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Best Refillable Rollerball Pen


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#1 3nding

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 04:09

The paper in the lab notebooks we use doesn't work well at all with fountain pens and while for some things it will just use a modified Zebra F-701 with space pen refills, when I have a lot of stuff to write for an experiment I would like something a bit smoother. 

So my question is: what do you think is a good refillable rollerball pen? 

 

IMPORTANT:
 

You can include as many pens as you want at any price point, but please include one somewhat affordable option (say under 50$). 

 

Note: The title says best but really, good would be better suited to the spirit of this thread.


Edited by 3nding, 15 March 2017 - 05:11.


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#2 aeba

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 05:46

There isn't too much choices at this point.

 

The Zebra R-301.

If you are in luck, you could find a Kaweco ink roller from somewhere. If you want to try your luck, be sure that it is the ink roller, and not the rollerball pens.

J. Herbin has few models, but my understanding from reading this forum is, that they aren't as good as the Kaweco's were.

Noodler's Konrad rollerball could be an option. Someone can possibly comment on that.

 

All should be way under $50. Well, maybe except the Kaweco.

 

Or maybe I misunderstood what you meant with "refillable".


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#3 3nding

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 05:52

There isn't too much choices at this point.

 

The Zebra R-301.

If you are in luck, you could find a Kaweco ink roller from somewhere. If you want to try your luck, be sure that it is the ink roller, and not the rollerball pens.

J. Herbin has few models, but my understanding from reading this forum is, that they aren't as good as the Kaweco's were.

Noodler's Konrad rollerball could be an option. Someone can possibly comment on that.

 

All should be way under $50. Well, maybe except the Kaweco.

 

Or maybe I misunderstood what you meant with "refillable".

 

I think you are right on the money with those, but just to make sure I really mean pens that are not meant for a single usage but that you can swap out the ink inside, be it with a cartridge type system or something else. Preferably something not to plastic-y. I was considering the R-301 because it seemed pretty close to a cartridge fountain pen in the way it operates but I wanted to know what else is out there. Have you tried any of the ones you mentioned?

Also I have read good things about the Retro Tornado 51.



#4 lovemypen

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 08:00

 I am using Pilot hitecpoint v5 pens. They have a cartridge system pen also. But I am using the old models. But it is tricky to refill first time but after understanding how to do it then it will be easy. But using fountain pen inks in these pens sometimes it is working but most of the times after some days of using the ink flow will reduce. Here in India there is an ink called Pilot Hitecpoint ink which comes in 4ml bottles for Rs15. (1$ = 66 Indian rupees) So it is cheap. This ink is suitable for all the roller ball pens i tested. Also  Pilot pen cost in India around 1$.

   But i think best refillable R.B pen is Uniball Vision Elite. But it is not easy to refill. Even i am not successful in doing so. But in our area there is a pen hospital and the guy running that shop refill any R.B pen with Pilot Hitecpoint ink.He doesn't charge anything for the job, only price of the ink is required.

   Shneider has some models in cartridge roller pens. They are cheap and take standard fountain pen cartridges. But i am yet to try any of them.



#5 aeba

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 08:29

 

I think you are right on the money with those, but just to make sure I really mean pens that are not meant for a single usage but that you can swap out the ink inside, be it with a cartridge type system or something else. Preferably something not to plastic-y. I was considering the R-301 because it seemed pretty close to a cartridge fountain pen in the way it operates but I wanted to know what else is out there. Have you tried any of the ones you mentioned?

Also I have read good things about the Retro Tornado 51.

All of which I mentioned uses normal international standard short cartridges, which you can use in fountain pens. Except Noodler's Konrad, which is a piston filler.

 

Unfortunately I have not tried any of them, as rollerballs are not my thing for some reason. (Well, I do have a normal Kaweco Sport rollerball which uses "Parker G2"-format refills, but it has a Fisher space pen ballpoint refill at the moment).

 

Retro 51 Tornado gives the impression, that you are open to "normal" rollerball pens where you can change the refill. There's way much more options on those, than refillable rollerball pens.


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#6 dgcom

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 16:47

The paper in the lab notebooks we use doesn't work well at all with fountain pens...

 

If paper is not working with fountain pens, it means it does not work with fountain pen inks, so getting RB with fountain pen inks may not really help you.

