Emulsion Ink: Fusion Of Oil-based & Water-based Ink

A completely new type of emulsion ink that is neither oil-based nor water-based, nor gel ink. Here is the introduction of its features, advantages, and disadvantages, along with a writing test.

What Is Emulsion Ink?

emulsion ink

Emulsion ink refers to a new type of ink developed by Zebra, a Japanese stationery manufacturer that has produced many popular ballpoint pens such as Blen series.

First of all, I would like to briefly introduce emulsion ink, which has both the gel and oil-based ink properties. Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to say that it is the best of all ink types.

For example, in the case of Zebra’s Surari ballpoint pen, oil-based ink and water-based ink are mixed in a ratio of 7:3. So if you think of it as “water-based ink floating in oil-based ink,” it might be easier to understand.

Originally, the term “emulsion” referred to a “dispersive solution”. In short, it is a special way to keep substances like water and oil stable, even if they do not mix with each other.

For the innovation of emulsion ink, the goal was to bring together the advantages of water-based and oil-based inks.

History Of Emulsion Ink

flowing blue ink

It took Zebra five years to develop this emulsion ink.

Zebra is a company developing and selling pens since 1959 when the company introduced its first ballpoint pen.

In 1982, Zebra introduced a ballpoint pen using water-based ink, and in 1992, they introduced a water-based gel ink pen. Thus, they have demonstrated their technological prowess by constantly adopting new technologies.

And their goal was to develop a new technology that would be ahead of its time. And that was the fusion of “water-based” and “oil-based” inks, which was said to be impossible back then.

In the development stage, they initially made 50 types of black inks, 100 other types of pen lead based on the inks. And then, they have made them in all nine different colors, for a total of over 1000 different test pieces.

As a result, the aforementioned water-in-oil droplet type achieved stability in the mixed state of water-based and oil-based inks. It has been adopted and commercialized as a ballpoint pen ink.

As a result, they successfully created a totally new ink that is stable in a mixture of water-based and oil-based inks. This ink has been adopted as a ballpoint pen ink and commercialized soon.

Characteristics Of Emulsion Ink

an ink bottle next to different types of pens on a white table


The biggest advantage of emulsion ink is the combination of writing comfort and water resistance.

It dries as fast as an oil-based ink, but we can write as smoothly as a water-based ink pen. Even though you can write with less effort, you don’t have to worry about stains on your hands or paper due to blotting or ink pooling, unlike water-based pens.

Another advantage is that it is water & light-resistant. So we can use it for official documents without any problems.


On the other hand, one of the disadvantages of emulsion ink is that it may cause some ink to pool on the paper depending on the paper quality and writing environment.

Compared to gel ink pens, writing pressure tends to increase. So if the paper is thin or light, you are likely to leave pen strokes on the other side of the paper.

In some cases, ink puddles caused by the unevenness of the paper will form momentarily.

Another disadvantage of emulsion ink is that, like gel ink, the ink diminishes quickly.

Writing Test

I did a writing test with five major pen inks to compare emulsion ink with the others.

writing test of 5 different types of pen inks

As you can see, the feeling of coloration is similar to oil-based ink. However, it is amazing that the writing experience is comparable to the JETSTREAM ink, which is one of the smoothest oil-based inks.

Now, let’s take a look at the water resistance.

dropped water
after wiping off the water

Like oil-based and Erasable inks, emulsion ink repels water well. With this water resistance, we can use it for official documents with no concern.

Who Should Use Emulsion Ink?

It is a very well-balanced ink. So it is not an ink that I would definitely recommend to the specific types of people, in particular.

However, if you have not decided which ink is best for you, you should give it a try.


This innovative emulsion ink, combining the advantages of oil-based and water-based inks, is worth trying for those not satisfied with their current pens.

If you haven’t used it yet, why not check it out?


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