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How To Select The Best Fountain Pen

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Disclosure: We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post via affiliate links to products or services associated with content in this article.

Fountain pens are among the oldest writing instruments that you can buy. Many people enjoy writing with fountain pens because of its exquisite results on paper or simply because they enjoy the art of quality penmanship.

Not to mention, luxury pens have become a common personal accessory to depict one’s taste and personal style.

Writing With Vintage Waterman Fountain Pen

However, selecting the right fountain pen can become a daunting task. Rest assured, we have compiled this detailed guide to help you might the right decision.

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*Notice: On mobile devices, scroll right to see entire table.

Why You Should Invest In A Fountain Pen

Before we dive into the details, here are a couple of reasons why you should use a fountain pen:

Smooth Results

Fountain pens offer the smoothest writing results of all. This feature is particularly important for folks who value quality penmanship. If you have never used a fountain pen before, give it a try! You won't be disappointed by the results.

Improves Handwriting

While we do not promise any miracles, using a fountain pen can improve your handwriting in the long run, especially with continuous usage. Because the fountain pen will decrease your writing speed, it encourages writers to take more time while writing each letter.

So, if you're trying to improve your messy handwriting, using a fancy fountain pen might just be the best way to motivate you.

Long Lasting Investment

A fountain pen is a long-lasting investment that you will give you your money's worth. Unlike ballpoint pens and gel pens that you need to throw away after use, you can conveniently refill the ink of a fountain pen.

What's best is that ink cartridges and ink bottles are quite economical which means you can buy them in bulk. Another notable advantage is that ink cartridges are available in many different colors so you can easily choose a color according to your personal choice.

What To Consider When Choosing A Fountain Pen

To ensure you have made the right choice, here are a couple of factors you should consider while purchasing the best fountain pen:

Nib

The nib is probably the most important factor to consider when selecting a fountain pen. You can choose from a plethora of different types. The nib plays a crucial role in determining how well the fountain pen will write.

Fountain Pen Nib

The nibs are available in many different materials including gold, steel along with a range of alloys. Most people prefer investing in nibs that are made using 14k and 18k gold materials, but you need not make the splurge if you don't want to.

The only reason why people give preference to gold and other precious materials is that it promises quality flexibility and resistance. However, the material is not the only factor you should concentrate on while examining the nib.

Gold nibs are typically alloys since the material is made using two or more metals. Opting for alloys is a good option because pure gold does not offer enough rigidity. You can also choose from many different types of nib points.

The most popular options include fine, broad, and medium. If you're a hardcore pen enthusiast, you can also opt for unique shapes including italic, stub, and extra fine depending on your preference.

Most luxury options include well-designed nibs that feature fine jewelry and precious materials. However, you'll find that the less expensive nibs are constructed using steel. When investing in a particular fountain pen, be sure to read the pen description first.

Tip Size

When purchasing a fountain pen, buyers will find that there are many tip sizes available to you. The battle is typically between extra fine and broad nib options.

Broad Nib Vs. Extra Fine Nib

The size of the tip determines the thickness of the line it will make. Nib sizes usually start from narrowest to widest including fine, broad and medium. Pen enthusiasts will agree that most Japanese fountain pens typically feature finer results compared to non-Japanese brands.

People who have a smaller handwriting will typically benefit from an extra fine or fine nib whereas folks with a larger handwriting will prefer a broad or medium-sized nib.

Tip Shape

Aside from the size, customers will also have to choose between many tip shapes.

Italic Nib vs. Round Nib

People can choose from two different types of nib types: round or shaped. Round nibs allow users to produce the same line width in any direction. This nib is quite similar to how a ball pen works. On the other hand, shaped nibs offer slightly different results.

Italic Vs Round Fountain Pen

These nibs offer different line widths based on the direction of the stroke. Italic nibs allow users to generate thin horizontal and vertical strokes. If you’re a novice and have never used italic nibs before, we suggest you opt for one with a round tip.

