A Comprehensive Guide: What is a Self Inking Stamp?

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The reason you’ve landed here is because you’re probably wondering what a self-inking stamp is.

I know there are so many different types of rubber stamps out there— from custom rubber stamps to wood handle stamps and everythcustom jersey značkové hodinky rolex soccer jerseys for sale baseball jersey maker čierne panske nohavice penezenka portlnd kot ayakkabı modelleri kadın custom cubs jersey team uniforms lupilu plienky 4 cena schulter tragetasche lifeventure family uv tält γιλεκο γυ piazza venezia borse γιλεκο γυ ing in between.

But what is a self-inking stamp exactly?

It’s basically a stamp that does all of the work for you. All you have to do is to press it down, and voila. Your ink gets applied directly onto whatever surface you need to stamp on.

It’s a real time saver too.

So, keep reading, and I’ll tell you everything you need to know about self-inking stamps.

What is a Self-Inking Stamp?

A self-inking stamp is an upgraded version of the traditional stamp that utilizes a small, integrated ink pad to automatically re-ink itself.

Well, I’m sure you’ve seen the traditional stamps before. They have a separate ink pad that you press down on to ink your stamp.

The problem with these traditional stamps is that they can be used incorrectly, which can lead to smudges. They can also be a pain to keep re-inking.

So, what’s the solution? A self-inking stamp, of course.

How Do Self-Inking Stamps Work?

Self-inking stamps do the same job as traditional stamps but more efficiently.

The ink pad is already an integrated part of the stamp. So, every time you use it, it automatically re-inks itself.

You don’t need to re-ink the stamp before every use. It already does the job for you.

Just press the stamp down onto any surface. Then, the stamp gets automatically reinked after you lift it, and you’re ready to stamp again.

What Are the Main Parts of a Self-Inking Stamp?

A self-inking stamp has several main parts, including:

  • Body or Case: The body or case of your stamp holds all components together. Inside the case is an ink pad tucked away to prevent ink from getting on your hands or surfaces.
  • Ink Pad: The ink pad is essential to a self-inking stamp. You can find it inside the body of the stamp. It holds the ink that will be transferred onto the paper when you use the stamp. Some self-inking stamps come with pre-inked pads, while others have re-inkable pads that you can refill when necessary.
  • Rubber Stamp: The rubber stamp is the part that contains the design or text that you want to imprint onto the paper. It is attached to a mechanism within the stamp that allows it to move and come into contact with the ink pad when you press it down.
  • Spring Mechanism: The spring mechanism is responsible for the movement of the rubber stamp. It allows the stamp to return to its original position after each use, ensuring the ink pad is protected and preventing unwanted smudging.

Self-Inking vs. Pre-Inked Stamps

When shopping for self-inking stamps, you might also come across pre-inked stamps.

For a quick overview, watch the video below for a summary of the differences between self inking stamps and pre-inking stamps.

It’s worth noting that it’s pretty easy to get confused between the two stamps. Both stamps get reinked after each impression, but these two popular stamps are unique in their own ways.

So, what is a pre-inked stamp? And how is it different from a self-inking stamp?

Self-Inking Stamps vs. Pre-Inked Stamps: What’s the Difference?

The main difference between self-inking and pre-inked stamps lies in the type of ink and the delivery method of that ink.

Self-inking stamps feature a self-contained ink pad that reinks the stamp before you make each impression, and it uses water-based ink that are fully reinkable.

Self-inking stamps are best for use by businesses that use stamps regularly, especially if you need to stamp large quantities of documents and can’t afford to stop and re-ink your stamp during the process.

Since you don’t need to stop, you can ink thousands of documents in a single day. If you are running on a deadline, self-inking stamps are your best bet. Some business owners even get a signature rubber stamp made, so they don’t have to sign documents repeatedly.

On the other hand, pre-inked stamps use an oil-based ink housed in a refillable reservoir behind the stamp itself. The ink is impregnated in the rubber die of the stamp, allowing for a crisper impression.

Pre-inked stamps can last tens of thousands of impressions and are fully reinkable using specific pre-ink refills.

What’s great about pre-inked stamps is that the level of detail they provide is top-notch.

