Any stationery geek knows there are many types of pens that one can enjoy, from the elegant fountain pen to the standard ballpoint pen. Many writers and artists also enjoy using gel pens, which are widely popular thanks to their great formula and large number of colors. But between using ballpoint pens and gel pens, which is the better writing instrument? Here, we’ll outline the differences between each type of pen so you can decide which is more suitable for your needs.
Ballpoint pens are one of the most commonly used writing instruments today, invented by László Bíró in the late 1930s. These pens use an oil-based ink that is thick and almost paste-like in consistency. A ball at the pen’s tip comes into contact with the ink and allows the pen to write. Once it is on paper, ballpoint pen ink dries instantly thanks to the alcohol solvents included in the ink.
Since ballpoint pen ink dries quickly, it will not smudge on paper. A little goes a long way, so ballpoint pens typically last very long. However, since the ink it uses is thicker, you may need to apply a bit more pressure for your pen to write. Ballpoint pens are also less likely to bleed through paper, and they are usually waterproof. There are also some limitations when it comes to tip sizes and ink colors.
Gel pens contain ink that is much thinner compared to ballpoint pen inks. They are delivered using the same mechanism as ballpoint pens through rollerball technology. Like ballpoint pens, gel pens do not smudge once the ink is placed on paper. However, there is a bit of dry time required. The ink also flows through the pen quickly, which helps writers use little to no pressure.
Gel pen ink is made up of two components: pigment to add color and a water-based solution that makes the ink less viscous. This allows gel pens to have many fun colors.
To determine if gel pens are better than ballpoint pens, let’s make a few comparisons on different aspects.
Ink spreading and tip sizes
Although gel pens can come in smaller tip sizes, their ink spreads more once laid down on paper. This means that a 1.0mm gel pen can produce a line just as thick as a 1.6mm ballpoint pen because ballpoint ink does not spread on paper, no matter the tip size.
Gel and ballpoint pen refills come in many different sizes. Gel pens run out of ink much faster than ballpoint pens, making them costlier.
Ballpoint pen bodies come in a wide range of sizes since the ink is long-lasting, and refilling the pen is not an issue. Gel pens that need to accommodate a large amount of ink need to be larger in size, and smaller-sized gel pens usually need constant refilling.
Ballpoint pens can write on nearly any surface and can be used in any circumstance. The oil-based ink adheres to any surface with ease. Gel pens, on the other hand, are much smoother to use thanks to their water-based ink. They move easily across regular paper but may not be able to write on other surfaces.
The bottom line
Both ballpoint pens and gel pens are excellent choices for fast, easy, and convenient writing.
If you’re an everyday writer and need something affordable, long-lasting, and can write on any kind of paper, then the ballpoint pen is for you. You won’t need to worry about refills, even if your color selection is limited.
If you prefer a smoother writing experience and want various colors to work with, then the gel pen is for you. With this type of pen, you won’t experience hand cramps, though you may have to refill your pen every now and then.
At the end of the day, it’s all up to personal preference and what suits your needs best. It can also help to know the difference between rollerball and gel pens so you can make the best decision.
Written by EndlessPens Blogger Ramona Kabigting