Fountain pens are the most sought-after and favorite writing tool of many writing and stationery lovers. But unlike ballpoint pens, you must regularly refill your fountain pens with ink. There are multiple ways you can refill your pen, but a favorite remains ink cartridges. Known for their compact and mess-free design, they are portable and can be used on the go or for quick ink swaps that won’t interrupt your writing sessions.
However, there are multiple sizes and dozens of brands of cartridges that can make choosing the correct cartridge difficult. The most widely accepted fountain pen ink cartridge size is the Standard International Short. These cartridges fit a range of pens from beginner to more advanced and inexpensive to luxury.
Table of Contents
- Types of Cartridges
- Standard International Ink Cartridge Sizes
- Criteria for SelectIon
- The Best International Short Cartridges
- What Pens Fit International Short Cartridges
- How to Use Ink Cartridges
I recently wrote a converter compatibility guide to help fountain pen owners match their pens to cartridges. But I realized there are so many standard international cartridges that I needed to go more in detail on the best international short cartridges to help give you some ideas of which ones are worth it.
So now let’s see the best international short cartridges.
Types of Cartridges
As I said, not all cartridges fit all pens. I wanted to quickly go over the sizes in case anyone was unfamiliar with fountain pen cartridge sizes. There are two main types of cartridges: Standard International and proprietary.
Standard International Cartridges
The Standard International cartridges are widely used in fountain pens. They come in short and long sizes. Many manufacturers such as Kaweco, Faber-Castell, and Monteverde create cartridges to this standard specification, but as long as they are labeled as “Standard International,” they can be used interchangeably in other fountain pens that also take this international standard size.
On the other hand, some manufacturers have created their own proprietary cartridges that will only work with their pens and may only work with a specific pen and not all of their products. LAMY, Montblanc, Parker, Pilot, and Platinum are notable brands that use proprietary sizes. If you own one of these pens and are looking for the right converter, I suggest you check out the Compatibility Guide because none of the ink cartridges I’m going to list here will fit your pen.
Standard International Ink Cartridge Sizes
Standard international long cartridges vary from the short in length and fill capacity only. They have the exact same opening that fits into the grip section of the pen. So while technically, you can choose either the short or long standard cartridges, the size of your pen’s barrel will also factor in. For example, the Kaweco Sport will not work with the long cartridges.
The short international cartridge is about 1.5 inches long and 7 mm in diameter, holding about 0.8 ml of ink.
Long cartridges, however, are nearly twice as big at about 2.8 inches long and hold 1.4 ml of ink.
Criteria for SelectIon
When it comes to selecting the best international short fountain pen ink cartridges, there are several criteria that one should consider. These criteria include the ink quality, color options, ease of use, and availability.
1. Ink Quality: The ink quality is one of the most important factors to consider when selecting an international short fountain pen ink cartridge. The ink should be smooth flowing and consistent in color without any blotches or smudging. High-quality inks will also dry quickly and resist bleeding through thin paper.
2. Color Options: Another factor to consider is the range of colors available for your chosen brand of international short fountain pen ink cartridges. Some brands offer a wide range of colors, while others have limited options. It’s essential to choose a brand that has a good selection so you can choose the color that suits your needs.
3. Ease of Use: Easy-to-use cartridges make writing with your favorite fountain pen an effortless and enjoyable experience. Choose products with easy installation instructions as well as those which are easy to replace when they run out.
4. Availability: Lastly, it’s essential to consider availability because some brands may not be easily available due to shipping restrictions, price, or manufacturer supply.
The Best International Short Cartridges
J. Herbin is a renowned brand producing high-quality writing instruments for over 350 years. The J. Herbin Fountain Pen Cartridges are available in a wide range of colors, including black, blue, red, green, purple, orange, pink, and brown. The cartridges are made using high-quality ink that provides a smooth and consistent flow when writing. The ink dries quickly on paper without smudging or bleeding through the page. This makes it ideal for use in various applications such as drawing or calligraphy.
Kaweco is a well-known brand among fountain pen enthusiasts, most notably because of their quality products and low price points. The Kaweco cartridges are a favorite for standard international fountain pens because the ink is smooth and comes in a variety of vibrant colors such as purple, green, pink, brown, and the standard black and blue. While the ink is high quality, it does take longer to dry than the J Herbin ink, which may not suit all writers, particularly lefties.
Best Large Color Selection
One common drawback with using cartridges is the lack of color selection. But that is simply not true with Diamine. They have inks that come in a range of colors from Oxblood (black) and Blue Black to Orange and Red. They also have sets for writers who want several colors. Diamine ink is smooth and very wet, so again, it takes a while to dry. However, if you love colorful calligraphy and don’t mind a long dry time, this is the ink for you.
Graf Von Faber-Castell is know for being a higher-end and quality product. Many of their premium inks are available in their cartridges for a more affordable price. They are available in several colors like black, blue-black, a turquoise, and a vibrant pink. The Faber-Castell inks are fairly wet and take some time to dry but they are somewhat water-resistant.
The Pelikan 4001 ink cartridges need to be highlighted for their incredibly quick-drying and smudge-resistant ink. They have the driest flow of any inks on this list making it ideal for quick writing like notes, or journaling, or for lefties who find other fountain pen inks smudge too easily. The 4001 is also great for those that don’t use a special fountain pen paper as it doesn’t feather or bleed-through like most of fountain pen inks.
What Pens Fit International Short Cartridges
Many pens use Standard international cartridges, most notably:
For more, see our Fountain Pen Cartridge Compatibility Guide
How to Use Ink Cartridges
I wanted to quickly go into how to use ink cartridges. Luckily, it’s a straightforward process, and the same for any pen and cartridge. We’ll mention three main parts: the barrel: the back section of the pen that covers the cartridge, the grip section where you hold the pen, which contains the nib and is where you insert the cartridge. And the cap: what covers the nib. If you need help with any pen parts or names, see our post on How Fountain Pens Work.
How to Install Cartridges
Step 1: Remove the Barrel
Step 2: Find the Cartridge Opening
Step 3: Insert the New Cartridge Into Your Pen’s Barrel
Step 4: Press Firmly
Step 5: Let the Pen Rest Tip Down
Step 6: Test Your New Ink
See How to Install a Fountain Pen Cartridge for more help.
How to Refill Cartridges
Though you can purchase converters for your fountain pen to enable you to fill it with any ink you want, some people reuse their cartridges to save money or be more environmentally friendly. I go more into why and how to do that Here.
Step 1: Clean the Cartridge
Step 2: Fill the Syringe with Ink.
Step 3: Fill the Cartridge
Step 4: Install the Cartridge or Store it Properly
For more help, see our guide on how to store open cartridges.
Step 5: Clean the Syringe.
So there you have it. International short fountain pen cartridges have made it easier for people to use their favorite pens. Their convenience and portability make them an excellent choice for anyone who wants to write on the go. With a wide range of colors, brands, and sizes available, finding the perfect cartridge is easy. Whether you’re a seasoned writer or just starting with fountain pens, using international short cartridges will enhance your writing experience and allow you to express yourself in more ways than ever before.
If you have any questions about international standard cartridges or their compatibility, check our other posts for more help. If you’re still lost, leave us a comment below or message us, and we’ll see what we can do.
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