Pen Review: Ohto Horizon Needlepoint Ballpoint

Sometimes you find a pen that you think is just going to be okay and you end up loving. The Ohto Horizon Needlepoint ballpoint pen is just such a pen. As you’ll see there’s not just one pen in these photos and that’s because Bob bought one at Maker Goods here in Kansas City because he quite likes ballpoint pens and knows they aren’t really my thing. He bought the bright school bus yellow one and when I saw it, I said “Hey, let me try that!” The next thing you know, I was in the car driving down to Maker Goods to buy my own.

First thing to note about these pens is how wickedly fine the refills are.  Its a rarity to find a ballpoint pen with a super fine refill so that was a big plus. It also wrote really well. And as well all know, regardless of how much we love our fountain pens, at some point we are required to sign something on shiny receipt paper or fill out some paper in triplicate at a doctor’s office or need ink that is permanent and that’s where having a ballpoint pen comes in handy. So, you might as well make a plan to have one you like and not get stuck using some crappy Bic Stic, unless you like those.

The shape of this pen is a wide hex that smooths to a round at the grip. The hex keeps the pen from rolling around and the round shape makes it oddly dumpling-like in the hand, especially given the needle-like writing tip.

To activate the tip, push the button on the end. To retract the tip, push the button on the side.

I love the refill which is saying a lot considering how much I vehemently despise ballpoints in general. This week, I’m turning a corner. Compared to the crappy “mystery ballpoint” found in a desk drawer, the ink flow was consistent and clean with no blobs or smears. The line of the Ohto needlepoint was finer that the Sailor 1911 by a fraction and considerably finer than the medium Goliath.

The price on Amazon for an Ohto Horizon Needlepoint in the Silver or Yellow is less than $10. There are other colors available as well. If you are in Kansas City though, your best bet is to pop over to Maker Goods and pick one up in person.


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8 comments / Add your comment below

  1. For the record… Platinum Carbon Black will sign better on thermal printer paper than many ballpoints. In addition to it being archival and waterproof. I discovered this in an emergency a year or two ago, but it’s a lovely thing. So whatever pen has carbon black is my purse pen, as well as being my default drawing pen. Both a TWSBI eco and a Platinum Preppy work really well for the job.

    I can’t swear that Carbon Black works on everything yet… but it constantly surprises me with the stuff where it just works better.

  2. Ordinary oil based ballpoints are also good for realistic style drawings. They can make a barely-there whisper of ink right through to deep colour and they layer reasonably well on thick paper. Liquid ink and gel rollers and fountain pens don’t have that kind of pencil like pressure sensitivity which is why any grades of shading have to be made by hatching or stippling.
    Don’t be so hard on the Bic. It’s pretty good for drawing. But you do have to dab the blots off the tip pretty frequently before they get onto the drawing.

  3. As Ana’s husband, I have the opportunity to try out a million pens, but I never do. Rarely do I find myself reviewing pens I’d like to use in my daily life. So often I use what Ana thinks I’d like (which is always on point.) Finding this pen was a surprise. I am always in a print shop environment, and often need something that’s easy to access and click on/off, something I can leave laying around the shop and not worry about getting inky or dinged up.
    These things feel pretty sturdy, yet give a very delicate line with good ink flow. And there’s a super satisfying >click< sound when you depress the button to hide the point. It’s a super nice price point that allows me to use it in the print shop without worrying about destroying a pricier investment.

    If you’re in the Lawrence KS area, you can also pick one up at Wonderfair ( It’s where I bought a backup one!

  4. Hi Ana. Thanks for the review.

    I have at least two versions of Ohto needlepoint ballpoint pens lurking around here somewhere. When writing with these pens I found the tip to rattle just enough to be annoying. It’s as if the diameter of the sleeve where the point emerges is manufactured too wide in diameter (and/or the refill is too narrow).

    Question: Do you notice any point rattle with the Ohto pen you reviewed? The rattling is subtle and probably won’t be noticed unless (like me) you suffer from Perfect Pen Syndrome.

    Best Regards, David

    1. Hey David, I find I can usually eliminate tip rattle by putting a (very) little bit of cotton-ball cotton inside the nose (tip) of a pen, then placing the spring and ink cartridge back in on top of it. When you click the pen, the cotton forms a conical shape around the cartridge as it pushes through the nose, muffling rattle. I’ve found that it completely ends the issue; and it has not injured any of the many pens I’ve done this too.

      Best of luck,


  5. I love this pen as well as the Mitsubishi Edge in 0.28mm to draw fine lines and precision details in my drawings before painting with water brushes! The ink that comes with the Onto refill is great for that from my experience

    Ballpoints may not be great for writing experience, but for drawing and art they’re great for certain applications!

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