Finding the best fountain pen ink can be a great deal of fun if you know what you’re looking for. Whether you are embarking on your first fountain pen experience or are looking for recommendations to improve your skill and artistry, you’ve come to the right place. Extensive research revealed the top 10 best fountain pen inks.
After reviewing factors such as wetness, dryness, ink flow, saturation, packaging, and compatibility with a variety of papers, these selections are the most recommended choices. Inferior fountain pen inks are more likely to skip, bleed or feather with normal use.
These selections are less likely to cause these issues when used as recommended.
Best Fountain Pen Inks:
1. PILOT Iroshizuku Bottled Fountain Pen Ink
Priced under $20, many people consider Pilot Iroshizuku to be the best black fountain pen ink. It is considered a particularly wet ink that is vibrant on the page.
While the black ink from this manufacturer is particularly well-known, the company actually makes about two dozen varied ink colors. Each one is named for plants and landscapes that are native to Japan.
Many people regard Pilot Iroshizuku to be the best Japanese fountain pen ink. That is significant because the Japanese culture has revered the art of writing for thousands of years.
Ranging from subtle to rich, these inks are not waterproof, but they do make an impact on the page.
Users of this ink note that it dries fairly quickly for wet ink and that the colors are particularly beautiful, the flow is smooth and even. Plus, the ink comes in a gorgeous glass bottle.
However, there seem to be numerous problems with the packaging leaking in transit.
Pilot Iroshizuku’s high-quality product is recommended for both novices and seasoned users of fountain pens.
- Vibrant color
- Excellent flow
- Beautiful packaging
- Packaging prone to breaking in transit
2. Platinum Carbon Ink Bottle Fountain Pen Ink Black
Considered a dry ink that costs under $25 for a 60 cc bottle, Platinum’s carbon ink can be called the best permanent black fountain pen ink. This deep-black ink is waterproof. After allowing it to completely dry, it’s possible to use watercolors over it.
Platinum Carbon Ink is pigment-based to help it maintain its water-resistant properties. This makes it a great choice for art projects or for documents that need to stand the test of time.
It dries relatively quickly, so even left-handed writers and artists have little trouble with smearing. An intensely black, this ink makes projects stand out from the crowd.
Most people who have tried Platinum Carbon Ink praise the deep black color and say that it doesn’t cause feathering. Users note that it doesn’t run even when using watercolors over it.
Nonetheless, they stress the importance of cleaning the pen nib after every use and not allowing this ink to dry in the pen, which could cause damage.
Platinum Carbon Ink is a top choice for dry inks for fountain pens.
- Intense black
- Dry ink resists smearing
- Good for use under watercolors
- Must be diligent about cleaning nib and pen
3. Noodler’s Bulletproof Blue Ghost Invisible Fountain Pen Ink
Noodler’s is one of the best fountain pen ink brands. This means that you can trust their products to perform as advertised. That is certainly the case with their Blue Ghost Invisible Ink.
This product appears a light yellowish color in the jar. Fill your fountain pen with it, and write on a piece of paper. Under ordinary light, you won’t be able to see the ink. Blacklight reveals everything.
People have found many uses for this product like practical jokes, making notes in book margins, keeping lists of passwords, and artwork. As the name suggests, the ink appears blue under black light and is durable.
Users love Noodler’s invisible ink for special projects, scavenger hunts, and a multitude of other tasks. They say that it flows easily and looks fantastic under black light. However, some people note that they have to write more slowly than usual to lay down enough ink.
Whether it’s a special art project or a practical joke, give Noodler’s Bulletproof Blue Ghost Invisible Ink a try.
- Fun to use
- Looks great under black light
- Won’t clog pens or nibs
- Must write slowly for the best results
4. Lamy Bottled Fountain Pen Ink with Blotting Paper-Black
This 50 ml ink bottle is the best blue fountain pen ink. Some people don’t like to use black ink. Or, perhaps they have a project that requires blue. If this describes you, then this ink is a perfect choice.
It’s blue-black ink, which means that it’s a dark, saturated color. Just as attractive, this is the best fountain pen ink for beginners. If you’re working with your first fountain pen and need something that’s easy to use, then this may be ideal.
The packaging includes a roll of blotting paper and a basin for collecting ink residue. Accordingly, you can expect mess-free use.
Users love this water-based ink, saying that it behaves well even for novices to the art of using a fountain pen. The blue-black color is perfect even on cheaper paper because it really stands out. Nonetheless, some critics believe that it brings too much shading to the finished product.
If you’re a beginner, you can’t go wrong with this reliable bottle of ink from Lamy.
- Gorgeous blue-black color
- Easy-to-use for beginners
- Nice extras like blotting paper and basin
- May reveal shading when you want a more consistent look
5. J. Herbin 1798 Anniversary Fountain Pen Ink
An expensive choice for a 50-ml bottle, J. Herbin inks are worth the price.
