Top 10 Best Ballpoint Pens for Students

42


best ballpoint pen, fine ballpoint pen, pens for writing

Let’s get this out of the way first thing: ballpoint pens have neither the cachet of fountain pens nor the absolute ease of use of rollerball pens. Ballpoint pens aren’t exactly exciting or cultured in any particular way. If you want to get a sense of their standing, as well as read up on their history, take a look at the comments on this Gentleman’s Gazette profile on them. People are serious about their pens.

That being said, ballpoint pens are the workhorses of the pen world. Since their initial patent in 1888 (and their refinement by László Bíró in 1938) right on through today, ballpoint pens are the most common ink-based writing implement. As a matter of fact, Wikipedia tells us that the venerable Bic Cristal is the best-selling pen worldwide. Those branded stick ballpoints are the pen of choice for every hotel-branded pen you’ll find on the dresser as soon as you check in. They’ve earned their place, even if purists want to pretend they can’t live up to other types.

It’s important to note that ballpoint pens differ from rollerball pens (a few of which we included in our best pens for writing post) in a couple of ways. While they both rely on a rolling ball mechanism, the rollerball is a bit smaller than the ballpoint and uses different ink. We’ll dive into rollerballs on a future post, but what you need to know for this post is that the primary difference is in the ink.

Ballpoint pens utilize a fast-drying, oil-based ink which provides the primary advantage over the fancier types of pens. This ink is much less likely to smudge, bleed, or clog — all disadvantages of rollerballs. Of course, fountain pens are messy and fussy in their own way, which means you have to really want to put in the work to use them. Both rollerballs and fountain pens will leak or otherwise spill ink, which is an extreme rarity for ballpoints. Finally, of all the pens available on earth, ballpoint pen ink lasts the longest, requiring the least amount of ink to write. The trade-off is that ballpoints require a bit more work compared especially to rollerballs, which can eventually lead to hand fatigue.

For me, the ballpoint is best. I’m from a blue collar background and used to inexpensive but reliable ballpoints that I toss in my pocket and forget about. They accommodate my heavy-handedness nicely (a trait that also comes up in my guitar playing), and they last forever. I distinctly do not like the water-based ink in a lot of rollerballs and I find the flow of gel pens disconcerting. Give ballpoints their due; they’ve never let me down before.

If you’re a fan of this workhorse implement, which will ably guide you through your studies, here’s our list of the top ten best ballpoint pens for students.


Basic Ballpoint Pens

These are your normal ballpoints, what you might refer to as disposable though many of them can be refilled. These come in packages of multiples as you might expect from inexpensive writing implements.


1. Paper Mate InkJoy 500 RT

best ballpoint pen, fine ballpoint pen, pens for writing

(Paper Mate)

This is my favorite pen in the world. I think I got my first box of these at the start of my junior year in high school and I’ve sworn by them since. All of the InkJoy line uses low-viscosity ink that writes smoothly in bold lines. The wider barrel at the rubber grip is excellent and eases some of the extra effort for you rollerball fans out there. When you first remove one of these from the box, you’ll find a small plastic ball affixed to the tip, which preserves the freshness of the ink after manufacture. I majored in creative writing and wrote not only my own stories, but long-form critiques on others’ stories with these pens. I highly recommend them. If you fall in love with them like I did, 12 packs are available here.

An acceptable alternative is the 300 RT, which is cheaper and has a straight grip. They’re fine, but the clip tends to break free from the plastic attachment, which is kind of annoying. There’s also the even cheaper 100 RT or the up-range 700 RT if you want to explore all your options. Trust me, though: go with the 500 RT.

Need more options? Browse more Paper Mate products here.

Price: $7.49 for eight multi-colored

Buy the Paper Mate InkJoy 500 RT here.


Specs:

  • Colors available: Black, orange, red, fuchsia, purple, blue, light blue, green
  • Tip size: 1mm
  • Grip type: Contoured rubber
  • Refillable?: Yes — refills here

Find more Paper Mate InkJoy 500 RT information and reviews here.


Top 10 Best Pet Hair Removers

If you’re looking for options for keeping your clothes and furniture refreshingly fur-free, consider this list of the top ten best pet hair removers.

