Ask Difference

Ball Pen vs. Ballpoint Pen — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on January 28, 2024
"Ball Pen" and "Ballpoint Pen" refer to the same writing instrument, using a small rotating ball to dispense ink onto a surface.
Ball Pen vs. Ballpoint Pen — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Ball Pen and Ballpoint Pen


Key Differences

There is essentially no difference between "Ball Pen" and "Ballpoint Pen" in terms of their definition and function. Both terms describe the same type of writing instrument, which uses a small, rotating ball made of brass, steel, or tungsten carbide to dispense ink as it rolls across a surface. The variation in terminology is more regional than technical, with "Ball Pen" often being used in British English and "Ballpoint Pen" in American English.
The design principle of both "Ball Pen" and "Ballpoint Pen" is the same. They have an internal reservoir of thick, oil-based ink, which is transferred onto paper during the writing process through the action of the ball at the pen's tip. This design allows for smoother writing compared to older writing instruments and prevents the ink from drying out quickly.
The convenience and cleanliness of both "Ball Pen" and "Ballpoint Pen" have made them popular choices for everyday writing. Unlike fountain pens or dip pens, they do not require constant dipping in ink and are less prone to leaking, making them more practical and user-friendly for general use.
In terms of variety, both terms encompass a wide range of products. They are available in various ink colors, pen sizes, and designs, ranging from disposable pens to luxury, designer models. The terms "Ball Pen" and "Ballpoint Pen" are used interchangeably across different brands and types within this range.
Historically, the invention of the ballpoint pen is credited to László Bíró, a Hungarian-Argentinian journalist, in 1938. Since then, the technology and design of these pens have evolved, but the fundamental mechanism remains the same, whether referred to as a "Ball Pen" or a "Ballpoint Pen."

Comparison Chart


Writing instrument with a rolling ball for ink dispensation
Same as Ball Pen


Dispenses oil-based ink via a small ball
Identical to Ball Pen

Design Principle

Has an internal ink reservoir and a rolling ball
Same design principle as Ball Pen


Less prone to leaking, no dipping required
Same level of convenience as Ball Pen

Varieties Available

Available in various colors and designs
Same range of varieties as Ball Pen

Compare with Definitions

Ball Pen

Uses oil-based ink.
Ball pens are great because their ink doesn't smudge easily.

Ballpoint Pen

Popular for everyday use.
Ballpoint pens are a staple in every office.

Ball Pen

Known for smooth writing.
I prefer ball pens for their smooth writing experience.

Ballpoint Pen

Available in disposable and luxury models.
There are even luxury ballpoint pens for collectors.

Ball Pen

Convenient and user-friendly.
Ball pens are perfect for quick notes and are mess-free.

Ballpoint Pen

Contains thick, fast-drying ink.
Ballpoint pens are reliable for not leaking in my bag.

Ball Pen

Has a wide range of designs.
You can find ball pens in many colors and styles.

Ballpoint Pen

A pen with a rotating ball for ink application.
I use a ballpoint pen for signing documents.

Ball Pen

A pen with a small rolling ball to dispense ink.
I always carry a ball pen in my pocket.

Ballpoint Pen

Evolution of pen technology.
The ballpoint pen revolutionized how we write.

Common Curiosities

Can ballpoint pens use different ink colors?

Yes, they come in a variety of ink colors.

Are ball pen and ballpoint pen the same?

Yes, they refer to the same type of pen.

Do ballpoint pens dry out quickly?

Their oil-based ink is less prone to drying out.

Are ball pens good for long writing sessions?

Yes, due to their smooth writing and comfortable grip.

Is the ball in ball pens made of metal?

Usually, it's made of brass, steel, or tungsten carbide.

Are ballpoint pens environmentally friendly?

Disposable pens can be wasteful, but there are eco-friendly options.

What is the main feature of a ball pen?

A small ball that dispenses ink as it rolls.

Can ball pens leak?

They are less likely to leak compared to fountain pens.

Can ball pens be used on all paper types?

They work on most paper types, though quality can vary.

Is the ink in ballpoint pens waterproof?

Most ballpoint pen ink is water-resistant to some degree.

Can ballpoint pen ink be refilled?

Yes, many ballpoint pens have refillable cartridges.

Are ball pens more popular than fountain pens?

Generally, yes, due to their convenience and affordability.

Do luxury brands make ball pens?

Yes, many luxury brands offer high-end ballpoint pens.

Were ball pens a significant invention?

Yes, they revolutionized writing convenience and accessibility.

Is a ball pen suitable for formal documents?

Absolutely, it's commonly used for official paperwork.

Share Your Discovery

Share via Social Media
Embed This Content
Embed Code
Share Directly via Messenger

Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

Popular Comparisons

Trending Comparisons

New Comparisons

Trending Terms