Dayspring Pens

The Ultimate Guide to Pen Refills (2021)

Parker Fountain pen

A good quality pen should not only add flair to your writing but also offer you years of reliable service.  

That's probably why, if you haven't already, you should opt for a luxury pen—say a Cross pen or a Waterman pen—for everyday writing tasks.

But what happens when Waterman pen needs an ink refill?

    1. You need to know which cartridges are compatible for Cross pen refills.
    2. You need to know where to find pen refills.
    3. You need to know where they're the most affordable.

Here’s the thing: some brands take standard refill sizes, so you can buy generic or off-brand cartridges (and these are usually cheaper and of exactly the same quality), but others have specific profiles and sizes that fit only their pens. 

It can be frustrating to spend money and wasting delivery times on a refill only to find out that it doesn’t fit. It might take some digging to figure out which brand of ink cartridge fits which pen: this article is meant to do a lot of the digging for you. 

By following this guide you’ll learn how to find the ideal refill for your writing tools. 

How Do You Find a Replacement Refill That Fits?

Find Information on the Make and Model of the Pen

Start by identifying your pen’s model and make. Go ahead and use this information to find a refill that fits it perfectly. 

A good place to start would be on the manufacturer’s website. Do they mention the specific refill options that go with your pen type? 

If not, consider checking with retailers or reviewers. 

Is it a pen that’s available at Dayspring Pens? Go to the “shop by style” tab on our site, then click on the ink refill section on the far right. You will find refill options that fit your Cross, Waterman, or Parker pens. Here’s a screenshot to guide you.

Product page pen ink collection menu


Inspect the Refill for Any Identifying Marks

Cross rollerball ink refill
Cross Brand Selectip Rollerball Refills

Not sure what brand or make yours is? Check your refill for identifying marks.

Can you see a model number or manufacturer logo?

Search the web using the identifying mark and see what options you can find.

You could ask other users of luxury pens online for recommendations as well. Make use of online forums such as the fountain pen network, Reddit, and Quora

Be careful when using model numbers, though. It’s not uncommon to find similar model numbers that are designed for different refill sizes. Check the specifications to make sure the new refill matches your pen type.

Consider Searching for Similar-Looking Ink Refills

Cross Brand Ballpoint pen ink refill

AT Cross Brand - Ballpoint Pen Refill

If you can’t find a branded refill, chances are there are no specialized refill options for your pen type. 

You can also contact the manufacturer online and see if they can offer any recommendations. Alternatively, you can search for a different refill of the same style that’s compatible with your pen.

Note: Only use this method if the first two fail. A similar-looking refill of the same style can have slight variations causing compatibility issues. 

ISO Standard Refill Types

Many brands adhere to the same standards of size (ISO 12757-1:2017 and ISO 14145-1:2016) when making their pens. This is why most refill sizes have the same dimensions even though the pens are from different makers.

Are you still in doubt about the right refill replacement to use? One of these standard refill styles could be it. 

The D1 Refill

Multi-pen with D1 refill
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These are short and slim refills usually seen in small multi-function pens.

It’s worth noting that a lot of brands make their own D1 refill sizes. However, if your pen uses a D1 refill, you can use a refill from any brand as they are compatible. There’s a wide range of inks and color options to choose from.

The fact that D1 refill sizes are small in size means that they run out of ink more quickly. They might not serve you longer as their full-size counterparts. But, small pocket writing tools are precisely what they’re designed for.

Parker D1 pen ink refill

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Size. About 2.6 inches long and 2.3 mm in diameter. 

Ink Type. Generally, D1 pen refills are miniaturized ballpoint refills and are almost all interchangeable. There are a few that use gel ink. They get used up faster than ballpoint refills, however.

Parker-style G2 Refill

Parker Ballpoint pen ink refills

Parker Brand Ballpoint Ink Refill

A Parker-style refill features a wide body with a long thin tip and a threaded plastic piece on the end. This refill type has an easily recognizable shape and is almost always interchangeable. 

Being one of the most common refill styles in the world, there are many Parker-style options to choose from. However, the Parker Pens Ballpoint Refills are some of our favorites. 

Size- About 3.9 inches long with a wide barrel and a long thin tip.

Ink Style- Generally, they feature ballpoint ink. You may find a few gel ink refill options as well.

Cross-style Refill

Cross-style ink refills for pens

Cross Ballpoint Refill

Often referred to as the C1 refill, this Cross Ballpoint Refill features a long, thin metallic body. There’s a threaded plastic knob that allows for screwing into the pen body. 

Specs: 4.6 inches long. 

Standard Rollerball Refill

Parker Brand Rollerball Ink Refill

These are used in retractable gel and rollerballs. However, they aren’t always interchangeable as they can vary from one brand name to another. 

Compatibility issues between brands are often caused by varying lengths and tapered ends. Therefore, it’s best that you use a refill size from your pen’s manufacturer. 

Restore Life to Your Special Writing Tools Today!

Parker fountain pen ink refill

Parker QUINK Mini Fountain Pen Ink Refill Cartridges

Finding the right replacement refill for your pen doesn’t have to be frustrating anymore. 

With this guide by your side, you can now go ahead and explore new combinations of writing instruments and refills that fit. 

If you’re looking for an ink refill that will fit your Cross, Waterman, or Parker pens, Dayspring Pens has got you covered. 

We have a wide range of generic pen refills compatible with your favorite rollerball, ballpoint, and fountain pen ink.


Featured image: WikiMedia


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