Art Markers

Copic Marker Refills: Crazy Expensive Or Dirt Cheap?

Did one of your Copic markers run out of ink?

Then it’s time to bring your markers back to life by refilling them.

But if there is one thing that we can all agree on, it’s that Copic markers aren’t cheap.

So if this is your first time refilling Copics, you might be wondering how expensive Copic marker refills are and if it wouldn’t be better just to buy new markers.

Today I’m going to discuss all of these questions, so let’s get going!

How much are Copic Marker refills?

You can buy Copic marker refills from various locations.

And it probably won’t surprise you to hear that the price can differ quite a bit from store to store.

For example, on Amazon you can find Copic refills that go for around $8,- each. Whereas, on Dick Blick you can buy them for as cheap as $5.66 per refill.

Of course, I can’t check your local art store for you (sorry!). But you might want to check there as well.

But for now, let’s say that Copic marker refills cost around $5.50 per color.

I know what you are thinking: that’s almost as expensive as buying a new marker!

But wait…

A single refill contains enough ink to refill a single marker several times.

So the cost to refill a Copic marker is considerably less.

How expensive is it to refill a single Copic marker?

To figure out how much it costs to refill Copic markers, you have to know two things: how much ink is in a refill, and how much ink an empty marker can hold.

Regardless of color, the new Copic markers hold 12 ml of ink. Note that this is different from the old refills. But we’ll talk about that later.

How much ink a Copic marker can hold depends on the type of marker you are using.

  • Copic Sketch markers hold 1.8 ml of ink
  • Copic Ciao markers hold 1.4 ml of ink
  • Copic Classic markers hold 2.5 ml of ink

So with that we can easily calculate that a single Copic refill holds enough ink to refill your Sketch markers roughly 7 times, Ciao markers 8 times, or Classic markers 5 times.

Similarly, we can calculate how much it costs to refill a Copic marker once:

  • Refilling a Copic Sketch marker costs $0.80
  • Refilling a Copic Ciao marker costs $0.70
  • Refilling a Copic Classic marker costs $1.10

Buying vs refilling Copic markers

You are probably starting to see now that refilling Copic markers is much cheaper than buying new ones.

Considering that the average Copic Sketch marker costs around $6,- (if you buy it individually), refilling will be more than 7 times cheaper.

You might be worried that the quality of your markers might go down over time.

But in my experience, I never had any problems with my markers even after using them for several years.

I guess Copic markers aren’t expensive for no reason after all!

Don’t forget that you can always replace one of the nibs when needed.

The real lifetime cost of Copic markers

Ok, no big deal! Many markers are refillable, right?

Actually, you might be surprised that most art markers are not refillable.

This is definitely one of the unique selling points of Copic markers. And it’s also why you should consider buying Copic markers for the first time as an investment.

Sure, the initial purchase might be much more expensive. But over time there might not be that much of a price difference between Copic markers and “cheaper” alternatives.

Let’s compare Copic markers with Arteza Everblend markers.

These Arteza markers are pretty good and only cost $1.25 each. That’s only ~20% of the cost of a Copic marker.

But let’s see what happens to the average price of both markers over time. I’ll assume that each time you refill the Copic markers and buy new Arteza markers (they aren’t refillable after all).

comparing the average price of copic and arteza markers

As you can see, after just refilling 4 times the average price of both markers are the same.

And every single time you refill after that the Copic markers are actually cheaper than the Arteza markers!

Of course, not a lot of people will use their Copic markers enough to actually end up refilling them more than 4 times.

But it does show how important it is to buy refillable art markers.

How to use Copic ink refills?

I don’t want to go into full detail on how to refill your Copic markers in this post, because I already discussed it in my article on Copic marker tutorials.

But it’s super simple.

To keep it short, you either want to drip the ink directly on the nib or you want to remove the nib and pour the ink directy into the marker.

Ideally you want to refill a little before your Copic marker runs out of ink.

You can find lost of videos on refilling your markers on YouTube as well such as this one:

Buying Copic refill sets

When it comes to Copic markers you can buy them either individual or as a set.

And since buying them in a set is normally cheaper, that’s what I recommend to most beginners. Unless you need a specific combination of colors that you can’t find in any of the standard sets.

However, as far as I know there are no Copic refill sets available.

And that’s probably a good thing, since you will probably use some markers way more than others.

For example, if you draw a lot of manga like me,, you will have to refill your skin colors several times before your dark green marker is empty.

Don’t take me wrong, there were a few times that I definitely needed that exact shade of green. But it just doesn’t get as much love as my skin tones.

So rather than buying the refills of all your markers right away, I recommend just buying the ones you need right now.

Old refills vs new refills

I already mentioned it briefly before, but recently Copic released their new marker refills.

And it’s fair to say that not everyone was happy with the new version.

The old version contained 25 ml and cost around $6 each, whereas the new version only contained 12 ml and costs $5.50 each.

That’s right, the new version contains around half the amount of ink while it’s only slightly cheaper.

Don’t get me wrong.

Refilling Copic markers is still much cheaper than buying new ones.

But it used to be even cheaper before!

I’m not sure what caused this change. But the new refills do have some benefits such as:

  • The new refills are more compact and easy to travel with
  • The refill bottles are transparent so you can easily see how much ink is left
  • The caps of the refill bottles now contain the color code on them for easy reference
  • The ink nozzle is long enough to easily reach the ink reservoir

All these new features are definitely nice to have. But the Copic community is a little mixed on whether they justified the higher price.

Summary

The exact price of refilling your Copic markers depends on the type of Copic marker you are using.

But it’s fair to say that regardless of the type, refilling is much cheaper than buying new Copic markers.

Moreover, refilling them is easier than you might think.

So if one of your markers is all out of ink, I strongly recommend you to try out the Copic refills.

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