The ballpoint pen is one of the most ingenious innovations in the stationery world. Writing anytime and anywhere has never been easier, thanks to its invention. It has improved upon the limitations of the fountain pen in several ways, one being that ink dries almost instantly to prevent smudging. This may make you think that ballpoint pen ink is waterproof as well. However, this may not always be the case. Here, we’ll discuss whether ballpoint pens are, indeed, waterproof and what you can use in case you do need a waterproof pen.
Are ballpoint pens waterproof?
Ballpoint pens are arguably the most affordable and durable type of pen available today. They are lightweight, widely accessible, and very easy to use. However, they are also susceptible to the elements, mainly the ink used.
So, are ballpoint pens waterproof? The short answer is not all of them are; many ballpoint pens on the market are not completely waterproof or water-resistant. If the paper you are writing on gets wet, then the ink may smear and fade to some degree. However, there are some ballpoint pens that are designed to be waterproof or water-resistant.
How ballpoint pens help reduce smudging
How is it, then, that ballpoint pen ink dries instantly when we write?
Ballpoint pens were designed to address the limitations of fountain pens. While the ink in the modern ballpoint pen has a faster dry time, back in the day, it was common for people to wait for their fountain pen ink to dry before they could continue writing. Those who needed to write quickly may have smudged the ink as their hands passed over it while still wet. Just imagine how frustrating this must have been for left-handed writers!
The ballpoint pen solved this issue when it was invented. It used a different type of ink. Instead of water-based ink like the one used in fountain pens, ballpoint pens use oil-based ink that is much more viscous and has components that help it dry immediately once laid down on paper. This reduced smudging and allowed people to write more quickly and with less mess.
However, just because the ink is oil-based does not mean that it is automatically waterproof. Ballpoint pen ink is made of around 25 to 40 percent dye suspended in a mixture of solvents and oil. The solvents are usually benzyl alcohol or phenoxyethanol, both soluble in water. It forms a smooth paste that dries quickly, but it is not completely water-resistant.
Fortunately, some brands produce ballpoint pens with water-resistant properties. Uniball has some pens that use “Uni Super Ink,” which is waterproof and fade-resistant.
Other waterproof pens
Some ballpoint pens are waterproof, but many are not. A good alternative if you need a waterproof pen is none other than the good old fountain pen. Since fountain pens can be filled with different types of ink, all you need to do is fill yours with a waterproof type. These are easier to come by, especially with online stationery stores that deliver products to your doorstep.
You can purchase inks with varying degrees of water resistance. Some inks are more waterproof than others, and which one you need will depend on your preferences. Each type of ink has its advantages and disadvantages.
Using a fountain pen filled with waterproof ink may require waiting for it to dry. However, once dry, it will be completely budge-proof, even if you submerge your writings in water. Other waterproof and water-resistant inks have faster dry times. You can try some of the best black waterproof inks for fountain pens first and then experiment with other colors.
The bottom line
For most ballpoint pens, ink is not entirely waterproof or water-resistant. It can vary depending on the manufacturer and how they produce their ink. You can research and test out a few ballpoint pens for waterproof qualities. However, for some, it may be more convenient to use other options such as fountain pens with waterproof ink. It all depends on your needs and preferences.
Written by EndlessPens Blogger Ramona Kabigting