Fountain pens, ballpoints, rollingballs, felt tips- which do you use, and why?

Earlier this week, I started keeping a journal again, after many years of neglect. So, after the quest for Just The Right Notebook (nice, plastic cover, but not expensive) I dug out my fountain pen (cheap model, I think it was less than three dollars when I bought it ten years ago.) I ended up buying a couple of new ones, since I couldn’t find ink cartridges to fit the one I had. I like these newer models. Fountain pen technology has advanced quite a bit in the past ten years. The el-cheapo models, now right around four bucks, have a nib that gives a much finer, cleaner line than the old one. Plus, they came with eight lovely colors of ink cartridge, for my writing pleasure.

I like fountain pens. There’s something about the feel of one as I draw it across the paper, forming words, giving shape to my thoughts. Also, my thoughts just seem to flow better somehow, and the writing has an almost brushstroke-like quality to it that writing with a ballpoint or rollingball lacks. It’s more, I don’t know, personal?

What about it? Do you like the feel and look of a fountain pen, or do you prefer the convenience of a disposable ball point? Or a non-disposable ballpoint or rollingball with replaceable cartridges, which, admittedly, last longer than a fountain pen cartridge? Or, are you a felt-tip person? Personally, I can’t see much advantage in using a felt-tip pen for normal writing. Labelling file folders, maybe, because they make for bolder, easily readable lettering.

Tell me about your pen.

I use a cheapo Bic “round stic” at work. Whenever I have to write at home (generally when writing checks), I like to use a Bic Roller fine metal point. I always use black ink. I just don’t like blue.

I tried to use a fountain pen once.


Number one rule of using a fountain pen: if the ink doesn’t flow out, DON’T SHAKE IT!

Loved fountain pens, but kept losing them. Just saw a nice one on with a retractible nib…cool.

Hate ballpoint pens, although I found one 3 months ago that wasn’t bad - big thick grip, neon blue - doctor’s grip pen or something like that.

Rollerballs can be ok. Better than ballpoints.

The caligraphy felt-tip pens are great for writing addresses on envelopes.

I also own the so-called NASA pen that writes upside down, in zero gravity, in extreme heat or cold and “underwater” (hard to get paper to prove that fact). Great for doing crosswords when you are in a reclining position.

I used to own a really cool pen made out of wood - lost it too.

Then Ann Landers (bless her soul) gave me a GREAT trick and I have never lost a pen since: whenever you lend a pen, take the cap off and hold it in your hand. The person who borrowed it won’t accidentally put an uncapped pen in their pocket, and you will remember you lent it.

I’m left-handed, so fountain pens don’t work all that well for me. My current favorite pen (I’m sort of a serial monogamist when it comes to pens – I have one that I use exclusively until I find one I like better) is one a co-worker discovered in our office supply catalog. I like it so much I had her order one for me to use at home (I’ve reimbursed the company, of course). It’s an espina pearly rubber BA3 300. It’s light blue, so I wouldn’t recommend it for guys, but I think there’s a grey one as well. It’s a basic ball point, but with a fine tip. It writes very nicely, and my handwriting tends to be neater when I use it. It was only three or four dollars, but I haven’t found them at any office supply store, so I think I might have her order me a whole mess of them, for future use.

This week I’m using my Parker fountain pen, last week I used my Aurora Style, the week before my Lamy Safari (one refillable cartridge lasts about a week; then I take them home and use another). I tried using one of my Watermans but it didn’t like me for some reason…

I grip my pen REALLY HARD. Since I hardly press down to make a fountain pen write it’s just easier on my fingers.

Never mind that no one steals a fountain pen. :slight_smile:

I know I’m really strange about my fascination with pens. I only write with pens that are Made in Germany. I prefer the less expensive ones, like the clickable Schneider ballpoints or a Lamy or Rotring rollerball. I am also partial to red ink. I usually travel from Virginia to Germany once per year, and usually bring back at least 50 writing instruments. German pens are hard to find over here, unless you want really expensive ones. I like the ones that sell for 3 or 4 Euros.


I like those oversized ballpoint pens with a rubber grip, because I seem to have large hands. The weight is also helpful in maintaining control of the pen. I prefer black ink, though I’ll stand for blue.

I use the Pilot G-2 Gel Ink 05 (extra fine), black. Not that I’m particular or anything. :wink:

I find it writes smoothly, I like the grip, and the ink is dark and dries quickly.

I must have a rollerball pen. There is no other option. It also has to be medium tip, and black ink.

These are the best sort of pen for me because I have truly unreadable handwriting. If I use a rollerball, though, I’l slow down enough to form the letters more clearly, because I like the thick, dark ink line.

Another thing I like about rollerball pens is that no one else at my school uses one, so all the handwritten papers I turn in are easily recognizable. Thick, black letters. If you’re going through a big pile of papers, it’s nice to be able to see yours right away.

