Whether you’re shopping for the back-to-school season or have a newfound interest in improving your penmanship, you have come to the right place!. Credit to their precise nibs and smooth ink flow, fountain pens have been the go-to for anyone that cares for their handwriting to be particularly flawless.
However, if you’re new to using fountain pens and haven’t really used one before it can be easy to get swayed by all the different options available. The variety can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
But fret not! We’re here to help you buy the best fountain pens for beginners.
- 1 Why Choose a Fountain Pen
- 2 How Fountain Pens Work
- 3 Fountain Pen Buying Guide
- 4 10 Best Fountain Pens for Beginners
- 4.1 1. Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen
- 4.2 2. LAMY Safari Fountain Pen
- 4.3 3. Cross Bailey Light
- 4.4 4. Amazon Basics Refillable Fountain Pen
- 4.5 5. Waterman Graduate Chrome Fountain Pen
- 4.6 6. Pilot Varsity
- 4.7 7. Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen
- 4.8 8. Parker Jotter Fountain Pen
- 4.9 9. Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen
- 4.10 10. TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen
- 5 Summary
Why Choose a Fountain Pen
There is a reason why fountain pen users never settle for other styles of pens such as roller ball points or fine tips. Here are some reasons why:
The problem with fine tips or other kinds of pens is that they might write brilliantly when you just start using them but with time. But due to friction and decreased ink levels, the writing becomes less fine, the color starts fading and it’s just not as good as it might have been in the beginning.
This isn’t a problem you face with fountain pens!. Thanks to their refillable ink cartridge and metallic tip, the writing stays pretty consistent for a long time. Of course, the tip might become a little blunt with time, but that doesn’t happen for a long time even with constant use.
Sustainability and Durability
Since fountain pens are refillable, they are made to last!. This also makes them eco-friendly since you’re not contributing to wastage that comes with discarding a pen after it has run out of ink.
While a ballpoint or gel pen might work for up to a month, a fountain pen usually lasts much longer than that depending on how carefully you use it.
Smooth writing experience
Since fountain pens use liquid ink that is refilled every few days, the writing is much smoother. Thanks to the metallic tip and ink, there is minimum friction- allowing the pen to glide over paper easily.
As a result, the writing experience is much more pleasant and effortless. This way you can write more without tiring your hand out.
Personalization and Sophistication
While this might have little to do with the ergonomics of the pen, anyone using a fountain pen has a league of their own. Since a fountain pen is personal to each individual, you have more opportunity to explore your personal writing style. You also get them in a variety of nib styles, so you can always find a style that works for you.
Plus, fountain pens tend to have a sleek, elegant design which is always a bonus when it’s displayed in your front pocket!.
How Fountain Pens Work
If you have never used a fountain pen before, you might be wondering how it’s different from your generic ballpoint.
Well, there are 3 main parts to any fountain pen
- Nib: This is the tip of the pen, what you basically write with
- Reservoir: This is where you fill the ink, it’s either a pre-filled cartridge or a refillable reservoir, either a piston-type or a vacuum kind.
- Collector/feeder: this is the part that connects the reservoir to the nib. It stops too much ink to flow into the nib, preventing leakage
Simply put, the pen works by gravity. When you put the pen to paper, the ink is directed towards the nib and flows onto the paper. The ink flow is controlled by the collector, which collects the extra ink preventing it from smudging the paper.
Fountain Pen Buying Guide
Before we begin exploring our product options, let’s start by looking at what features we considered while making this list.
Size of the pen
A pen you have to use for a while has to be comfortable enough to be used for a long time. A pen that’s too small or too bulky in your hand will never sit quite right with you. So when choosing a pen, always go for one that’s comfortable in your grip.
From our experience, it’s better to go with a medium-sized pen that’s usually comfortable for most people to use. Pens too bulky or too slender will take more effort to hold on to, resulting in quicker fatigue while writing.
Width of the nib
This comes down to personal preference, which is often the deciding factor for a lot of people when buying a pen. If you like sleek handwriting, you might want to opt for a fine or extra-fine nib. But if you prefer a bolder, more prominent font, a broader nib might be better for you.
However, if you’re a beginner we suggest opting for a standard nib width and avoiding extremes of broad or fine until you have better practice with the pen.
Style of the nib
The style of the nib caters to the type of writing you want. Simply put, there are mainly two broad categories to put them in- round or squared. The round nibs are what you usually get in different widths- bold, medium, fine.
