http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rollerball_pen seems to sum it up well.
I like rollerball pens for writting letters, but prefer ballpoints, Fisher pressurized and such, for regular daily use.
I generally associate Rollerballs with G2 type gel pens and Ballpoints with, well ballpoints. What makes them different from eachother? As I'm getting into nicer pens I notice this option more. My question is specifically addressed to Cross rollerballs vs. ballpoints in terms of writing smoothness, smear, etc.
Rollerball was also a movie in the '70s starring James Caan (and a terrible remake).
Generally speaking, rollerballs and gelpens flow much easier than ball points; there is much less resistance when you write. Because of this, I switched to rollerballs when I started to get arthritis in my hand, and could not believe the difference. Also, since the ink formulas vary, not all rollerballs are alike; it's best to try them to see. That's also important for determining which ergos work best for you. My wife, with her small hand, prefers small, thin pens, while I need thick ones because of the arthritis; I don't have something fine and tiny to grip.
Remember also that most rollerball pens will have some type of cap to keep the liquid ink from drying out. The wax based ballpoint inks don't dry out nearly as fast. That's why many ballpoints can have push button, or twist mechanisms without drying out. Head over to www.fountainpennetwork.com for more info.
Jim - Semper Fi
Why don't rollerballs come in thinker line sizes? Those tiny rollerballs tear right through paper when I write.
Rollerball vs. Ballpoint. What's the difference? That's easy: rollerballs write smoothly, easily, and nicely. Ballpoints do not; it's that simple.
As for the "Space Pen," well, I guess that if NASA ever calls bf.c looking for someone to hot-seat on a shuttle mission because one of the astronauts got flu and had to drop out, I guess I'll just be out of luck with my rollerball and some other hotshot here who happens to have a Space Pen on him will get the nod instead. I'm willing to take that risk.
The difference in general is that ballpoints use paste ink, while rollerballs use liquid or gel ink.
So rollerballs can move move quickly and easily across the writing surface than ballpoints can.
But ballpoint ink is waterproof whereas liquid rollerball ink is not.
(Gel rollerball ink can be waterproof.)
A high quality ballpoint pen will write very smoothly, but not as effortlessly as a rollerball.
Uni PowerTanks in 1.0 or G2's in 0.7 are where its at..
My pen of choice is the G2. It writes with very little effort (and I do a lot of writing) and the ink refills last a good amount of time without drying out.
My current, go-to-for-everything pen is a Pilot G2 Limited:
But I do have some nice ballpoints that I find are much better for scribbling down fast notes because the ink tends to dry much faster.
rollerballs get close to the writing you'd get with a fountain pen; the ink "flows"...if you have nice handwriting rollerballs (and especially fountain pens) make your effort look great...i like rollerballs but i usually buy ballpoints because rollerballs do use their ink faster, and i do have some nice fountains to use (which of course are refillable) when i want "that look"...
i believe gel ink pens were made to use on fax machine roll paper, however it seems most fax machines these days use regular bond paper so i don't think gels are big sellers anymore...
I prefer ballpoints. They just feel better to me when I write. I also think it looks better on paper.
...of course ANY ballpoint works great when you need something to write with, but some brands are better than others; and i temper that statement by how a particular pen brand/style feels in your own hand...and there are LOTS of styles...
my favorite hi-end brand (and by hi-end i mean pens not bought in multipacks) is lamy....my preference in multipacks is pilot...
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