Not all rubber stamps are created equal. In fact, there are three distinct types of rubber stamps: traditional handle mount, self-inking, and pre-inked. You will want to select the type of rubber stamp that best suits your application.
- Traditional handle mount. These rubber stamps are the ones with which you are most familiar. The stamp is mounted to a handle. Handle mount stamps require a separate ink pad to ink the stamp. The stamp is first pressed on the ink pad to pick up ink, then pressed on the surface that is to be imprinted with the stamp copy. Handle mount stamps come in 19 sizes and are the least expensive type of rubber stamp to purchase.
- Self-inking. An ink pad built into the stamp mechanism gives the self-inker its name. The stamp is mechanically inked as it is pressed down onto the surface that is to be imprinted with the stamp copy. Because the stamp and ink pad are enclosed in the same unit, self-inkers tend to be bulkier in design than handle mount or pre-inked rubber stamps. However, as a self-contained unit, they are more convenient to use than a handle mount stamp and separate stamp pad. A self-inker sits on its base on the top of the desk ready for use. Simply pick it up and use it. Quick, clean, and easy. Another advantage of the self-inker is that the base of the unit can be centered over the area to be imprinted in advance of imprinting. This makes for more precise imprinting. Self-inking stamps come in 4 rectangular sizes. Self-inkers are more expensive than handle mount rubber stamps but less expensive than pre-inked rubber stamps.
- Pre-inked. A special type of ink is impregnated into the rubber stamp, so no ink pad is necessary. Pre-inked rubber stamps offer a similar level of convenience as the self-inker but in a more compact design. Due to the ink being in the stamp, pre-inked stamps produce a sharper stamped image than handle mount rubber stamps or self-inkers can produce. Similar to self-inkers, the base of the pre-inked rubber stamp can be centered over the imprint area in advance of imprinting for a more precise alignment of the imprinted image. Pre-inked stamps will produce thousands of images without the need to re-ink. They are the most expensive of the three basic types of rubber stamps and come in 6 rectangular sizes and 2 square sizes.
The ink pads for the handle mount and self-inking rubber stamps can be re-inked. Pre-inked rubber stamps can also be re-inked. Bottles of ink for each type of re-inking can be purchased separately in a variety of colors.