Five Things You Should Consider When Buying Ink

Just as you put only premium gas in your car, you should do the same when it comes to the ink for your writing instruments. A quality ink will not only make your writing experience more enjoyable, but it will also extend the lifespan of your pen. Although there are many things to look out for when buying ink, today I will share with you five of the most important ones.

Color Intensity

A quality ink should boast vibrant and rich colours that don’t change intensity throughout its use and it should also not fade or change colour over time or when exposed to light. This criteria seems to be essential for many fountain pen users and ink enthusiasts, with many choosing only the most intense shades that make their writing stand out. Bear in mind that it also depends on how fine the nib is, the same ink appearing more intense if used in a pen with a broader nib than an extra-fine nib. Manufacturers that offer colour rich inks include Pilot, Otto Hutt, Montblanc, Private Reserve and Diamine, etc.

Photo credit: Goulet Pens

Fast-drying time

If you don’t have the patience to wait until the ink dries or you often get smudged while writing, then you should look for an ink that has a fast-drying time. This will make your life a lot easier. Drying time can be affected by the nib size – a broader nib will always release more ink onto the paper, which means a longer drying time. Not to mention the paper, which also plays a major role.

Photo credit: Mountain of Ink

Water resistance 

Whenever you sign important documents, you should always opt for a waterproof ink, thus ensuring the longevity of the document and avoiding alteration of its content. Some waterproof inks such as pigment-based and iron-gall ink require extra care when it comes to cleaning as if left to dry in the pen, the non-soluble particles they contain can clog the channel. Some of the best water-resistant inks on the market are produced by Platinum, Sailor, Montblanc and Pilot.

Photo credit: Wonder Pens

Smooth flow

There’s nothing like a feather that almost floats on paper. A quality ink will always provide you with a smooth and consistent flow that results in a seamless writing experience. Whether lubricated or not, there are certain inks that glide so smoothly across the paper that you simply can’t resist. In addition to Sailor and Pilot, you’ll find inks that offer a smooth writing flow at Noodler’s, Diamine and Lamy.

Photo credit: Moein Moradi


This last point is crucial as you risk damaging your pen if you are not careful. If you’re a long-time pen enthusiast, you already know this, but if you’re just starting out you may not be aware of it. Not all inks are compatible with pens, and using the wrong ink will damage or completely ruin your writing instrument. These include Calligraphy ink and India ink which we do not suggest using in pens as they can be corrosive and cause pen clogging.

I hope this has been helpful for those starting out on their writing instrument journey and I’m wondering, what do you look out for when buying ink?

One Comment

  1. Great article. Would love to see an “advanced tips” on inks. Please send link if you’ve already written that one. Thanks.
    Phil Arnold

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