Finding a good brand of quality fountain pen ink, for vintage or new pens, is a daunting task. Not because they are hard to find, but because the market is flooded with low-quality knock-offs.
Glass bottles of ink will generally cost more than a pack of ink cartridges, but even the most expensive luxury inks will save you money in the long run. While some companies sell ink bottles exclusively, some make their colors available in ink and cartridge form.
In the same vein, today, we look at one of the most popular ink manufacturing companies of all time – Noodler’s Ink. As any fellow pen junkie will tell you, they blew up in the market due to their bulletproof line.
Today, our experts have taken a detailed look at several factors, including pricing per ml, pigmentation quality, water resistance, and ease of use, to bring you a comprehensive list of the four best Noodlers Bulletproof Inks. Read on for a more detailed breakdown.
Best Noodlers Bulletproof Inks
1. Noodler’s Black Waterproof Fountain Pen Ink
- Ink color: Black
- Volume: 90 ml
- Customer Reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Suppose you look at the glass bottle, and it does not say that this is a water-resistant ink. It might say it is “bulletproof on cellulose paper,” which means that it is perfect for cellulose content – such as paper made out of wood pulp, or cotton paper like watercolor paper.
After the ink is dry, it forms a cohesive bond with the paper, making the ink difficult to wash away.
The Bulletproof Black is one of the most popular and consistent inks put out by Noodler’s, which is evident from how fast it sells out. According to the website, this has to be one of the most saturated colors from the line, which is surprising considering that the content is 97% water.
- It is pH neutral so it can be used on good-quality papers.
- There is no bleeding or smearing with this ink.
- It is completely waterproof so that it can be used in paintings.
- Because the ink is so pigmented, it tends to stain.
- The ink has a slightly longer drying time.
2. Noodler’s Ink Fountain Pen Bottled Ink
- Ink color: Blue
- Volume: 90 ml
- Customer Reviews: 4.6 out of 5 stars
If you’re looking for a blue that is standard enough to be used in everyday document signing but is still slightly different from the generic blue color used in most pens, then the 54th Massachusetts is the one for you.
Remember that, like most of Noodler’s special grade inks, this too was not meant to be used on cheap paper. Particularly because it is a lighter shade of blue, the color shines through significantly better on absorbent paper.
On the brighter side, because of its wet flow, it creates a significantly bolder line. If you are a calligrapher or an individual just starting with fountain pens, and are using a medium/standard nib, the 54th Massachusetts allows for great control on the paper’s surface.
As you would have guessed by now, the ink has been specifically named after the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first African-American regiment organized in the northern states during the Civil War.
- On paper, it does not feather or bleed at all.
- This is one of the unique colors from Noodler’s and has a slight shimmer effect.
- The ink is significantly lighter and runnier, so it runs out pretty quickly.
- Slight chemical-like smell once you open the bottle.
3. Noodler’s Polar Bulletproof, Eel Fountain Pen Ink
- Ink color: Black
- Volume: 88 ml
- Customer Reviews: 4.3 out of 5 stars
The original Bulletproof Black ink by Noodler’s was an instant hit due to its bulletproof qualities – it is UV, water, and bleach proof. Noodler’s decided to take that and add antifreeze properties to give you the Polar Bulletproof.
Although this is called eel black, it has brown undertones, which are clear when you swatch the ink.
This polar black creates beautiful swatches, but it’s slightly wetter and runnier consistency tends to bleed through. Most reviewers have suggested that the black lines are not as crisp as those with bulletproof black.
When used in concentration, the ink forms back when it dries. This ink will be good for writing purposes, and there won’t be significant problems with back runs if you use a good nib. When you apply this ink with a brush, it may prove to be problematic.
- This is the only fountain pen ink that can work in temperatures up to -20°F.
- The ink does not smudge on contact with water.
- Compared to the other Noodler’s inks, the feathering with this one is significant.
4. Noodler’s Ink 1 oz Periwinkle Eternal “Bulletproof” Fountain Pen Bottle Ink
- Ink color: periwinkle
- Volume: 29.5 ml
- Customer Reviews: 4.4 out of 5 stars
This ink is part of Noodler’s luxury “Eternal” series. As the name suggests, this Periwinkle ink color is inspired by the color of the blue curve found on a periwinkle snail’s shell.