I have R-301 and it is as bad on bad paper as any other FP... Yes, it depends on ink, of course - you can probably get extra fine Pilot with inks which resist feathering and see if that works.

 

But I'd really suggest some good gel RB - gel ink is much better behaving on bad paper. If you like Zebra, try their Sarasa refills which fit in most normal RB bodies and their small variants of the same for their multipens and their G-301 pen.


Scratching away on paper...


#7 J English Smith

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 18:05

There are a lot of rollerball models out there that accept the Pilot G2 refills, which a) are available in 0.5, 0.7 and 1.0 widths, B) come in a variety of colors (including a really nice purple), c) are cheap cheap cheap compared to other branded refills and d) are ultra reliable, don't skip, and have a visible chamber. Frankly, if I had it all to do over, I'd only get rollerball bodies that accept this refills as there are so many ones out there that are either EXPENSIVE or JUST BAD. My two cents!


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#8 torstar

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 18:56

There are a lot of rollerball models out there that accept the Pilot G2 refills, which a) are available in 0.5, 0.7 and 1.0 widths, B) come in a variety of colors (including a really nice purple), c) are cheap cheap cheap compared to other branded refills and d) are ultra reliable, don't skip, and have a visible chamber. Frankly, if I had it all to do over, I'd only get rollerball bodies that accept this refills as there are so many ones out there that are either EXPENSIVE or JUST BAD. My two cents!

 

Yup.

 

With a little scissor surgery I have found all kinds of great cheap refills to enter a "precious resin" and "vital metal" rollerball.

 

If they don't let me see the remaining ink level on a rollerball/gel then I'm going to feel ripped off eventually.



#9 FOUR X FOUR

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 20:25

As far as rollerball pens go I'd have to say, the most reliable pen would be the BIC Crystal.

Oops, you said refillable. Sorry.

#10 torstar

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 20:26

As far as rollerball pens go I'd have to say, the most reliable pen would be the BIC Crystal

 

The bold Cristal ballpoints are great but they only come in packs of a lot with colours I would never use (like pink.)



#11 3nding

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 20:55

All of which I mentioned uses normal international standard short cartridges, which you can use in fountain pens. Except Noodler's Konrad, which is a piston filler.

 

Unfortunately I have not tried any of them, as rollerballs are not my thing for some reason. (Well, I do have a normal Kaweco Sport rollerball which uses "Parker G2"-format refills, but it has a Fisher space pen ballpoint refill at the moment).

 

Retro 51 Tornado gives the impression, that you are open to "normal" rollerball pens where you can change the refill. There's way much more options on those, than refillable rollerball pens.

 

I think my terminology was wrong. Normal rollerball pens with normal refills will certainly do. I just don't know what good pens (by good I mean comfortable, sturdy, easy to find refills for) of this type are out there. 

 

 

If paper is not working with fountain pens, it means it does not work with fountain pen inks, so getting RB with fountain pen inks may not really help you.

I have R-301 and it is as bad on bad paper as any other FP... Yes, it depends on ink, of course - you can probably get extra fine Pilot with inks which resist feathering and see if that works.

 

But I'd really suggest some good gel RB - gel ink is much better behaving on bad paper. If you like Zebra, try their Sarasa refills which fit in most normal RB bodies and their small variants of the same for their multipens and their G-301 pen.

 

Yeah you're most likely right. I used Pilot Hi-Techpoint V5 on that paper a couple times and it did okay, so I might go with something similar but that is more sturdy and that accepts refills.

 

There are a lot of rollerball models out there that accept the Pilot G2 refills, which a) are available in 0.5, 0.7 and 1.0 widths, B) come in a variety of colors (including a really nice purple), c) are cheap cheap cheap compared to other branded refills and d) are ultra reliable, don't skip, and have a visible chamber. Frankly, if I had it all to do over, I'd only get rollerball bodies that accept this refills as there are so many ones out there that are either EXPENSIVE or JUST BAD. My two cents!

 

That sounds like a great idea! Do you have one particular pen in my mind that you would suggest out of the bunch that accept G2 refills?



#12 flatline

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 22:41

The Pilot Precise v5 is probably my favorite mass market rollerball. Or the Uni-ball vision.

