Pens and Pencils | Reviews and Data

Zebra Sarasa vs. Sarasa R: What’s The Difference?

Unsharpen may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

If you are considering some new gel pens and you stumbled on the “Sarasa R” you might be a bit confused about this new gel pen. Here’s an explanation of how this newer model differences from the standard Sarasa pens.

The Zebra Sarasa

The Sarasa is Zebra’s standard line of gel pens. There is a huge range of pens in the Sarasa family, from the Sarasa Grand, a metal executive pen, to the entry-level Sarasa Clip. The Sarasa series was first released in 2000 and is Zebra’s most popular product.

While there is a large range of pen bodies in the Sarasa family, most of the pens use the same refill, the Zebra JF. This is a pigment-based gel refill that is sold in a wide range of colors and 0.3 mm, 0.4 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, and 1.0 mm sizes.

Being pigment-based means the color in the ink is added via tiny particles of pigment. This make the ink water-resistant and good for art use as well as being almost impossible to wash away from checks and legal documents. The ink is acid-free and archival quality as well.

The Zebra Sarasa R

The Sarasa R, which was released in early 2021, uses essentially the same pen body as the Sarasa Clip, but moves to cool all-black or all-white body colors. But the pen body is not the thing with the Sarasa R, it’s the all-new ink that makes the new model difference.

The Sarasa R uses a dye-based ink that is said to bring up to 27% increased “color density” to the ink when compared to the standard pigmented ink formula. This means blacker blacks, darker darks, and brighter colors.

The Sarasa R is being sold in a range of colors now, but only in 0.4 mm (14 colors) and 0.5 mm (3 colors) sizes for the time being.

See The Difference

We tested the difference in the Sarasa vs. Sarasa R ink in a recent video review. Here is the video comparison…

And here is a screenshot of our video comparison:

On the cream colored paper the Sarasa R is a darker, but the real difference is that it’s a blacker black than the pigmented Sarasa ink. The red of the Sarasa R really pops, with a noticeably brighter color than most standard red gel inks.

The Sarasa R Refill

The Zebra Sarasa R has a different refill than the standard Sarasa pens which use the JF refill. Zebra isn’t yet selling the R refills on their own and hasn’t yet said the name that they will go by.

The Sarasa R refills in the recently released pens do not have a label on them so we can’t yet tell their name or model number.