A Guide to Inspection Stamps

ink stamp on metal

Inspection stamps make constant, repeatable marks easy in quality assurance or other inspection tasks. They’re made small enough to slip into your pocket and sturdy enough to handle heavy use on a variety of surfaces.

To choose the right inspection stamp for your business, it’s helpful to understand how and where they can be used and which inks pair best with them for each surface.

What Kind of Surface Will You Be Stamping?

The first consideration is the type of surface that will be stamped. The ink used in a stamp will need to dry on the object quickly so that it doesn’t smudge and result in a smeared impression. Generally, surfaces can be classified as porous or non-porous. Porous surfaces, such as regular paper, absorb ink quickly and don’t usually require special ink.

Non-porous surfaces, such as metal, plastic, glass, and glossy paper are challenging to stamp because regular ink will not adhere properly. For these, we recommend a stamp with quick-drying ink. Each of the quick-drying ink types will have a different amount of solvent in them which evaporates after stamping. Because of the variance in solvents, the inks will dry at different rates depending on the surface you use them on.

Stamping Options for Non-porous Surfaces

Quick-dry Ink

With quick-dry ink, impressions must be made carefully. We do not recommend choosing a detailed logo or a stamp with too much text for inspection stamps. We also advise that you test the stamp a few times on the surface before committing to it. Our stamps have been proven to work on 95 percent of applications, but there are still times that the ink may not be quite right for your project. In these cases, we can refer you to an ink specialist who will help you create the right solvent concentration to adhere to your material.

Mark II Ink Kit

The Mark II Ink Kit is the fastest-drying ink we offer. It dries within 10-15 seconds and works on multiple surfaces. Because it is only available on standalone ink pads, it requires metal or wood handle inspections stamps. An advantage of these is that different colors can be interchanged with the same stamp. They also have smaller bases than other stamp types, making them ideal for narrow spaces. When the pad begins to dry out after extended use, the pad can be re-inked with an ink kit.

Pre-inked Stamps

Pre-inked quick dry stamps offer a convenient inspection stamp option. These inks take 30 seconds - 2 minutes to dry. Extra caution is necessary to avoid smudging the impression. These stamps take longer to dry because their ink has a lower concentration of solvent than the ink on a pad. A higher amount of solvent would cause the mechanism in the stamp to seize up and prevent it from working properly.

Stamping Options for Porous Surfaces

Self-inking Stamps

Self-inking inspection stamps provide a simple user experience. The molded part of the stamp flips upward, presses against an internal ink pad, and then flips down to make an impression. This happens with each press of the stamp. These stamps last several thousand impressions, allowing you to move quickly through a project without worrying about whether or not the stamp has enough ink to show clearly.

Pre-inked Stamps

All-in-one pre-inked stamps offer an easy user experience. Some advantages of pre-inked stamps include ease-of-use, that they last through an average of 50,000 impressions, and when the ink runs out, you can simply refill them and keep going.

Wood Handle Stamps

Wood handle rubber stamps are some of our most popular stamps due to their versatility and sensitivity to cost. Customization options are available with our wood handle stamps and can be used for many uses. Metal inspection stamps are another economical option. Used with a separate stamp pad, these stamps are built with a durable metal construction, ensuring longevity and frequent use.

Potential Inspection Stamp Uses

We highly recommend inspection stamps for industries which require repeated marks on a constant basis. These professions can benefit from stamps that allow quick and identical marks on documents or products. Here are just a few common inspection stamp uses. Your unique situation will determine which size, stamp type, and ink will work the best for you.


High accountability maintains quality standards in manufacturing. Inspection stamps can be custom made with an employee’s initials, identification number, or other unique symbols to ensure that all the necessary steps were taken to guarantee a quality product. Inspection stamps provide this accountability for a minimal cost and low effort.


Office workers have multiple uses for inspection stamps. Invoices, purchase approvals, contracts, and many other documents simply require a professional mark to show that they have been received, read, or processed. Stamps can save time and maintain continuity.


Educators can use stamps to make their notes and feedback more engaging. Brightly colored stamps are an easy way to encourage students or congratulate them on a job well done. They can also create a unique stamp for test grades or other documents to maintain a professional appearance for parents and guarantee that their notes will not be plagiarized.

Looking to Purchase a Reliable Inspection Stamp?

If you’re looking to purchase an inspection stamp but are feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point, we’d love to help. Feel free to reach out using our Contact Us form and one of our representatives will be in touch shortly to answer your questions!

Start by trying our Inspection Stamp Designer which will take you through the ordering process one step at a time. Our stamp creation wizard helps you design a stamp that is perfect for your needs, allowing you to customize from pre-made templates or upload your own design. Many of the existing templates provide a space or line on which you can add your initials if your project requires further authorization after inspection.

If space is a concern, or you simply want a stamp that will slip into your pocket, consider pencil cap inspection stamps. As the name implies, these stamps are small enough to fit on the end of a pencil. They are especially suited for impressions which require additional authorization, such as a signature. The stamp slips onto a pencil, an inspector stamps, flips the pencil, and finally provides their initials or signature. Even though pencil cap stamps are tiny, they are available in a pre-inked option.

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