This also is an ideal fountain pen ink to give as a gift as it comes packaged in a decorative box, and the glass bottle inside is elegantly sealed with wax.
The Herbin Anniversary Inks are notable for their intense dyes. Available in several hues, each ink is designed to be eye-catching.
Additionally, these inks are infused with millions of tiny gold specks so that each one glows on the page. People love this ink because it glides so smoothly.
Even on inferior paper, there’s little feathering or bleeding. Dry times tend to be quick, and people praise the richness of the colors. Perhaps the most common complaint about this product relates to the gold specks. Many people wish that they were more visible in the dry ink.
While it may be expensive, these J. Herbin inks are certainly worth the price. If you want something that’s a step above good fountain pen ink, try the J. Herbin.
- Rich, deep colors
- Lovely presentation
- Subtle sheen in dry ink
- Some people might expect more of a glitter effect
6. Montblanc Ink Bottle Mystery – Premium-Quality Refill Ink in Black for Fountain Pens
Montblanc is one of the most recognizable names in quality writing instruments, so it stands to reason that they would also produce quality fountain pen ink. For a great price, it’s possible to purchase a 60-ml bottle of this permanent black fountain pen ink.
The jar that holds the ink has an unusual but highly functional design that causes the ink to gather directly under the opening so that it’s easier to access. Once it is on paper, this ink may be described as classy and elegant, perfect for putting the finishing touches on any document that needs to look distinctive.
An ink of excellent quality, this product dries relatively quickly and doesn’t bleed through most paper.
Most people love the way that this ink flows and how quickly it dries. On the right paper, it offers subtle shading, and feathering is a rarity. Plus, this permanent ink is really durable. Nonetheless, critics do wish that the colors were more saturated.
Montblanc is a trusted name in the industry, and this ink will perform precisely as advertised.
- Genuine Montblanc quality
- Excellent packaging
- Admirable flow
- Colors aren’t quite as saturated with this ink
7. Parker 1950375 Quink Fountain Pen Ink Bottle
If you’re on a tight budget but still love to use a fountain pen, then you need the best budget fountain pen ink. That’s precisely what you get with the Parker Quink Ink Bottle.
Priced at less than 13 dollars for a 57-ml bottle, this ink is available in blue, black, and blue-black.
This product is notable for the high number of lubricants in the formula, which guarantees a smoother flow out of the nib. The pigments are rich, and this ink dries surprisingly quickly.
A screw-on lid is affixed to the glass bottle, providing extra security.
The bottle itself is sleek and elegant, an excellent addition to any desktop.
Users frequently recommend this product because of its tremendous value. Despite being inexpensive, the bottle looks sophisticated and the ink it contains flows well and dries quickly.
Some people do complain that this ink’s behavior can be a bit unpredictable. Still, it is the best ink for Parker fountain pens.
With a cheap price, this is the ink that can allow even the most budget-conscious writer to enter the market.
- The screw-on lid keeps ink secure
- Quick dry time
- Occasional unpredictable behavior
8. Thornton’s Luxury Goods Premium Fountain Pen Ink
Although the word “luxury” is contained in the product’s name, this fountain pen ink doesn’t come with a luxury price.
A 30-ml ink bottle may be purchased for a little under 8 dollars, and the ink may be used with any type of fountain pen. It also may be the best black fountain pen ink for cheap paper because of the way it resists feathering and bleed-through.
This ink contains a lot of lubricants, which means that it makes your pen glide across the page. It is extremely wet ink. Although this means that it lays down a lot of ink, it also significantly lengthens the drying time.
Fans of Thornton’s Luxury Goods Fountain Pen Ink say that it behaves predictably and flows well through most fountain pens. They enjoy the experience of writing with this ink and appreciate the quality of the finished product on the page.
Some do caution that the bottle is smaller than the typical and that the colors are not as saturated as more expensive inks.
Thornton offers a budget-conscious, serviceable ink for everyday use.
- Nice bottle
- No feathering or bleed-through
- Smaller bottle
- Less-saturated colors
9. Pelikan 4001 Bottled Ink for Fountain Pens
Pelikan is one of the most recognizable brand names in fountain pen ink. Yet, this doesn’t make them exclusive. You can get a 30-ml bottle of their ink for less than nine dollars. With a more than 100-year history, Pelikan knows how to make the best cheap ink for fountain pen use.
The bold colors in this line make text and drawings dance across the page. The Brilliant Black is the most frequently used color, but this collection also includes blue, brown, red, green, and others.
These inks are suitable for use with all Pelikan fountain pens and any other brand of such pens that include a converter and plunger mechanism.
This dye-based ink is made in Germany, and fans of these products frequently have used them for many years. They note that this is rather a wet ink that requires a reasonable amount of drying time.
It does not perform particularly well on inferior paper, which means that you may want to reserve it for those projects in which you’ll be using superior, heavier paper. People simply love this ink’s affordability and the way that it doesn’t typically feather on the page.
