Red Fountain Pen Ink Comparison

Red Fountain Pen Ink Comparison

Red is the color of passion. It’s a primal color—the color of blood and the heart. It was one of the first colors ever used by prehistoric artists, and throughout history it has represented courage, love, joy, anger, and war. Today it is the color of Christmas, Valentine’s Day, bad grades, and debt. Whether positive or negative, red is a color for expressing strong, deeply held feelings. In its subtler shades, however, red is also perfectly suitable for everyday writing.

Let’s take a look at some of our favorite red fountain pen inks, then delve into an in-depth comparison of all our red inks.

Recommendations

For Everyday Writing: Noodler’s Black Swan in English Roses

For Everyday Writing: Noodler's Black Swan in English Roses

Noodler’s Black Swan in English Roses (or “BSiER” for short) is a beautiful burgundy ink with great performance on a wide range of papers, making it our favorite red ink for everyday writing and notetaking. Its dark, brownish rose hue is easy enough on the eyes to read for page after page and also makes it a great choice for drawing dramatic sketches. BSiER has good water resistance and dries quickly on most papers, making it a smart choice for students looking for a fun ink to take notes with.

The one situation where BSiER doesn’t perform so well is on smoother papers like Rhodia. On these papers, the ink can take a long time to dry and is susceptible to smearing for a while even after it dries. This is because BSiER is a partially bulletproof ink, meaning that it’s specially formulated to bind to the cellulose fibers in paper. Smoother papers don’t have as many exposed fibers for the ink to bind to, so the ink can’t dry as quickly. You can read more about Noodler’s bulletproof inks in our comprehensive guide to Noodler’s inks.

Also Consider: Diamine Monaco Red & Diamine Red Dragon

If you want a purer, less-brown red ink that’s still suitable for everyday use, check out these two inks. Diamine Monaco Red is a medium red ink that’s just dark and subdued enough to be comfortable for longer reading sessions, and its subtle orange and brown undertones give it a pleasant, rustic appearance. Diamine Red Dragon—Diamine’s most popular red ink—is a deep, intense blood red that’s sure to make your writing stand out without being fatiguing to read. Both inks are well-behaved on fountain pen friendly paper but neither has any water resistance worth mentioning.

For Grabbing Attention: Diamine Poppy Red

For Grabbing Attention: Diamine Poppy Red

If you want a brilliant red ink that ensures your notes will stand out loud and clear, we recommend Diamine Poppy Red. There are other fine choices like Diamine Brilliant Red and Caran d’Ache Infra Red, but to our eyes Poppy Red edges them out in the brightness category. With great brightness, however, comes great responsibility. These inks are tiring to read for more than a sentence or two and should be used sparingly.

For Permanent Writing: Platinum Pigment Rose Red

For Permanent Writing: Platinum Pigment Rose Red

If you want to guarantee that your writing will last for decades to come, we recommend Platinum Pigment Rose Red. Most fountain pen inks are made with dyes that dissolve in water and fade over time—especially when exposed to sunlight. Instead of dyes, this ink uses pigments that don’t dissolve in water and are much more resistant to fading.

When using pigment inks, it’s especially important to clean your pen every month or so to prevent clogging. For a lower-maintenance red ink that’s just as fade-resistant and nearly as waterproof, check out Noodler’s Fox Red. The only reason Fox Red didn’t make it as our top recommendation is because it feathers much more than Pigment Rose Red, even on fountain pen friendly paper (some people say the name refers to how the ink looks like a bushy fox tail when you write with it).

For Grading: Noodler’s Nikita

For Grading: Noodler's Nikita

Noodler’s Nikita is a classic, neutral red that’s perfect for grading and editing. It performs well on basic copy paper, which is especially important for teachers who don’t get to choose what kind of paper they have to work with. Its huge 4.5 oz bottle holds enough ink to fill a typical fountain pen converter over 200 times, ensuring that even the most exacting educators will have plenty of ink for years of corrections. As an added bonus, the bottle even comes with a free pen!

Nikita isn’t waterproof, though, so if cheating or coffee spills are a concern you’re better off sticking with Platinum Pigment Rose Red or Noodler’s Fox Red.

For Holiday Cards: J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite

For Holiday Cards: J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite

A beautiful bright red ink imbued with shimmering gold sparkles, Rouge Hematite is the perfect ink for writing gift cards and Christmas letters. Just don’t use it for addressing envelopes that need to be mailed since it has no water resistance whatsoever. This ink is safe to use in any fountain pen, but make sure to clean your pen every month or so to prevent the particles from building up and forming clogs.

For Love Letters: J. Herbin Scented Rose Red

For Love Letters: J. Herbin Scented Rose Red

Infused with distilled rose water from one of France’s most famous perfume regions, Scented Rose Red emits a pleasant smell of roses as you write that lingers on the page even after the ink dries. Like scattered rose petals, the scent will fade after a day or two, so be sure to deliver your love letters as soon as possible after writing!

Color Groups

With a color as powerful as red, it’s especially important to choose the specific shade that best captures the feeling you want to convey.

