Last updated: August 17, 2021

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This time we will talk about a tool that has been with us for a long time and that has allowed us to communicate before the invention of telephones or the Internet. We are talking about pens, a piece of equipment that we all have in our home, office or school.

Pens are devices with which we can write, draw or scribble on paper. For this purpose, ballpoint pens have a receptacle which contains an ink that can be of different colours depending on the user's requirements. The market offers us a variety of types of pens depending on the type of tip they have.

We want to help you find the pen that best suits your work and budget. That is why we will show you the different types of pens that exist along with the main features and benefits they have depending on what task they are used for.


  • Ballpoint pens are portable devices that have an elongated shape with a small diameter that fits comfortably in the hand and allows us to write anything from letters to drawings on any surface. For this purpose, ballpoint pens have a receptacle which contains ink in a variety of colours.
  • There is a wide variety of ballpoint pens depending on the type of tip. We can find them with round nibs, twist ball, fountain, felt or gel nibs and each of these allow us not only to write, but also to illustrate. Pens have a number of advantages, the main one being the ability to write and communicate.
  • Knowing what we are going to use it for, the type of ink to use, the weight, whether it is refillable or disposable are factors to take into account when we want to buy a pen as these 4 criteria allow us to acquire the best product for our hand.

The best Pens: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about pens

Ballpoint pens are a working tool for many fields. From executives to illustrators use one of these devices; this is because there are variables in the tip for each function. Add to this the ability to communicate, and they are an important tool in our daily lives.

Depending on the pen you own you can gauge whether you have a budget for fancy things or not as these are indispensable accessories for both men and women. (Photo: Free-Photos /

What is a biro and what are its advantages?

A biro is a writing and drawing instrument used to apply ink to a surface, which usually happens to be paper. Ballpoint pens as we know them were created in 1938 by Hungarian László József Bíró, a journalist who was tired of the problems of writing with a pen.

The shape of a biro consists of a tip through which the ink is spread, an elongated barrel with a small diameter which has a receptacle inside to hold the ink. Ballpoint pens may have a hook at the top to attach it to a thin surface or they may have a cap.

Over time, the use of ballpoint pens has declined with the advent of electronic pens for tablets and smartphones, but there is still a public that loves to be able to feel the feel of sliding the tip of a pen and see the ink come out and soak into the paper.

  • They are easy to use
  • They come in a variety of ink colours
  • They can be inexpensive
  • They help avoid mistakes
  • They are lightweight
  • They are light
  • They can be carried anywhere
  • The ink can dry out
  • There can be ink spills when writing
  • They are easily lost
  • Their tip or mechanism can be damaged
  • It can stain the hand when writing

Ballpoint, ballpoint, twist ball, fountain, felt or gel pens - what should you pay attention to?

Today, the office products market has a wide variety of pen types and models. Each has different qualities, mechanisms and line thicknesses depending on the work they will be used for. There are 5 types of ballpoint, ballpoint, felt-tip and gel pens.

Round-tipped biros. As the name suggests, this type of biros has a small ball at its writing point. The tip can be made of brass, steel or tungsten carbide. The way it dispenses the oil-based ink is by twisting it as you write.

Biros with a twist ball. Ball-point pens are similar to ball-point pens in terms of the mechanism. The difference is in the type of ink used, as they use a water-based ink or liquid ink in gel form.

Fountain pen. This is the classic version of ballpoint pens. Known as fountain pens, they have a tip at the end that can be refilled with a little ink to start writing. There are different types of fountain pens based on ink, nibs and reservoirs.

Felt-tip pen. This type of pen tip can be found in markers or felt-tip pens. This tip is porous. The inks used in these pens depend on their functionality and the thickness of their tip. They are mainly used for drawing and filling in colours.

Gel-tipped biros. Gel-tipped pens combine the properties of oil-based ink with the smoothness of water-based inks. They are commonly used for writing, but mainly for illustration as they have a wide range of colours to choose from.

Ballpoint pen Ballpoint pen with twist ball Fountain pen Felt tip pen Gel tip pen
Tip Round Round Nib Porous felt Porous
Ink Oil based Water or gel based Oil or water based Various types of ink Combination of water or oil based ink
Line Thickness 0.8 mm small 1 - 1.2 mm medium 1.4 mm onwards thick 0.5 mm small 0.7 mm medium 0.8 mm onwards thick 1 mm small 1.5 mm medium 2 mm thick 0.4 mm small 1 mm medium 4 mm thick 0.5 mm small 0.7 mm medium 1 mm thick
Use Writing Writing and drawing Writing Drawing Drawing

Ballpoint pens and the types of ink they use

Just as not all ballpoint pens are the same, neither is the ink they may have. The market offers 3 types of ink for ballpoint pens: oil-based, water-based and gel ink. Depending on the use of the pen we can choose between these 3.

Oil-based ink. This is the most commonly used in most ballpoint pens and can be found in both refillable and disposable pens. This ink is thick and offers excellent quality. It dries quickly and is the densest of the 3 types of ink for ballpoint pens.

Water-based ink. As the name suggests, this ink is less dense as its formula contains water molecules. It dries quickly and has an extraordinary fluidity when in contact with paper. It is mostly used for precision work such as plans or illustrations, as we see them in very fine points.

Water-based ink. This ink is in the middle ground as far as thickness is concerned. It allows a fluidity and speed when writing because it dries in a matter of seconds avoiding smudging the paper. This ink stands out for its brightness and the luminosity that its colours can offer. This is why it is used in illustration.

The use of ballpoint pens helps us to be neater and to be more attentive when writing or drawing, as a mistake would mean starting from the beginning. (Photo: kaboompics /

Purchasing criteria

The use of pens is not only exclusive to managers and members of an office. At home, at school, at university or in any business we can witness the use of this writing and communication tool. But before you go out and buy one, you should know certain factors that will make your purchase safer.

Each of these factors will be developed in more depth so that you have a more precise and concise way what to look for when you want to buy a good pen for you.

Refillable or Disposable

The market, in addition to the different types of nibs, offers us two other versions of pens to buy. These are the disposable and the refillable models. Each offers advantages to the user for use and purchase.

Refillable pens. This model allows you to individually purchase additional ink cartridges to replace when the machine runs out of ink. Generally, this type of pens are of well-known brands that present models manufactured with the best materials, which is why they are more expensive.

Disposable pens. This type of pens can be purchased in boxes of up to 12 units. As the name says, once the ink is used up we can dispense with it. They are usually made of plastic and their price is much cheaper than a refillable model.

There is a wide variety of pen models depending on the type of tip. (Photo: Aymanejed /


This is one of the key points when buying a pen. We should look for equipment that is light if we plan to write for long hours, otherwise if we use a heavy pen we can cause fatigue to our hand and in the worst case cramps and pains in the joints.

The work to be done

Before buying a pen you should ask yourself the question of what you are going to use one of these devices for. As we have seen, pens are classified according to their tip and each one serves a better function whether it is for writing, illustrating or colouring.

Writing pens. As the name suggests, this type of pen is used for writing. For this activity, it is best to use a round-tipped pen or a fountain pen. Also pens with a round twist-tip are a good choice.

Illustration pens. These types of pens usually have a very fine point for making thin, subtle lines. For this purpose, felt-tip and gel-tip pens are recommended in their 0.4 and 0.5 mm models respectively.

Colouring pens. In this case, as large spaces must be filled with colours, it is recommended to use gel pens in all their presentations in order to have a better control of the space that is being filled and not to go beyond the line marked by the illustration.

(Featured Image Source: Belchonock/