Best Fountain Pen (A Buyer’s Guide)

best Fountain Pen

Welcome to the world of fountain pens. We know it can be overwhelming to try and pick just one, and if you’re new to using our favorite pen, you may not know what you’re looking for. 

Well, worry no more. We’ve included a simple buyer’s guide gives you an in-depth look at everything you need to know before deciding on your first fountain pen.

Here is our review of our top picks, so if you’re still unsure of what you’re looking for – we’ve got you covered.

6 Best Fountain Pens (Our Top Picks)

Leonardo Momento Zero (Best Overall)

Leonardo Momento Zero Fountain pen

The Leonardo Momento is one of the most comfortable and stylish-looking pens on the market. It is a good size and should fit comfortably into anyone’s hand. If you do find that the pen is slightly too small, it has a screw-type cap that can be posted to give it some extra length.

The Momento is lightweight and comes in various fun, bright colors that can suit almost anyone’s aesthetic. Coupled with the classic barrel silhouette, it is perfectly balanced between traditional and modern fountain pens.

With a resin body and tapered design, the pen looks luxurious and expensive. However, it should be noted that depending on how you grip your pen, you may find the tapered body somewhat uncomfortable, or it may just take some getting used to.

The pen’s nib comes in extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, and 1.5mm stub tips, so there is a compatible nib for every type of writer out there. The nib is also stainless steel, and the pen comes with silver or gold hardware for a bit of customization.

Overall, the Leonardo Momento gives you a brilliantly smooth writing experience with a respectable ink flow – not too dry or too wet. We have to give this gorgeous pen two thumbs up for being the best overall fountain pen you can buy.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Various colorways available
  • Good size

Cons

  • Tapered design

TWSBI ECO (Best For Beginners)

TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen Black Nib F Fountain Pen, Demonstrator Fountain Pen – Piston
  • Piston fountain pen piston fountain pen Pen and Demonstrator
  • Model Eco Black, Black
  • Nib F
  • Material: Acrylic Stainless Steel
  • Twsbi

This affordable, plastic-bodied pen may have the price range of a beginner pen, but that’s not to say that it is only a pen for beginners. In fact, this is a great all-rounder that all types of fountain pen users can use.

The ECO is a sleek and modern-looking pen that has a comfortable rounded barrel and grip section. This makes it perfect for longhand journaling or using for longer periods. The only downside is the cap. Compared to the sleek body, the cap can look quite clunky and too heavy to post.

With a piston-filling system, the pen is easy to use. The nib is slightly on the wetter side, so you will need to be cautious when applying any pressure to the pen. The nib is stainless steel, though, and so extra pressure isn’t recommended for this particular pen.

The tip of the pen comes in a variety of sizes, including medium, which is an authentic Japanese medium rather than what we would consider a Western medium, which is slightly thicker.

Pros

  • Comfortable to use
  • Good for beginners
  • Durable

Cons

  • Wet nib

Lamy Studio (Best Budget)

Lamy Studio Imperial Blue Fountain Pen Fine Nib
  • Matt dark blue lacquer finish
  • Steel propeller-shaped clip
  • Polished steel nib
  • Supplied with converter LAMY Z 27
  • Designer Hannes Wettstein

Budget doesn’t mean cheap. This fantastic little writing utensil is durable and looks well-made. Sold with an aluminum body, the pen comes with a matte finish and polished silver accents.

The nib is available in steel or 14k gold and has a good ink flow. As soon as you fill the pen, it is good to go, and you can write with it for hours. It is comfortable but has a solid weight, although posting it may feel a bit heavy for some writers.

The Lamy Studio comes with a converter and is also compatible with Lamy cartridges. The ink capacity is excellent, and you can easily use the pen for a few days before having to refill it. Of course, the cartridges generally last longer than bottled ink.

If there is one drawback of the Studio, it is the metal finish of the pen. Any writer that has used a metal fountain pen will know that fingerprints are inevitable. But it can easily be remedied with a quick wipe down of the body. Other than that, this affordable beauty is a must-have.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Solid weight
  • Converter included

Cons

  • Heavy when posted
  • Retains fingerprints

Faber-Castell Ambition (Best Steel Nib)

Faber-Castell Ambition 148142 Fountain Pen Resin EF Black
  • Shaft made ​​of black precious brushed resin
  • Cap end and front piece of metal
  • Spring-loaded metal clip
  • With Cartridge/Converter system
  • High-quality stainless steel spring in the nib EF

If you’re looking for a pen that is under $100 and still gives you the luxury and elegance of a premium fountain pen, look no further than the Faber-Castell Ambition.

