Best Inkpads

Choosing the best ink pad could mean the difference between splotchy artwork and a clean presentation on all types of projects, including scrapbooks and clothing tags. Our evaluation focused on pad size, design, color selection, ability to re-ink, and safety. We also looked into auxiliary features such as case design and clearly labeled pads for easy identification.

After more than 6 hours of research and testing, our top pick goes to the Melissa & Doug Rainbow Inkpad. It delivers great transfer to paper with sturdy ink pads, coming in six kid-friendly colors. It is also safe to use and works well with fingerprinting and general stamping projects. Keep reading to learn more about the Melissa & Doug Rainbow Inkpad and six others that met our strict grading criteria.

Top 7 Best Inkpads

 #1  Melissa & Doug Rainbow Inkpad

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: These are the best ink pads for stamping, coming with 6 colors using washable ink. It is a great choice for parents who would prefer mess-free art projects for their children.

Pros
  • Great for stamping
  • Six fun colors
  • Easy to clean off
Cons
  • Stamp pads are not separable
  • Easy to cross-contaminate colors if not careful
  • Cannot be re-inked

This multi-color stamp pad comes with a fun six-color palette – purple, blue, red, yellow, orange, and green. They can be used in conjunction with Melissa and Doug stamp sets or on their own. Applying the ink is super easy – simply press the thumb or finger against the ink and press on a piece of paper.

We love the fact that this inkpad’s ink washes off easily with soap and water. This is critical for messy preschoolers. Though it is easily washable, colors cannot be separated, so they may bleed into each other if not careful. Plus, each color square is roughly 1.5” by 2”, which should provide more than enough ink for about a month with near daily use. Your office may also need one of the best paper shredders.

 #2  Avery Carter’s Foam Inkpad

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: This is one of the best ink pads for rubber stamps, featuring a single foam pad and is ACMI-certified. It is a great choice for single applications that use one color at a time, such as wedding invitations, signs, and clothing tags.

Pros
  • Best budget
  • Compact size
  • AMCI-certified & an be re-inked
Cons
  • Pad may dry if left out too long
  • Made of flimsy plastic
  • Some users reported color misrepresentation

We found this ink pas very easy to use. Simply press the stamp down on the foam pad for a second and work it on a piece of paper. After a minute, a nice matte black ink starts to form. Bonus points for its AMCI accreditation which vouches for the product’s safety.

This ink pad lasts a very long time. Expect close to 5000 impressions before needing to re-ink. Measuring 2.75 by 4.25”, this makes it good enough for daily use or completing several large batch projects for smaller flyers and tags. Speaking of projects, you can complete them in comfort on the best standing desk chairs.

 #3  Lsushine Craft Inkpads

Award: BEST FOR KIDS

WHY WE LIKE IT: These craft ink pads come in a pack of 15. It is a great choice for children’s fingerprinting projects on scrapbook, cards, and other similar artwork.

Pros
  • Waterproof & dries quickly
  • Many colors available and crisp printing
  • Great for kids
Cons
  • May be too small for most stamps
  • Blotchy if not applied properly
  • Cannot be re-inked

We love these craft ink pad’s large vibrant color collection, including mainstays red, black, and orange. Each one measures only 2.95 x 1.97 x 0.97”, offering enough surface area for smaller stamp projects and fingerprinting. Given the large color selection and dye-base, we also like it as the best ink pad for watercoloring.

These craft ink pads are very easy to use. Keep them moist with 5 small drops of water before pressing down on the pad and stamping on a piece of paper. Bonus points for being waterproof, making it great for the classroom or kitchen counter. Or in the office from the comfort of the best office chair under $300. If you’re wondering how to get white ink for stamps, check out the Hero Arts AF249 Hero Hues Ink Pad in White Unicorn. This vibrant pigment ink gives you a great solid white color for not only stamps, but watercolors, markers, and other purposes too.

 #4  Ranger Archival Inkpads

Award: BEST FOR PHOTOGRAPHS

WHY WE LIKE IT: This ink pad uses a durable raised felt pad and is waterproof and non-toxic. It is a great choice for use on sensitive paper, such as photographs and cardstock.

Pros
  • Great on sensitive paper
  • Non-toxic and water resistant
  • Can be re-inked
Cons
  • Takes long to dry on glossy surfaces
  • Not recommended for kids

We love this ink pad’s application. It is waterproof and acid-free so it won’t bleed onto your documents one applied. Using it is a breeze – simply press your stamp on the raised felt pad and stamp it on a paper. While testing, our jet black ink felt pad distributed ink atop a stamp pad pretty evenly without any blotching. Note, if using glossy cardstock, it does take up to 20 minutes to dry.

This 2 ½” by 3 1/2 “ ink pad comes in 10 plus colors with exotic names like cobalt, library green, and vivid fuchsia. They look equally good on matte or glossy paper. Note, although ink transfer is pretty clean, these ink pads cannot be re-inked, so you will have to purchase new ink pads when the ink runs out. You may also like the best day planner for the office.

 #5  Tsukineko Memento Fade Resistant Inkpads

Award: BEST FOR CLEAR STAMPS

WHY WE LIKE IT: This is the best ink for clear stamps, fade resistant with the choice of more than 20 colors.

Pros
  • Best for clear stamps
  • Larger size & more than 20 colors available
  • Easy to remove
Cons
  • Takes longer to dry on glossy paper
  • Not be re-inked
  • May be too small for some stamps

Paper crafters will really enjoy these ink pads’ staying power. While testing several ink pads, ink dries pretty quickly on matte paper. Quick accidental swipes of the finger does not smear it across. Each stamp is roughly 4 by 3 inches, so it can accommodate smaller stamps for scrapbooks, photo albums, cardstock, and even children’s school projects.

