Ink By The Bottle or Cartridge

Which do you prefer – ink by the bottle or catridge?

Poll no longer available

Bottle or cartridge

I’ve been a bottled ink kind of guy for as long as I can remember. I would use cartridges for specific reasons, such as in the Lamy’s I kept in my office desk or in Vanishing Points to maximize ink supplies.

I recently began to consider using cartridges more regularly and I was wondering what other people use. So I put up the above poll. It’s unscientific and will only prove what people who read this blog and answer polls prefer. But it’ll also satisfy my curiosity.

I came up with some pros and cons for using cartridges. Any others?


  • Convenience – easy to store, carry and load up the pen. Often a spare cartridge can be stored in the pen barrel.
  • Less messy – no need to clean off the nib. No risk of spills.


  • Less choice of ink – but does it matter if you like the ink that is available?
  • Ink can evaporate from the plastic cartridges (or actually the water in the ink), unlike glass bottles. So long term storage is a problem.
  • It may take coaxing to get the ink flowing when a cartridge is added to the pen.
  • More expensive per ml than bottles.
  • Wasteful – empty cartridges get thrown out.

4 thoughts on “Ink By The Bottle or Cartridge

  1. Pingback: Link Love: All Caught Up! | The Well-Appointed Desk

  2. Interesting post. I recently was forced to use a cartridge in a particular pen and found it refreshingly convenient. I went ahead and bout a pack of 12 in a Pilot Blue Black that I found appealing. I still think I will remain a bottled ink guy due to the color options.

    • Hi mypensneedink, I have a couple boxes of Pilot carts since they’re more convenient in my VPs. The convenience has me keeping a couple in my desk at work for the pens I keep there. The potential disaster of a spilled bottle of ink at work is far greater than home.

      I don’t think I’ll leave the bottled stuff either put may try a few different cartridges.


  3. Another”con” when using cartridges is that the pen is more likely to clog. When filling from a bottle, the process of sucking up ink through the nib and feed tends to clean the channels of dried ink and dirt.

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