Sold in resin, metal, or wooden bodies with a chrome accent, the pen is nothing short of opulent. While the wooden one seems to be a favorite among buyers, all three finishes look amazing. The wood used in the pens are also exotic, unique woods such as pearwood and coconut.

The pen’s nibs are made from steel and are sold in a variety of sizes from extra-fine to broad. The medium nib takes the cake again on this pen, though, and has a smooth writing style and perfect ink flow. If you are unfamiliar with steel nibs, they can feel relatively rigid and drier than your usual nib, which may not be to every writer’s taste.

The Ambition has a cylindrical barrel with a good grip. The pen has a solid feel to it without being too heavy and has an ideal balance to it.

All in all, this is a pen that not only writes like a dream but looks like one, too.

Pros

  • Solid feel
  • Luxurious
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Steel nib can feel quite stiff

Lamy 2000 (Best Gold Nib)

Sale
LAMY 2000 Medium Nib Fountain Pen
  • Lamy 2000 Fountain ink fill only a classic!!!

The Lamy 2000 is far from the traditional look you may think of when you hear ‘fountain pen.’ That’s because this modern pen is beautiful and unique, and when it is capped, you wouldn’t know that it was a fountain pen.

With an easy-to-grip Makrolon body with a brushed finish and stainless steel accents, the Lamy 2000 is as visually appealing as it is comfortable. Writing with this fountain pen is a breeze, although some users have noted that it could use some priming or cleaning when out the box to avoid skipping and sticking when writing.

The nib is 14k gold and has a good, flexible feel to it without feeling flimsy. The gold nib does hike up the price, however, and the pen can be found for around $200. While it’s not the most expensive pen on the market, it can be outside of your desired price range.

We love that the pen has a piston filling mechanism, because these pens usually have a bigger ink reservoir, and in this case, the 2000 doesn’t disappoint. The next best feature of the pen is the seamless piston knob. No more clunky knobs at the end of your pen! Just a sleek and elegant pen.

Pros

  • Easy to grip
  • Holds more ink
  • Seamless piston knob
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Needs to be primed/cleaned to avoid skipping

Montblanc Meisterstuck Le Grand 146 (Best Luxury)

Every fountain pen aficionado knows the Montblanc name. Known for their luxury pens and superior quality, Montblanc’s are known for their collection value and accompanying label as a status symbol.

The Le Grand 146 comes in a solid black resin body with elegant gold trim. The body is solid and weighty without being too heavy, and the pen feels comfortable in your hand. It also comes with a classic cigar-shaped barrel.

The nib is 14k gold with a rhodium-plated inlay and is available in extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, double broad, oblique medium, and oblique broad tips. Talk about being spoiled for choice!

In addition to the fantastic nib, the pen is a piston-filler, which means that it can hold much more ink than other pens. There is also an ink window to monitor your storage before your reservoir runs dry.

As expected from a pen of this caliber, the writing experience is smooth, and there is near-perfect line variation when writing.

Pros

  • Various nib options
  • Luxurious
  • Status symbol
  • Superior quality

Cons

  • Expensive

How To Choose The Best Fountain Pen (Buyer’s Guide)

Why Choose A Fountain Pen?

Fountain pens have been revered among writers for decades, and for good reason.

These handy little pens are not only a fun way to jazz up your writing style or start a new hobby – they have functional benefits, too.

Firstly, fountain pens are easy to write with, requiring little to no pressure to get the ink flowing through the pen and onto the page. Secondly, they’re more comfortable than ballpoint pens. Any veteran writer will know that comfort is one of the most important features of a pen.

Fountain pens are made to be used for extended periods of writing without your hands taking a beating, which could lead to repetitive strain injuries further down the line.

It’s important to remember that when you invest in a fountain pen, you’re signing up for a pen that requires cleaning, maintenance, and refilling. This is just a small price to pay for the luxury and prestige of using some of the finest pens in the world.

