Although the tips may look the same, a Rollerball Pen refill is quite different than a Ballpoint Pen refill. For starters, the cartridge shapes are not compatible with the other pen. If you try putting a ballpoint pen in a rollerball and vice versa, the pen will not close properly and will not write. It is similar to buying the wrong model ink cartridge for your printer. The other main difference is the ink - a rollerball pen ink cartridge contains liquid ink that flows on paper much like fountain pen ink would. A rollerball pen requires a cap to prevent the cartridge from drying out. Ballpoint pen refills use a thicker paste ink and require more pressure to produce a dark mark on the paper.
Pros : Ink flows smoothly for a darker, richer mark on paper. Less hand strain. Cons : Less convenient as most Rollerball pens need caps. More prone to drying out prematurely. Shorter life span of the cartridge.
Some pen manufacturers, like Delta and Retro 51, craft pens that use a capless rollerball refill, which produces the same effects of a smooth, rich rollerball ink, but does not dry out and can be retractable. Another popular alternative to the rollerball tip is the felt-tip ink cartridge (also called fineliner, fiber-tip or porous point pen refill) that is akin to an ultra-fine Sharpie pen. Felt-tip refills need only the lightest of touch to the paper to make a smooth, rich mark.
Common types of Rollerball Pen Refill Cartridges
Standard Ceramic Rollerball Pen Refill
Widely used in most capped rollerball pens, the safety ceramic rollerball pen refill, also known as the Schmidt 888 ceramic refill, is characterized by a long cylinder that abruptly comes to a point at the one end and is flat on the opposite, non-writing end. They sometimes have other markings, or other brand names on the barrel, but as long as the size is the same, it will work for your rollerball pen. Most of the branded refills like Waterford, ACME, etc are manufactured in the same plant in Germany and are interchangeable, meaning they will fit in a variety of rollerball pens.
Pen Brands that fit Ceramic Rollerball Pen Refills : Aldo Domani, ACME, Aurora, Bexley, Brossert & Erhard, Colibri, Delta, Diplomat, Elysee, Faber Castell, Foray Focus, Hauser, Inoxcrom, Itoya, Jean Pierre Lepine, Krone, Marlen, Montegrappa, Monteverde, Nettuno, OMAS, Retro 51, Rotring, Schmidt, Schneider, Sensa, Stipula, Visconti, Yafa.
Short Schmidt P8126 Capless Rollerball Refill
The Schmidt P8126 Rollerball refill is shorter and shaped with a small "hat" plastic piece on end opposite the writing tip. It features the same fluid ink that is specially formulated to remain capless. The Retro 51 Tornado and Delta rollerball pens are the most well-known to use this type of refill. It allows for the convenience of a twist-action pen with the rich, fluid rollerball ink.
Pen Brands that fit Schmidt P8126 Capless Rollerball Refill : Delta, Monteverde, Retro 51, OMAS.
Its bigger brother, the 8216 Long Capless Rollerball, is commonly mistaken for being compatible with the Short version. It's easy to see why, as they both look identical, save for the length. That's why we like putting the measurements on our photos listed on this website.
The 8126 refill fits a smaller subset of rollerball pens that usually are capped. Certain Sensa, OMAS & Retro 51 pens use this type of refill cartridge. Chances are, if your rollerball is retractable, it would not use the larger size. If you're unsure, take a quick measurement to double check the length of the cartridge.
Other Manufacturer - Specific Rollerball Pen Refills
Cross Selectip Gel Rollerball Refill
Waterman Rollerball Refill
Parker Rollerball Refill
Sheaffer Rollerball Refill (NOT SLIM)
Pelikan Rollerball Refill
Mont Blanc Rollerball Refill
Lamy M62/63 Rollerball Pen Refill
Lamy M66 Retractable Rollerball Pen Refill