Having a great fountain pen nib will have a dramatic impact on your writing experience. Given that it’s the only part of the pen that actually comes into contact with the paper you’re writing on, fountain pen nibs are arguably the most important element of any good pen.
In this review, we take a look at the features to look out for when choosing the best fountain pen nibs for your needs.
Fountain Pen Nibs (Our Review)
Taking into account the size and material of the nib on your fountain pen will help you choose the right nib for your needs. Nibs come in a variety of sizes and styles, not to mention the plethora of materials your nib can be made from.
We’re not going to go into detail with that here. We have an entire article dedicated to explaining exactly what fountain pen nibs are and what makes them different from one another. Instead, we’re taking a look at which fountain pen nibs are best.
Ultimately, if the fountain pen you like happens to have a nib that doesn’t fit your requirements, you may not consider buying it. So it helps to know which are the best nibs to look for to help you make your decision.
LAMY Imporium Fountain Pen Nib
The LAMY Imporium fountain pen extra-fine nib features fourteen-carat gold plating. Fourteen-carat gold is often seen as the gold standard (pun intended) material for fountain pen nibs as it offers the writer flexibility and bounce.
The LAMY Imporium nib has a wide air slit which allows for clean and consistent ink flow. This means there won’t be any skipping or scratching on the paper as you write, saving you from having to go over your work to tidy up broken lines.
Of course, because it’s made from gold you can expect to pay a pretty penny for the privilege of owning this fine nib. While stainless steel nibs may be cheaper, they’re more rigid and prone to environmental damage.
The gold also gives the pen to which this nib is attached smoother writing feel than you’d get out of a stainless steel option. Steel can tear at the paper and either puncture straight through it, ruining your work entirely, or break up the ink flow.
The nib material isn’t the only thing that makes the LAMY Imporium worth buying. The nib size is completely variable, so you can get bold, italic, musical, and any other nib size you can think of if you can afford to pay for it.
Being able to swap the nib on your fountain pen out with a new one will turn your writing instrument from a bland pen into a versatile tool that will come in handy no matter what challenge is thrown your way.
- Extra-fine nib
- Made from gold
- It is interchangeable
- No breather hole
Parker Urban Fountain Pen Nib
Parker is known for making utilizing different nib material in their designs to increase durability and flexibility. The Parker Urban Fountain Pen nib is made from stainless steel and it comes either in a medium-size or as a fine-sized nib size.
The Parker Urban fountain pen features a rounded nib tip that gives you a wide range of workable writing angles. You’ll notice that the shape of this nib helps you to create uniform lines when writing, regardless of the type of paper or nib size that you are using.
Unlike other nibs for a similar price, the Parker Urban nib is denoted in the feed connector rather than the nib itself. This helps to break the surface tension of the ink in the feed before it gets to the tip of the nib, which Parker argues improves ink flow.
While we can’t say we noticed any sizeable difference, it’s safe to say that this nib has an excellent ink flow that keeps your writing clean and sharp.
One downside is that the flow is on the dryer side. This means you have less line variation than you would have from a nib with more wettability, so you can’t employ techniques like calligraphy or italic text.
- Stainless steel nib
- Medium or fine-sized nib
- Rounded shape
- Not interchangeable
- Dry ink flow
Pilot Custom Heritage 823 Medium Nib
This nib writes smoothly. It glides across the paper like an elegant figure skater and it’s truly something to behold while writing.
As much as we enjoyed it, its stainless steel body means it struggles to compare with its closest gold nib competitors. It’s a lot more rigid than other premium nibs, and fountain pens with it attached need more pressure to draw out the ink.
What’s great about this nib is that it comes in a medium tip size. This is one of the most common nib widths available on the market so it can be fixed to pretty much any of the fountain pens in your collection.
The Pilot Custom Heritage 823 nib is ergonomic, durable, and versatile which makes it perfect for everyday use.
You may find that the nib is a bit stiff when writing. Unfortunately, this is because the nib does not offer enough flexibility, and can even bend slightly if too much pressure is applied onto the nib while using it to write.
While it may not be as luxurious as some of the other items on this list, it’s a lot more affordable if you’re looking for a replacement for your workaday fountain pen.
- Smooth writing experience
- Perfect for everyday use
- Nib is stiff
Fountain Pen Nibs Buyer’s Guide
How To Choose The Best Fountain Pen Nib
If you’ve spent any time online shopping for nibs, you’ve no doubt noticed that the vast majority of them are made from stainless steel or gold. Some nibs are made of stainless steel but plated in gold, although this is purely an aesthetic choice.
In terms of quality, gold is the superior material of the two. It’s more flexible which gives you more line variation in your writing. What’s more, gold has a natural bendiness to it, so you can press down reasonably hard without worrying that you’ll permanently warp the nib.
Stainless steel nibs are prone to corrosion from the heavy metal particulates in some inks, especially higher-quality ones. For this reason, many manufacturers have started incorporating other durable materials like platinum and palladium.
Nib Tip Size
Knowing which size of nib to go for depends entirely on your handwriting style and purposes.
Fine and extra-fine nibs are best if you have small handwriting, as the thin lines will allow the character to show up clearly. If you have larger writing, you need to go with a medium-sized nib at least.
What’s important to remember when it comes to the tip size is that the wider the nib, the better the ink flow. The most common nib tip sizes are extra-fine, fine, and medium-sized nibs, whereas musical, bold, and italic nibs are a little more difficult to come by.
Shape Of The Nib
The shape of the nib is also important to consider. There are two common shapes when it comes to nibs, rounded or square nib.
The rounded nib comes in different sizes and widths and it is perfect for everyday use. Square shaped nibs, on the other hand, are preferred for writing in calligraphy because it offers a smoother writing experience.