The ink creates beautiful shading, particularly with medium nibs. The darkest tone of the ink is visible when using a medium nib. When used on good paper, like the 50 GSM Tom away river, it leaves little to no bleeding and shading.
Most reviewers have suggested that on most nonporous surfaces, the ink tends to bind very nicely with the cellulose, leaving no residue when it comes in contact with water. The consistency does not leave your pen clogged and is surprisingly easy to clean.
- This is one of the fastest drying inks from the series, with a drying time of 3-5 seconds.
- It is partially fluorescent.
- It bleeds through cheaper papers.
- Because of its quick drying time, it can stain surfaces quickly.
How to Choose the Right Ink for your Pen?
Quality of the Paper
Like inks, there are various papers on which fountain pens can be used. It is important to determine how much ink the paper will absorb and how thick it is.
Papers like card stock, calligraphy paper, and fountain pen-friendly paper tend to absorb more ink, which is why you may need to use inks that are more pigmented so that the writing doesn’t end up looking patchy.
On the other hand, ordinary paper tends to be of poor quality, which means that even if you buy high-quality ink, it will bleed through, making an absolute mess of your writing.
Suffice to say, how long the writing stays on the surface, when left in an open space, depends entirely on the atmospheric conditions of the room.
If you live in a place with a high humidity factor or your paper is exposed to direct light, the ink will fade very soon. In such cases, you should consider bulletproof inks as they are water-resistant, UV-light resistant, and bleach-proof.
Also, it is always a good idea to invest in fast-drying inks.
We suggest vibrant hues such as the African violet color if you are going for some fancy calligraphy writing or sending out invites. If you are going for more of a corporate vibe, you can always stick to traditional hues such as eel black.
Some individuals require inks that will last a long time. In such cases, we suggest the eternal range because they are resistant to weather corrosion and highly saturated with pigments, so that the color won’t fade easily.
Some older fountain pens tend to have mechanisms that are not as smoothly operational as the new ones. For such pens, we suggest extra lubricated inks. They contain an added lubricant that keeps the piston mechanism operating smoothly.
Unfortunately, a side effect of the lubricant is that these inks tend to be much more free-flowing, increasing the risk of spillage.
Last but not the least, money is a big factor when buying an ink bottle. Noodler’s Inks are more affordable than their competitors, but certain lines tend to cost more due to their specific features.
For instance, their fluorescent inks, which glow under UV light, cost more than their partial bulletproof range. Similarly, their partial bulletproof inks cost more than their complete bulletproof inks.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is fountain pen ink different from ballpoint pen ink?
Simply put, the difference lies in the solvent material. Ballpoint pens have inks that are oil-based and thicker. They have a much denser consistency and can be used on all kinds of paper, irrespective of their quality. Because of their thick consistency, they last for a long time.
On the other hand, fountain pen inks comprise water, water-soluble dyes, and other binding agents. Because of this, they are wetter and runnier than ballpoint pen inks.
They also need to be used on higher quality papers, particularly thick ones with absorbing properties. This is because the ink can bind only with the paper’s cellulose. Unlike ballpoint inks, they tend to dry a little slower.
Any pen enthusiast will tell you that writing with a fountain pen is a superior experience. This is because the water-based ink glides almost perfectly on any surface.
Can I dilute my fountain pen ink with water?
Absolutely! It is suggested that if you feel that the ink is too dark or the paper is not highly absorbent, you can always dilute it using clean water.
Noodler’s has a wide range of inks and highlighters with varying consistencies.
How should you prep your pen before using Noodler’s Ink?
Experts suggest that before using any new kind of ink, be it Noodler’s or not, it is always a good idea to flush the entire pen and clean out the nib and the cartridge. Noodler’s instruction manual suggests that the cartridge should not be contaminated with other kinds, particularly ink-based inks.
This is because Noodler’s inks come with a very delicate formula, which, if contaminated, loses all of its bulletproof properties.
Similarly, if dye inks are contaminated, their colors change drastically, which can alter their properties.
After flushing the pen with lukewarm water, leave it out for a day or so to dry completely. A completely dry cartridge will absorb ink easier and much faster than a wet one.
Can I use any kind of ink with my fountain pen?
You should never use any different kind of ink in your fountain pen! The thing about fountain pens, particularly antique and retractable ones, is that they have a delicate twist mechanism and ink cartridges.
