Matt Uses a Ballpoint

So, I’ve generally made no secret of the fact that I don’t care for pens that are not of the fountain variety. In fact, I’ve generally said, “If I can’t use a fountain pen, I won’t use a pen at all.” Well, now the latest in a series that I plan on calling “Matt Eats His Words,” Lisa Vanness from Vanness Pens joins me in the studio to give me a tutorial and let me try several ballpoints, rollerballs, and gel pens. Will I get addicted to them as well? Let’s watch!


  • Blattlaus

    Interesting comparison. Uni Ball also makes a hybrid ballpoint- the Jetstream series. Its my favorite- basically a ballpoint without the resistance (or as you said “writing in mud”.) The problem of course is that most of the interesting refills are not standard and will not fit in higher end pens. You are stuck with plastic. There are some interesting Kickstarter projects that have made it into production that can fit unusual refills- my favorite is the Ti Arto by BIGiDESIGN made out of titanium.

    • Lee Gribbon

      Jetstream refills are also my favourite. They will in fact fit in many well made pens with either a trim from the end or a spacer. I have Jetstream refills in my Lamy 2000 rollerball, Tactile Turn Mover, and Retro 51 Tornado.

  • Toms Lau

    Maybe you could try some interesting roller ball pens that use fountain pen ink cartridges or converters. J Herbin has a tiny one and Monteverde has the tool pen that comes in fountain pen, ball point and a roller ball version.

    There may have other brands that have similar design.

    And I agree with Blattlaus that Jetstream is a good choice for ball point as it is very very smooth that feels more like roller balls. And you could add Acroball to the list also.

    Roller balls come with steel balls and ceramic balls depending on the brand. They could feel differently which ball points mostly come with steel balls.

    For traditional ballpoint pens, you could try the Caran d’Ache. The bigger refills use their history long and reliable Goliath refills and it has a new and cheaper refills with the new entrance level ball point pens. The Goliath though is not as smooth as roller balls, it is one of my favorites with ball points which maintains its smoothness till its very last drop of ink, while most ball points could not. Montblanc also has quite a good ballpoint refill. Of course the Goliath refill from Caran d’Ache and Montblanc are no cheap ones. But they have a good varieties of ballpoint pen design which you could choose.

  • Bradley Weidemann

    I think that Lisa’s approach makes a lot of sense — find the *refill* that you like best, then find a pen body that takes that refill.

  • Mike West

    If you use a Parker style refill you need to try a Schmidt EasyFlow 9000. It is a nice roller, if you have to use one. It is very smooth. However, one of my angst with any BP is the goop that builds up that you regularly have to wipe off.