Pens you can rely on: Ball Pen versus Fountain Pen

With over one billion sales of ball pens a year, they have successfully replaced fountain pens in everyday use in homes, schools, offices, banks, and stores. Ball points are not refillable, so one has to replace it once the ink ends, or when it just refuses to work. So, how can a consumer be certain that the next ball pen they buy will not cause them any trouble?

Ball-point pens have many benefits over fountain pens. They are not only more affordable than their better-grade counterparts, but are also not as delicate when it comes to handling. Users can press down on their pens harder to produce a better carbon copy compared to most fountain pens. A well-made ball point also offers months of service without ink running out, plus the ink dries out on the paper instantaneously, which eliminates the need for blotting. Users also find themselves jiggling a fountain pen that has not been used for a long time, but a ball pen can be used promptly, even when it has not been used for an extended period.

The pen also has one or two shortcomings, with the most notable one being that it occasionally leaves an uneven and pale line. It is also difficult to write over greasy smudges with a ball-point, plus they tend to leave a blob or dot of ink when the rotation of the ball is reversed, like the top of a script “h”.

Despite being in the market for many decades, ball-point pens vary widely in their longevity and writing quality. Some models skip, blob, and falter, while others run out of ink too soon. There is a lot more to consider when buying one, beyond the attractive shell and luring advertisements, if you don’t want to face the annoyance of a short-lived pen.

A certain study performed by a laboratory that tests products for the procurement agents who purchase office equipment and supplies for various institutions and companies sought to compare the performance attributes of popular ball-point throw-aways, as well as some expensive, gold-plated choices. In the tests, the laboratory used a machine that holds the pen at a writing angle while strips of paper were made to move slowly beneath the point in various patterns until the pen was incapable of making a solid line, or the ink ran out.

According to the study, the “gift” pens (gold-plated) provided longer service, though the fact that they were refillable made them a less economical choice compared to the short-lived throw-aways. As for the writing quality, it was found to be consistent among all types, though there was some blobbing. In addition, no feathering was detected with the machine, though it was reported in ordinary use, especially if the point was not clean. With regard to prompt start-up, the results were inconsistent, with some writing immediately and others experiencing momentary delays.

The results were consistent with what one would expect from a ball pen, including the lower quality when writing over wet spots or invisible oily smudges. That said, ball-points are still your best choice: they are affordable, reliable, and an excellent choice for typical daily writing needs. Since not all ball-point pens are alike, it is best that you buy from a reliable company that ensures consistency of performance. For more information on this, consider Elkos Pens by visiting their website on

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