As a general rule of thumb, fountain pens should be used specifically with fountain pen inks. This is because they tend to be water-based and have certain pigments that do not clog the nibs.
We understand this is quite the investment, but it saves you any damage to the nib and the cartridge.
Are Noodler’s Inks expensive?
Compared to the cost of inks put in the market by their competitors, Noodler’s has produced lines that are extremely affordable. Most of their ink bottles contain at least 90 ml of ink, which is more than the standard size of ink bottles. In fact, their motto is, “the production of inks for everyday man.”
What Makes the Noodler’s Bulletproof Inks Range so Special?
Given the wide range of bulletproof inks, you may ask yourself, what makes Noodler’s Ink so special? Can’t you find an alternative on Amazon? Well, not really.
Listed below are some of the reasons as to why our experts consider the ink range from Noodler’s to be superior to the competition.
What the company means by the word “bulletproof” is that their inks are water-resistant and UV-light resistant. This is because the inks are made using a special complex of cellulose-reactive dyes insoluble in water. This has been specifically done to prevent any forgery.
As all fountain pen enthusiasts will tell you, ink bottles are expensive, especially when fountain pens are regularly used. Even a simple black color ink can cost you over twenty dollars.
Noodler’s offers a wide range of ink types, including bulletproof and non-bulletproof dyes with amazing colors, at affordable prices. They offer a wider range of colors at just a fraction of the cost of companies like Pilot.
Although Noodler’s has a separate line of inks that they claim will dry on the paper’s surface in less than ten seconds, our experts suggest that almost their entire range of inks has a very quick drying time.
Their bulletproof inks, even when used on less absorbent paper, dries quickly, leaving behind crisp and clear writing.
Wide Range of Offerings
In our hunt for the perfect black fountain pen ink, we looked at several companies, and we are yet to come across a brand that offers as many types of inks as Noodler’s.
Their general line includes the very popular dark blue and eel black. Our favorite has to be the Vintage-style ink line in which the company tries to imitate historical era inks, like the ones used during World War II.
Ordinary fountain pen inks have apparent pigmentation issues when used on different kinds of paper. For instance, highly absorbent papers tend to make the ink look lighter, which washes away in contact with water.
The amazing feature of Noodler’s Inks is the uniform color that seems highly pigmented and shows up even on cheap paper. Even bright colors like Blue Ghost remain bright for a long period of time.
Noodler’s Bulletproof Inks – A Little Insight Into the Company
Founded in 2004 by Nathan Tardif, Noodler’s Ink began with a single plan of making luxury ink and writing equipment available to the everyday man without compromising the quality. Every single component is made in America – even the labels are designed using their inks.
Two of the defining features of Noodler’s ink are as follows – first, they consist of 97% water, and if the ink dries while in the glass bottle, adding a little water can activate it again. Second, all their inks have a complex and delicate formulation.
This is why they have to be diluted (if they need to be diluted at all) with only water. Mixing them with any other kind of ink will degrade their quality to that of ordinary fountain pen inks.
In 2017, the company released an exclusive color called A House Divided. It’s a muted reddish color, which some would resemble the look of dried blood. What is of interest is that under black light, the ink looks blue!
Did you know that their iconic ink, Heart of Darkness, is a direct reference to the novel by Joseph Conrad? Considered one of the indispensable classics of literature, the novel is as unique as the ink.
Meanwhile, their Berning Red ink is a reference to Bernie Sanders. If you visit their website, you’ll see a bunch of interesting ranges of colors with equally interesting nomenclature, and some come with pamphlets explaining the historical or cultural inspiration behind the color.
As a fountain pen beginner, getting overwhelmed with all of the free-floating information available online is very easy.
In fact, every fountain pen enthusiast has struggled with the same questions – aren’t all black inks the same? How are ballpoint pen inks different from fountain pen inks? Can’t I get a cheaper alternative from Amazon? Are Noodler’s inks worth the hype?
With so many “lines” and “series” being introduced by companies, you would think that the standards would be raised for good fountain pen inks, but this is not the case. For all the claims of being top-notch, very few companies put their money where their mouths are.
Our experts have closely combed through market performances, popular votes, and long-term performances to bring you today’s list of the four best bulletproof Noodler’s Ink.
Thank you for taking the time to go through our article. We hope this has made finding your next version of Noodlers bulletproof inks even easier. Now it’s time for you to go shopping!