A pen is a pen is a pen, right? Wrong! Writing with a high-quality pen might not be a life-changing experience – but it’s definitely an experience that will make you appreciate the difference between a five-cent “cheapo” pen and one of the best ballpoint pens under $50 options money can buy.
Below we run through our favorite picks for the best ballpoint pen under $50, pens like the Fisher Space Pen, the Retro 51 Tornado Rollerball, and the Parker Jotter. All these pens dramatically improve your writing experience without blowing big holes in your bank account at the same time.
Try these pens out and you’ll wonder why you’ve been writing with anything else.
Let’s get right into it.
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Can You Get a Great Ballpoint Pen for Less Than $50?
Not only are you going to be able to get your hands on a great ballpoint pen for less than $50, but you’re also going to be amazed at the number of options available to pick and choose from – almost too many to count!
Sure, there are some really nice pens that would set you back $100 or more – but that’s not usually the “playground of the ballpoint” if you will.
No, ballpoint pens are designed to be a lot more affordable, to be “beat up” more than any of those fancy pens, and to be used as a daily driver. These are the pens your reach for when you’re jotting notes or just need to scribble down the phone number of someone new you’ve just met.
You’re going to love your new pen!
What to Look For in a Great Ballpoint Pen
For too long the ballpoint pen has gotten a bit of a bad reputation, described as a “beater” pen – the kind of thing you’d find at the doctor’s office, a local pharmacy, or tucked away somewhere inside every cash register on the planet.
These disposable pens – led by the almost indestructible BIC options that are notorious for anything but a smooth writing experience – have sort of tainted the way that people look at ballpoint technology.
That would be a mistake.
You see, today’s high-end ballpoint pens – like the ones we break down below – offer a writing experience light years beyond what those dimestore ballpoints offer.
There are a couple of qualities that these top options share in common with one another, and they include (but are not limited to):
- A smooth, streamlined ballpoint design that allows ink to flow evenly and consistently
- An ink that is either oil or gel-based, but one that has a smooth enough viscosity to offer a buttery writing experience without allowing ink to roll right out of the pen nonstop
- A pen body that is comfortable to hold, even more, comfortable to write with, and something that offers real premium aesthetics
… Find a ballpoint pen that has all three of those qualities and you’ll be looking at one of the best ballpoint pens under $50 options for sure!
To help you hit the ground running (and shortcut your chopping research) we share some of our favorite ballpoints for less than fifty bucks below.
The Best Ballpoint Pen Under $50 List
Fisher Space Pen
It’s hard to imagine a more iconic ballpoint pen than this one!
Literally engineered for NASA astronauts headed into space, the kinds of professionals that needed a reliable and consistent writing instrument in “out of this world” environments, there’s nothing else like a Fisher Space Pen.
Utilizing a pressurized ballpoint cartridge that guarantees you can write upside down (as well as even underwater), this is always a great pen to own and a great pen to keep on hand.
Best of all, it won’t break your budget.
- All brass & steel construction, variety of colors and finishes & tungsten carbide ballpoint tip
- The 400 series bullet space pen is the original Fisher ball point pen & most popular Fisher pen sold
- Each Fisher Space Pen is precision assembled, hand tested, and carries a lifetime guarantee against all manufacturing...
- Reliably performs in extreme temperatures (-30F to +250F), underwater, in zero gravity, at any angle
- Precision assembled & hand-tested with a lifetime guarantee against all manufacturing defects
Retro 51 Tornado Rollerball
This throwback style pen is a pretty unique option on the market today, with all kinds of retro aesthetics but high-end modern pen engineering “under the hood”.
You’ll be able to use a fluid capless rollerball ink system or a ballpoint refill, depending on how you want this pen to run. All you have to do is twist the pen open and closed to either write or store your pen, too.
It’s almost criminal that you can get your hands on a pen this good at this price point.
- Cap less retractable roller ball ink pen
- Stainless steel barrel with high gloss metallic lacquer; trademarked knurled twist top; chrome accents
- Packaged in a sturdy graphic tube that doubles as a pen stand
- Can be converted to a ballpoint with Easy Flow 9000 (REF71) or Parker style refill
- 5-Inch in length and 0.35-Inch in diameter at the grip section; 1 year limited warranty
Zebra Pen F-701 Retractable Ballpoint Pen
Zebra might not have the same kind of legendary name recognition that the Fisher Space Pen, the Retro 51 Tornado, or the Parker Jotter have – but they deliver one of the better ballpoint pens under $50 you’ll find on the market today.
Fully retractable, the pen is built around a stainless steel barrel that is close to indestructible as well as foolishly lightweight. The pen has a super modern aesthetic as well as dialed-in ergonomics that help you enjoy all this pen during long writing sessions.
You can read our full review of this pen by clicking here.
- Stainless Steel – from tip to clip
- Fine Point Size
- Black Only Ink Color
- Easy Glide Ink Performance
- Pack of 3 pens
The Parker Jotter features a really unique aesthetic, kind of like the Fisher Space Pen if it was made during the Art Deco era.
The brushed silver body is super smooth, lightweight, and very comfortable. It has the right kind of “heft” to fit in your hands when you are writing, but not so much weight that it is going to fatigue your hands at all.
A super smooth writer, this thing can go toe to toe with most of the gel pen options on the market right now – something that only a handful of the best ballpoint pen under $50 options can come close to saying.
- Streamlined style with clean lines for a fresh take on the iconic PARKER Jotter design
- Stainless steel barrel accented by high shine trims and an arrowhead clip
- Signature retractable design opens and closes with a satisfying click
- Fitted with Quick flow ballpoint refill for optimal ink flow and a smooth writing experience; blue ink; medium tip; also...
- Packaged in a distinctive PARKER gift box
Uni-ball Jetstream RT Retractable Ballpoint
The Uni-Ball Jetstream is one of America’s favorite ballpoint pens for a bunch of different reasons, not the least of which is the almost ubiquitous availability of this pen and its incredibly affordable price point.
This pen is 10 times better than similar pens at this price, offering a better writing experience, better longevity, and better durability – as well as pretty much better everything else.
The ink from this pen looks bright and crisp on any color paper, with dark lines and dialed in contrast. You’ll also find that this ballpoint ink pen dries very fast, cementing your writing in place so that lefties don’t have to worry about streaks or smudges.
- Unmatched Performance - Experience unparalleled smoothness and vivid lines with the uni-ball Jetstream RT Ballpoint...
- Advanced Ink Technology - With uni Super Ink, these black pens offer superior water, fade, and fraud resistance,...
- Ideal for Lefties - The quick-drying technology of the Jetstream ink prevents smudging and smearing, making it a great...
- Stylish and Comfortable - The sleek stainless steel accents and embossed grip on the Jetstream pens provide both style...
- Versatile Ink Colors - Choose from three bold ink colors - black, blue, and red - to suit any writing task or project....
If you are dead set on getting the best ballpoint pen under $50 today you’ll want to have a closer look at the top contenders we highlighted above.
Each and every one of these pens is better than all the other options out there, all of them have a sub $50 price point, and all of them have the potential to become your “forever pen” – the only kind of pen you write with from here on out.
Try them out today. You won’t be disappointed!