Click here to read more


2. BIC Velocity Retractable Ballpoint Pen

best ballpoint pen, fine ballpoint pen, pens for writing

(BIC)

If Paper Mate discontinue the 500 RT, I’ll have a moment of silence and then order up a box of these. Like the Paper Mate version, BIC uses their “Easy Glide System” ink in these pens, and the name Velocity is apt, because they write very quickly, indeed. They’re a very close competitor to my beloved 500s, but I find that these use ink fairly quickly for a ballpoint. They are refillable, though, so don’t make that the reason you don’t try them. If you prefer a thicker line, these also come in Velocity Bold with a 1.6mm tip.

If you must sneak into rollerball territory, BIC offers the Gel-ocity in 0.7mm tip, which can be found in bright colors. Or, if these fancy retractable pens aren’t for you, there’s always the evergreen BIC Round Stic pens for good old-fashioned capped ballpoint action.

Need more options? Browse more BIC products here.

Price: $7.13 for 12 black

Buy the BIC Velocity Retractable Ballpoint Pen here.


Specs:

  • Colors available: Black, blue, red
  • Preferred tip size: 1mm
  • Grip type: Contoured rubber
  • Refillable?: Yes — refills here

Find more BIC Velocity Retractable Ballpoint Pen information and reviews here.


Top 10 Best Pens for Writing: Back to School Edition

In preparation for the coming school year, use this list of the top ten best pens for writing to reconsider your writing implement.

Click here to read more


3. Pilot The Better Retractable Ballpoint Pens

best ballpoint pen, fine ballpoint pen, pens for writing

(Pilot)

Some of you just can’t get on board with a one millimeter pen tip. Pilot have created this ballpoint that edges very closely to rollerball territory with a 0.7mm tip in a sophisticated looking pen. The ball is made of stainless steel which provides very good writing consistency for long note-taking sessions. If the rubberized grip of the other pens on this list is a dealbreaker for you, perhaps you’ll prefer the textured barrel of this model. It reads a bit like a nice technical mechanical pencil, but underneath is a familiar, reliable ballpoint. Very sturdy clip on these, too.

Need more options? Browse more Pilot products here.

Price: $12.38 for 12 black

Buy the Pilot The Better Retractable Ballpoint Pens here.


Specs:

  • Colors available: Black, blue, red
  • Tip size: 0.7mm
  • Grip type: Textured barrel
  • Refillable?: Yes — refills here

Find more Pilot The Better Retractable Ballpoint Pens information and reviews here.


Top 10 Cool Betta Fish Tanks

If you’re considering making a betta your pet, consider our list of the top ten cool betta fish tanks.

Click here to read more


4. uni-ball Jetstream RT Ballpoint Pens

best ballpoint pen, fine ballpoint pen, pens for writing

(uni-ball)

Like its gel-inked stablemate the 207, which made our best pens for writing post, the Jetstream system uses uni-ball’s “Super Ink.” This ink was developed to prevent check fraud by being water and fade resistant. These are excellent pens for lefties since that same ink is very fast drying to reduce smudges. Aesthetically, they look a bit like the 500 RT at the top of this list, and is available in both 1mm and 0.7mm widths. Boxes of one dozen are available here.

The company also makes the Jetstream Premier, which is pitched as a midrange refillable pen to compete with the next segment on our list.

Need more options? Browse more uni-ball products here.

Price: $8.98 for three black or blue (14 percent off MSRP)

Buy the uni-ball Jetstream RT Ballpoint Pens here.


Specs:

  • Colors available: Black, blue, red
  • Tip size: 1mm
  • Grip type: Embossed
  • Refillable?: Yes — refills here

Find more uni-ball Jetstream RT Ballpoint Pens information and reviews here.


Top 10 Cheap Bluetooth Speakers

For a gift that’s a good mix of inexpensive and sought-after, here’s our list of the top ten best cheap Bluetooth speakers.

Click here to read more


Midrange Ballpoint Pens

Unlike the options above, these are very much not meant to be disposable. Once you buy one of these, you’ve made something of an investment in a writing implement, even if it’s just a few dollars. You’ll be buying refills rather than new pens for the life of these implements.


