Pens and Pencils | Reviews and Data

Choosing a Rollerball: Which is the Smoothest?

Unsharpen may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

If you are in the market for a new rollerball pen or refill, you are probably looking to highlight the single most desirable feature of rollerballs: their smoothness.

If you want smoothness approaching that of a fountain, with the practicality of a ballpoint, then a rollerball is for you. Might as well choose the right one!

Which rollerball ink is the smoothest? After extensive testing, we finally have some answers…

Note: The attached video was made a while back and was focused on rollerball-sized refills, not specifically rollerball ink. The refills in the video all would fit into rollerball-type pens but the videos included gel and hybrid type inks as well a rollerball ink.

Smoothest Rollerball Pens/Refills

Some top contenders for the smoothest rollerball are…

Initial testing in May 2018 led me to believe that the Ohto Ceramic Rollerball refill as the smoothest available, and I still feel that’s the case. While it’s not a refill I recommend too often thanks to its cost, you can get one for cheap in the Ohto Dude rollerball, which costs about $20.

Rollerball pens are less common than they once were, with hybrid and gel pens having largely taken the market away from them. Today’s gel pens are as smooth as the smoothest rollerballs, have brighter colors, and last longer. Gel pens like the Zebra Sarasa line and Pentel Energel dry just as quickly as rollerballs and don’t show through paper or feather as much as the watery rollerballs we all used (and, to be fair, enjoyed) for years.