We especially like this Memento ink pad’s color identification system. They are stackable with side labeling, making them easy to identify at a distance. With more than 20 colors to choose from, this makes it a winner in our book. Keep them at the best portable desk. Other good options for clear stamps is the Darice Ranger Big & Bossy Clear Ink Embossing Ink Pad, or for distress inks, the Ranger Time Holtz Clear Distress Ink Pad for Embossing. The Distress Ink Pad in particular, comes in multiple colors as well and uses acid-free, water-based dye inks to give the stamped image a little bit of a weathered look rather than a crisp image. Pair the clear ink pads with some embossing powder and a heat embossing tool to achieve that desired clear stamp for card making and other crafts.

 #6  Baby’s Touch Baby Safe Reusable Hand & Foot Print Inkpads

Award: BEST FOR BABIES

WHY WE LIKE IT: These ink pads come with a non-toxic and acid-free formula. It is a great choice for newborn baby keepsakes (hand and footprinting) on all types of paper, including birth certificates and family albums.

Pros
  • Great for babies
  • Non-toxic and safe
  • Does not smudge after drying
Cons
  • May be difficult to clean off the skin
  • Learning curve to apply evenly with a squirming baby

We like how easy it is to use these hand and footprint ink pads. Press the baby’s hand or foot firmly onto the pad, gently rotate to cover his/her entire palm, and press it on a piece of paper. It dries pretty quickly, so it does not transfer as much from page to page. Don’t fret – each ink pad is large enough for most baby hands and feet, measuring roughly 4″ by 2.5″

This ink pad is non-toxic and acid-free, which is critical when used on babies. This really inspires confidence it will not cause any health defects. Plus, each ink pad contains enough ink for dozens of baby prints, more than enough to last one baby’s lifetime.

 #7  ExcelMark Rubber Stamp Inkpads

Award: LARGEST

WHY WE LIKE IT: These are the best ink pads for rubber stamps, coming in a generous size (4-1/4″ by 7-¼”) and 6 different colors. It is a great choice if you are looking for a water-based ink that also goes well with fabric and cardboard.

Pros
  • Best for rubber stamps
  • Best size
  • Very durable felt pad & great ink transfer
Cons
  • Limited color selection
  • Stamp pads may be too large for some projects

We love this rubber stamp ink’s pad felt pad, which transfers ink very well. As the largest pad on our list (4-1/4″ by 7-¼”) , each re-inking can last several months, even with daily use. While testing, pressing stamps onto the felt and rotating covered it really well, with no spotting. Ink transfer was evenly distributed on matte paper without smudging.

This ink pad is larger than most on our list, so it holds up really well. Though ink transfer quality is solid, we wish it included more colors than basic black, blue, red, brown, purple, and green. All in all, we were very impressed with this rubber stamp ink pad. For a great pigment ink pad option for your stamping projects, check out the Hampton Art Pigment Ink Pads, which come in 3 packs of various tones of pigment inks.

How We Decided

In determining the best ink pad to buy, we explored pad size, design, color selection, and safety. Pad size is very important. The larger the pad, the more ink holding power, and the longer it will last. Our favorite pads also use felt, which evenly distributes ink across a stamp’s head (assuming proper technique) without any missed spots if done correctly.

With larger collections like the 20+ Tsukineko Memento Fade Resistant Ink Pads, we like its stackable ink pad construction with side labels for easy identification.

Safety should definitely be a consideration. We like non-toxic and acid-free inks for children. The baby-safe Baby’s Touch Baby Safe Reusable Hand & Foot Print Ink Pads and the Lsushine Craft Ink Pads are perfect for kids, who often bring their hands and fingers to their little mouths.

Best Inkpads Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Pad Sizes
    For larger projects, such as scrapbooking and wedding invitations, look for a minimum of 3″ by 5″ sizing. For fingerprint and child-friendly projects, smaller stamp pads in the 3″ by 2″ range should do.
  2. Safety
    Ink pads should be acid-free and non-toxic. These types of products are known to cause health defects. It is especially important for children who constantly have their hands and fingers in their mouths while scrapbooking.

Inkpads FAQs

How long does an ink pad last?

With the ability to re-ink, some ink pads can last indefinitely, as long as lids are closed after each use to preserve foam pad life.

What is the best ink to use for stamping?

We really like our #1 pick Melissa & Doug Rainbow Stamp Pad for children-based stamping projects (as it is washable) and our #4 pick Ranger Archival Ink Pad for work on more sensitive documents, such as photographs and wedding invitations.

How can I make my ink pad last longer?

To maximize the use of your ink pads, be sure to keep their lids closed after each use. Otherwise, they run the risk of drying out. To be even more careful, store them in air-packed ziplock bags or other form of air tight storage.

What ink is used for stamping?

Dye ink is popular with stamping and scrapbooking projects. It is very useful, as many dyes are waterproof and dry out very quickly once transferred to paper, since it penetrates. This is the opposite of pigment ink, a thick and mayonnaise-textured ink that stays on top of paper and takes longer to try.

What are some other well-known ink pad brands?

We are big fans of Versafine ink pads and Altenew ink pads. These are well known for fast drying and smear free/fade resistant applications.

Also why not check out:

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Diehard UFC/MMA fan and all-around techie who loves to write.

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