Comparison of D1 Refills (Part one)

D1 refill comparison round 1 tips

There are many many pens that take D1 refills, including a couple that I’ve reviewed here and several on Kickstarter. The new Retro 51 Tornado Touch also uses one. A D1 refill, if you don’t know, is a mini refill commonly used in pocket pens or multipens.

There are as many D1 refills as there are pens that take them so I thought it would be useful to compare some of them. This review will be split over several posts before all being wrapped up at the end.

This post covers the Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.4, OHTO Needlepoint Fine R-4C7NP, Monteverde Soft Roll Mini D13, Pelikan 38 Ballpoint, Platinum SBSP-120S and the Faber-Castell Ballpen.

D1 refill comparison round 1 pens

Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.4

This is the only gel ink refill I’m reviewing today. It is a Hi-Tech-C refill and so is wonderful. However, gel ink does not go very far in something this small and these refills aren’t cheap.

OHTO Needlepoint Fine R-4C7NP

This is a ballpoint and it’s a little scratchy. Other than the Hi-Tec-C, it had the blackest ink of all the black refills I looked at today.

Monteverde Soft Roll Mini D13

A lovely smooth writing ballpoint that starts pretty well (for a ballpoint).

Pelikan 38 Ballpoint

Reasonably smooth but rather a pale black line.

Platinum SBSP-120S

You’ll see from the review that when I started writing with this I thought something must be wrong so I scribbled with it for a while before trying again. It was exactly the same. This is a terrible refill.

Faber-Castell Ballpen

This is the smoothest writer of the lot. It sometimes takes a stroke or two to get going.


The Platinum SBSP-120S is terrible. Don’t buy it. The others are perfectly useable, the Hi-Tec-C being the nicest but also extremely expensive. Out of today’s selection, I would recommend either the Monteverde Soft Roll Mini D13 or the Faber-Castell Ballpen. The Faber-Castell writes most smoothly but had more false starts than the Monteverde. The Faber-Castell is available in the usual colours but the Monteverde is available in ten. Both makes will serve you well.

Part two is here.

D1 refill comparison round 1


    1. Thanks! It’s worth looking at the Uni-Ball Jetstream D1 refill too. It’s a fantastic though pricey hybrid ink refill and it’s now my refill of choice. I wasn’t aware of it when I wrote this post. One day, when I have time, I’ll add it.

      The body font is Bree and the heading font is Chunk, both from Typekit.

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