The Best Ballpoint Pen Refills

By Samantha Di Nardo

Ballpoint Pen Refills

The Best Ballpoint Pen Refills

By Samantha Di Nardo

I tested out some of the best ballpoint pen refills, and now I’ll break down the ones I think are not worth the money and the one that made me go out and buy a compatible pen for it.

My Top 5 Refills:

  1. Uniball Jetstream SXR-600
  2. Waterman Proprietary Fine Point Refill
  3. Schmidt P900
  4. Dayspring Pens Ballpoint Refills
  5. Parker Quink Ballpoint

Proprietary Refills vs Universal Refills

There are two major kinds of ballpoint refills.

Proprietary, meaning they are made by a brand with a unique size or shape specific to the pen, and universal, meaning a majority of pen brands use the same standard fit.

If you are looking for a ballpoint pen refill, first always check to make sure of the size and shape of the refill you need before purchasing.

Proprietary Ballpoint Refills

First up, I want to talk about two proprietary refills that are worth buying the pen just to use the refill.

Waterman

The Waterman fine point ballpoint refills are an excellent example of a company that spends just as much time making sure the output of their ink is as precise and well designed as the barrels of the pens.

Waterman Refill

What I love about this refill is the texture of the writing line. By that I mean how the oily ink glides continuously and almost bounces along the page.

There is also a depth of color to the ink and the precision of the point that makes it a clear stark contrast to the paper.

No skipping, tapering, or pooling (when a glob of ink sticks to the page or gathers on the tip).

My ballpoint pen refill rating: 4.8

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Cross

You don’t become the pen company known for gracing the Whitehouse without having ballpoint refills makes American craftsmanship proud.

Cross Refill

I was delightfully surprised by the steady consistency of the Cross ballpoint refill. Nary a skip in sight.

The Cross refill has a solid writing point with good definition. It does have a tendency for a little pooling. I think this is because the refilling was picking up some of the fibers of the paper and over time that fuzz wad would goop.

My ballpoint pen refill rating: 4

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Ballpoint Refill Infographic

The Best Universal (Parker Style G-2) Ballpoint Pen Refills

Universal refills are refills that have a standard sizing: the Parker Style G-2 refill.

This means any pen company or manufacturer who makes this size will have refills that can be interchanged between ballpoint pen brands.

Each of these ballpoint refills will be compatible with one another.

Uniball Jetstream SXR-600

Oh golly day! I have been excited to talk about this one since I ordered all the refills and tried them out. (This is my all time favorite refill and sparked a pen buying spree in the office).

Uniball Jetsream SXR-600 Refill

The Uniball Jetstream SXR-600 takes the ink that is inside arguably the one of the best ballpoint pens on the market and puts it in the cartridge sizing that means it can go in your favorite name brand barrel.

I know the word glide gets used alot in pen/ink description, but this refill ACTUALLY glides. I found it harder to stop my momentum writing than to continue on. I actively tried to think of more things to write down just to use this refill.

I do not understand how Uni gets such a rich color definition without the ink becoming water-based. The black of the ink is bold, the writing line incredibly sharp and defined.

It is a fine point with options for point size being 0.5mm or 0.7mm so if you are looking for a broader line, this refill might not be for you.

My ballpoint pen refill rating: 5

Schmidt P900

You can’t talk ballpoint pen refills without discussing Schmidt, the German company who excels at creating the internal mechanisms and parts that brands build their pens upon.

Schmidt ink is some of the best in the business. The question for Schmidt refills isn’t if they would make this list, but which refills would rank where.

My top Schmidt is the P900.

Schmidt P900 Ballpoint Refill

Oily and tactile, the Schmidt moves smoothly across the page while offering enough resistance to prevent the ink line from dragging in the space between words.

Like all its predecessors, the Schmidt offers no pooling or skipping; it is steady and pleasant to use.

The color is not as deep as the Uni or the Waterman, but all in all it is a lovely, hard working refill that I really enjoy using.

My ballpoint pen refill rating: 4.5

Dayspring Pens

The Dayspring Pens ballpoint refills are almost a mirror image of the Schmidt P900 in my opinion, and I can actually say that their refills use Schmidt P900 ink inside the refill structure.

Dayspring Pens Ballpoint Refill

It's a win win on this one since it falls to the same quality as the Schmidt P900.

It may be easier to consistently find the Dayspring Pens ballpoint ink since it is always available on their site whereas Schmidt does not sell directly to customers so it has to be sourced through a dealer where prices may vary.

My ballpoint pen refill rating: 4.5

FIND YOUR PEN REFILL

Parker Quink

Parker Quink ballpoint ink is an ink that is true to its name. It dries very quickly and flows easily without clogging or the dreaded skipping and pooling that is the death of ballpoints.

Parker Quink Ballpoint Refil

I’d be hard pressed to find much wrong with Quink.

It ranks right on par with the Schmidt and the Dayspring Pens ballpoint pen refill. You will not be disappointed with it.

My ballpoint pen refill rating: 4.5

Ohto Needletip

Ohto is a Japanese brand famous for the quality of their rollerball pens, and they bring that same silken quality to their ballpoint pen refill.

The Needletip refill is a very rich, almost liquid line in an exceedingly fine point (almost too fine).

Because it is a needle tip there is almost an instability to the writing point as it rocks slightly with too much pressure.

This is a great pen refill for anyone looking for exceptionally fine lines, so for all you pen and ink drawers, give the Ohto a try.

My ballpoint pen refill rating: 4

Schmidt Easyflow 9000

Back again to Schmidt, the Easyflow 9000 often reigns at the top of lists for its smooth texture while writing and its steady uninterrupted flow.

I must say. It is a good pen refill which is why it is on my list of Best.

My reason for not ranking it above the P900 is that I find it to be too smooth. It requires more effort to stop the writing line than to continue it so I found my words constantly strung together with a fine line where I didn’t pick up my pen high enough.

This means that the ink sticks to itself very well meaning it has an easyflow, but requires more effort for me with how I write.

My ballpoint pen refill rating: 4

Monteverde P15

Last on the list is the Monteverde P15 Refill.

This one ran the closest to a run of the mill pen refill in my opinion. I experienced some skipping, the color of the ink leaned more on the gray scale than the black scale, and I saw some minor pooling.

My ballpoint pen refill rating: 3.5

Conclusion

That concludes my list of the best ballpoint pen refills. I crown the champion the Jetstream SXR-600 with a close runner-up to the Waterman Ballpoint.

What is your favorite refill to use?

Leave a comment below, and I will give it a try. It might just oust one of the current top refills!

Sam Di Nardo

Sam Di Nardo is an author for Dayspring Pens, where she has honed her expertise in ballpoint, rollerball, gel and fountain pens since joining the team in 2018.

From her initial role as an Engraver to becoming the Production Manager, Sam's journey has been marked by her passion for the history, manufacturing, and the unique value of gifted writing instruments.

A graduate of Regent University with a degree in English Literature and a special interest in Old Norse literature, dive deeper into Sam's world and discover why she's your trusted guide in the realm of gift pens.

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