Because of its dry nature, it cannot be recommended for use in any pen that is also considered 'dry' as the rate of ink-flow is likely to be too low; that is its only practical restriction.

From: PELIKAN ink bottle review

What are they talking about when they say dry pen and dry ink?
What kind of pens are dry pens? Are there wet pens and wet inks too?

Please give examples.

How do I verify before purchasing that the ink and pen are dry or wet?


1 Answer 1


'Dry' and 'wet' refer to the flow of the ink.

  • Regarding inks, the terms 'dry' and 'wet' give a relative idea of the viscosity of the ink: wet inks flow more freely, whereas dry inks have more friction. The difference, usually caused by the amount of lubricant (depending on the amount and quality of the dye used), can be very subtle, and hard to spot, but you can feel it quite easily in your fingers, as wet inks give a smoother glide to your pen.

    Wet inks, as the name implies, will stay wet for longer, whereas dry inks dry much quicker. Among other differences, dry inks allow for an improved application of details, as it is cleaner and finer. Wet inks will feather more. And if you happen to be a left-handed person, it will also facilitate sinistrodextral (left-to-right) writing, or vice versa, as the ink will likely smudge less.

  • Calling a pen 'wet' or 'dry' gives a relative idea of the transfer of ink. The nib is the crucial element here: wet pens will allow for the ink to flow copiously through their nibs, whereas dry pens have nibs that deposit ink less freely.

Obviously, this binary attribution - dry/wet - of what is essentially a range of fluidity is not particularly accurate.

It is now probably clearer why it is not recommended to use dry ink in a dry pen: both traits will counter each other, or, indeed, "the rate of ink-flow is likely to be too low".

  • Please give one example each of dry and wet inks and pens. Jul 26, 2020 at 19:43
  • The Pelikan 4001 you mention in your other question is a good example of a dry ink and Aurora Black of a wet ink (see here). Because for pens the nibs are decisive, it's a little harder to compare and give examples: I suggest going over this thread.
    – Joachim
    Jul 27, 2020 at 10:49
  • Yes, but haven't mentioned how do I know before purchasing whether the ink is dry or wet so that I can make an informed decision. Jul 27, 2020 at 12:42
  • It's more of an informal property. I suggest searching for the ink type online, scanning through reviews (using the browser's search option), and reading about it on forums.
    – Joachim
    Jul 27, 2020 at 14:41

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