Most quality ballpoint pens are made from oil-based or alcohol-based ink that dries much quicker than other inks, reducing the chances of smearing on the paper.
There are tons of great ballpoint pen brands on the market today that produce quick-drying options that won’t smear or smudge while you write, making them perfect for everyday use. Read on for more information regarding ballpoint pens, the inks used, and the best options available.
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Can Ballpoint Pens Smear?
Technically yes, any pen can smear. Smearing occurs when the ink hasn’t fully dried and is brushed up against, causing it to flow across the page.
While ballpoint pens can smear, most of them won’t because of the types of inks they use. Oil-based and alcohol-based inks are most frequently used in ballpoint pens. Both of these inks are fast-drying, reducing the time frame where smears can occur.
Oil-based inks are also much thicker, meaning that less ink is deposited onto the paper, reducing the chances of smearing even further.
Reasons Ballpoint Pens Smear
Just because the chances of ballpoint pens smearing are smaller than other pens doesn’t mean that they can’t or won’t. There are many reasons your ballpoint pen can cause smudges on your paper, and it is usually due to the person handling the writing utensil.
You Are Pressing Down too Hard
Sometimes the reason for pen smudges and smears is how you handle them. Using too much pressure is one of the biggest reasons for the ink to transfer. The more pressure you put on a ballpoint pen, the more ink will be released onto the paper, which will create a much greater risk of smearing.
You Have Poor Quality Pens
Not all pens are created equally, and more often than not, “you get what you pay for.” Some companies will choose to save money by using a poorer quality of ink, or the pen’s design is poorly constructed, allowing too much ink to flow at one time. Both of these issues will cause tons of smudging.
You are a Lefty
While this isn’t your fault, Unfortunately, being left-handed is rough for anyone writing with a pen because the chances of smudging increase as you sweep your hand across the page. If you are a left-handed writer, it is crucial you purchase ball-point pens with fast-drying ink.
You Live in Hot and Humid Climates
The weather actually plays a large role in the way your pen performs. Believe it or not, the hotter and more humid it is out, the more likely your ink will smear.
Heat and humidity can cause the pen’s ink to thin out and, at the same time, add moisture to it, making it unable to dry as fast as it normally would.
It Needs to Be Maintained
Yes, you read that right. Even your pens require a certain level of maintenance, especially if you own a high-end option. While ballpoint pens are great writing utensils, the thick ink is known for clogging the tip or creating a build-up of ink around the tip, which can then transfer onto your paper or hands and smear.
You’re Using the Wrong Paper
The type of paper you write on is going to play a role in the way the ink is absorbed and how quickly it dries. If you are writing on glossy paper with a less porous material (i.e., birthday cards, gift cards, etc.), the ink will take a while to dry up. If you are using a thicker, more porous material, the ink will absorb faster and dry quicker.
How to Stop Ballpoint Pens From Smearing
Complaints about smearing ballpoint pens are limited; however, if you do find yourself struggling with this specific issue, there are a few different ways you can remedy the problem.
Clean the Tip of Your Pen
As mentioned, the ink will often start to coagulate inside the tip of your pen; because the pen is still functioning and wet ink can still move through this blockage, the build-up will remain moist, causing the pen to smear against the paper as you write.
If you have a completely dry blockage in the pens, the ink will have a tough time making its way through the tip, leading to bouts of spurting.
Store Your Pen in a Cool Location
Professionals will tell you that storing your ballpoint pen in cool spaces where heat and humidity can’t affect the ink is the best way to get the most out of your writing utensil. Keep it inside a desk drawer or a special case.
5 Great Ballpoint Pens
Do Ballpoint pens smear? Yes, they can; however, the chances are much less likely with the right product. Here is a list of five amazing ballpoint pen brands that are famous for their quick-drying and smear-free performance.
- Uni-ball Jetstream 101 Ballpoint Pens
- Zebra Pen Z-Grip Retractable Ballpoint Pen
- Pentel® R.S.V.P.® Ballpoint Pens
- Paper Mate Profile Ballpoint Pens, Retractable Pen with Stainless Steel Barrel
- Pentel Glidewrite Signature Ballpoint Pen with Smooth TechniFlo Ink
All of the options listed above are popular brands with amazing reviews. These pens are designed to provide you with a smooth writing experience without having to worry about your ink smearing across the page.
Not only are these quality pens, but they are also affordable for any budget.
Summing Things Up
There is nothing more frustrating than seeing ink smears on your paper, especially when it forces you to redo your work. Luckily, ballpoint pens are great options for anyone who requires a writing utensil that has quick-drying ink and will last a long time. While ballpoint pens can smear, quality products often will not.