Whether or not you’re a pen aficionado, you probably know the satisfying feeling of writing with one that performs smoothly on paper. As their name implies, rollerball pens use a small revolving ball at the tip to guide ink from the pen’s reservoir to the paper. Unlike ballpoint pens, however, which use thick, oil-based inks, rollerballs use a free-flowing, water-based ink that makes them well suited for taxing work, from fast note-taking to long sessions of sketching. Rollerball pens may seem commonplace, but there is an overwhelming variety of them available. Whether you are drawing, writing a letter, or working on your bullet journal, finding the right one can make all the difference in your creative flow. Below are our picks of the best.
1. Arteza Rollerball Pens
This lightweight black-ink pen is a reliable instrument to have at hand, whether at your desk or on your person. Its fast-drying ink (no smudges—even for lefties!) makes it suitable for everyday writing or for creative projects, from detailed sketching to embellishing watercolors. Using it feels pleasing, as it glides smoothly while producing crisp, uniform lines with no scratching. And with its acid-free formula, you won’t have to worry about faded lines over time.
2. Pilot G2 Premium Gel Roller
This refillable pen has an ultrafine tip and writes with a dark black ink with minimal pressure. One of its best features is its rubberized grip, which helps to prevent cramps over long periods of use. This pen also features a well-engineered retractable tip that keep it from staining if carried on the go—a smart solution for anyone prone to losing pen caps. While the ink comes out in an ultraclean and smooth line on most papers, it can smudge slightly if your hand moves too quickly; it also does not dry well on waxy or glossy surfaces.
3. Uni-ball Vision Rollerball Pens
Available in eight colors, this pen can last years even if used frequently and features a window for tracking its ink supply. It has a slightly heavy ink output—almost like a marker—which yields a very smooth experience for any writing and drawing that does not require superfine lines. This pen is best suited for those with a light touch, as too much pressure can cause the ink to bleed through lighter papers. The dark and vibrant ink makes it an ideal tool for bold outlining.
4. Scriveiner Luxury Pen
If style is of the essence, this brass and silver chrome pen, complete with 24-karat gold finish, is an ergonomic option. Its weighted body makes it beautiful to hold, and its tip yields a pleasing, skip-free experience. The ink flows seamlessly for effortless writing, with a feel similar to that of a fountain pen. Although it is jazzier than your average pen, it is still well suited for use as a go-to writing implement. Each one arrives in a sophisticated box that includes an ink refill.
5. Inc R2 Roller
This perfectly utilitarian pen produces smooth lines and has an ink flow that is consistently thick and dark. While smudging can be a problem, especially for speedy writers, it is a reliable and affordable pen you can hold comfortably for an extended period, thanks to its rubberized grip. Because the ink is so free-flowing, it has a tendency to bleed through thinner papers, making it most suitable for single-sided projects.