Differences between both stamps summarized

Stamp feature self-inking pre-inked
Impressions 10,000 50,000
Ink Water-based Oil-based
Surface Paper and porous surfaces Shiny or glossy surfaces
Refills Re-filling is easy, for various types of ink Re-filling the ink is easy, but use the same type of ink
Best for Fast and repeated stamping action High-quality impressions
Price Affordable Expensive

Self-Inking vs. Pre-Inked: Which is Better?

So, which is better, self-inking or pre-inked stamps?

It really depends on what you need to use the stamp for.

Since self-inking stamps use water-based ink, they’re best used on paper or other porous surfaces. You can use these stamps continuously without breaks. However, the impression is not as detailed as the pre-inked ones.

Pre-inked stamps are great on glossy surfaces and if you need to get a detailed impression. After 3 or 4 uses, you must let the pre-inked stamps rest to allow the ink to settle into the stamp.

So, pre-inked stamps are not suitable for large quantities of items that needed stamping and continuous use.

The debate on pre-inked vs. self-inking stamps is really up to your needs. In a nutshell, use self-inking stamp for speed, and pre-inked stamps precision.

How Long Do Self-inking and Pre-inked Stamps Last?

For self-inking stamps, the ink pad can last up to 10,000 impressions before needing a replacement. Using your self-inking stamp frequently may need a replacement ink pad after reaching the 10,000 impression mark.

While pre-inked stamps can last up to 50,000 impressions before needing a replacement. Although re-inking takes longer, pre-inked stamps can last longer than their self-inking counterparts.

How to Refill a Self-Inking Stamp and Pre-Inked Stamp?

Refilling your stamp helps to prolong its life and ensures that it continues to make quality impressions. Refilling a stamp usually involves adding more ink to the ink pad.

Note: Ensure the ink you use is appropriate for your stamp type

Refilling Self Inking Stamps

To refill your self-inking stamp, ensure you follow the steps outlined below:

  • Flip the self-inking stamp over and lock it into position.
  • Slide out the ink pad case.
  • Apply 3-4 drops of ink on the stamp pad, ensuring proper distribution.
  • Allow the ink to soak into the ink pad.
  • Slide the ink pad case back into the stamp.
  • Unlock the stamp, and it is ready for use. Alternatively, you can replace the entire ink pad.

Refilling Pre Inked Stamps

To refill your pre-inked stamp, follow these steps:

For Pre-inked Stamps with Removable Cartridge

  • Remove the bottom cap and slide out the cartridge.
  • Place 3-6 drops of oil-based ink on the ink pad.
  • Slide the cartridge back into the stamp.
  • Allow the ink to soak into the ink pad.

For Pre-inked Stamps with Non-removable Cartridge

  • Remove the handle of the stamp.
  • Add 1-2 drops of ink in each ink well.
  • Replace the stamp handle and allow the ink to soak into the ink pad.

Self-Inking Stamp vs. Rubber Stamp: What’s the Difference?

What is the difference between self-inking stamps and regular stamps?

This is where things get a bit tricky. Self-inking stamps are a type of rubber stamp. Most folks, use the word synonymously to mean the same thing when in reality, rubber stamps cater to different types of stamps.

You’ve seen those stamps with a separate ink pad, right? Those are rubber stamps or traditional stamps. They are called rubber stamps because the stamp design is carved or engraved onto a rubber pad. That rubber pad gets glued to a wood or plastic handle.

To make an impression, you have to hold the handle, press the stamp onto the separate ink pad, and then press your stamp onto the paper.

Self-inking stamps also use a rubber pad for the design. The only difference between the two is the ink pad.

For rubber stamps, the ink pad is separate. For self-inking stamps, it comes with a built-in ink pad.

Which is Better: Self Inking or Rubber Stamp?

Since the ink pad is separate from wood handle rubber stamps, it can be a hassle for high-volume use. You have to ink the stamp and press it onto the paper. You have to do two steps during the stamping process.

Due to the nature of the self-inking stamp reinking itself, you only need to do one step – press the stamp onto paper – and you’re done.

The quality of impression, however, may be a deal-breaker for you. As I mentioned, self-inking is best for speed but not for precision.

The impression that wood handle stamps produce is more crisp and legible than self-inking.

What is the Best Way to Clean a Self-inking Stamp?

You can clean your self-inking stamps the same way you clean your rubber stamps.

Here are some cleaning methods you can try:

  • Soap and water
  • Baby/hand wipes
  • Stamp cleaner and pads
  • Baking soda and water
  • Stamp shammy
  • Cornstarch or talcum powder

For a comprehensive guide regarding this topic, you can check out our article on how to clean rubber stamps.

