How Long Will 50ml of Ink Last? (3 Different Nibs)

Written by Shawn Buckles in Ink

Your bottle of fountain pen ink will last up to 1.6 times longer using a fine nib compared to a medium nib. I've tested how many pages I could write on 50ml of ink and will share the results here.

A 50ml bottle of fountain pen ink will last 1250 pages (A4) with a medium nib, 1000 pages with a broad nib, and 3200 pages with a fine nib. On average, you'll get roughly 50 refills from each bottle, and depending on how much you write, you could use the same bottle for years.

This equates to about 140,000 words with a broad nib, 165,000 words with a medium nib, or 380,000 words with a fine nib. In other words, you can write 1-3 novels with one bottle of ink, assuming you get your first draft published.

The exact amount of refills depends on the type of cartridge, converter, or pen you use. Below, I'll discuss exactly how many refills you'll get for each type.

The exact amount of pages will vary depending on nib size, paper type, and ink properties, so to give a somewhat conclusive answer, I've set up a test where I test three different nib sizes.

In this article:

  1. Ink Consumption for 3 Nib Sizes
  2. Test Setup and Results
  3. How Long Different Ink Cartridges Will Last

Ink Consumption for 3 Nib Sizes

Before diving into the details of the experiment, I want to first give a quick overview of the testing results. You'll find detailed results below. Here are the number of pages I should be able to write based on my test:

Pages written with 50ml of ink:

Nib size Pages Words Letters
Broad (Jinhao x450) 1,000 165,000 577,500
Medium (TWSBI Eco) 1,250 144,444 476,667
Fine (Jinhao 51A) 3,214 378,571 1,249,286

Ink consumption really drops down with fine nibs. The fine nib I've used for testing could be considered an extra fine. Next, let's calculate how much ink we use for every ten pages:

Ink consumption for every 10 pages:

  • Fine nib: 0.16ml of ink
  • Medium nib: 0.4ml of ink
  • Broad nib: 0.5ml of ink

Based on these results, we can calculate that, with a standard ink cartridge (0.7ml), you should be able to write:

Pages written with standard ink cartridge:

  • Fine nib: 45 pages
  • Medium nib: 18 pages
  • Broad nib: 14 pages

Amount of refills from 50ml of ink:

Type of cartridge # of refills (50ml)
Cartridge short (0.7ml) 71
Cartridge long (1.45ml) 34
Converter (0.9ml) 56
Piston (2ml) 25
Eyedropper (2.5ml) 20

So that's the quick overview. Next, let's dive into the nitty-gritty of my little experiment.

Test Setup and Results

I couldn't really find a conclusive answer online on how long it'll take to empty my 50ml bottle of ink. Since many people are asking this question, I figured I might as find out myself by running a simple experiment.

We want to find out:

  • number of pages written for a bottle
  • number of words and letters written
  • how long different sizes of ink bottles and cartridges will last
My test setup

Test setup

My test setup is simple. I'll fill three pens with 0.1ml of ink, after which I'll write until they stop. To measure the exact amount of ink, I'll weigh the pen's converter empty, filled, and after the writing test. This way, I know exactly how many milliliters of ink I've used up.

I'll use a precision scale for weighing duties, Parker Quink blue (new bottle) since it is the most average ink I own, and a Jinhao 51A (fine nib), TWSBI Eco (medium nib), Jinhao x450 (broad nib).

I'll write the standard printers dummy text 'The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog', since this sentence uses all letters and is a good length. I'll write on a regular 80 grams A4 notepad, since it's the most average one I've got.

You can view the experiment here:

Detailed test results

For transparency's sake, here are my measurements:

nib size amount of ink in ml pages sentences words letters
TWSBI Eco medium nib 0.1 2.5 33 330 1155
Jinhao x450 broad nib 0.09 1.8 26 260 858
Jinhao 51A fine nib 0.07 4.5 53 530 1749

Here are my complete calculations based on the measurements above:

nib size amount of ink in ml pages sentences words letters
TWSBI Eco medium nib 0.1 2.5 33 330 1155
1 25 330 3300 11550
10 250 3300 33000 115500
50 1250 16500 165000 577500
Jinhao x450 broad nib 0.09 1.8 26 260 858
0.1 2 29 289 953
1 20 289 2889 9533
10 200 2889 28889 95333
50 1000 14444 144444 476667
Jinhao 51A fine nib 0.07 4.5 53 530 1749
0.1 6 76 757 2499
1 64 757 7571 24986
10 643 7571 75714 249857
50 3214 37857 378571 1249286

Reservations about this experiment

There are some obvious shortcomings to this experiments' setup. The most important being:

  • testing with only small amounts of ink increases the margin of error;
  • I've only tested with limited nib options to reduce the duration of the experiment;
  • I've only tested fairly average paper and am sure your ink consumption will be substantially less with better paper quality;
  • I've only tested with one ink, which, although average, will not give conclusive data.

All in all, I'm fairly pleased with how this test turned out. I've got a good idea of ink consumption for average pens, using an average ink, writing on average paper. In the future, I might do more testing and supplement this study's data to improve its accuracy.

How Long Different Ink Cartridges Will Last

Using our data, we can answer all kinds of ink consumption-related questions. We'll simply calculate the number of pages written based on ink cartridge capacity or bottle capacity.

Pages written per cartridge type

Number of pages Cartridge short (0.7ml) Cartridge long (1.45ml) Converter (0.9ml) Piston (2ml) Eyedropper (2.5ml)
Fine (Jinhao 51A) 45 93 58 129 161
Medium (TWSBI Eco) 18 36 23 50 63
Broad (Jinhao x450) 14 29 18 40 50

The above capacities are taken from another article where I discuss the exact capacity of different fountain pens and converters. You can look up your fountain pen to determine its exact ink capacity.

How long does a fountain pen ink cartridge last?

A regular ink cartridge will write between 14-45 pages depending on the nib: 14 pages with a broad nib, 18 pages with a medium nib, and 45 pages with a fine nib.

How long do fountain pen converters last?

Average converters have an ink capacity of 0.9ml and will write around 45 pages with a fine nib, 18 pages with a medium nib, and 14 pages with a broad nib.

How long does a Lamy converter last?

The Lamy Z28 (0.8ml) will write between 16-51 pages; 20 pages with a medium nib, 16 pages with a broad nib, and 51 pages with a fine nib. The Lamy T10 converter (1.2ml) will write between 24-77 pages; 24 pages with a broad nib, 30 pages with a medium nib, and 77 pages with a fine nib.

How much does a Parker refill last?

How long does 1ml of ink last?

1ml of fountain pen ink will typically write for 25 pages with a medium nib, 20 pages with a broad nib, and 64 pages with a fine nib.

nib size pages sentences words letters
medium nib 25 330 3,300 11,550
broad nib 20 289 2,889 9,533
fine nib 64 757 7,571 24,986

How long does 30ml ink last?

30ml of fountain pen ink will typically last 750 pages in a medium nib, 600 pages in a broad nib, and 1900 pages in a fine nib.

nib size pages sentences words letters
medium nib 750 9,900 99,000 346,500
broad nib 600 8,667 86,667 286,000
fine nib 1,929 22,714 227,143 749,571

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