If you want to become a fountain pen collector or aficionado, maintaining your pens is just part of the territory.

While it’s not the most important feature, it certainly helps that fountain pens come along with an elevated status and an air of elegance. And with so much variety in pen designs, they are a fantastic way to show off your personal style.

Quite simply, fountain pens are a surefire way to up your writing game.

Pros

  • Easy to write with
  • Collectible
  • Stylish
  • Fun to use

Cons

  • Can be expensive
  • Needs cleaning and maintenance
  • Doesn’t work on all types of paper
  • Budget

Disposable Fountain Pens

The most affordable way to get into the hobby is often through a disposable fountain pen. Disposable pens are some of the cheapest on the market. Most disposable pens come in at under $10, so you can dip your toes into the world of fountain pens without breaking the bank. But compromising on price doesn’t necessarily mean compromising on quality.

While disposable pens are usually made of cheaper materials, they can be just as good as some of their more expensive counterparts. And for a beginner, one of these throw-aways could be the smartest way to test a fountain pen out before you spend your hard-earned money on a premium pen.

One of our favorite disposable pens is the Pilot Varsity.

Entry-level Pens

Similarly, entry-level pens (or beginner pens), are inexpensive and make a fantastic first pen. They can also make a good backup pen for traveling or everyday use.
Entry-level pens range from anywhere between $25 to $50, and one of our top beginner pens is the Pilot Metropolitan.

Standard and Premium Pens

Generally speaking, pens over $50 can be classified as standard or traditional fountain pens. Prices can spike as high as $200, though, and so you should know what you’re getting yourself into by planning your budget before shopping for your new pen.

Our preferred pen that falls within this range is the Waterman Hemisphere, which you can snatch up for under $120 and looks absolutely stunning.

Nibs

Nib Style

Nibs come in different shapes and sizes, and each one has its own benefits. The standard nib types are extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, and italic or stub.

When you’re picking out a nib, you will want to stay away from a soft or flex nib – these are generally used for niche writing styles like calligraphy and music composition writing. Everyday writers may find these tips too wet for their purposes.

Much like flex nibs, you will want to avoid broad nibs if you want to use your pen on inexpensive or plain paper, or if you have smaller handwriting.

Pens used for journaling, business, or other everyday purposes should have an extra-fine, fine, or medium nib. Fine nibs are good for general use, and some of the best tips can be found with the Pilot Metropolitan and LAMY 2000 fountain pens.

You should also make sure that your chosen nib writes smoothly, and that they are not too scratchy or dry when you’re writing.

Nib Material

Stainless steel has become the most common material for nibs nowadays, although there is little difference in the quality of their writing compared to the more luxurious materials like gold or palladium.

It’s worth mentioning that a stainless steel nib can warp or bend if you apply too much pressure. To avoid the possibility of ruining your favorite pen, you may want to invest in a sturdier nib. This shouldn’t be a problem for most writers, though, because the weight of your pen should guide your pen rather than the weight of your hand.

The motion takes a little getting used to, so don’t be disheartened if you accidentally break a bin or two as you’re learning the ropes.

Filling Mechanism

Cartridges

Refilling your fountain pen can be messy and time-consuming, and beginners often find the task daunting. Or maybe you just prefer the ease of using a cartridge to replenish your ink. Either way, cartridges are simple to replace, and you can usually buy your replacements from the same brand or supplier that you got your original pen from.

Cartridges are a good way to replace your ink if you use your pen frequently, as you’ll be going through a lot more ink. Our favorite cartridge pen that has some bang for your buck is the LAMY Safari.

Converter Types

Some fountain pen veterans prefer to use bottled ink with their writing instruments. If you prefer ink, you have the choice of three kinds of converters. These are the piston, squeeze, or vacuum fillers.

A piston and vacuum filler are similar and follow the same basic rules. Firstly, you submerge the nib of the pen in your preferred ink before twisting the knob at the end of the pen or pulling the plunger up and out of the pen. For a vacuum, you need to depress the plunger again for the ink to be drawn up into the bladder.

Squeeze converters also need to be submerged before you gently squeeze the pen. When you let go, the pen will pull the ink back into the pen.

While converters are all relatively easy to use, squeeze fillers are often messy if they’re not handled with the appropriate care. Piston reservoirs make the ideal filler because of how quickly you can refill your pen, as it takes the vacuum a few plunges before it has completely filled the ink reservoir.

