What is the Difference Between Gel and Ink Pens?

Most people have no idea what to consider when buying pens. For as long as it claims to write well then they go for it. What about you? Do you know what is the difference between gel and ink pens, and which varieties do they belong to – ballpoints, rollerballs, or fountain pens?

Let’s differentiate!
ballpen and fountain penBoth gel and ink pens aim to produce a writing instrument that can disperse thick, quickly drying ink for writing, drawing, or sketching. It’s crucial to understand the nature of these two pens so that you can choose the one that best suits your writing needs, even though ultimately how consumers judge a pen’s performance is fairly subjective.



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What is the Difference Between Gel and Ink Pens?

What is a gel pen?

Gel pens allow for even writing and drawing and its tip doesn’t wear out like a felt-tip marker. They combine characteristics from ballpoint and rollerball pens. They use water-based gel ink that has a uniformity between both types of ink, making it less likely to smudge but still flow freely enough for easy writing.

Colorful gel pens

A gel pen’s ink is thick and opaque. Because of this, it is more visible on dark surfaces than it is on other pens. The ink takes longer to dry even though it produces color lines that are finer and more controlled.

Due to their smooth writing and quick drying characteristics, gel pens are widely used. If you are using the fine-point 0.7-millimeter tip, it is highly rated for its comfort in the hand, smooth writing, and bleed-proof qualities.

Since gel pens frequently come in bright hues, they are used for writing and drawing. The pens are less likely to bleed through to the reverse side of the paper so they can be used on smooth, non-absorbent materials.

The nibs in gel pens also produce better results in coloring fine details and tight spaces. The smaller nibs even allow for extra control making them efficient in embellishing your coloring books.

Have you tried using gel pens in color-coding presentations, report charts, or texts on planners?


What is an ink pen?

This one seems like a very common question, but apparently, a very interesting one. My mind jumbles whenever someone uses the term ‘ink pen.’ All pens I believe use and contain ink. Therefore, stating that something is a pen automatically means “with ink.”

All pens utilize ink, however, the closest example of an ink pen is the fountain pen or the luxury pen. This pen employs water-based liquid ink that is dispersed through the tip. Due to the action of the passageway and gravity, ink flows from a tank through a “feed” to the tip before passing through the tip.

fountain pen beside a bottle of ink and feather

Fountain pens typically use dye-based inks that are found in disposable cartridges or refillable converters, thus filling and using them both take some skill. The size of the nib, which is the tip of the fountain pen, impacts how much ink flows from it.

Though fountain pens can be used on any type of paper, the pen’s watery ink may likely bleed through a thin page. So a thicker paper material may be recommended for best results.

Both permanent and non-permanent ink can be used with ink pens in general.

They are among the most popular and well-known oil-based ink pen varieties. They dry more quickly than other varieties of ink, so writing doesn’t blot as much. Ballpoint pens consume less ink while writing since the ink is thicker, extending the life of the ink on the paper.

Users like ink pens because they don’t have to press down hard. Because it’s easier to follow the flow, it makes writing with a fountain pen lighter allowing one to use it for extended periods without the hand feeling tired.

A ballpoint tip

Which is more affordable? Gel pens or ink pens?

Okay, this is where it can get kind of puzzling because gel ink is used in both ballpoint and rollerball pens. The ink is a water-based gel that isn’t as dense as a distinctive ballpoint. Because gels use pigments, rather than peroxides, there is also more variation in the colors available.

Gel pens (like liquid ink rollerballs) create bold, rich lines. But since the ink is thicker, they also tend to clump up or don’t always coat the ball evenly; leaving skips in the line. Unlike ink pens, gel pens are priced high because of their quality. One cannot deny the writing quality of gel pens so manufacturers are confident to set their prices high.

Ink pens, on the other hand, are the most affordable type of pens. Considering how ink pens have now become hybrid pens, they now embody fairly new progress in ink pen technology. That means the ink pens line now can provide what gel rollerball pens can do giving you the endurance of a ballpoint pen.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, gel pens have thicker ink that is more likely to skip since they use gel and water in the ink. However, because ballpoints employ thick oil-based ink, they may be stored for a longer period of time and still last much longer.

Whether you’re a writer, educator, or student, it’s true that picking the greatest pen is a difficult decision. The key to writing comfortably with a particular pen is to understand the sort of ink it uses. That’s the most important. The other features are just bonuses.

You might have ideas to add about gel pens or ink pens, in general. How nice it would be if you could share them in the comments.