What is the difference and Which is right for you?
Some of the main differences are (with many exceptions):
1. They each use a different type of ink
2. They each require different pressure on the point to write
3. The “balls” tend to be of different composition.
4. The line characteristics are can be somewhat different
5. Cartridge life is usually different
The composition of the balls is often different.
Ballpoint pens tend to use a metal ball at the tip. The metal is often brass, nickel or steel. Better ballpoints pens use stainless steel or tungsten carbide tips. Tips (balls) on high end rollerballs are ceramic which glides across the paper more easily.
The lines the two different pens make can be different
Since more pressure is required on a ballpoint to get the ink to flow the lines tend to be wider (given the diameter of the tips are the same). Rollerballs generally are more capable of producing finer lines.
The life of the ink cartridge can be different in a rollerball vs. a ballpoint
Since the ink of a rollerball is more liquid than a ballpoint and saturates the paper to a greater degree, the lifespan of a rollerball cartridge is generally shorter. Ballpoint cartridges tend to last longer because less ink if put down when writing.
I welcome you to come by my online pen shop on Etsy and see all the ballpoint pens and rollerball ball pens. There is a huge assortment.
[See top handmade ballpoint pens and rollerball pens]