The squared nibs are designed according to different styles- Italian, calligraphic, oblique, etc. these are usually used by people that hand letter or do calligraphy or they can be used for headings and subheadings in routine work.
Material of the nib
The material of the nib is mainly important in terms of durability. As a beginner, we suggest playing around with different pens and focusing on the writing experience instead of longevity,
Still, the most common material used is stainless steel. As you move to pricier pens, the material of the nib becomes more sophisticated, there are gold nibs, platinum nibs, and other combined metal nibs to make the writing experience smoother.
However, a lot goes into making a good pen. The material might be good but the nib design and the ink to nib connector play an important role in determining how well the pen actually performs.
The filling mechanism refers to how you refill the pen cartridge. Some pens come with pre-filled cartridges that just need to be replaced once you run out. Other pens have refillable cartridges, either piston kind or vacuum kind that need to be refilled. From experience, we feel like the piston cartridge is easier to fill, less messy, and time-consuming.
However, it’s not always a deciding factor. If you like a pen despite its tricky filling method, you do you!.
Weight of the pen
Again, like the shape of the pen, the weight is important in terms of the ergonomics of the pen. A pen should be easy to carry and easy to write with. If a pen is too heavy or bulky, you will fatigue your hand with writing just a few words, which is obviously not what we want!.
External design and body of the pen
While it might not be a deciding factor, it’s the first thing you see when you’re looking to buy a pen. The color and design of the pen must cater to your personal taste. Whether it’s a funky neon exterior or a sleek metallic design, it all comes down to what you like.
Now that we have our traits sorted, let’s judge some of our favorite pens by them!.
10 Best Fountain Pens for Beginners
1. Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen
When you think of an entry-level fountain pen that ticks all the boxes, the pilot metropolitan is the prototype most people think of. The pen comes encased in a sleek matte-finish brass body, equipped with a stainless steel nib, available in both fine and medium sizes. It comes in a black gift box for keepsake so you always remember the first fountain pen you bought!.
The pen comes in more than ten different colors and designs to choose from, so there is something for everyone.
In terms of writing performance, the nib writes exceptionally well on paper. Might make you do a double-take on the price since it’s a good contender for pricier pens on that front. The cartridge is refillable and comes with a converter so you can use it with any ink.
- Metallic brass body, matte finish
- Over a dozen colors and designs to choose from
- Stainless-steel nib, available in fine, medium, and medium italic
- Smooth writing experience
- Black gift box case
Whether you’re a student or a professional, we recommend this pen for everyone. As a beginner, we suggest starting with the medium-sized nib since it’s easier to work with, you can then move on to the finer sizes if you prefer.
All in all, there are very less cons we can point out in this beginner-friendly pen, making it one of our all-time favorites!.
Before the pilot metropolitan hit the stores, the Lamy Safari was the fountain pen baby. So to say, it’s classic and has since stuck around for good reason.
The body of the pen is made with sturdy ABS plastic, designed with an ergonomic grip that provides hours of pain-less writing experience. The cartridge is displayed through a slit window so you can see how full or empty it is, for prompt filling beforehand. They come in more than seven different colors for you to choose from (and they keep adding to the options).
The nib is made with stainless steel and provides a seamless ink flow for a smooth writing experience. They come in extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, and left-handed varieties that are easily swappable.
- ABS plastic body
- Cartridge display on the outside
- Wide range of color options
- Stainless steel nib
- Different types of nib availability
To sum it up, the Lamy Safari fountain pen has stuck around since the 80s for a reason. Despite being well built, the Lamy grip might not be equally comfortable for all users. Other than that, the medium-sized nib is a little broad compared to other pens, which might be something, not all users like. But overall, it’s a good option for starters.
3. Cross Bailey Light
If ergonomics and non-bulky pens are your forte, you’ll love this lightweight fountain pen!. While cross-bailey does have the more sleek metal-body variety, this particular design is best suited for beginners. It uses a resin body with a glossy finish. It comes in quite a few different colors to choose from.
In addition to being exceptionally lightweight, the pen flaunts a stainless steel nib that works with pre-filled cartridges. You can also use it with a converter with bottled ink of your choice!. When it comes to writing quality the pen performs well for its price. There is minimum friction and the ink flow is pretty smooth. Combined with the lightweight body, it’s an improved dexterity dream come true!.