True Reds

Caran d'Ache Infra Red
Diamine 150th Anniversary Carnival
Diamine Classic Red
Diamine Crimson
Diamine Matador
Diamine Monaco Red
Diamine Passion Red
Diamine Poppy Red
Diamine Red Dragon
Diamine Ruby
Diamine Shimmering Red Lustre
J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite
Noodler's Eel Rattler Red
Noodler's Nikita
Noodler's Park Red
Noodler's Red
Noodler's Tiananmen
Noodler's Widow Maker
Pelikan Edelstein Ruby
Pilot Iroshizuku Momiji
Rohrer & Klingner Morinda
Waterman Audacious Red

These inks have a balanced red hue and can range from light to dark in tone. They can be used for grading and editing as well as writing holiday cards, love letters, and any short writing that you want to give a bright, warm feel. They can also be used for general writing and notetaking, but pages of bright red ink are fatiguing to read and can come off as loud or aggressive.

Orange Reds

Diamine Brilliant Red
Diamine Vermillion
Diamine Wild Strawberry
Lamy Red
Noodler's Fox Red
Noodler's V-Mail Rabaul Red
Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Red
Platinum Red

These red inks have an orange-leaning hue and a light to medium tone. Many standard red inks fall into this color group. They are particularly well-suited to grading and mark-ups since they bright enough to be eye-catching and light enough not to interfere with the readability of dark text or writing. These inks are tiring to read for very long, however, so if you like to make lots of notes your readers will appreciate you using a true red ink instead.

Rose Reds

Diamine Amaranth Red
Diamine Maroon
Diamine Scarlet
J. Herbin Rouge Bourgogne
J. Herbin Rouge Caroubier
J. Herbin Rouge Opéra
J. Herbin Scented Rose Red
Kaweco Ruby Red
Noodler's Ottoman Rose
Noodler's Qin Shi Huang
Noodler's V-Mail Mandalay Maroon
Platinum Pigment Rose Red
Rohrer & Klingner Fernambuk
Sailor STORiA Fire Red

These red inks have a pink- or purple-leaning hue and a light to medium tone. They may be seen as having a feminine quality to them, but they are by no means just for girls. Rose reds are a great choice for personal letters and giving your writing a soft, heartfelt character.

Burgundy Reds

Diamine Merlot
Diamine Oxblood
Diamine Syrah
Noodler's Antietam
Noodler's Black Swan in English Roses
Noodler's Nightshade
Noodler's Red Black
Sailor Jentle Oku-yama

These dark, brown- or purple-leaning red inks will give your writing a sophisticated, old-fashioned feel. Much easier on the eyes than other reds, burgundy reds are perfectly suited to everyday writing and notetaking.

Performance Comparisons

Drying Time

Fastest-Drying Red Inks
Fastest-Drying Red Inks

Fountain pen inks take longer to dry than other inks, so if you’re a lefty or take a lot of quick notes it’s especially important to choose an ink that dries quickly.

By far, the fastest-drying red inks are Noodler’s Fox Red and Noodler’s Qin Shi Huang. Both of these inks also have excellent waterproofness, but they feather much more noticeably than typical fountain pen inks. For less feather-prone red inks with good drying times, check out Diamine Scarlet and Diamine Syrah.

Click here to see the full results of our drying time tests, which we performed by drawing X’s with a dipped fountain pen and smearing them after 3, 10, 20, 30, and 60 seconds.
Click here to see the full results of our drying time tests, which we performed by drawing X’s with a dipped fountain pen and smearing them after 3, 10, 20, 30, and 60 seconds.

These tests were done on Rhodia DotPad paper with a TWSBI ECO 1.1 mm fountain pen. The thin strokes of the 1.1 mm nib are comperable to writing from a fine nib, and the wide strokes are comperable to writing from a broad nib. Rhodia paper is ink-resistant, and drying times on it are longer than on other, more absorbent papers. The exact drying times you experience will vary depending on the pen and paper you use, so the results below are best used for comparing the relative performance of the inks.

Ink 3 Sec 10 Sec 20 Sec 30 Sec 60 Sec
Caran d'Ache Infra Red
Diamine 150th Anniversary Carnival
Diamine Amaranth Red
Diamine Brilliant Red
Diamine Classic Red
Diamine Crimson
Diamine Maroon
Diamine Matador
Diamine Merlot
Diamine Monaco Red
Diamine Oxblood
Diamine Passion Red
Diamine Poppy Red
Diamine Red Dragon
Diamine Ruby
Diamine Scarlet
Diamine Shimmering Red Lustre
Diamine Syrah
Diamine Vermillion
Diamine Wild Strawberry
J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite
J. Herbin Rouge Bourgogne
J. Herbin Rouge Caroubier
J. Herbin Rouge Opéra
J. Herbin Scented Rose Red
Kaweco Ruby Red
Lamy Red
Noodler's Antietam
Noodler's Black Swan in English Roses
Noodler's Eel Rattler Red
Noodler's Fox Red
Noodler's Nightshade
Noodler's Nikita
Noodler's Ottoman Rose
Noodler's Park Red
Noodler's Qin Shi Huang
Noodler's Red
Noodler's Red Black
Noodler's Tiananmen
Noodler's V-Mail Mandalay Maroon
Noodler's V-Mail Rabaul Red
Noodler's Widow Maker
Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Red
Pelikan Edelstein Ruby
Pilot Iroshizuku Momiji
Platinum Pigment Rose Red
Platinum Red
Rohrer & Klingner Fernambuk
Rohrer & Klingner Morinda
Sailor Jentle Oku-yama
Sailor STORiA Fire Red
Waterman Audacious Red