 

If you're cool with gel pens, the Pentel Energel and Paper Mate Inkjoy gel are both excellent. If you go to jetpens.com, you'll also see lots of good options in the Uni Signo line in a lot of tip sizes. The thing I like best about these is that they all use the same sized refill, so you can choose the body you like best and fill it with the refill you like best.

 

Edit: turns out that the refill geometry used by all these non-G2 gel pens has been around for a while. I just dug out an ancient pen set that had a roller ball pen in it and, sure enough, the Energel, Signo, and Sarasa refills all fit it perfectly. The G2 refill would not fit (tip was too wide for the hole).

 

--flatline


Edited by flatline, 15 March 2017 - 23:49.


#13 Zookie

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 12:25

After a lot of trial and error, I've found that Pentel Energel pens best suit my needs. 



#14 theLorekeeper

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 13:47

Not sure how available they are or their build quality as I'm awaiting mine in the mail, but Super5 makes a refillable rollerball that takes converters or standard international cartridges

#15 Georges_S

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 08:24

Go check that interesting thread, it may interest you. For 12 dollars it is worth the try i guess.



#16 IvoryParker

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 07:32

I've ventured into this class of pens in the last two years and have integrated them into my everyday carry. In some instances I find fountain pens to be impracticable.

The first refillable pen I used was the Noodlers Konrad Clear demonstrator rollerball pen. This pen is exceptionally smooth. I have been filling it with Parker Quink black and the results are outstanding. It writes broadly, smoothly and vividly. The pen was supplied with two spare nib points. I use this pen on a daily basis and since there is no need to apply ANY pressure the nib is not showing any sign of slowing down. The Noodlers pen is a piston filler. This takes some getting used to. For optimal use the pen has to be full at all times. I am happy with this pen.


Secondly I also use the Schneider easy rollerball pen. This is a super tough pen that uses international fountain pen cartridges. They are cheap as well. The nib is quite sturdy. From a convenience point of view this is an excellent pen.

Many criticisms of the ink ball pen are that the nib may give up on you and the ball may fall out. This initially dissuaded me against refillable rollerball pens. However after two years of heavy usage this criticism is a fallacy as I have not experienced ANY wear or distortion of nib performance.

With a little imagination the Pilot V Ball grips are refillable I've been using one regularly with my favorite black fountain pen ink. You can just use a plier and some paper or cloth as a buffer to remove the nib and fill ink.


I've tried this with the uniball vison elite but failed.


In conclusion, with this species of pens I would recommend trying the Schneider first. I couldn't find them in South Africa, upon enquiring with the local distributor he sent me a whole bag of stationery items for free including the roller. Schneider is quite helpful and obliging


Good Luck :)

Edited by IvoryParker, 19 March 2017 - 07:37.


#17 3nding

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 02:50

The Pilot Precise v5 is probably my favorite mass market rollerball. Or the Uni-ball vision.

 

If you're cool with gel pens, the Pentel Energel and Paper Mate Inkjoy gel are both excellent. If you go to jetpens.com, you'll also see lots of good options in the Uni Signo line in a lot of tip sizes. The thing I like best about these is that they all use the same sized refill, so you can choose the body you like best and fill it with the refill you like best.

 

Edit: turns out that the refill geometry used by all these non-G2 gel pens has been around for a while. I just dug out an ancient pen set that had a roller ball pen in it and, sure enough, the Energel, Signo, and Sarasa refills all fit it perfectly. The G2 refill would not fit (tip was too wide for the hole).

 

--flatline

 

That's really good to know! It's important for me to have refills that are easy to find and not too expensive so this kind of info comes in really handy. I will also be checking out the Pentel Energel on you and Zookie's suggestions. Thank you for the very informative post!  :D

 

After a lot of trial and error, I've found that Pentel Energel pens best suit my needs. 

 

Looks like I will have to pick one up and check it out. I have a Pentel Graph Gear 1000 that I use for exams and it's really high quality for the price. Thanks a lot for the recommendation!  :)

 

Not sure how available they are or their build quality as I'm awaiting mine in the mail, but Super5 makes a refillable rollerball that takes converters or standard international cartridges

 

Do you need if their other pens typically have a good reputation? I haven't heard anything about Super5 at all I believe  :o

 

Go check that interesting thread, it may interest you. For 12 dollars it is worth the try i guess.

