Ball Pen vs Ballpoint Pen: Difference and Comparison

Pens are used for drawing and writing on paper. The pen is considered a type of instrument for writing.

The pen consists of ink which is discharged via a nib of it when we write on a surface like paper. Earlier, there were different kinds of pens like reed pens, dip pens, quill pens etc.

But in modern times, we don’t use such type of pen where the pen was dipped into the ink. Such pens have very limited use, like in calligraphy and illustration.

Pens have been replaced by newer kinds like Ball pens, Ballpoint pens, gel pens etc.

Key Takeaways

  1. A ball pen uses a small rotating ball made of brass, steel, or tungsten carbide to disperse ink as it moves across the paper.
  2. A ballpoint pen is a type of ball pen that uses thick, oil-based ink that dries quickly and is less likely to smudge.
  3. All ballpoint pens are ball pens, but not all ball pens are ballpoint pens.

Ball Pen vs Ballpoint Pen

The difference between a Ballpen and a Ballpoint pen is that the ball pen uses water-ink or the ink used in gel pens. On the other hand, a ballpoint pen uses oil-based ink. When we write with ball pens, it leaves more ink than a ballpoint pen. In ball pen, the lines are bolder and clearer. In ballpoint pens, the ink takes time to dry while you are writing. In this, writing will not get smudged, which makes it better than ball pens.

Ball Pen vs Ballpoint Pen

Ball pens are also called Rollerball pens. It is one of the types of gel pen.

Because ink technology in ball pens is very similar to gel pens i.e. water-based. The viscosity of ball pen inks is less, so it saturates more widely and deeply in the paper.

Ball pens give clearer and bolder lines than ballpoint pens. This quality makes it different from other pens.

Ball pen consists of a small ball at its tip that helps to transfer the ink from its reservoir when something is written on the paper.

Ballpoint pens have different names in different countries. Like in Britain, it is called Biro. In Nepal, it is referred to as Dot pen. In Philipines, it is called a ball pen.

The ballpoint pen uses oil-based ink technology. It dispenses ink in paste form from its metal ball.

Metal that is used in a ballpoint is made from brass, steel, tungsten carbide etc. A ballpoint pen is a very reliable pen and very clean.

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It was developed as an alternative to pens like fountain pens and dip pens. It has become one of the most famous pens used for writing because of its unique quality.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonBall PenBallpoint Pen
CapsIt requires a cap to seal the moisture.Doesn’t require a cap because its ink doesn’t dry.
Ink flowConsistentDoesn’t smudge
AdvantageLess pressure, clear writing, bold lines, different ranges of colours etc.Doesn’t bleed, dries quickly, ink cartridge lasts longer, has good design etc.
DisadvantageInk dries fastly, short refill life and causes smudgeSticky and thicky

What is Ball Pen?

Ball pens were introduced in the 1960s. There are two types of ball pens.

One is liquid pens, and the other are gel pens. Liquid-based ball pens were developed and introduced in 1963 by a company named Ohto.

While Gel-based ball pens were patented in 1982 by sakura Colour Products. Ball pens have the quality of both fountain pens as well as ballpoint pens.

Like fountain pens, they have a supply system for inks, and like ballpoint pens, its design and convenience to produce smoother writing are achieved. In liquid-based ink, dyestuffs are there so that they can dissolve.

In gel-based, various pigments are used.

Because of the gels used in a ball pen, ball pens tend to provide a brighter colour and thickness. Because of Gel pigmentation, different types of colours can be found in ball pens like metallic, glitter, pastel, opaque colours.

All these colours can be seen on dark surfaces as well. Besides, Liquid ball pens are very consistent in writing. Less skipping happens in liquid balls than gel ball pens.

Some of the qualities of ball pens over ballpoint pens are that its ink system is very unique. It delivers high performance for writing.

Unlike ballpoint pens, it requires very little pressure. Less stress is needed while holding the ball pen.

A writer can write very comfortable using it. It provides bolder, clearer and cleaner writing.

Ball pens are used by SIS agents to write secret messages during wars and missions.

ball pen 2

What is Ballpoint Pen?

Ballpoint pens were introduced in the 19th century. Using a tiny ball to block the thin tube from falling and slipping were invented. Patent for the ballpoint pen was made firstly by John J. Loud in 1888.

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Loud’s intention was to make a ballpoint pen such that it can write on surfaces like wood, other coarse materials, wrapping papers that a fountain pen cannot do. Ballpoint pens were not popular until the 20th century.

Because it was not as successful as it is today. A lot of experimentation, precision, manufacturing capabilities, modern chemistry is applied.

Ballpoint pens consist of a paste. In that paste, about 20 to 40% dye is there, which is suspended in dry solvents and fatty acids. Viscosity is the major factor in the ballpoint pen.

If it has more viscosity, then the ink will dry faster. Ballpoint pens need more pressure while writing so that ink can be disposed of.

Inks of ballpoint pens are water-resistant. It doesn’t bleed or smudges on the paper.

Types of ballpoint pens include refillable pens and disposable pens. Most simple types of ballpoint pens are disposable ones.

It may have a cap or not, depending upon the manufacturer. Most of the ballpoint pens work on screw or spring mechanisms.

ballpoint pen

Main Differences Between Ball Pen and Ballpoint Pen

  1. Ball pen consists of water-based ink. Ballpoint pen consists of oil-based ink.
  2. In ball pens, caps are required to seal the pen to prevent moisture. In ballpoint pens, caps are not needed because their ink doesn’t dry.
  3. Ball pens are consistent and clear in writing. Ballpoint pens don’t smudge or bleed.
  4. Ball pens are expensive in comparison to Ballpoint pens.
  5. Advantages of Ball pens are Less pressure, clear writing, bold lines, different ranges of colours etc. Advantages of ballpoint pens are Doesn’t bleed, dry quickly, ink cartridges last longer, have the good design etc.
  6. The disadvantage of the Ballpen is Ink dries fastly, short refill life and causes smudge. The disadvantage of a ballpoint pen is that it is Sticky and thick.
Difference Between Ball Pen and Ballpoint Pen

Last Updated : 17 July, 2023

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