Using bottled ink with a converter is also better for journaling, calligraphy, and other written art forms.

Overall Feel

Weight

The weight of the pen is important for making sure that your hand stays comfortable while you write. If the pen is too heavy, your hand will become tired much more quickly than a lighter pen.

The weight is completely subjective, though, as some writers prefer more weight in their pens to help guide it.

A concept that is closely related to weight is the balance of the pen. The balance refers to where the weight sits in the pen. A fountain pen should have most of its weight at the front of the barrel to help apply pressure to the nib without having to physically press the pen down on your writing surface.

Size

Another factor that contributes to the comfort of a pen is the size. If you have bigger hands, it stands to reason that you should have a bigger pen. Alternatively, your pen should be big enough when posted to fit comfortably in your hand.

The same rule applies in the inverse to smaller hands. Smaller hands would mean using a smaller pen.

Body

One of the features of the pen you should consider before buying a fountain pen is its body. Specifically, what the body is made of and the feel of the grip section.

Fountain pens are usually made of hard plastics, resin, or metals. Each material has a distinctive feel between your fingers. While some writers have no problem with harder plastic pens, others will experience pain in their fingers after using them for a long time. It all comes down to your grip and writing style.

Not only do you have to think about the material of the body itself, but of the grip section as well. The grip section is where your fingers grip the pen, and so the material should be comfortable to hold on to.

Some fountain pens have grips that have rounded, square, or triangular shapes engraved into the body. Rounded grips are usually the most popular, although it depends on how you hold your pen.

How To Choose The Best Fountain Pen (Buyer’s Guide)

Why Choose A Fountain Pen?

Fountain pens have been revered among writers for decades, and for good reason. 

These handy little pens are not only a fun way to jazz up your writing style or start a new hobby – they have functional benefits, too. 

Firstly, fountain pens are easy to write with, requiring little to no pressure to get the ink flowing through the pen and onto the page. Secondly, they’re more comfortable than ballpoint pens. Any veteran writer will know that comfort is one of the most important features of a pen. 

Fountain pens are made to be used for extended periods of writing without your hands taking a beating, which could lead to repetitive strain injuries further down the line. 

It’s important to remember that when you invest in a fountain pen, you’re signing up for a pen that requires cleaning, maintenance, and refilling. This is just a small price to pay for the luxury and prestige of using some of the finest pens in the world. 

If you want to become a fountain pen collector or aficionado, maintaining your pens is just part of the territory. 

While it’s not the most important feature, it certainly helps that fountain pens come along with an elevated status and an air of elegance. And with so much variety in pen designs, they are a fantastic way to show off your personal style.

Quite simply, fountain pens are a surefire way to up your writing game.

Pros

  • Easy to write with
  • Collectible
  • Stylish
  • Fun to use

Cons

  • Can be expensive
  • Needs cleaning and maintenance
  • Doesn’t work on all types of paper

Budget

You may be holding back on buying a fountain pen because of its hefty price tag. Well, you may be surprised to know that fountain pens come in all shapes and sizes, and at almost any price point.

Disposable Fountain Pens

The most affordable way to get into the hobby is often through a disposable fountain pen. Disposable pens are some of the cheapest on the market. Most disposable pens come in at under $10, so you can dip your toes into the world of fountain pens without breaking the bank. But compromising on price doesn’t necessarily mean compromising on quality. 

While disposable pens are usually made of cheaper materials, they can be just as good as some of their more expensive counterparts. And for a beginner, one of these throw-aways could be the smartest way to test a fountain pen out before you spend your hard-earned money on a premium pen. 

One of our favorite disposable pens is the Pilot Varsity.

Standard and Premium Pens

Generally speaking, pens over $50 can be classified as standard or traditional fountain pens. Prices can spike as high as $200, though, and so you should know what you’re getting yourself into by planning your budget before shopping for your new pen. 

Our preferred pen that falls within this range is the Waterman Hemisphere, which you can snatch up for under $120 and looks absolutely stunning.

Nibs

Nib Style

Nibs come in different shapes and sizes, and each one has its own benefits. The standard nib types are extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, and italic or stub. 

