Are you looking for a good ballpoint pen or refill, preferably even the best ballpoint pen or refill?
Me too and that’s why I regularly test ballpoint pens and gel rollers. One of the focal points is the respective refill of the pen. You can find the (currently) best pen for long writing phases and fast writing, e.g. for exams, here. But if you are looking for a high-quality ballpoint pen for your work/everyday life, which does not smear, making it especially suitable for left-handed people, and looks good at the same time you can look at my ballpoint pen (-refills) test!
Below you will find a short summary of the contents: if you are in a hurry, you won’t be held up by unneccesary chatter and find out which refill won straight away. You will also get a recommendation for the right pen.
If you have a bit of time and want to know how more expensive pens performed, you will find such test reports in the overview.
I. Conclusion: the best ballpoint pen refill
The best ballpoint pen refill is the refill of the Fisher Space Pen, a refill that glides well over the paper, does not smear, lasts about three times longer than a conventional refill and still writes well even when wet. You can go directly to the test of the Fisher Space Pen here. Click here to buy the individual refills directly at a low price. Maybe it fits into one of your favourite pens?
If not, you can find my current recommendation for the best everyday ballpoint pen here:
II. Conclusion: The best everyday ballpoint pen
From a price/performance ratio point of view, the Schneider Haptify (buy here) is probably the best ballpoint pen (currently) on the market because of its particularly good ergonomic shape. In combination with the refill of the Fisher Space Pen (buy here) it tops the charts.
III. About this ballpoint pen (refills) test
This project, i.e. the search for the perfect pen, is not finished yet, as I regularly buy new pens and test them. Since I test the pens thoroughly and extensively, i.e. I use and test the pens over a longer period of time in everyday life, the tests take their time, this has the consequence that there aren’t as many test reports available yet. This page is nevertheless always up to date and it could definitely happen that my pen recommendation differs from the last time you’ve visited this page.
Which pens do I test?
I am looking for the best pen, therefore I make a certain pre-selection. I have also been writing with many different pens in my life, so I already know whether these pens are any good or not. So you will probably find more positive reviews than negative ones. But I will also test some “classics”, i.e. pens that you see often, because some of these pens are not really good pens despite their bestseller status…
The question about the best exam pen (click here) was primarily about finding a pen that is suitable for fast writing over a longer period of time. When asked about the best pen (for everyday use), some criteria are dropped and others are added:
Reliability & Writing / Test of the ballpoint pen refill
The perfect pen for everyday use must be reliable and write everytime you need it. Circling around on a piece of scrap paper with the dried-out pen until it writes again is just annoying.
Whether the pen is reliable and writes well is actually not a question of the pen, but rather of its refill. It must not smear and must write smoothly and evenly.
Manufacturing & Handling
The pencil should have an appropriate price-performance-ratio, be well manufactured and fit well in the hand. Ergonomic features are less important in the search for the best pen for everyday use, as these only have an effect during longer writing phases.
Since everybody has a different taste, I only casually go into the design and show you the pen with photos, so you can form your own opinion.
Of course, the perfect pen must also be affordable or the price should not be completely out of proportion.
From a price/performance point of view, a combination of the Schneider Haptify, which has already impressed as an exam pen, and the Fisher Space Pen refill is the test winner of the ballpoint pen (refills) test.
Unfortunately the reliability of the Schneider Haptify owns refill is variable. I had (original) refills that wrote perfectly without smearing. However, I was also unlucky and had refills that covered my hands and the whole sheet in ink.
To be on the safe side, you can buy the refill of the Fisher Space Pen, with all its outstanding features, and insert it into the Schneider Haptify.
This way you combine an ergonomic pen with the best ballpoint pen refill.
If you want to spend even less money, just buy the Fisher Space Pen refill and see if you have a pen that it might fit into.
This pen looks good, fits in every pocket and comes standard with the test winner in the category refill. The Bullet Pen is not cheap however. If you have the money left over and you like the pen, you should definitely buy it, as it is well made and has a proven track record. Here you can buy the pen and here you can find my test.
The Mont Blanc entry-level pen is excellently manufactured, writes well and its simple elegance is also visually convincing. However, it costs about $ 200. So you have to want a Mont Blanc pen in order for this price to be justified. If this is what you want, I can give a definite buying recommendation. Here you can buy the pen and here is the test review.
The Kaweco Sport with its shape and the golden details visually appeals to me. The workmanship also leaves nothing to be desired. The refill of the gel pen has a ceramic refill and writes smoothly without smearing. The Kaweco pens are available in different materials and colours. The Kaweco Sport pens aren’t cheap, but for their design and the quality of workmanship made in Germany they have a reasonable price. Here you can buy the pen and here is the test report.
The Poly Ball XB from Faber Castell fits well in the hand with its triangular shape and “non-slip soft-touch surface”. The pen is mostly made of plastic and is available in several colors. Why it is still not suitable for frequent writers, you can read here in the test. However, if you are looking for a nice pen for everyday use, you will certainly be satisfied with the Poly Ball XB.
You can buy the pen here.
The Lamy Safari ballpoint pen is made of sturdy ABS plastic and the design is also right. Unfortunately, the build quality is not convincing for the price.
The BIC 4 Colours Grip is a ballpoint pen that has a red, black, blue and green refill. All refills can be clicked out one after the other. The four color ballpoint pen is very well made and the refills are replaceable. If you are looking for a ballpoint pen with four different refills, you will be happy with the BIC 4 Colours Grip.
The BIC 4 Colours is also available in other colors and different colored refills.
Click here for the test and the other colors and here to buy the BIC 4 Colours Grip.
The Faber Castell Grip Gold is a very well-made ballpoint pen from Faber Castell. It has small rubber nubs on the grip surface, which provide a good grip when writing. With its ergonomic triangular shape, the pen is easy to guide. The ballpoint pen is available in many other colors.
The Cleo Skribent Classic Palladium is one of the tested ballpoint pens in the Mont Blanc Alternatives range. Click here for the Mont Blanc comparison. Here you can buy the pen and here is the test report.
The Waterman Expert Essential Black is one of the tested ballpoint pens in the Mont Blanc Alternatives range. Click here for the Mont Blanc comparison. Here you can buy the pen and here is the test report.