SARASA dry Review: An Ultimate Pen With No Smear

Ink is an essential factor when choosing a writing instrument. If you use poor quality ink, your handwriting will be blurred, and you will have ink on your hands, causing a lot of stress. In this SARASA dry review, I’ll show you the features of SARASA dry with writing test and some of the points to keep in mind before purchase.

Basic Features

Length139.4mm (5.49 inches)
Diameter (Ø)10.9mm (0.43 inches)
MechanismKnock Type
InkWater-based ink
Ink ColorBlack / Red / Blue
Pen Tip0.4 / 0.5 / 0.7mm
PriceJP ¥165 (approx. US $1.5)

There are three ink colors to choose from and three nib thicknesses available: 0.4/0.5/0.7mm. In Japan, you can buy one for about $1.5. So, the pricing is about the same as the other ordinary cheap pens.


This is what it looks like. It’s an inexpensive pen, so to be honest, the design is nothing special and looks like pens you can find anywhere.

sarasa dry pen on  wooden table
internal structure of sarasa dry pen
sarasa dry logo on sarasa dry pen


The main feature of this pen is the ultra-fast-drying ink called “DRYJELL ink” developed by Zebra.

Features of DRYJELL ink

1.  Fast-drying

DRYJELL ink used in SARASA dry is an ultra-fast-drying water-based ink. This ink contains a new ingredient that quickly penetrates the paper. The time it takes to dry is reduced by 85% compared to conventional inks. You can actually trace the ink with your finger right after writing without any problem.

2.  Smooth and comfortable writing

The low-viscosity gel ink is light and smooth. So your hand will not get tired even after writing for a long time.

3.  Thick ink

The use of dark ink dyes results in fairly thick, clearly visible handwriting with vibrance.

Writing test

The most remarkable feature of this pen is its quick-drying property. So even if you rub it with your finger right after writing, the ink doesn’t stick to your finger at all. And it doesn’t blur either, which is just amazing.

SARASA dry writing test

I think SARASA dry is perfect for left-handed people who suffer from blurred ink caused by their own hands touching the ink as they write.

Comparison with other pens

Here is a writing test using paper from LIFE Noble Notebook and comparing with other companies’ pens.

writing test of various types of ballpint pens

As you can see, SARASA dry is quite vivid and clear in color.

In addition, I’m using a 0.4mm thick Pen Tip, but it still looks thicker than the 0.5mm pens from other companies. This is because the nib has a relatively high volume of ink. It makes an excellent ink flow to give a very smooth writing experience.

For this reason, it is better to choose one level thinner SARASA dry than the thickness you normally use. (e.g. if you usually use a 0.5mm pen, 0.4mm is recommended)

Things I Noticed

Apart from the basic performance, here are a few other things I’ve noticed.

No water-resistance

Of course, it is water-based ink, so it is not water-resistant at all. I dropped a drop of water on an oil-based ballpoint pen (JETSTREAM) and SARASA dry ink for the experimental purpose. And the SARASA dry ink immediately bled into the water. Even after wiping it off immediately, the discoloration and the blurred ink remained the same.

Drop of water on JETSTREAM and SARASA dry inks
after wiping off the water from JETSTREAM and SARASA dry inks
Put highlighter in on SARASA dry ink with smudge
A little smudge with highlighter

Also, I sometimes had ink on my hands when I put my sweaty hands on the ink for a while. So people with sweaty hands need to be a little more careful.

Possibility of bleed-through

To achieve a high level of quick-drying, the ink is designed to penetrate paper quite easily. So depending on the type of paper, there may be a possibility of bleed-through. It was fine with my copying papers and notebooks, so it may not be that much of a concern.

Having said that, I have seen some reviews saying that the bleed-through came out when used on thin paper notebooks. So I guess it totally depends on which notebook you use.


SARASA dry is a C-300 typed refill, the most widely used type of ballpoint pen in Japan. Therefore, it is possible to replace the refill with the body of a ballpoint pen from a variety of companies.

I found that I could insert the refill into the body of Uni’s “JETSTREAM” and Pentel’s “Energel series” without any problem. However, I could not insert it into Blen due to the size of the lead, although it is produced by the same company Zebra.

Where Can We Get?

I’ve picked out a few online pen stores that offer international shipping.

I’ve also written the summary of how to order from Amazon Japan using the Amazon Global service, so please check that out if you need some help.

Overall Score

radar chart of overall score

The one-of-a-kind, super-fast-drying ink is of outstanding quality, and I hope you will try it and experience its excitement. The writing experience is also very smooth and stress-free. So I have no complaints about its performance.

However, it looks no different than any other inexpensive pen. Suppose you are particular about the design of writing instruments as well. In that case, you can take advantage of its high compatibility and use it with your favorite pen’s body that matches the SARASA dry refill.

I hope this SARASA dry review was helpful for you!


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