Monday, February 20, 2012

Noodler's Polar Green ink review

Noodler's Polar Green marks the third ink in Noodler's "Polar" range that I tested, the other two being Polar Brown and Polar Blue. Third time's the charm they say but not in this case, I'm afraid. Due to a combination of factors I just couldn't enjoy this ink.

I tested Polar Green first in my Jinhao X750 and then, after being dissatisfied with the flow, in my Kaweco Classic Sport. Both pens have a broad nib.

As a reminder, Noodler's Polar inks are meant to resist very low temperatures, which make them ideal if you are a polar explorer. There is another, very practical, use for these inks though. Because I live in Illinois, which can get very cold in winter, I keep a Pilot Varsity filled with Noodler's Polar Brown in my car. Ballpoint pens always freeze in the cold and so would a normal ink. A Polar ink, on the other hand, feels right at home in the cold.

Another characteristic of the Polar range of inks is that they are bulletproof, which means water resistance as well as resistance to various chemicals that forgers might use.

Polar Green comes in a 3oz / 89ml bottle and is priced at $12.50, or $0.14 per milliliter. This price is in line with most Noodler's inks.

Color and saturation
I was expecting an interesting shade but instead I got a very dull and melancholy green which is also fairly unsaturated. The color is definitely on the cool side of the spectrum. Essentially there's nothing cheerful about the appearance of this ink. You might like it but I don't. Polar Blue also had a subdued appearance but I enjoyed that ink a lot more.

Polar Green doesn't have any shading, unless you stack several layers of it.

I haven't noticed any feathering, either on Rhodia or the cheap photocopier paper.

Unfortunately Noodler's Polar Green loves to bleed through cheaper paper. On higher quality paper such as Rhodia 80g or Clairefontaine 90g it shows some serious ghosting. This could also be as a result of using a broad nib but at any rate, it does show through. I could still use the reverse side of the cheap paper but while that may be ok for notes, it would probably look bad on official documents.

Flow and lubrication
Another place where Noodler's Polar Green fails to score any points is flow. This was one of the driest inks I've tested. It flowed poorly in the Jinhao X750 and only slightly better in the Kaweco. I am willing to give it the benefit of the doubt because I did not test this ink at the temperatures it was meant for. Perhaps it works much better when the temperatures are very low but I was hoping it would perform well at room temperature.

Drying time
It may fail at other chapters but Noodler's Polar Green dries in record time. This is one of the fastest drying inks I have tried. As you can see from the samples, it is dry in less than 5 seconds, and that's using a broad nib. Very impressive. On the other hand I've noticed that inks which dry very quickly also tend to bleed though the paper, which is definitely the case here.

Smearing when dry
No surprises here. Not only does Polar Green dry quickly but it doesn't smear one bit when touched. That's in opposition to Polar Brown and very similar behavior to Polar Blue.

Water resistance
Being a bulletproof ink, Polar Green's water resistance is exemplary. From the sample, you can see that after being held for over a minute under running water there isn't the slightest indication (apart from the rumpling of the paper) that this ink has been subjected to water.

Noodler's Polar Green is a peculiar ink. Personally I didn't enjoy it but looks are subjective and others might find that the dullness and lack of saturation are appealing. Is it appropriate for business use? Possibly, depending whether your line of work allows for green inks, even if they are subdued. If the dryness doesn't scare you away, then you might still be partial to the quick drying time and the high water resistance. One thing is certain: if you are in desperate need of a freeze-resistant green ink, then Noodler's Polar Green is the one and only ink for you.

Following are two writing samples on photocopier paper and Rhodia 80g, respectively.

Noodler's Polar Green on photocopy

Noodler's Polar Green on Rhodia


  1. I'm a little confused. You are reviewing Polar Green but in many places you say Polar Brown. I assume that is just a typo

  2. Ah thanks for catching that. I believe it was only in 1 place. But I do mention Polar Brown a lot too since they are part of the same family.

  3. 2nd word under Shading