5. Pilot Dr. Grip Retractable Ballpoint Pen

best ballpoint pen, fine ballpoint pen, pens for writing

(Pilot)

The Dr. Grip was the first more-serious pen I ever bought. At the time, I was writing enough that I’d developed a grooved callus on my middle finger and had some repetitive stress pain in my arm. After looking around for something suitable, I stumbled upon this, which is ergonomic enough that the Arthritis Foundation recommends it for folks with a lot more chronic pain than I ever had. These are also excellent for people with larger-than-average hands, as the grip is quite wide and will feel a lot more comfortable than the normal stick ballpoints. It feels quite substantial, as well, with a solid click on the retraction mechanism.

The Dr. Grip was released in 1995 (I got mine about 1997, if I recall correctly), and since then, they’ve expanded the line somewhat. They now offer the Dr. Grip FullBlack, which is similar in construction, but with a refined black-and-silver scheme. Since this pen is on the heavy side, some folks might find it unbalanced. They’ve addressed this, too, with the Dr. Grip Center of Gravity, which distributes the weight a bit better. Don’t worry, rollerball fans, they make a Dr. Grip Gel, in addition to a mechanical pencil version.

Need more options? Browse more Pilot products here.

Price: $4.99

Buy the Pilot Dr. Grip Retractable Ballpoint Pen here.


Specs:

  • Colors available: Blue, black
  • Preferred tip size: 1mm
  • Grip type: Wide rubber ergonomic
  • Refillable?: Yes — refills here

Find more Pilot Dr. Grip Retractable Ballpoint Pen information and reviews here.


Top 20 Best Gifts for Cat Lovers

For the person on your list who has a cat (or ten), here’s our list of the top 20 best gifts for cat lovers.

Click here to read more


6. Fisher Space Pen

best ballpoint pen, fine ballpoint pen, pens for writing

(Fisher)

One of the primary drawbacks to ballpoint pens is that they require gravity for the oil ink to flow freely. This means that you can’t write upside down with the vast majority of them. Why would you want to write upside down? Perhaps you’re working under a car, or doing a crossword puzzle while laying down, or maybe you’re in space. Yes, these pens were developed in 1966 and rode with the Apollo 7 astronauts into space. This is made possible by a pressurized, Parker-style ink cartridge. You can write in zero gravity, as well as underwater and in extreme temperatures down to negative 30F and up to 250F. This particular model is a lovely matte black and includes a removable clip. There are many colors of the pen to choose from, though ink colors are limited to blue and black. I also like the Chrome Bullet Space Pen.

Need more options? Browse more Fisher products here.

Price: $19.75

Buy the Fisher Space Pen here.


Specs:

  • Colors available: Black, blue
  • Tip size: 0.7mm
  • Grip type: Rubberized
  • Refillable?: Yes — refills here

Find more Fisher Space Pen information and reviews here.


Top 10 Best GPS Tracking Devices for Cars

If you’re looking to record the exact whereabouts and condition of your car at all times, consider our list of the top ten best GPS tracking devices for cars.

Click here to read more


7. Parker Jotter Premium Ballpoint Pen

best ballpoint pen, fine ballpoint pen, pens for writing

(Parker)

We included a nice Parker fountain pen gift set in our best office gifts post because they make some really great writing utensils. As an upgrade from the Dr. Grip, you might consider this elegant, but still relatively inexpensive option. Choose from 16 different color options for this stainless steel pen, which will come in a gift box. The included pen color is black, but with refills, you can change it to red or blue. Additionally, if you ultimately find you prefer rollerballs with gel ink, Parker has made it so these refills are interchangeable with the ballpoint tips.

Need more options? Browse more Parker products here.

Price: $11.40 (47 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Parker Jotter Premium Ballpoint Pen here.


Specs:

  • Colors available: Black, blue, red (comes with black)
  • Tip size: 0.7mm
  • Grip type: No grip
  • Refillable?: Yes — refills here

Find more Parker Jotter Premium Ballpoint Pen information and reviews here.


Top 15 Best Cheap Guitar Effect Pedals

For those searching for good tone on a budget, here’s our list of the top 15 best cheap guitar effects pedals offering excellent value.

Click here to read more


Fine Ballpoint Pens

After you’ve bought your first couple of pens, you might get really into it like the commenters on that Gentlemen’s Gazette article I mentioned earlier. If that happens, you’ll soon want to upgrade to something a little more elegant — and expensive. The very high-end pens will sometimes be sold alongside watches at jewelry stores and are excellent for adding a touch of class to any writing activity.