Water and Highlighter Resistance

Most Water- and Highlighter-Resistant Red Inks
Most Water- and Highlighter-Resistant Red Inks

Most fountain pen inks will smear if they get wet or are highlighted. If you want to be able to highlight your notes or ensure that they can’t be eradicated by an errant spill, it’s important to choose an ink with good water resistance.

The most water-resistant red fountain pen inks are Platinum Pigment Rose Red and Sailor STORiA Fire Red, both of which are virtually waterproof. They’re pigmented inks, which gives them their great permanence but also makes it especially important to clean your pens regularly to avoid clogs. They also take longer to dry, especially on smoother papers like Rhodia.

For a lower-maintenance red ink that’s nearly as waterproof, we recommend Noodler’s Fox Red. Fox Red is also one of the fastest-drying red inks, as we saw above, but it feathers more than Pigment Rose Red or STORiA Fire Red.

All three of these inks are also great for using with with highlighters. Other red inks that can be safely highlighted include:

  • J. Herbin Rouge Caroubier
  • Noodler’s Antietam
  • Noodler’s V-Mail Mandalay Maroon
  • Noodler’s V-Mail Rabaul Red
  • Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Red
  • Pelikan Edelstein Ruby

Other red inks that have good water resistance but aren’t fully waterproof include: Noodler’s Qin Shi Huang, Noodler’s Red Black, Noodler’s V-Mail Rabaul Red, and Noodler’s Black Swan in English Roses.

Click here to see the full results of our water- and highlighter-resistance testing, which we performed by soaking the inks in water for 30 seconds, smearing them with a waterbrush, and highlighting them with ink and gel highlighters.
Click here to see the full results of our water- and highlighter-resistance testing, which we performed by soaking the inks in water for 30 seconds, smearing them with a waterbrush, and highlighting them with ink and gel highlighters.

These tests were done on Rhodia DotPad paper with a TWSBI ECO 1.1 mm fountain pen, Kuretake medium water brush, Stabilo Boss ink highlighter, and Monami Essenti Dry gel highlighter. The thin strokes of the 1.1 mm nib are comperable to writing from a fine nib, and the wide strokes are comperable to writing from a broad nib. Rhodia paper is very smooth and non-absorbent, allowing inks to smear more easily on it than on other, toothier papers. Because of this, you may experience better results than those below if you use a toothier, more absorbent paper.

Ink Water (Soak) Water (Brush) Highlighter (Ink) Highlighter (Gel)
Caran d'Ache Infra Red
Diamine 150th Anniversary Carnival
Diamine Amaranth Red
Diamine Brilliant Red
Diamine Classic Red
Diamine Crimson
Diamine Maroon
Diamine Matador
Diamine Merlot
Diamine Monaco Red
Diamine Oxblood
Diamine Passion Red
Diamine Poppy Red
Diamine Red Dragon
Diamine Ruby
Diamine Scarlet
Diamine Shimmering Red Lustre
Diamine Syrah
Diamine Vermillion
Diamine Wild Strawberry
J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite
J. Herbin Rouge Bourgogne
J. Herbin Rouge Caroubier
J. Herbin Rouge Opéra
J. Herbin Scented Rose Red
Kaweco Ruby Red
Lamy Red
Noodler's Antietam
Noodler's Black Swan in English Roses
Noodler's Eel Rattler Red
Noodler's Fox Red
Noodler's Nightshade Noodler's Nightshade Noodler's Nightshade Noodler's Nightshade Noodler's Nightshade
Noodler's Nikita
Noodler's Ottoman Rose
Noodler's Park Red
Noodler's Qin Shi Huang
Noodler's Red
Noodler's Red Black
Noodler's Tiananmen
Noodler's V-Mail Mandalay Maroon
Noodler's V-Mail Rabaul Red
Noodler's Widow Maker
Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Red
Pelikan Edelstein Ruby
Pilot Iroshizuku Momiji
Platinum Pigment Rose Red
Platinum Red
Rohrer & Klingner Fernambuk
Rohrer & Klingner Morinda
Sailor Jentle Oku-yama
Sailor STORiA Fire Red
Waterman Audacious Red

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re editing a paper, jotting down your thoughts, or penning a poem for your significant other, red inks are a great way to make your words stand out and give them a warm, vibrant character. Do you have a favorite red fountain pen ink? Let us know in the comments below!

If you enjoyed this comparison, be sure check out the rest of our fountain pen ink comparisons here.


SOURCE:https://www.jetpens.com/blog/red-fountain-pen-ink-comparison/pt/848

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