Fountain Pens vs. Rollerball Pens vs. Ballpoint Pens: Comparing Writing Instruments

Fountain pen, rollerball pen, and ballpoint pen comparison

Comparing pens to find your right fit!

So, you’re in the market for a new pen but don’t know where to start. For many people, pen is a staple tool in life. Whether you are looking for a pen to sign a big contract, to gift a colleague, or to use in everyday life, there is a style and collection that fits every purposeFountain pens, rollerball pens, and ballpoint pens all have qualities about them that make them unique from each other, but they can still be easily confused.  Learn the differences of these writing instruments and see which pen is best for you. 

Hexo Fountain Pen

Personal and professional: fountain pens 

The oldest of the three styles, the fountain pen, has been around since the late 1800’s and has since paved the way for most writing instruments we use todayWhat makes it stand out among the rest is the unique chisel point nibWet ink is fed to the chisel nib by capillarity from the barrel to the feedThis design is what gives the pen its infamous smooth flow and glideThe most important aspect of a fountain pen is that it is personal. Fountain pens are available in extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad to fit every individual’s writing styleOnce you begin using a fountain pen, the nib will begin to take shape based on your writing style for comfort and ease. Fountain pens also offer a status that comes along with their history and incomparable style You can learn more about fountain pens by reading Fountain Pen 101. 

Rollerball pen

Modern magic: rollerball pens 

The rollerball pen is the most modern pen in the collection. It wasn’t until the latter half of the 1960s that the rollerball hit the market in Japan. A rollerball pen writes with a ball versus a nib, meaning it does not need to be broken in and will not wear down with excessive use. With smooth flowing ink laydown and densely colored writing lines, it is similar to a fountain pen without the maintenance.  The fast-drying liquid-based ink requires rollerball pens to come with a cap to cover the tip when not in use to prevent the ink from drying out. This pen is versatile and can be used for many types of drawing, is easier to use than fountain pens, and does not require instruction.  

Two ballpoint pens

Back to basics: ballpoint pens 

There is a reason the ballpoint pen has the popularity that it does. The most versatile and widely used of the three pens, they are affordable and durable. Anyone can write with a ballpoint pen. This pen distributes ink paste that dries virtually on contact through a tough stainless steel or tungsten-carbide ball that will not wear down.  Lines drawn with a ballpoint are not as vibrant as those drawn with a rollerball pen. However, ballpoint pen ink does not dry out as quickly.  This pen has a longer shelf life and is typically designed with a retractable tip that does not need a cap.   

Each writing instrument created by Faber-Castell is designed with an interest in style and functionality. With numerous product lines, we have a pen for every style and personality. Each pen has qualities that make it unique. From efficient to elegant, there is a Faber-Castell pen for everyone. Find the right pen for you in our Fine Writing and General Writing collections.  



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