- Lightweight resin body, weighing approximately 20g
- Variety of unique color options
- Strong pocket clip
- Engraved center band
- Stainless steel nib
- Comes with one black cartridge
- Can be used with a non-threaded convertor
If you’re thinking of buying someone their first fountain pen, this might make a great choice since it also comes with a black gift box!. The manufacturers have paid attention to finer details; we usually find pricier pens. All in all, a good pick.
4. Amazon Basics Refillable Fountain Pen
If you’re a beginner looking to try out a fountain pen without spending a whole lot of money, the amazon basics fountain pen is a good option, to begin with. It has a sturdy brass metal body, comes with 3 black ink cartridges that feed into a stainless steel nib. The nib is medium-sized, perfect for beginners.
It comes with a 1-year warranty which is pretty great for a pen of that price. You can play around with it, see if you like the experience before committing to it fully.
- Brass metal body
- Stainless steel nib
- Refillable; comes with 3 cartridges
- Medium-sized stainless steel nib
- Also has a fine tip option
If you’re not brand-savvy or simply looking for a pen to use at work or school, this pen is a low-risk buy. It works well, but not too great which is fine since you get what you pay for. The ink flow could be a little smoother and the replaceable cartridge feature could be more convenient with a converter option. But if you’re getting a pen to simply step into the fountain pen world, this is not that bad of a choice.
5. Waterman Graduate Chrome Fountain Pen
If you think one does inexpensive fountain pens like Pilot, you might want to reconsider. Made in France, the waterman graduate fountain pen gives you the feel of an expensive pen without actually being expensive.
It comes encased in a fancy waterman gift box. At first glance, it’s a chrome metal finish body complete with a pocket clip. You have about nine different colors/designs to choose from; including pastel colors and a camo design.
It has a stainless steel nib, engraved with the signature waterman logo. The point type is fine, which might be something people with a taste for sophistication might love. When you put the pen to paper, the ink flows effortlessly no matter how problematic the quality of paper is. However, there is a little problem on the quality control front since some pens fail to perform as well.
- Brass metal body
- Copper finish
- Fine nib
- Refillable plunger cartridge
If you want to try your hand at fine-tip fountain pens, this pen is a pretty great choice. Be patient and let the ink flow through the feeder during the first use so a seamless flow is established. Once your hand is set with this model of the pen, you can move to more expensive ones if you like.
6. Pilot Varsity
If you’re really not ready to commit to using a fountain pen fully and want the simplest, most inexpensive pen for starters, the pilot varsity is just what you need. It comes as a pack of 3, priced at 10 bucks or so (which is literally a steal deal!), and is otherwise known as the disposable fountain pen.
These pens are made of an all-plastic body with a stainless steel nib. Since they’re disposable, these pens are not refillable and are meant for the trash once the ink runs out.
When it comes to writing with these pens, the ink flows smoothly through the medium-sized point in both conventional and reverse writing styles. However, it has a tendency to overflow and may bleed through low-quality paper.
- All plastic body
- Stainless steel medium nib
In surmise, if you have the tendency to lose pens often or aren’t a fan of the whole filling/refilling ink ordeal- these pens are god sent for you.
7. Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen
The Kaweco sport fountain pens date back to over 100 years and have earned their reputation as the perfect pocket fountain pen. Kaweco sport is known for their slogan small in the pocket, great in the hand. This is because the pen comes to a compact size when capped, but when posted it converts into a super comfortable length to work with.
The body is made of sturdy ABS plastic and the cap uniquely screws on to prevent any leaks into your pocket, adding all the more justification to its fame.
It uses the standard mini ink cartridges and comes with one blue-ink cartridge pre-installed into the pen. It writes pretty nicely, in continuity without any blobs or ink-less gaps.
- Light-weight body
- Short when capped, adequately long when posted
- Seamless ink flow
- Anti-leakage design
If you’re someone that wants to carry a fountain pen on them at all times, the light and anti-leak Kaweco Sport is your best bet.
8. Parker Jotter Fountain Pen
Parker has been a style statement in the world of fountain pens for decades now. The jotter, initially designed as a rolling point has now been re-designed as a fountain pen. So it now has the sleek writing and elegance of the original jotter combined with the modernistic fountain pen element.
The body boasts the parker signature stainless-steel barrel and cap, along with the arrowhead clip. It’s available in 5 different colors to choose from.
