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Different Types of Pens

Although they can be pricey, fountain pens are comfortable to write with.

Pen prices range from less than a dollar to thousands of dollars. When selecting a type of pen, consider several factors: affordability, the activities you need the pen for and whether you are likely to lose pens. If you need a pen for serious projects, such as artwork or avid letter writing, ask an expert at a specialty pen shop for recommendations to suit your needs.

Ballpoint Pens

Ballpoint pens are the most popular writing instruments used. According to WaterPainting.com, BIC sells 14 million Crystal ball point pens each day. The modern version of the ballpoint pen was introduced in 1945. By the 1950s, this type of pen was a consumer favorite because of its low price, its general reliability and the ink dries quickly when you write with it. The ink in ballpoint pens is oil-based and more viscous than other types of pen inks. Although you can purchase several ballpoint pens for less than $1, there are models that cost hundreds of dollars.

Fountain Pens

Fountain pens are beloved by those who often write by hand or artists who pen-sketch. You do not have to press as hard on paper as you would with ballpoint pens because the ink is water-based. The flexible, metallic nib (the tip of the pen) allows the user to control the size and shape of markings, which comes in handy for drawing and calligraphy.

Notes About Notes recommends visiting a specialty pen shop when selecting a fountain pen to select a model that is comfortable for your grip and has a nib with an appropriate thickness. The site also suggests you never share your pen, as the nib becomes accustomed to your handwriting, which might be altered if someone else uses it.

The first fountain pen was invented in 1884 by Lewis Waterman. Some fountain pens can cost thousands of dollars, but you can also find models for less than $100.

Rollerball Pens

Rollerball pens combine the benefits from fountain and ballpoint pens. Although slightly more expensive than ballpoints, they are generally a lot more affordable than fountain models. Rollerball pens and ballpoints both have ball tips, but rollerball pen tips are thinner, allowing the user to write or sketch with more intricate detail. Rollerball pens also have water-based ink, like fountain pens, allowing the user to have an easier writing experience as the ink is absorbed more deeply into the page. And because the ink is water-based, you have more color options with rollerball and fountain pens than ballpoint varieties.

About the Author

Michelle Brunet has published articles in newspapers and magazines such as "The Coast," "Our Children," "Arts East," "Halifax Magazine" and "Atlantic Books Today." She earned a Bachelor of Science in environmental studies from Saint Mary's University and a Bachelor of Education from Lakehead University.