Buying a Quality Pen? Get the Right One for You

If you're used to using cheap, disposable pens, you might not see the benefits of investing in a high-quality writing tool that can last a lifetime. But a good pen is a joy to write with, a far cry from the simple promotional or souvenir biros that tend to accumulate in drawers and on desks. And when you buy one, you not only gain a reliable writing companion but an instant heirloom with heaps of sentimental value.

Being new to the world of good quality pens can be confusing, so you might be tempted just to go with the familiar rollerball type without trying anything else. Before you do that, you should consider the main differences between pen types, so you can make a truly informed decision.

Fountain pens

When you think of a classy pen, you probably picture a fountain pen. With their beautiful nibs and elegant styling, fountain pens are the absolute classics of the pen world. They're still incredibly popular today among pen aficionados and not just because of their old-fashioned appeal.

A good fountain pen will write smoothly and give you a nice, solid line. As you get used to using it, you'll be able to easily vary the thickness of your writing to add a bit of flair.

Ink comes in cartridges or bottles and is available in a stunning array of colours, so you can really personalise all your writing by choosing an ink that fits your personality.

Ballpoint pens

Ballpoints are the most familiar to users of ordinary pens, following the same basic design as a throwaway biro. However, if you invest in a better quality one, you'll really notice the difference.

They tend to write remarkably smoothly, and the thick ink dries quickly. This makes them a good choice for left-handers and others who tend to smudge their writing.

Ballpoint pens are also typically tough and well-made, so they're useful for carrying around, especially when travelling.

Rollerball pens

Similar to ballpoints in look and operation, rollerball pens mainly differ by the ink they use. Where a ballpoint pen's ink is a thick, oil-based type that doesn't soak into the paper, rollerballs use a liquid ink that's similar to that of a fountain pen. While this means rollerballs can leak, especially in times of pressure change while flying, they provide a convenient way to write dark, solid lines that soak thoroughly into fibrous paper.