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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Ouimet

What Is the Best Writing Pen Tip Size?

Updated: Oct 29, 2022

The perfect pen tip might not matter much to the graffitist in the next bathroom stall, but for us law abiding folks into particular pen pursuits, it does. Ballpoint and rollerball pens are generally available with tip sizes ranging from a "fine" or even "extra fine" to "broad." So, how do you choose? Here's some general guidance that is mostly common sense.

I choose a "fine" tip size pen when of course I want to write small or create a fine, detailed drawing of my mother-in-law and really capture every wrinkle. What may not be so obvious is the choice of a fine tip when you plan to use paper that is porous or readily absorbs ink. My daughter writes in Chinese characters as well as ancient text from Mesopotamia which is interestingly enough actually a Greek word, but don't get her started (for more about the earliest writing please see my blog post When and Where Was the First Writing?). With all the little strokes just so that distinguish one word or phrase from another, it takes a pretty fine pen and agile brain to get it right.

Logically, a "medium" tip is probably best when we're just relying on our good old alphabet-based language to craft our scintillating memoirs. This assumes your handwriting is "medium sized" (whatever that is) and you aren't including any detailed anatomical drawings for posterity.

As a general rule, tip for tip, a rollerball pen will produce a finer line than a ballpoint pen. The table below outlines ballpoint and rollerball tip sizes for the Schmidt Technology brand refills I include in my pens. It's pretty clear a rollerball pen delivers a finer stroke than a ballpoint pen.

Refill Size




0.8 mm

0.6 mm


1.0 mm

0.7 mm

I hope this fascinating primer on pen tip size helps to better your handwriting, drawing, or graffiti enterprise.

Frodo Lives graffiti
Choose the right pen tip for the job!


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