The nib is medium but can be angled for a finer tip as well. It uses pre-filled ink cartridges that can be bought separately as well.
In terms of writing, parker has always outclassed itself as one of the best and this pen is no different. Beautifully smooth ink flow, minimal smudging, and neat lines each time.
- Stainless steel body
- 5 different colors
- Sleek design
- Medium nib
- Works better with parker ink
To sum it up, this is the kind of pen that just makes you want to write. It’s also the perfect gift for a pen hoarder!. But given the price, it might be a little fancy as a beginner pen.
9. Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen
If you’re a fan of having multiple color options in your pens and don’t want to spend a whole lot on each of them, you’ll love the platinum preppy range. They offer 6 different ink colors- black, blue, red, violet, and yellow- at a surprisingly affordable price.
The body is plastic, which is at par with an affordable everyday pen. However, platinum produces their nibs in-house, resulting in fine, consistent nibs that write beautifully and can be easily compared to pricer pens.
It uses ink cartridges that can be bought separately. Or you can use bottled ink with a converter (sold separately).
- Plastic body
- Available in 5 ink colors
- Stainless steel nib available in medium and fine
- Smooth, consistent writing
The platinum preppy is a pen that writes beautifully, packed in a body that might not be as impressive. For a beginner though, the pen delivers well above what is promised.
10. TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen
Made by a Twainese manufacturer that has been making pens for different companies, the TWSBI has fast earned popularity as their own brand. It is a tad bit pricer than other pens of its league but you’re getting a better pen out of it.
It’s available in extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad stainless steel nibs plus a stub nib for a calligraphic touch to your writing. The body is transparent, with a white cap- the signature TWSBI style.
This pen uses bottled ink and can be filled by the built-in piston system, which is pretty quick and mess-free. With the transparent view of the cartridge, you can easily view how much ink is left and when you need to refill it. You don’t have to worry about refilling it often since the cartridge holds a pretty good amount of ink at one time
The writing is pretty praiseworthy as well, with smooth ink flow and a nib that does not dry out even with extensive writing or a while of being uncapped.
- Piston filling mechanism
- Available in 5 different nibs
- Smooth writing even on cheap paper
- Good ink-holding capacity
As a beginner, if you want to spend on one good pen instead of spending on two mediocre ones, get the TWSBI Eco and fall in love with fountain pen writing.
|Pen||Key Features||Point Type||Price Range|
|Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen||Metallic brass body, matte finishOver a dozen colors and designs to choose fromUses ink cartridges||Fine. medium, medium italic||$18-$20|
|LAMY Safari Fountain Pen||ABS plastic bodyErgonomic gripUses ink cartridges/ converter||Extra fine, fine, medium, broad||$19-$36|
|Cross Bailey Light||Lightweight resin bodyFine design detailsUses cartridges/ converter||Extra fine, fine, medium||$25|
|Amazon Basics Refillable Fountain Pen||Brass metal bodyBlack metal caseUses cartridge/convertor||Medium||$10-$11|
|Waterman Graduate Chrome Fountain Pen||Chrome metallic finish9 different colors and body designs to choose fromRefillable using a convertor||Fine||$15-$18|
|Pilot Varsity||Disposable Available as a pack of 3, pack of 12, and a tub of 36||Medium||$10 onwards|
|Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen||LightweightSmall when capped, comfortably long when postedLeak-proofUses cartridge/convertor||Extra fine, fine, medium, broad, double broad||$25 onwards|
|Parker Jotter Fountain Pen||Sleek bodyUses cartridge/converter||Medium||$20|
|Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen||Plastic body5 ink color optionsUses cartridge/ convertor||Medium, fine||$4-$5|
|TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen||Transparent plastic bodyGood ink capacityRefilled via piston mechanism||Extra fine, fine, medium, broad, stub nib||$35.50 onwards|
When speaking of the most affordable option, the Platinum Preppy and Pilot Varsity are great choices with of course preppy giving you a refillable option.
If you cant spend a little more for a pen you can always carry around, without any leaks and minimal writing fatigue, go for the Kaweco Sport.
However, if you want to invest in a good pen that you can continue using years from now as your signature pen, buy the Parker Jotter or the TWSBI Eco, whatever falls within your budget.
When reading this roundup, remember that these are pens that we consider fit for writers that haven’t used fountain pens before or are relatively new to using them. If you’re a routine fountain pen user, you might prefer fancier, more advanced options. Happy Writing!