The Sheaffer VFM fountain pen is a vibrant, fun, and modern addition to Sheaffer’s already impressive range of writing instruments. Unlike many of its competitors, Sheaffer focus their designs on sleek lines with little of the frillery that’s become popular in the modern market.
This got us wondering whether these small, straightforward pens are any good. So we decided to review Sheaffer and their newest offering. We unpack the mystery behind its simple styling and functionality in our Sheaffer VFM fountain pen review.
Sheaffer VFM Fountain Pen (Our Review)
- Flexible stainless steel nib
- Makes an impact with its modern, tapered silhouette
- Comes in a wide range of finishes from creative and colorful to smart and sophisticated
- Contemporary finish and modern look appeal to wide audience
These Sheaffer pens sit on the low end of the pricing range. This makes it an attractive option for newcomers who aren’t willing to pay hundreds of dollars for an untested device. You’ll have to search long and hard to find an equally affordable model like this one.
Despite its pricing, this pen seems to deliver adequate functionality along with beautiful styling. The pen comes in various distinct colors, making this pen more appealing to a broader audience.
Writing with the VFM Sheaffer is straightforward and easy. The pen delivers a wet flow of ink, making it easy to pick and master.
Unfortunately, the thin barrel and even thinner grip make writing with this pen uncomfortable if you have large hands. You have to really squeeze to get the pen to sit still in your hands, which can throw off the all-important balance while writing.
However, it’s a great beginner fountain pen with standard short cartridges and various nibs which any novice can quickly replace.
While short cartridges are useful for their compact size, they can be difficult to source, which could make refilling your pen an issue whenever it dries out.
- Beautiful satin finish
- Available in different colors
- Affordable price
- Lightweight is great for beginners
- Stiff pen clip could bend
- Plastic, cheap grip
Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time for us to take a deep dive into this Sheaffer pen. We focus our study on three critical aspects to weigh everything up: the styling, ink reservoir, and writing feel.
At first glance, the VFM is sleek and modern. This fountain pen comes in a slim body with a brushed satin finish. Not many fountain pens today are found with a satin metal finish, and we love it. This unique styling makes this pen beautiful and adds to its character.
The occasional splash of nickel-plated trim adds a fancy pop that makes it more than just a standard, two-toned pen. It has even a stainless steel nib to boot. An instant snap cap rounds off the simple yet elegant design.
The snap cap is easily one of the biggest highlights of the design. It makes a distinct clicking sound when you post the pen. This sound is a great confirmation that our sensitive nib is now protected. What’s more, when posted, you don’t have to worry about any messy ink spills.
Unfortunately, the grip is made from plastic. This makes it feel cheap and makes holding onto the pen slightly less enjoyable.
Another complaint that we have is that, unlike competitors in a similar price range like the Pilot Metropolitan, the grip is only 3cm in diameter. A thin grip is frequently a problem for anyone with big hands and fingers.
If you have big hands, you’ll find that holding this fountain pen can quickly become an uncomfortable experience, especially during long writing sessions.
It’s also lightweight. While this works for some, it can be a deal-breaker if you prefer a solid, weighty pen, like a LAMY in your hands.
We were surprised to find that it doesn’t use a standard international-size cartridge converter as seen in most fountain pens on the market. Instead, Sheaffer opted to go with short ink cartridges that fit snugly inside the thin barrel.
What does this mean to the average pen-enthusiast?
Short ink cartridges limit your choice of ink suppliers. There aren’t many suppliers around that make short ink cartridges, so finding one can be a mission. Unsurprisingly, Sheaffer seems to want its customers to stick to its particular brand of inks.
This choice isn’t necessarily a bad one. Sheaffer developed their inks to deliver maximum performance when combined with their pens. The specially developed ink should flow smoother from the tip than other inks.
As for color options, Sheaffer offers a wide range of different colors, from blue and black to almost everything in between, all in the short ink cartridge form.
Now on to an essential aspect of the fountain pen. Let’s look at how this pen writes.
The Sheaffer VFM fountain pen is a bit of a wet writer. Even with a fine nib, the point seems to be bigger and thicker than what you’ll find in a similar price range.
It writes almost like a medium nib. Larger nibs result in heavier ink flow, and newcomers will have to use a light hand to get their handwriting neat and smudgeless.
While some customers found an annoying scratching noise, ours gave a smooth, silent writing experience. We didn’t experience any hard starts and were pleased with the overall writing quality.
This writing experience is only improved when you pair this pen with heavier paper. Something around the 120 gsm stock range should do. Anything less, like standard office notepaper, will result in feathering and bleeding.
The Sheaffer VFM is certainly an affordable option, but it’s not necessarily great for what you pay.
It’s missing some of the finesse and character that you get with more expensive models. But there are other budget-friendly pens, like the Muji Aluminum, that don’t cost an arm and a leg and still have a personality.
However, what it lacks in class, it makes up for in simple styling and accessibility.
Die-hard pen masters, sadly, will be disappointed with its feel and function.