Ink Spot: Kaweco Ruby Red




The ink for this review was generously provided by Kaweco. No additional compensation was provided for this review. All opinions expressed below are solely those of the reviewer. 

I’m one of those kids you probably loved to hate in school: I was a teacher’s pet. I almost never got in trouble. I got good grades. It’s part of my personality, that desire to always be correct. It has been as long as I can remember. There are few things I hated more than seeing red marks on my papers and tests when they were handed back by the teacher. It is, perhaps, why I don’t have great associations with the color red when it comes to ink. Aside from pink, red is the color of which I have the fewest options, and most of them aren’t what you would consider “true” reds. I have Diamine Oxblood and Red Dragon. And I suppose you could consider my Montblanc Leonardo da Vinci Red Chalk or my Diamine Ancient Copper to be a red…kinda. And I have the J. Herbin Rouge Hematite, but that’s all about the gold glitter, so it doesn’t really count. But that’s it. Red is almost never the color I turn to when I’m looking at inks.

Kaweco Ruby Red is the first “true” red that I’ve ever owned or used in a pen. And it is a real middle-of-the-road ink for me.


(Ignore the water test on this image…I hadn’t done it yet. Spoiler alert: It’s not very water resistant.)

Ruby Red is a bright red that I find strays very slightly toward the “cool” side of red, which sounds even more ridiculous when I type it than it did in my head. But it’s true. Some reds have a hint of an orange or brown undertone, giving it a warm feel. This red feels a bit more harsh to me, as though it’s the way red would look if it was put outside on a bright, bluish, sunny winter’s day–the red of your plastic sled. It’s got that hint of a blue undertone that cools it off just a touch. It is, by no means, an unpleasant shade, but I don’t get “warm” from this red color.

Like many inks, this is an ink that prefers premium papers: On the Tomoe River and Rhodia, there was no feathering, miniscule bleed (on the Tomoe River only), moderate dry times, etc. The shading was also moderate, as was lubrication. There was very little in the way of water resistenct. (I understand that there aren’t a whole lot of waterproof red inks out there, actually.)


Between the lack of any appreciable sheen and only moderate shading, this ink has a little “motion” within the color, but still manages to feel just a little flat. It’s bright and vibrant, but not particularly expressive, if that makes any sense at all.

On inexpensive copy paper, though, I almost wondered if I was using a different ink entirely.



The bluish undertone in the ink really came through on the cheap paper. It moved from a red-red to a raspberry pink-red. And it feathered like crazy. It also bled like a stuck pig.



Even the fine and medium writing, both of which were done with fairly dry pens, bled through at least a little bit.

Kaweco Ruby Red really didn’t do much to change my opinions of red inks. Between the concept of “red ink” when it comes to financial management and the gut reaction I have to seeing red ink on paper from my school days, I’m not sure many could change my opinion of red inks. This one is a nice middle-of-the-pack red, though. It’s got moderate shading. It behaves well on premium papers (which is almost all I ever use.) It runs a little dry, but not so much so that it is unusable. It’s a fine red ink, albeit not the most exciting red I’ve ever seen. But man, it sure is bright enough to use to mark down some term papers. You won’t miss the editing marks on your page with this ink.

It almost makes me wish I hadn’t stopped teaching… (*Evil Laugh*)





  • justinviger

    Nice in-depth review. I’m looking forward to the review of the Pilot C H 912 with FA nib and getting one for myself.

  • Eva Yaa Asantewaa

    It’s a very helpful addition to show the contrast between performance on FP-friendly paper and cheap paper. Thank you.