Comparing Self-Inking Stamps vs Pre-Inked Stamps

One of the most popular stamps you’ll find in our Jacksonville facility is a pre-inked stamp, but unless you love stamps just as much as we do, you may not know what sets this stamp apart from the others. So, what are the qualities of a pre-inked stamp that make it so different from say a self-inking stamp? Everything from the way the stamp is made to the impression it leaves is truly unique. Let’s take a look at what the different stamp types are and how they work.

Self-Inking Stamps vs Pre-Inked Stamps

There are a variety of styles of hand-held stamps available. These include Self-Inking Stamps, Pre-Inked Stamps, and Traditional Wood Handled Rubber Stamps that require a separate ink pad.  Both pre-inked and self-inking are cleaner and make faster, more consistent impressions than traditional rubber stamps, which is why they have become the more popular modern choice when purchasing a custom stamp for addresses, signature stamps, and logo stamps while traditional stamps are still preferred for crafting and artistic use.

What Are the Differences Between Self-Inking & Pre-Inked Stamps?

A Custom Self-Inking Stamp typically has a rotating mechanism that presses the rubber stamp dye into a built-in water-based ink pad that re-inks the dye every time an impression is made.  The rubber dye is stored in a retracted position in between impressions.

A Custom Pre-Inked Stamp is a type of stamp that has a reservoir of oil-based ink built directly into the rubber dye, which means that it does not require a separate ink pad like a self-inking stamp. This ink reservoir is filled with ink that is specially formulated to be absorbed by the rubber die to create crisp, clear impressions.

Everything from the way the stamp is made to the impression it leaves is truly unique. Let’s take a look at what these stamps are and how they work.

What Is A Self-Inking Stamp?

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 ink stamps 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.

  • A self-inking stamp is best for stamping repeatedly and quickly
  • 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

What Is a Pre-Inked Stamp

A pre-inked Stamp does not use a rubber die. These models flash your personalized 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 oil-based ink only. They require the use of the same color as the initial ink stamps you’ve used. You must use ink specific to the manufacturer of the stamp mount that you’ve chosen.

  • A pre-inked stamp creates sharp, crisp, top quality impressions
  • Longest lasting ink stamps with up to 50,000 impressions
  • Compact mounts that are clean and easy to work with
  • Mounts have a bottom cover for storage
  • Easy to re-fill with ink, but must always use the same type
  • Recommended for stamps with logos

Is a Self-Inking or Pre-Inked Stamp Better?

Self-inking stamps are the most popular stamp type on the market and designed to make stamping easy, efficient, and affordable. Since there is no need to re-ink the stamp in between sessions, self-inking stamps can make thousands of impressions in a row, saving you time and money. They are a reliable choice for both professional and personal needs and we recommend them when speed is of the essence. Because self-inking stamps use water-based ink and may smudge on non-porous surfaces, they are not appropriate for shiny or glossy surfaces.

Pre-inked stamps provide the best quality impression and can achieve the highest level of detail. If you want an uncompromised impression and cost is no object, pre-inked stamps are the top-of-the-line stamp.  It may even appear like the impressions are machine printed instead of stamped. When stamping on shiny or glossy surfaces we always recommend pre-inked stamps using oil-based ink. Pre-inked stamps are suggested for projects or any design that requires precision over speed.

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