Pilot Varsity Fountain Pen Review

pilot varsity fountain pen review

Fountain pens can be an expensive investment. If you’re curious about learning to use a fountain pen, or if you tend to use your fountain pen for all your writing, a disposable fountain pen may be just what you’re looking for. 

The Pilot Varsity is one of the top-rated disposable fountain pens on the market, and we want to know why.

If you’ve ever wondered whether this pen is for you, you’re in the right place.

Our Pilot Varsity fountain pen review breaks down everything you need to know, including our favorite (and least favorite) features. 

Pilot Varsity Disposable Fountain Pen (Our Review)

PILOT Varsity Pre-Filled Fountain Pens, Medium Point Stainless Steel Nib, Black Ink, 12-Pack
  • Advanced liquid ink system and real fountain pen nib.
  • Disposable.
  • See-through ink reservoir.
  • Smooth, expressive writing.

Overall Assessment 

The first thing you’ll notice about the Pilot Varsity is that it looks like every other disposable gel pen. But looks can be deceiving. Once you remove the cap it transforms into a stylish writing instrument that’s a great way to introduce beginner writers to the world of fountain pens. 

This disposable pen is a great way to try your hand at writing with a fountain pen without the cost or commitment of a more expensive model. The Pilot Varsity Fountain Pen could also be an alternative to writers who use their fountain pens for everything from drawing up a simple to-do list or even longhand journaling.

Although disposable pens are an attractive option for any people looking to dip their toes into calligraphy and journaling, it’s important to note the detrimental effects they can have. Constantly throwing away empty pens means they go straight into landfills where they could have been refilled and used for years. 

While the look and feel of the Varsity may not be as attractive as some of the other premium models on the market, the plastic body is durable enough to withstand hours of use – and you won’t be running out of ink any time soon. There is an impressive amount of ink packed into this little tool that helps it to last longer than a conventional cartridge pen.

Of course, once your ink does run out it can sometimes be a hassle to restock your pen over and over again rather than refilling it with a cartridge. The pens are sold individually and also come in a pack of 7, with each pen boasting a different color of ink. 

Not only does this help to spruce up your writing, but it’s also great for keeping your notes color-coded and organized. Of course, if you prefer keeping everything uniform, it’s a little less convenient than simply refilling your pen with a constant supply of ink.  

If you’re crafty, there are a few easy ways to refill this so-called disposable pen, and a quick internet search gives you everything you need to know on how to refill it, including step-by-step guides with detailed pictures. 


  • Good for beginners
  • Inexpensive
  • Smooth writing experience
  • Comfortable


  • Plastic body
  • Non-refillable

Detailed Analysis 


The body is made of hard, durable plastic. It has a good weight to it, especially when posted. 

With a simple black and silver design, there’s nothing inherently exciting about the way the pen looks. That’s not to say it’s entirely attractive. It may be made from plastic, but it’s still more appealing than your average disposable ballpoint pen. 

There’s even a small window on the side of the pen to check your ink levels. This is a feature that’s normally reserved for high-end fountain pens, so it’s nice to see it here.

Because of the dark silver and black design, you may have to hold the pen up to a light source to accurately check your ink. 

The pen is comfortable in your hand and gives you an overall pleasant writing experience. 


While the body is made of cheaper materials, the Pilot Varsity Fountain Pen comes with an unexpectedly durable nib. 

The medium nib is made of tempered steel. It’s also rounded and relatively inflexible, though this doesn’t change the ease of using the pen at all. The pen writes beautifully, although the tip is slightly thicker than a true Japanese medium nib. 

We were disappointed that there was no line variation with the change in direction of the nib, but it’s not unexpected in a cheaper, non-refillable pen. Despite our disappointment, newer writers can still get a feel of what it’s like to use a quality fountain pen. 

The Varsity is a great learning tool, and the attractive price means that even if you don’t enjoy the feel of writing with one, you haven’t lost too much. 


The ink quality is not as impressive as some of the others that are available and takes a long time to dry. This will cause smudging and blotchy, ink-stained hands if you’re not careful.

That being said, it comes with an impressive amount of ink and can last for quite a while before needing to be replaced. 

The Pilot Varsity is sold on its own or it can be bought in a pack of 7 different colors. The blue, green, and purple inks tend to dry a lot darker than standard ink, with the purple coming off as a more navy blue. The black is true to color, and the pack includes some beautiful light and vibrant pens like red, pink, and turquoise blue. 

All in all, the ink colors seem to be hit-or-miss in how they dry on paper. 

Overall Writing Experience

Writing with the Pilot Varsity is surprisingly comfortable, and glides easily across the paper. The feel is comparable to that of a gel pen. 

Uncapped, the nib stays wet enough to start writing immediately and doesn’t need to be primed before you begin journaling. The nib also gives off lovely vibrant lines, although it can take some getting used to as it is slightly bigger than a standard medium tip. 

The Varsity is a great way to get the overall fountain pen experience without having to splurge on a more expensive model, and will definitely get your feet wet enough to rope you into investing in a premium fountain pen.

Final Thoughts

If you want to learn how to write with a fountain pen, there are certainly worse places to start than with the Pilot Varsity. 

The benefits of not having to stop and fill your pen every time it runs out of ink can’t be understated, and it can make using the pen fun by taking out a lot of the maintenance and fiddling that’s necessary with more expensive options.

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