What are the differences between ballpoint pens and what should you look out for when choosing them?
The ballpoint pen is the most popular writing instrument of our time. Despite our world becoming increasingly digital, we still use it almost every day – and for good reason. Ballpoint pens can be used everywhere and you can quickly write a lot with them. The different varieties of Tombow ballpoint pens are as wide-ranging as the potential uses. They are available as retractable ballpoint pens, twist ballpoint pens, multifunctional ballpoint pens, multicolor ballpoint pens, or with a special pressurized refill.
AirPress Pen blister
Ballpoint pen refill BR-VS
Ballpoint Pen refill for Reporter 4
Ballpoint refill for AirPress Pen
Ballpoint refill with Tombow Smart Ink for Reporter 4 smart and ZOOM L102
Creative Study Kit
Creative Study Kit + Book
MONO graph lite
Refill for ballpoint pen XPA
Reporter 4 smart
ZOOM 707 ballpoint pen deluxe
ZOOM 707 set
ZOOM L102 Multi Function pen
ZOOM L104 Multi Stylus pen
ZOOM L105 City
How does a ballpoint pen work?
As the name suggests, a ball helps distribute the ink. This ball is built into the writing tip and delivers the oil-based ink paste from the ballpoint pen refill onto the paper as it rolls. Due to the viscous paste, the ballpoint pen releases less ink than other writing instruments and is therefore more economical. In addition, the ink only dries out after many years, making the ballpoint pen a reliable companion for a long time.
From the first patent to the flood of advertising – the history of the ballpoint pen
The ballpoint pen was developed in Budapest back in 1938 by the Hungarian László József Bíró and his brother. After 18 years of development, the invention was ready to be patented. The ballpoint pen only really gained widespread popularity after Henry George Martin used it for the crew of the Royal Air Force. At high altitudes, other writing instruments suffered from the problem of positive pressure in the cartridge, which caused them to leak. The ballpoint pen, on the other hand, was safe with its thick ink paste.
What was then a revolutionary writing tool has now lost some of its innovative image. Nowadays, ballpoint pens – also known simply as ball pens – are handed out on every corner as a promotional gift.
So why buy a high-quality ballpoint pen?
Most of the time, promotional pens disappear into some random bag to spend the rest of their days disregarded. And if its writing performance, feel in the hand, or line width isn’t to one’s liking, it gets tossed right into the trash. This means that it is more environmentally friendly to simply refill a ballpoint pen. With higher quality ballpoint pens, this is extremely easy to do. By using a refillable ballpoint pen, you can simultaneously help reduce global plastic consumption.
In addition to the environmental aspect, a high-quality ballpoint pen can become a lifelong companion. Today, important documents are still signed by hand. That’s why a luxury ballpoint pen makes a perfect gift for important occasions, such as weddings or starting a new job, and is a stylish accessory and everyday companion all in one. And to ensure they really remain functional for a lifetime, Tombow offers a lifetime warranty on its ZOOM line of ballpoint pens.
If you ever happen to make a mistake, Tombow offers a wide range of correction tapes and special sand erasers.
But ballpoint pens’ ability to be refilled is not the only important aspect. The material, design, and a good balance between weight and volume are the hallmarks of an excellent ballpoint pen. For example, our ZOOM 707 ballpoint pen stands out thanks to its sophisticated design that resembles a dragonfly and is at the same time light as a feather. This is why it – like many other Tombow ballpoint pens – has received prestigious design awards
A look inside – the ballpoint pen refills
Just like the multitude of different ballpoint pens available, there is also a large selection of ballpoint pen refills. Unlike other manufacturers, Tombow ballpoint pens come standard with black ballpoint refills instead of blue ones. If you would prefer to use a different color, however, we also offer many refills in red, blue, and green. For important documents, you should ensure that the ballpoint pen refill is indelible, such as the black BR-SF33 refill.
The ball diameter is also an important factor when selecting a ballpoint pen refill, as this is what determines the line thickness. Depending on personal preference, feel free to select a larger ball diameter. In Japanese culture, people like thin line widths in order to write the intricate characters, whereas in Western countries larger line widths are preferred. Tombow ballpoint pen refills are available in line widths of 0.5 - 1 mm, depending on the model.
The Space Pen with pressurized refill – Not just for astronauts
As the name suggests, space pens like the Tombow AirPress Pen were originally developed for use in space – but are also a real problem solver in many other situations as well. The name for ballpoint pens with pressurized cartridges, also known as compressed air refills, comes from their original purpose. The developers were looking for a ballpoint pen that could write reliably, even in zero gravity. Thanks to the special pressurized refill, space pens allow you to write in extreme situations. When you press the button on the AirPress pen, some of the ink is released, so you can write upside down longer than with a traditional ballpoint pen. It can also withstand temperatures as low as -5°C without requiring you to breathe warm air onto the pen tip. In a wet or dusty environment, it outdoes a normal ballpoint pen refill because the ball needs less resistance to rotate and thus release the ink.
If you’re having trouble choosing the refill color, a multicolored ballpoint pen is the right pen for you. The Reporter 4 and Reporter 4 smart have a built-in blue, red, black, and green ballpoint cartridge, each of which can be replaced individually. This allows you to write with a single pen and add notes in different colors.