How Much Ink is in a Pen?

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

How much ink is in a pen

Pens, those everyday tools we use without much thought, are a staple in our lives. From writing to drawing, they help us convey our thoughts and creativity onto paper.

But have you ever wondered just how much ink is in a pen? It is a seemingly simple question with a fairly straightforward answer: 0.27 – 4 ml. In this blog post, we will delve further into the topic of ink capacity and provide examples for your reference. Read on!

How Much Ink is in a Pen?

1. Fountain Pens

Fountain pens are known for their elegance, smooth writing experience, and large ink capacities, offering options for those who prefer longer writing sessions.

There are generally four fill methods for this writing tool: fountain pen cartridge vs converter vs eyedropper vs piston.

How much ink is in a cartridge?


A disposable fountain pen ink cartridge typically holds between 0.7 to 1.2 ml of ink. It is easy to replace and comes in a variety of ink colors, so it is a convenient choice for fountain pen enthusiasts.

How much ink is in a converter?


Fountain pen converters offer a refillable ink option. Their capacity can range from 0.6 ml to 1 ml, depending on the converter type and brand. Converters allow you to use bottled ink, providing more flexibility in color choices.

Cartridge Sizes
0.7 ml of ink fine nib = 45 pages

medium nib = 18 pages

broad nib = 14 pages

1.18 ml of ink fine nib = 76 pages

medium nib = 30 pages

broad nib = 24 pages

2. Piston Fountain Pens


The hallmark of piston fountain pens is their filling mechanism that draws ink directly from a bottle. This design allows for efficient filling and the ability to maximize the capacity of the pen, which is often 1.2 to 2.5 ml. Here are some examples for your reference:

Pen Ink
Lamy 2000 2.67 ml
Montblanc 146 1.4 ml
Montblanc 149 2.1 ml
TWSBI Eco 2.5 ml
TWSBI Go 1.1 ml
Noodler’s Triple Tail 1.9 ml
Pilot Custom Heritage 92 1.1 ml

Thanks to their substantial ink capacities, piston fountain pens can last for a long time. They are favored by professionals, students, and anyone who values a dependable writing instrument.

3. Eyedropper Fountain Pen


Eyedropper fountain pens have some of the most substantial ink capacities among all fountain pens. Depending on the pen’s design, they can often hold 2 ml to 4 ml of ink or even more.

Unlike traditional fountain pens that use converters or cartridges, eyedropper fountain pens have a straightforward design. The whole barrel of the cell is used as the ink reservoir.

You use an eyedropper or syringe to fill them by transferring ink into the barrel.

Eyedropper fountain pens can write for a long time between refills due to their large ink capacity. The exact duration depends on your usage, ink quality, pen nib type, and storage method. Still, they are ideal for extended writing sessions.

Pen Ink
Moonman C1 4 ml
Moonman M2: 2.5 ml
Noodler’s Charlie Pen 2.5 ml
Opus 88 2 ml
Platinum Preppy 4.33 ml
TWSBI Swipe 5.64 ml

4. Ballpoint Pens


These pens generally have smaller capacities, approximately 0.27 ml of ink. This may seem small compared to other fill mechanisms, but it can still last for a significant amount of writing.

Ballpoint pens can write for several weeks to months. Common ballpoint pens include Bic pens, Pilot pens, and Paper Mate pens.

Ballpoint pens are perfect for everyday use, jotting down quick notes or carrying in your pocket.

Their compact design and reliable ink make them a go-to choice for many.

While they may not hold as much fluid as fountain pens, they are still dependable writing instruments.

Ballpoint pens use a small, replaceable cartridge or a built-in ink tube that extends and retracts as you write.

5. Rollerball Pens & Gel Pens

These are also common pen types, but there is no specific information on their standard quantity of ink in ml.

Rollerball Pens


Rollerball pens generally store liquid ink in a replaceable cartridge, offering a more fluid writing experience.

They can last for several weeks to a few months, depending on the ink capacity and your usage. But they typically run out of ink more quickly than ballpoints because they use more pigment while writing.

Gel Pens

Gel pens utilize a similar ink cartridge system to rollerball pens, providing a consistent flow of gel ink. The writing duration of a gel pen is also several weeks to a few months. Common brands include Sakura Gelly Roll, Pilot G2, Zebra Sarasa, and Pentel EnerGel.


How much ink is in a pen? The amount of ink varies significantly based on the type of pen and its design.

Fountain pens provide the most substantial ink capacity, with options for both cartridges and converters. Ballpoint pens, on the other hand, offer smaller but still practical ink capacities.

Ultimately, the choice of tool depends on your writing style and preferences, so choose the one that best suits your needs and enjoy your writing experience to the fullest.

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