When you’re picking out a nib, you will want to stay away from a soft or flex nib – these are generally used for niche writing styles like calligraphy and music composition writing. Everyday writers may find these tips too wet for their purposes. 

Much like flex nibs, you will want to avoid broad nibs if you want to use your pen on inexpensive or plain paper, or if you have smaller handwriting. 

Pens used for journaling, business, or other everyday purposes should have an extra-fine, fine, or medium nib. Fine nibs are good for general use, and some of the best tips can be found with the Pilot Metropolitan and LAMY 2000 fountain pens

You should also make sure that your chosen nib writes smoothly, and that they are not too scratchy or dry when you’re writing.

Nib Material

Stainless steel has become the most common material for nibs nowadays, although there is little difference in the quality of their writing compared to the more luxurious materials like gold or palladium. 

It’s worth mentioning that a stainless steel nib can warp or bend if you apply too much pressure. To avoid the possibility of ruining your favorite pen, you may want to invest in a sturdier nib. This shouldn’t be a problem for most writers, though, because the weight of your pen should guide your pen rather than the weight of your hand. 

The motion takes a little getting used to, so don’t be disheartened if you accidentally break a bin or two as you’re learning the ropes.

Filling Mechanism

Cartridges

Refilling your fountain pen can be messy and time-consuming, and beginners often find the task daunting. Or maybe you just prefer the ease of using a cartridge to replenish your ink. Either way, cartridges are simple to replace, and you can usually buy your replacements from the same brand or supplier that you got your original pen from. 

Cartridges are a good way to replace your ink if you use your pen frequently, as you’ll be going through a lot more ink. Our favorite cartridge pen that has some bang for your buck is the LAMY Safari.

Converter Types

Some fountain pen veterans prefer to use bottled ink with their writing instruments. If you prefer ink, you have the choice of three kinds of converters. These are the piston, squeeze, or vacuum fillers. 

A piston and vacuum filler are similar and follow the same basic rules. Firstly, you submerge the nib of the pen in your preferred ink before twisting the knob at the end of the pen or pulling the plunger up and out of the pen. For a vacuum, you need to depress the plunger again for the ink to be drawn up into the bladder. 

Squeeze converters also need to be submerged before you gently squeeze the pen. When you let go, the pen will pull the ink back into the pen. 

While converters are all relatively easy to use, squeeze fillers are often messy if they’re not handled with the appropriate care. Piston reservoirs make the ideal filler because of how quickly you can refill your pen, as it takes the vacuum a few plunges before it has completely filled the ink reservoir. 

If a vacuum filler interests you and you’re looking for a pen to get your feet wet, we love the inexpensive Wing Sung 699. 

Using bottled ink with a converter is also better for journaling, calligraphy, and other written art forms.

Overall Feel

Part of what makes your fountain pen so special is the way that it feels when you write. 

There are a few things that can impact the feel of the pen, including the weight, size, and body.

Weight

The weight of the pen is important for making sure that your hand stays comfortable while you write. If the pen is too heavy, your hand will become tired much more quickly than a lighter pen. The weight is completely subjective, though, as some writers prefer more weight in their pens to help guide it. 

A concept that is closely related to weight is the balance of the pen. The balance refers to where the weight sits in the pen. A fountain pen should have most of its weight at the front of the barrel to help apply pressure to the nib without having to physically press the pen down on your writing surface.

Size

Another factor that contributes to the comfort of a pen is the size. If you have bigger hands, it stands to reason that you should have a bigger pen. Alternatively, your pen should be big enough when posted to fit comfortably in your hand. 

The same rule applies in the inverse to smaller hands. Smaller hands would mean using a smaller pen.

Body

One of the features of the pen you should consider before buying a fountain pen is its body. Specifically, what the body is made of and the feel of the grip section. 

Fountain pens are usually made of hard plastics, resin, or metals. Each material has a distinctive feel between your fingers. While some writers have no problem with harder plastic pens, others will experience pain in their fingers after using them for a long time. It all comes down to your grip and writing style.

Not only do you have to think about the material of the body itself, but of the grip section as well. The grip section is where your fingers grip the pen, and so the material should be comfortable to hold on to. 

Some fountain pens have grips that have rounded, square, or triangular shapes engraved into the body. Rounded grips are usually the most popular, although it depends on how you hold your pen.

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