I have a fountain pen that my grandmother gave me when I graduated from high school (1982). I still use it every day, and once chased a man down the street after he walked off with it after “borrowing” it at work.

I use ballpoints these days. I prefer those with a click button on the top, but the best pens for writing require a twist. My current favorite was a pen I got a few weeks ago from Lexent. There is also a pair of pens I got for having worked five years at my college, and a nifty little ballpoint for another local college.

All my pens these days are given to me for free. One of the perks of working at I&TS.


I’m not trying to be contrary here, really. I’ve always hated using pens. I don’t know why. In school I always avoided it if I could and I do so at work as well. I have a pen in my desk drawer (a standard-issue rollingball) but my pencil is on top of my desk.

For pencils I have always preferred the Pentel QuickerClicker, with .5mm HB lead. When I have to use a pen I like the Sanford Uni-Ball the most. But I’ll always use pencil if given my druthers. I’ll always pick a plain old wooden #2 pencil over the fines pen you have to offer. I’m just weird that way, I spose.

Rolling balls are my favorite. The ink dosn’t blot and the colours are remarkable. Uniball so far seem to win out over other pens. My biggest complaint is that I have to wait that half a minute for the ink to dry before going onto the next line. I will smear it everytime!
I also adore a plain old Write Bro’s red ball point for general writing. The WB pens have bolder ink than the bics, who’s balls also have a tendancy to be blotchy. (You’d think they’d get a perfect ball for thier pens by now?) Metalic ink is not good for everyday work. For some reason to me it looks blurry.

I collect pens. I will buy them no matter how cheap looking or ink colour. I just spent 40 over at Office Max for just 3 pen sets. But I also will go to the Family Dollor and buy the cheapo Gel rollers. (4 for 2 bucks) My collection groweth! Now, if I can keep my aspiring comic book artist Nephew out of them, I’d be right good.

The Mead 5 star Notebook rocks dosn’t it?!?

For you all with rotten hand writing get thee self a caligraphy pen and use it! You’ll be suprised how quickly your writing improves! There’s something about a caligraphy pen that just requires you to put in the little bit of extra effort to look good. I was seriously suprised myself when I took up Caligraphy as a hobby, how the stokes required for perfectly formed letters transfered themselves over into all my writing.

Damn Shaffer for discontinuing Peacock Blue!

I love the Fisher Space Pen… As mentioned above.

I prefer the “Bullet” style. It’s not really bullet shaped, just the most efficient use of metal to make a pen. Kinda a like a tube, with rounded ends.

Fits GREAT in the pocket.

A tip: Don’t get the plated pens or laquered pens. Just get the Chrome ones. They all chip, but the chrome doesn’t look too bad.

Another vote for Gel pens. Pilot or Uniball. Use the extra fines to do crosswords. Writes so smoothly and clearly even on newsprint. They don’t skip so much like regular ball points. If you haven’t tried them yet, you don’t know what you’re missing.

i also use the Pilot G-2. as a left-handed person, i need the quick-drying ink when i’m doing lots of intense writing. i buy them in both medium and fine, for different tasks.

i love collecting pens of all kinds, though. i’ll use them even after the Third World War and the establishment of the Federation, because writing is very special to me.


I write with a Parker Duofold fountain pen. On occasion I’ll use a rollerball from my father’s pen set that he gave me.

I have always liked the physical act of writing and there’s nothing better than writing with a fountain pen on a good piece of paper.

While my favorite pens that I own are a classic Parker ballpoint and a Cross ballpoint given to me by a friend, the pens to use are the new wave of rollerballs (as opposed to the old ones e.g.-Rolling Writers). They don’t skip like ballpoints and they don’t feather like felt tips. Nylon tip pens (e.g.-Pigma Microns) have a nice range of point sizes, including the incredibly fine, technical pen-sized .005, but they have a tendency to crack and break.

I like my Mont Blanc Pen

Mont Blanc??? :drools profusely:

Fountain pens all the way. I get the oddest looks since I’m a computer science major, but I prefer them. I love the way they write, my hand doesn’t cramp up or get tired, the ink flows so nicely. And goddammit, they look really really nice.

I’ve noticed that people do one of two things when they see my pen: they ask to try it, or they say, “why the hell are you using a calligraphy pen?”. Most of the people who “try” my fountain pen (by taking it as they’re asking if they can use it :rolleyes: ) have no idea how to use it; they put the nib UPSIDE DOWN, or MASH the nib on the paper. They usually stop trying it out when they hear my panicked squeak. :slight_smile:

My pen is my baby. It’s not an extremely valuable pen (~$60 online, I believe), but it was a gift and is lovely and writes wonderfully, so I protect it any way I can.

I would kill for a Mont Blanc, though.