Comparison & Review of the Letraset Fineliner; Staedtler Triplus Fineliner & the Copic Multiliner

Letraset kindly sent me a set of their Fineliners and asked me to do a comparison with them. I was more than happy to do so (over the moon, jumping with joy, lol).
For the purposes of the comparison, I chose the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner, because it is water-based like the Letraset, and the Copic Multiliner because I think it would appeal to the same market as the Letraset Fineliner.

I used the 0.3 mm nib size pen throughout. 

I’ve found that companies want you to know the good stuff about their product, so I went searching for specifications.  This is what I was able to find about each pen. 
(click on the pen name to be taken to photos.)

Letraset Fineliner Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Copic Multiliner
Nib sizes: 0.1, 0.3, 0.5, 0.7 Nib sizes: 0.3 Nib sizes: .003, .005, 0.1, 0.3, 0.5, 0.8, 1.0
Water-based, Pigmented Ink Water-based Ink Pigment-based Ink
Acid-free, Archival Acid-free Water-proof, Archival
Dry safe-Long cap time off
Long service life
Quick-drying Airplane-safe Photocopy safe
Consistent Ink flow Washes out of textiles
Clear numbering

Letraset Fineliner:  The Letraset is the plain Jane of these four, being a basic black with white lettering.  On closer examination, you’ll find a small window in the cap that allows you to see the nib.  Cool.  While the appearance doesn’t mean much once you have the pen in hand, I might well have walked past these pens in the store, while my eye was drawn to the more flashy competitors.

The barrel is round and well-balanced in my hand and the pen glides smoothly across the paper.

Staedtler Triplus Fineliner:   This is long pen with a triangular barrel that feels a bit awkward to me.  On the other hand, it does not roll off the table.  A plus, and I do get used to the feel after a while.  The pen is very smooth going across the paper.

Copic Multiliner:  The Multiliner has a glittery charcoal color that is quite handsome.  Unfortunately, after just a week of use, the white lettering is already starting to rub off. 

The barrel is about the same length and width as the Letraset Fineliner, but the pen feels a bit harsher going across the paper.

Sorry for the pounds versus dollars, but I couldn’t find a dollar amount for a single Letraset Fineliner.

Letraset Fineliner:  Around £1.65 each
Staedtler Triplus Fineliner:   Around $1.00 each
Copic Multiliner:  Around $2.00 each

And now, to the drawing tests!

I used Aquabee Satin-finish, a very glossy, and non-textured drawing paper for my tests. 


I don’t think my scan shows it, but the Letraset has the darkest line and the Copic has the lightest line, even though all three pens are 0.3 mm.


The Copic wins in this category.  I was able to smear it, but only slightly and only if I did so immediately upon laying the ink down.  I was able to smear both the Letraset and Staedtler ink, but the Letraset was by far the most smear-able.  But the Letraset dried faster than the Staedtler, so I found that I smeared the Staedtler more often.

NOTE:  Smearability has a lot to do with the paper you are using.  I consider these results to be worst case scenario all around.


And what about using the pens over color?  I tried this three different ways.  All three pens feathered a bit. The Staedtler was the worst, and the Copic the best.

1.    The recommended way-laying down the color, and then using the pen.

         2.    Using the pen, and coloring immediately.  Oops.  Not recommended.  (But you know I do it all the time, lol!)

   3.    Using the pen, waiting ½ hour and coloring.  Better. 
    Overall?  The Staedler has the most feathering, the Letraset has the boldest line, and the Copic has the least amount of feathering.

In conclusion, I don’t think you would go totally wrong with any of these pens.  The Staedtler Triplus is weakest in performance, but it is mighty close given its price.  The Letraset Fineliner will probably appeal to those who like a bolder liner, while the Copic Multiliner will be preferred to those who like a more delicate line.

I send you off with zentangles done with each pen to give you a better example of how they compare.

Published by Life Imitates Doodles Art, Reviews & Tutorials

Artist Ambassador for Zebra Pens. I'm a self-taught artist who dances about with all sorts of artistic mediums. My main loves are Watercolor, Zentangle and Ballpoint pen. The subjects of my work are many and varied and change at whim. I'm a little bit crazy, but doesn't that come with being an artist? At my Life Imitates Doodles Blog, I post a list of resource links for Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways two times a week. I also write reviews, hold giveaways and share my art work.

6 thoughts on “Comparison & Review of the Letraset Fineliner; Staedtler Triplus Fineliner & the Copic Multiliner

  1. Wonderful review! We each have different preferences and styles for our drawing so I appreciate that you gave us the qualities as you found them so we can choose based on our needs.

  2. Just want to add my thanks. I really appreciate this info, because I have to watch every penny, so I like to know what I'm getting beforehand. Zentanglers are wonderful, helpful, and so creative, and it is a joy to be a member of this great group of unique individuals. Molossus, you have given me so much joy with all your patterns and information. Thank you.

  3. Nice comparison although the triplus fineliner is dye based. The better choice to compare with the other two would have been the pigment liner.
    Think worse feathering is mainly a cause of the dyes.

  4. Stumbled upon this while researching a replacement for my persnickety and clog-prone Rapidographs. Thanks so much for taking the time to test the performance of each of these pens in consistent and relevant parameters.

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