Best Black Ink to Refill Brush Pens

Which waterproof black ink can you use to refill brush pens is one of the most frequently asked questions I get.

Let me put out a disclaimer first before I recommend anything. The inks mentioned below are all pigmented ink. So there's still a chance that they may clog your brush pen, especially if you leave the ink in the pen for long periods of time without using the brush pen. I suggest trying the ink out on the cheaper Pentel Pocket Brush Pen before putting the ink in expensive ones. And take note of how often you use your brush pens.

The type of ink you want to avoid are those ink that leave crusty bits around the cap. India ink and sumi inks are strictly no-no. Fountain pen inks, which are usually dye inks, are safe to use in brush pens, but they are not waterproof and may have lightfast issues.

As for the pricing, they will vary depending on where you buy them of course. I've provided Amazon links where you can compare the prices.

The best ink to use in brush pens is probably the Sailor KiwaGuro, made by the same company that makes the Sailor fountain pens.

This ink is dark, dries relatively fast, is matte when dry and flows well. When used to cover large areas, the application is also quite even.

You can find the Sailor KiwaGuro on Amazon (direct links below): | | | | | | | |

My second recommendation is the De Atramentis Archive Ink which is made specially for fountain pen use.

This ink is a bit more patch compared to the Sailor KiwaGuro. But if you apply your strokes slower, you'll see less of the of patchy look.

You can find De Atramentis Archive ink on Amazon (direct links below): | | | | | | | |

Third recommendation is the Platinum Carbon Ink. Performance is quite similar to De Atramentis.

You can find Platinum Carbon ink on Amazon (direct links below): | | | | | | | |

Noodlers Bulletproof Black flows really well but is too patchy. And the ink dries too slowly.

Another recommendation is the Rotring Ink that is made for the Rotring technical pens (eg Isograph). Performance is similar to Sailor KiwaGuro. You can get this ink in large 250ml and small 23ml bottles.

You can find Rotring ink on Amazon (direct links below): | | | | | | | |



Hi Teoh,

Hi Teoh,

Great blog and thanks for giving such useful advice! Just one question: in relation to Rotring's Ink, sometimes it seems you are suggesting it might be used for fountain pens as well (maybe I am not remembering correctly...) but you also wrote "Since it's pigmented, it is not advised to use it inside fountain pens". As it is widely available here in Europe (more than the Carbon Ink,Noodler's and the expensive De Atramentis), I just wanted to understand if I might use it for this as well!

Thanks for the info!

And by the way, happy new year!


You do not want to put

You do not want to put technical pen ink into a fountain pen. I use it frequently in my technical pen, and anywhere that the ink has a chance to dry out, it dries into a solid crust. It does not reconstitute with water. This means that if it dries out inside your pen, it will leave solid chunks behind, and you won't be able to wash it out with water.

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