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Self-Inking vs. Pre-Inked Stamps

Types of Stamps

There are a variety of styles of rubber stamps available. These include Traditional Rubber Stamps that require a separate ink pad, Pre-Inked Stamps and Self-Inking Stamps. Both pre-inked and self-inking stampers are cleaner and make faster, more consistent impressions than traditional rubber stamps. Shop all rubber stamps here.

What is the main difference between Pre-Inked and Self-Inking Stamps?

A Pre-Inked Stamp has the ink reservoir behind the stamp that you fill with oil-based ink. A Self-Inking Stamp has a built-in water-based ink pad that re-inks every time an impression is made.

Which stamp is best?

When choosing what stamp is best for you, you must know you you plan to use it. Traditional Wooden Handle Rubber Stamps are best when using specialty inks because the ink pad is separate which allows you to use multiple colors of ink with the same stamp. Pre-Inked Stamps are more expensive because they last longer without needing to be re-inked. They are beneficial for imprints that contain intricate details like logos because provide the highest quality image. Self-Inking Stamps are the most affordable and are best for stamping in large quantities. They do require periodic re-inking, but they can be used with a variety of inks.

What are all the differences?

A Pre-Inked Stamp does not use a rubber die. These models flash your personalize information into an ink filled vessel within the stamp. This method allows for ink droplets to seep through the impression area only from the ink reservoir behind the stamp. Pre-inked stamps must be re-inked with liquid ink only. They require the use of the same color of the initial stamp. You must use ink specific to the manufacturer of the stamp mount that you've chosen.

Pre-Inked Highlights

  • Creates very sharp, crisp top quality images every time
  • Longest lasting stamps with up to 50,000 impressions
  • Compact mounts that are clean and easy to work with
  • Mounts have a bottom cover for storing
  • Easy to re-fill with ink, but must always use the same type
  • Recommended for stamps with logos

A Self-Inking Stamp makes the traditional rubber stamp automatic by using a tiny built-in ink pad to re-ink itself for each quality impression. Your personalized die is made with real rubber and mounted on the stamp of your choosing. When making an impression, your die will retract back and forth against the internal ink pad within the stamp. Initial ink pad comes in the stamp, but you can purchase additional ink for instances where impressions are becoming worn or when you would like to change your ink color. Just be sure to look for ink that is compatible with self-inking mounts.

Self-Inking Highlights

  • Best for stamping large quantities
  • Works quickly with a simple press
  • Can handle rough and heavy use
  • Can use a variety of inks which is useful for periodic re-inking
  • Self-inking stamps make about 10,000 impressions before needing ink
  • Easy to re-fill ink on your own
  • Affordable good quality impression