Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lamy Red ink review

I haven't posted in a long time, and going forward it is highly likely that I will post very sporadically. While I still enjoy using inks and fountain pens, and I still have a large number of ink samples to review, life has guided me in a different direction and I find myself with very little time to involve myself with my hobbies.

All is not lost though because today I'm reviewing an ink that I've been using on a daily basis ever since my last ink review. Lamy Red, the ink in question, has lasted all this time in my Pilot Varsity that I use at work. In truth, I use red ink rarely so it usually lasts a long time. In this case, the nature of this ink also helped with longevity. Let's explore why.

Lamy inks hail from Germany and they come in 50ml (1.7oz) bottles for $8.50, or $0.17 per milliliter.

Color and saturation
Lamy Red is not very saturated in writing, despite what you see from the samples. Swabbing with the q-tip produces more saturation, obviously. The color tends a bit towards orange-pink. You can see how it compares to Noodler's Nikita, which, to my opinion, is a truer red.

Lamy Red doesn't have any shading to speak of.

The absence of feathering is always a good thing.

No bleedthrough either.

Flow and lubrication
Here's where Lamy Red starts to falter. This is one of the drier inks I've tried in recent memory. The lack of saturation and shading when using a fountain pen could be partly due to its dryness and reluctance to flow. While cheap paper will induce it to flow somewhat by acting as a sponge, better paper such as the Rhodia 80g I used for one of the samples offers a very poor surface. I did not enjoy writing that segment on Rhodia. Luckily I use cheap paper at work.

Drying time
Dry ink usually means quick dry. No exception here, though I would have traded some drying time for better flow.

Smearing when dry

Water resistance
This ink isn't rated waterproof and it shows. A mere 15 seconds under flowing water made most of the text illegible.

To be honest I didn't have great expectations about Lamy Red. I guess I wasn't disappointed, in that sense. While I'm sure this ink has its fans (who perhaps like the color), personally I cannot recommend it. There's nothing particularly appealing about the color to me, while the dryness kills it completely. Verdict: there are much better red inks out there.

Following are the two samples on photocopy and Rhodia 80g paper, respectively.

Lamy Red on photocopy

Lamy Red on Rhodia


  1. As always, a great review. I have never used Lamy inks (though I do own a Lamy Vista pen) and, for some reason, have never had a desire to. Your review will certainly help put my money in better ink products. My all-time favorite red remains an old standby, Sheaffer Red, though I have others that I like. Sheaffer Red is the purest red I own and it is very well behaved so it is the one I always go back to when I need a "Double R" (Reliable Red). ;-)

    I shall miss your more frequent reviews but wish you all the best wherever your life's journey takes you.

  2. Thanks freddy! You've my most reliable reader :) I might have a sample of Sheaffer Red somewhere though one of my favorites so far is Noodler's Fox.

    I wish I could do more reviews and write more articles but a lot of other things are pulling me in different directions.

  3. Been reading most of your ink reviews. They were very well written and informative. Thank you! Btw, just a question on this ink: how does this red compare to coral inks? (Lamy or Diamine)

  4. Thanks! I really didn't like Lamy Red back at the time, but after testing Diamine Coral, the two are somewhat similar, though Coral is more pink and Lamy Red is more... red, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Coral over Red.

  5. Thanks for the reply although it's an old post! I was considering between these two because I think the lamy red is sold in my country for about rm22+ ($6~7) while diamine is rm43+ (usual $12.50) which is almost double the price. The ink is to be used in a neon coral lamy Safari ^^ I'm still new to fountain pens so I've alot more to discover :)