Pelikan is a highly recognizable name in the fountain pen industry. With more than 100 years of experience, you can trust their ink to deliver a quality experience.
- Excellent value
- Relatively quick drying time
- Vibrant hues
- Doesn’t perform well on cheap paper
10. Aurora Bottled Fountain Pen Ink
Available for a 45-ml bottle, Aurora Bottled Ink may not be especially fast-drying or shimmery, but it is an impressively blue fountain pen ink. If you insist that your ink be the deepest, darkest hue available, then you probably can’t go wrong with this product.
Aurora inks are quite wet, though there are wetter inks on the market. Artists and writers who appreciate quite a bit of shading in their work may be delighted with this ink. Although it is often called the darkest of blue inks, it is possible for a skilled artist to coax some incredible shading from it.
It has fairly good resistance to water, though it is not waterproof so it likely is not the best choice for using on a watercolor project.
People praise this ink quite highly because of its incomparable color saturation. In fact, for some users, this has been their ink of choice for decades. They simply love the way that it flows and the way that it looks on the page.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. About the only complaint is that the bottle stopper sometimes is hard to remove.
While not precisely a budget choice, this is still one of the most highly recommended black fountain pen inks on the market. Give Aurora a try for consistent results.
- Intense, saturated blue
- Incredibly good flow
- Surprisingly quick dry time
- The bottle stopper may get stuck
Difference Between Dry Ink and Wet Ink for Fountain Pens
People who are new to the world of fountain pens are likely to be overwhelmed when they are confronted with the sheer number of ink choices.
Of course, there are almost countless color options available, but one of the most fundamental decisions to make when it comes to choosing ink is to decide on wet or dry fountain pen ink.
These are somewhat confusing terms to the novice. Aren’t all inks for fountain pens liquid? By definition, shouldn’t that mean that they are all “wet?” In this case, it is a matter of relativity rather than absolutes.
“Wet” fountain pen ink is wetter than “dry” fountain pen ink. “Dry” fountain pen ink also is wet, it’s just not quite as wet as “wet” fountain pen ink.
A “wet” ink is one that has a heavier, more luxurious flow. It tends to have a more saturated appearance on paper, and it may be especially useful when the writer or artist wants to create a shading effect.
By contrast, “dry” ink has a more judicious, lighter flow. It doesn’t look quite so saturated on the page, and it’s unlikely to be able to produce shading effects.
Which one is right for you? The answer frequently comes down to personal preference. Some people wouldn’t trade the luscious flow and look of wet ink for anything. Others find that wet ink smears too easily and takes longer to dry.
Fountain pen ink recommendations suggest that left-handed writers frequently are better served by drier inks since their writing is already prone to smearing.
If you’re looking for the best fountain pen ink for school, then you may want to invest in a variety of wet and dry ink. This is because your preference may change depending on the project you’re working on.
Tips for Choosing the Best Fountain Pen Ink
Choosing the best fountain pen ink for you is not necessarily a matter of choosing the most popular fountain pen ink.
Personal preference plays a huge role in discovering a favorite fountain pen ink, and you may also have several favorite inks depending on the pen you use and the paper you’re writing on.
Best fountain pen inks are water-based, but there are others that are based on iron gall.
Iron-gall inks generally are considered waterproof, though it is recommended that you still protect papers that are covered with iron-gall inks from water.
Getting wet may not erase the ink entirely, but it will certainly make it fainter.
When selecting an ink, reflect on what kind of paper you’ll be using. Cheaper, thinner paper will make almost any ink bleed or feather.
However, you can minimize these effects by choosing a drier ink.
Consider your pen nib when making your choice. A flexor stub nib will lay down a lot of ink all at once. This means that you’ll need a spot of ink with a heavier, wetter flow.
If the ink doesn’t flow well enough to keep up with the nib, it will cause skipping, and that can ruin both the writing experience and the finished product.
When looking at various inks, check to see which ones feature lubrication. Inks with these ingredients tend to flow better and be more comfortable to write with.
Staining is yet another consideration. This refers to how transparent the ink appears on the page. More saturated inks are said to “stain” more, resulting in less transparent writing.
If you’re new to using fountain pens, then it may be difficult to know where to start.
People who have a pen may want to consider trying an ink that is specifically intended for that brand and model of pen. This should ensure a trouble-free performance.
However, the selection of fountain pen inks available today is vast. It would be extremely limiting to restrict yourself to only the same brand of ink as your pen.
The vast majority of fountain pen inks are compatible with absolutely any fountain pen, so it’s perfectly all right to experiment, play and find your personal favorite or favorites.
Making the Decision
People decide to use fountain pens not because they are the most convenient or inexpensive choice but because they turn writing into art. In fact, many people use fountain pens for sketching and drawing because these instruments are so versatile.
If you’ve only tried one type of ink in your fountain pen, then it’s time to branch out and try new things. Experiment with wetter and dryer inks as well as various colors to discover which ones are best suited to your purposes.