I set myself some stationery resolutions at the beginning of 2021, one of which included using my non Fountain pens more over the course of the year. I’ve started collecting Rollerball pens more and more and even though the collection has grown I still revert back to using Fountain pens.
I’ve somewhat kept my resolution and have used my rollerballs more since and I thought I would list my favourites (out of my collection) so far.
1) Favourite disposable Rollerball
My favourite disposable rollerball pen that I’ve tried so far is the Uniball Vision Elite. Compared to the cheaper, entry level Uniball Vision Eye, the ball is much smoother and the ink darker and crisper looking. The ink is archival quality, which is always a benefit. Although I’ve put this pen in the “disposable” category, its actually refillable, although in my experience, this might not be realistic as the pen body hasn’t proven to be all that sturdy for the life of the first rollerball refill. Pleasingly, this rollerball comes in more colours than is normally common in these sorts of pens, I’ve seen it available in Blue Black, Red Black, Green Black and Purple black, along with the plain black, blue and red colours.
2) Favourite Cost Effective Rollerball (refillable)
Ironically, my favourite rollerball pen in this category isn’t really a rollerball – the refill that came with this Pilot Metropolitan Rollerball actually came with a Gel refill – I suspect this is actually a refill from either a Pilot G2 or Pilot Juice. Nevertheless, this is a great pen for its price – I love the weight of this pen and the sturdiness. As with any of the pens in the Pilot Metropolitan range, this is great quality for value for money.
If you are a fan of the traditional rollerball refill, it does take a Schmidt 5888 size (or standard European-format Rollerball size), although as this size of refill can be costly, its always helpful to have a cost effective refill option, especially one that is easily available
3) Favourite High End Rollerball
My Favourite High end Rollerball (by this category I mean <$200 or so) is the Ystudio Rollerball. I love the aesthetic of this pen - its not too heavy (unlike the Ajoto rollerball that I own) and the hexagonal pen body makes it easier to grip. I love the colourway of this pen as well – the white on brass is absolutely lovely – minimalist but feminine. The design has been changed since the one pictured here (I think it now has a plastic cap). This pen has a few downsides however, the Ystudio doesn’t take the retractable gel refills, except Pentel Energels which somehow do fit. Also, you can’t post it and when you recap the pen, the hexagonal facets don’t immediately line up.
A close second is the Rotring 600 (not pictured). I think the one I have is a Newton edition as it doesn’t have a knurled grip section. I like the weight of this pen and the fact that it takes a standard refill, along with a Pilot G2/Juice, Uniball RT or Pentel retractable refill easily. The down side of course is that its no longer easily available and only second hand and usually at exorbitant prices.
4) Favourite Retractable Rollerball
Another hard question, I think my pick for this category would be the Retro 51, which uses the popular Schmidt P8126/7 refill. The different designs available and the price edge this pen higher up than something like the Ajoto, which is beautiful, but heavy and expensive.
5) Favourite Rollerball Refill
Broadly, my favourite rollerball refill would have to go to the Schmidt rollerball refills. Both the 5888 and P8126/7 write very similarly to me, they are just different physical sizes and fit different pen types. The line is smooth and dark and are lovely to write with. The Schmidt 5888 also comes in 3 or 4 line widths to suit your writing style, which is convenient.