How Do I Look After my Self-Inking Stamps?

To make sure that you get the most out of your stamp, you need to take good care of it.

Here are some tips for taking care of your self-inking stamps:

  1. Clean your self inking stamp after every use by wiping it with a clean, damp cloth or sponge to remove any excess ink or debris.
  2. Store your self-inking stamp in a cool, dry place. Storing your stamp in direct sunlight can cause the ink to dry out
  3. Avoid using harsh chemicals to clean your stamp, as they can damage the rubber and plastic parts of the stamp. Instead, use mild soap and water to clean your stamp.
  4. When the impressions fade, flip the inkpad over to use the other side or refill the ink. Ensure that you are refilling with the same ink color. You can also replace the inkpad altogether if necessary.

Pros and Cons of Self-Inking Stamps

Pros of Self-Inking Stamps

So, should you get a self-inking stamp? The answer is yes!

Why? Check out these benefits:

  • Efficiency and convenience: Self-inking stamps are efficient and convenient for repetitive stamping tasks. The stamp gets automatically re-inked after each impression. It eliminates the need to go back and forth, pressing your stamp onto the ink pad and the paper.

  • Customization options: Another advantage of self-inking stamps is that it is customizable. You can customize the stamp design, size, and font according to your needs. You can also include logos, graphics, or other personalized elements on the stamp, making it unique to your business or personal use.

  • Clean and mess-free: Self-inking stamps are clean and mess-free because they have an internal ink pad. This means that there is no dripping or spilling of ink. The ink dries quickly, ensuring no smudging or bleeding of the printed design.

Cons of Self-Inking Stamps

Before you get one for yourself, you should know that self-inking stamps have some downsides.

Here are some of them:

  • Expensive upfront cost: Self-inking stamps tend to be more expensive initially compared to traditional rubber stamps. However, over time, they can prove to be cost-effective due to their speed and ease of use.

  • Limited ink color selection: Self-inking stamps use water-based ink, so you can only use the colors available in this type of ink. You may need to replace the ink pad if you want to change colors.

  • Limited size options: Self-inking stamps typically have plastic frames that come in standard sizes. If you have specific size requirements, this might be a constraint.

  • Reinking challenge: Self-inking stamps require ink pads to be reinked. You need to remove the ink pad from the stamp frame or you may need to change the whole pad completely.

Where Can I Buy Self-Inking Stamps?

If you are looking for self-inking stamps with standard designs or texts like ‘Confidential’ or ‘Approved,’ you can find them in any office supply store or online marketplace.

But if you want customized designs, check out our, Self Inking Stamps. Here, you can find a wide array of stamp designs that you can customize to your needs. From logos to signatures, you can get your own customized self-inking stamp in no time.

You can also make your own stamp, if you like to DIY things.

What is a Self Inking Stamp? (FAQs)

What Happens When a Self-Inking Stamp Runs Out of Ink?

When your self-inking stamp runs out of ink, your stamp will not produce a clear, legible impression. You will need to refill the ink pad with ink or replace the ink pad completely to restore your stamp to its full functionality.

Do Self-inking Stamps Dry Out?

The ink pad can dry out if left unused for long periods or if you use up all the ink in the pad. You can refill the pad with ink to resolve this problem.

Can I Use Any Ink for Self-Inking Stamp?

Can you add ink to self-inking stamps? The answer is yes. But, can you use any ink? Self-inking stamps use water-based ink. You can re-ink the stamp using water-based ink but you cannot use oil-based ink. Also, you should use the same color as the original ink.

How Do I Store Self-inking Stamps?

Whether you have a self-inking, pre-inked, or wood handle stamp, the best way to store these stamps is in a cool, dry place without too much heat, sunlight, or humidity. Rubber stamps are especially prone to breaking down when exposed to heat and sunlight.

Can I Customize Self-inking Stamps?

You can customize self-inking stamps any way you like. You can personalize the stamp design, whether you want logos, signatures, addresses, or any desired text.


If you haven’t gotten your self-inking stamp, consider getting one ASAP.

It’s a great way to ensure that your business and personal mailings are more professional and creative.

It can save you so much time, too.

So, what have you been waiting for? Get yourself a self-inking stamp and start making your business mailings stand out from the crowd.

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