Fountain Pens Vs. Gel Pens: Everything You Need to Know
fountain pens vs gel pens

Those who enjoy writing will understand that picking the appropriate pen is essential for writing. No two pens are the same, and no single pen can be generalized. Each has its own qualities.

Different pens have different properties that are appealing in their own right. Many people, however, might not have the time or finances to search for the best one. As a result, we’ve done most of the hard work for you!

You’ve probably heard the terms  ‘gel’ and ‘fountain’ a lot when it comes to pens. These categories make it easy to choose the pen that meets your requirements. However, what does each group have to offer? What effect does each have on our written results? 

They may resemble each other in appearance, but these two pens are not the same.

The Fountain Pen

A fountain pen is a writing instrument that applies water-based ink to paper using a metal nib. It differs from earlier dip pens because it uses an internal reservoir to store ink, avoiding the need to dip the pen in an inkwell periodically during use.

The pen uses gravity and capillary action to pull ink from the reservoir and deposit it onto paper via a feed to the nib.

The Different Parts to a Fountain Pen

Different Parts to a Fountain Pen

Filling the reservoir with ink can be done manually by using an eyedropper or syringe. It can also be filled by using an internal filling mechanism that uses suction or a vacuum to move ink directly from the nib to the reservoir.

A fountain pen’s feed is the component that links the pen’s nib to its ink reservoir. It regulates the amount of air that flows back up to the reservoir to replenish the ink that has been lost by restricting the flow of ink to the nib.

This is accomplished through a succession of small channels or “fissures” that run along the lower border of the object. Air is permitted to flow higher into the reservoir in an equitable exchange of quantities while ink pours down these fractures. 

The feed permits ink to flow when the pen is placed on paper, but prevents it from flowing when it is not.

Fountain pens were the most popular writing tool in the first half of the twentieth century due to their portability and convenience.

Fountain Pens Today

Although other types of pens today share similar properties with fountain pens, fountain pens are distinct in many respects. For starters, fountain pens are typically sold empty. This means that before they can be used, they must be filled with liquid ink. 

They also offer a wide selection of metal nibs, ranging from a standard medium nib for a consistent line to a flexible nib for a more variable line to an italic nib for a chiseled line. Some fountain pens even feature removable or interchangeable nibs!

Good quality steel and gold pens are usually inexpensive, especially in Europe and China. You can even find “disposable” fountain pens, such as those made by Pilot Varsity. Fountain pens are widely used in France and Germany. 

To avoid making mistakes, you can even find special ink that can be rendered invisible with an ink eraser. Fountain pens can be used for various artistic purposes, including calligraphy and expressive penmanship, pen and ink artwork, and professional art and design.


  • Adds depth and character to writing
  • Easy ink flow
  • Not a lot of hand pressure required
  • Can use a wide range of tip sizes and line widths
  • Easy to replenish ink cartridges


  • Might not be good for everyday use
  • Body and nib require special attention
  • Leaks and spills can occur

The Gel Pen

colored gel pens

A gel pen employs ink in which pigment is suspended in a water-based gel. Since the ink is thick and opaque, it shows up better on slick surfaces than standard ballpoint or felt tip inks. Gel pens can be used for a variety of writing techniques and illustrations.

The Different Parts to a Gel Pen

A gel pen’s general design is similar to that of a traditional ink-based pen, with a barrel containing the writing mechanism, a cap, and an ink reservoir. The barrels come in various sizes and styles, including rubber or plastic finger grips on some.

The nib or pen tip size varies between 0.18 millimeters to 1.5 millimeters. A gel pen resembles a standard rollerball pen in appearance, with a barrel containing the writing mechanism, a cap, and an ink reservoir.

Gel pens are similar to other pens in that they are based on ink being pushed down to a ball by gravity.

Gel Ink

Gel ink has a higher melting point viscosity than conventional inks. As a result, the ink can flow more freely and readily, allowing you to write over various inks and colors.

Gel pens often come in a variety of bright and pastel colors, as well as opalescent, metallic, and glittering hues that pop against darker paper. Many gel inks are water-resistant, meaning they won’t wash away once they’ve dried.

Fraud-resistant gel ink is resistant to check washing and is unaffected by solvents like acetone. Gel ink also has the property of resisting any analytical procedures often used to determine the age of ink for forensic purposes.

Gel pens are ideal for taking notes. We highly recommend these types of pens for children who fill dozens of notebooks every school year. Other pens simply cannot compete with the range of colors available!


  • Smooth writing is possible because of the easy ink flow
  • Creates lines that are sharp, bold, and vibrant
  • Longer writing sessions with less pressure
  • Waterproof and fade-proof
  • Has a wide variety of uses


  • Ink requires more time to dry
  • Shorter ink life

Fountain Pens Vs. Gel Pens: An In-Depth Comparison


Fountain pens have a metal nib and frequently require a cartridge or an ink converter to allow ink to flow freely and constantly. 

Gel pens use powdered pigments suspended in a water-based gel to create vibrant and smooth ink.

Mode of Operation

Fountain pens, in general, require less pressure than gel pens. With a fountain pen, all you’re doing is breaking the ink’s surface tension and allowing it to flow to the paper. 

On the other hand, gel pens have a thicker formula, which requires using extra pressure when writing.


Gel inks have a higher viscosity than fountain inks. 

Gel ink has a different, less oily foundation than fountain ink, allowing for bolder and brighter colors to be created.

Which Pen Should You Choose?

The pen you choose depends on your personal needs and preferences. If you’re looking for a pen that glides smoothly over the paper, then a fountain pen is the way to go.

But, if you need something with more color options and vibrancy, then a gel pen will be better. Ultimately, it all comes down to what you’ll be using the pen for!


With so many different types of pens on the market today, it can be hard to know which one is right for you. If you’re looking for a pen that will provide a smooth writing experience and produce clean lines, then a fountain pen is a good choice.

If you’re looking for a pen that is easy to use and makes bold bright lines, then a gel pen is the perfect choice.

Ultimately, deciding which type of pen to use is up to you and what you’re looking for in a writing instrument!


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