8. Cross Classic Century Ballpoint Pen

best ballpoint pen, fine ballpoint pen, pens for writing

(Cross)

Even if you’re not much into fine pens, you’ll likely know Cross as a company and maybe this pen in particular. The Classic Century is a staple of fine writing implements, available at an entry-level budget. I had one of these and loved it. The weight is very satisfying, as is the ultra-smooth twist retraction mechanism. The ball is carbide and rolls extremely smoothly. These pens come with a lifetime mechanical warranty, so you needn’t worry about your investment. Like the Parker above, you can choose your finish here from among the pictured Lustrous Chrome, 10 Carat Gold, 14 Carat Gold, Black Lacquer, Medalist, Satin Chrome, and Sterling Silver. If you’re a purist and absolutely must have either a fountain or rollerball, the Classic Century comes in those formats, as well, in addition to a mechanical pencil.

Separately, Cross acknowledge that the time of writing on tablets are upon us and offer the Tech3+, which includes a conductive silicone stylus you can use on your iPad or Android device.

Need more options? Browse more Cross products here.

Price: $24.19

Buy the Cross Classic Century Ballpoint Pen here.


Specs:

  • Colors available: Black and blue
  • Preferred tip size: Medium (about 0.7mm)
  • Grip type: No grip
  • Refillable?: Yes — refills here

Find more Cross Classic Century Ballpoint Pen information and reviews here.


Top 30 Best Car Cleaning Kits: The Heavy Power List

Here’s our list of the top 30 best car cleaning kits, broken into categories to help you choose what you need to keep your ride gleaming.

Click here to read more


9. Waterman Expert Ballpoint Pen

best ballpoint pen, fine ballpoint pen, pens for writing

(Waterman)

An intriguing step up from Cross would be Waterman, which are handmade in France. The namesake of the company, Lewis Edson Waterman, invented one of the first stable fountain pens in 1883 after working on it for 10 years. The Expert is described by the company as having a cigar-shaped silhouette, and like the Cross, uses a twisting retraction mechanism. I chose to feature the black lacquer finish with gold trim, but there are nine other colors to choose from, as well. Ships in a gift box.

Need more options? Browse more Waterman products here.

Price: $63.95

Buy the Waterman Expert Ballpoint Pen here.


Specs:

  • Colors available: Black and blue
  • Tip size: Medium (about 0.7mm)
  • Grip type: No grip
  • Refillable?: Yes — refills here

Find more Waterman Expert Ballpoint Pen information and reviews here.


Top 20 Best Office Gifts

If you’re shopping for your coworkers for any occasion, consider our list of the top 20 best office gifts.

Click here to read more


10. Montblanc StarWalker Ballpoint Pen

best ballpoint pen, fine ballpoint pen, pens for writing

(Montblanc)

Like all things in life, there’s really no upper limit to how much you can spend on an item. German-made Montblanc pens are decidedly a jeweler’s staple, using fine materials crafted together to create a statement piece. The StarWalker line is meant as a contemporary yet timeless collection, updating fine pen design into the modern age. The body is made of black resin, with the metallic elements being plated with ruthenium, part of the platinum group. Each pen gets its own serial number to highlight its uniqueness. Another unique feature is that unlike most fine pens, the company makes refills in several different ink colors. Though it ships with the company’s Mystery Black ink, the following are also available: Pacific Blue, Nightfire Red, Fortune Green, Barbados Blue, Amethyst Purple, and India Orange. The StarWalker is also available as a fineliner.

Need more options? Browse more Montblanc products here.

Price: $209 (39 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Montblanc StarWalker Ballpoint Pen here.


Specs:

  • Colors available: Black, blue, red, green, purple, and orange
  • Tip size: Medium (about 0.7mm)
  • Grip type: Contoured barrel
  • Refillable?: Yes — refills here

Find more Montblanc StarWalker Ballpoint Pen information and reviews here.


If you’re looking for other styles of pen, check out our top ten best pens for writing.


Top 10 Best Cat Carriers

Before your next trip, either vacation or to the vet, consider our list of the top ten best cat carriers for maximum cat comfort and owner convenience.

Click here to read more

Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.