When it comes to getting your thoughts down on paper, sometimes any old pen will do. But sometimes, only one particular kind of pen is suited for the job — and it just might be a gel pen. In the great battle of gel pens versus plain ballpoint pens, gel pens will win every time. Here are a few reasons that gel pens are superior.
It’s true that both ballpoint pens and gel pens come in a wide variety of colors. However, gel pens have a distinct advantage in the color realm. While ballpoint pens have a viscous, oil-based ink, the liquid ink in colorful gel pens is typically composed of bright dye or pigment particles in a water-based gel. The gel is smoother and slightly thinner, and can thus host a broader range of colors (and contain more pigment or dye) than thick, gummy ballpoint ink.
Though the nature of ballpoint pen ink allows it to conveniently write on a wide variety of surfaces, it just can’t hold a candle to the appealing, almost ethereal colors available in gel pens. Of course, the range of shades in practically every color of the rainbow is a huge draw, but gel pens have one other trick up their sleeves: glitter. Effervescent, sparkly gel pens are practically irresistible. Not only do they add a dash of glam to everything they touch, but glittery gel pens also have the distinct advantage of being able to write on nearly any color of paper. Since glitter-based gel pens are usually pigment-based, they effectively apply ink on top of whatever surface they’re drawn across, making for bold lines on even very dark paper.
Ballpoint pens boast a long life due to the relatively low amount of ink required per stroke, but they can sometimes skip or jam up because of the thicker ink. Gel pens to the rescue once again. The slightly thinner ink flows much more readily from the pen tip, ensuring silky-smooth glide and unbroken lines. This gives them an advantage for certain writing and art styles (such as bubbly, flowy calligraphy).
The viscous-but-not-too-viscous consistency of gel pen ink allows it to make fine lines that don’t bleed. This helps ensure the precision of writing and also protects the readability of existing pages of work. This is a great advantage for art as well, allowing for very thin, controlled lines. While some ballpoint pens may have fine tips allowing for comparable precision, the sludgy ink doesn’t always lay down as smoothly, and the sometimes slow-drying nature of the ink may result in smears as writing proceeds.
It’s fairly clear that gel pens outperform ballpoint pens in many arenas. Though ballpoint pens may occasionally one-up gel pens on features like longevity, they still don’t quite measure up to the remaining strengths gel pens possess. From the range of colors and pigments available to the quality of the lines produced, gel pens are an excellent choice for writing, art, and everything in between.