-through becomes a concern.
The main advantage of rollerball pens over common or garden ballpoints is writing is smoother and you may consider richer saturation more attractive.
There are many great pens to think about in the rollerball pen category, here are just a few of our best recommendations
Uni-Ball Air Rollerball Pens feature a unique tip that continues to roll smoothly at whatever angle. This creates a dense line that is both water as well as light-resistant. When this feature is combined with the pen’s comfortable feel, it makes this Air Rollerball ideal for composing documents or any other long-term style of writing.
Waterman Hemisphere Rollerball Pens are for writers who want something that little a bit more sophisticated and upmarket. It may be for themselves or to give as a present. Particularly striking is the Waterman Hemisphere Black Lacquer Rollerball Pen
This style of a pen can be confusing because the ink they use is also found in both rollerball and ballpoint pens. A water-based gel the ink is not as thick as that in a typical ballpoint, but it also is not as thin as found in rollerballs. However, like a rollerball, the ink is delivered via a rolling ball.
The idea behind gel ink is that it is able to achieve a balance by drying quickly and being less prone to blotting or smudging. However, it is still capable of flowing freely enough so you can write more smoothly than would be possible with a standard ballpoint pen. Gels use pigments instead of dyes, so there is a lot more variation in the colors that are available.
Like liquid ink rollerballs, gel pens can create rich, bold lines and many people find they can write quite comfortably using them. However, because the ink is thicker it can tend to clump on occasion, rather like ballpoint ink. This means it doesn’t consistently coat the ball evenly and can leave skips in the line.
Recommended Gel Pens
Gelocity Gel Pens are super-smooth to use because the ink is capable of delivering a fluid and effortless writing experience. The ink dies very fast so there is less chance of smearing.
The Rio Gel Pen, like a lot of gel pens, allows the writer to fit more words onto each page or notecard. It can help your handwriting become neater by enabling sharp, consistent lines. And because gel pens don’t put quite as much ink on a page as other more broad pens, the ink tends to dry faster and so the Rio is less prone to smudging.
Hybrid Ink Pens
Hybrid ink pens are a relatively new development. They take the best features of ballpoints – including the ability to write with a quick-drying ink on most surfaces – and combine them with the dense flow of gel ink. The ink in hybrid pens produces lines that are similar even to the lines produced when using gel rollerball pens, but they give the longevity of ballpoints because the ink doesn’t dry out.
Recommended Hybrid Pens
The Gel Sport Soft Touch Rubberized Hybrid Ink Gel Pen is comfortable to hold and features a black hybrid gel ink, with a barrel that is soft to touch because of its rubberized barrel that’s available in a choice of colors.
Uni-Ball was a pioneer in introducing hybrid ink into its Jetstream range. The Uni-Ball Jetstream Pen uses pigment-based inks, which make it fast-drying with densely vibrant colors that don’t smudge. They are particularly suitable for left-handed writers. The colors bond with paper, which means the Jetstream range is great for signing documents or being used when you are looking for archival quality that will last.
The pen that will be best for you depends on the style of writing you are most involved with and what are your priorities when choosing the pen you want to use. Is it the cost? How important is the writing experience? How much sway do you put on how your writing appears on paper?
When it comes to expense, bear in mind that ballpoints tend to use less ink. This means you will have to buy fewer refills. Ballpoints are also less prone to drying out when they are not in use. As a result, they are dependable and inexpensive for everyday writers who need to get the job done day in and day out.
If it’s the pen’s feel that is of paramount importance then rollerballs are known to float across paper almost as smoothly as a fountain pen. They, therefore, give a graceful and comfortable writing experience. Plus they can be used for longer periods of time without causing painful hand cramps or writing fatigue.
In terms of appearance, gels are considered the best for producing the most precise and cleanest lines without the need to sacrifice vibrancy. Gel pens are ideal for adding stand-out signatures to any documents. People also use them for writing their journal entries, or for creating artwork.
The best advice is, to begin with a good ballpoint and use it for a while. You can then trade up to see if you can achieve a smoother writing experience and can justify the extra expense.