 

Looks like a really good idea. Definitely worth looking into if I don't end up satisfied with one of the options on the market. Plus it's always fun to fiddle around with something and feel like you created your own thing  :P . Thanks a lot for the suggestion!

 

I've ventured into this class of pens in the last two years and have integrated them into my everyday carry. In some instances I find fountain pens to be impracticable.

The first refillable pen I used was the Noodlers Konrad Clear demonstrator rollerball pen. This pen is exceptionally smooth. I have been filling it with Parker Quink black and the results are outstanding. It writes broadly, smoothly and vividly. The pen was supplied with two spare nib points. I use this pen on a daily basis and since there is no need to apply ANY pressure the nib is not showing any sign of slowing down. The Noodlers pen is a piston filler. This takes some getting used to. For optimal use the pen has to be full at all times. I am happy with this pen.


Secondly I also use the Schneider easy rollerball pen. This is a super tough pen that uses international fountain pen cartridges. They are cheap as well. The nib is quite sturdy. From a convenience point of view this is an excellent pen.

Many criticisms of the ink ball pen are that the nib may give up on you and the ball may fall out. This initially dissuaded me against refillable rollerball pens. However after two years of heavy usage this criticism is a fallacy as I have not experienced ANY wear or distortion of nib performance.

With a little imagination the Pilot V Ball grips are refillable I've been using one regularly with my favorite black fountain pen ink. You can just use a plier and some paper or cloth as a buffer to remove the nib and fill ink.


I've tried this with the uniball vison elite but failed.


In conclusion, with this species of pens I would recommend trying the Schneider first. I couldn't find them in South Africa, upon enquiring with the local distributor he sent me a whole bag of stationery items for free including the roller. Schneider is quite helpful and obliging


Good Luck :)

 

The Schneider seems hard to find here in Canada too, but you have convinced me that it is worth digging around to find one if I can. I will try to get some info on if there is a Schneider distributor somewhere around here. Otherwise I will also definitely try to get my hands on Noodler's Konrad! When you say it has to be full... how full do you mean? Like "I just filled 5 minutes ago" kind of full or "I topped it off yesterday and wrote a few pages today" kind of full? Thanks for all the info!  :)



#18 IvoryParker

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 20:55

 
That's really good to know! It's important for me to have refills that are easy to find and not too expensive so this kind of info comes in really handy. I will also be checking out the Pentel Energel on you and Zookie's suggestions. Thank you for the very informative post!  :D
 
 
Looks like I will have to pick one up and check it out. I have a Pentel Graph Gear 1000 that I use for exams and it's really high quality for the price. Thanks a lot for the recommendation!  :)
 
 
Do you need if their other pens typically have a good reputation? I haven't heard anything about Super5 at all I believe  :o
 
 
Looks like a really good idea. Definitely worth looking into if I don't end up satisfied with one of the options on the market. Plus it's always fun to fiddle around with something and feel like you created your own thing  :P . Thanks a lot for the suggestion!
 
 
The Schneider seems hard to find here in Canada too, but you have convinced me that it is worth digging around to find one if I can. I will try to get some info on if there is a Schneider distributor somewhere around here. Otherwise I will also definitely try to get my hands on Noodler's Konrad! When you say it has to be full... how full do you mean? Like "I just filled 5 minutes ago" kind of full or "I topped it off yesterday and wrote a few pages today" kind of full? Thanks for all the info!  :)

I would say the latter, topping up once a day should suffice if it's convenient to do so. According to the Noodler's leaflet inside the package suggests keeping the pen topped up to avoid leaks. Empty or full I haven't experienced a leak as yet

#19 Bradley

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 13:06


That sounds like a great idea! Do you have one particular pen in my mind that you would suggest out of the bunch that accept G2 refills?

 

I would suggest the Pilot Metropolitan rollerball pen or any Waterman rollerball.


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#20 torstar

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 16:26

As far as rollerball pens go I'd have to say, the most reliable pen would be the BIC Crystal.

Oops, you said refillable. Sorry.

 

How did you edit and add that second sentence without it showing that you edited??


Edited by torstar, 29 March 2017 - 16:26.







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