Ink Filling System

Sure, all fountain pens require ink, but not all of the types are filled using the same way. Pen enthusiasts can select from many different ink filling systems. You can make the right choice while paying attention to the choice of ink colors, ink capacity, convenience, and other preferences. The most popular ink filling systems include:

Cartridge Fountain Pens

Most fountain pens in the marker use ink cartridges. These cartridges are both simple and convenient to use.This does put a restriction on the choice of ink colors. For added convenience, some pens feature standardized cartridges that you can interchange between different brands. However, some pens can only use cartridges of the same brand.

Converter Fountain Pens

These pens are compatible with different converters which means you can use an unlimited range of ink colors. The only downside of converter fountain pens is that it only holds about half as much ink as cartridges. This can be inconvenient if you need a pen for work and don’t have a lot of time for frequent refills.

Built-In Filling System Fountain Pens

This type of pen features a built-in filling system such as a vacuum or piston mechanism. Customers can refill this type of pen right out of the bottle, but this can become a little messy.

Also, since you cannot use cartridges, users will need to carry a bottle of ink everywhere they go. On the bright side, fountain pens can hold a larger capacity compared to other pen types.

Eyedropper

You've probably guessed it: these pens are re-filled using a syringe or eyedropper. This type includes an ink reservoir inside the barrel of the pen and has a greater ink holding capacity compared to other pen types. Another notable advantage is that you can convert most cartridge pens into eyedropper pens.

Empty Eyedropper Fountain Pen

Finishing And Trim

While paint-based lacquers and colored resins are popular options among affordable pens, luxury writing instruments typically feature hand-applied finishes to boost aesthetics. For instance, Urushi lacquer features commonly in Japanese luxury pens. The results are so stunning that some European countries are also starting to use Urushi lacquer.

Paying attention to the metal trim and finishing is important as it will have a direct impact on the aesthetics and overall value of the pen. Most high-end brands use precious metals such as gold or metal plating over brass. Luxury pen brands also feature writing instruments with solid gold or sterling silver chipping for enhanced quality.

Weight And Size

As mentioned earlier, fountain pens are made using many materials including silver, steel, gold, wood, plastic and much more. The type of material used has a direct impact on the overall construction and body of the pen.

You'll find that pens are available in 3 different weights including light, medium and heavy. A pen featuring materials such as gold and silver will be heavier compared to other types of materials such as plastic and rubber.

If you're a novice, we suggest starting off with lightweight materials such as plastic and then move over to heavier models. A heavier pen improves handwriting and offers a better feel.

However, using a fountain pen with a heavy barrel is not suggested if you wish to write many pages. Also, don't forget to pay attention to the barrel's overall width. People with smaller hands may find narrower pens more comfortable to use. Consider experimenting with many different designs. This feature will help you decide the best option according to your usage.

Consider Usage

If you only plan on using the pen for signing documents, the weight might not be a problem while purchasing a pen. However, if you're an artist or simply need a pen for everyday use, it is essential you invest in a pen with sufficient ink capacity and a comfortable grip.

Signing Documents With Fountain Pen

The pen must feel comfortable in your hands so that you may use it every day without difficulty. Similarly, if you’re buying a pen for your friend, it’s worth investing in a product that comes with an attractive packaging.

Best Fountain Pens

To ensure you have made the right decision, we have compiled a list of some of the best fountain pens according to different categories:

Editor's Choice: Montblanc Heritage Collection 1912 Black Resin Fountain Pen

The Montblanc Heritage Collection 1912 comes with a stunning box that pen enthusiasts would love. Its packaging makes the pen an excellent gift for friends and family who like collecting or using exquisite pens. This pen features a glossy black exterior that is broken only by the silver clip. Some notable features of the product include:

  • Rectangular nib that offers excellent flow
  • Made in Germany
  • Retractable nib with a piston
  • Gold nib that is rhodium plated for exquisite quality

Despite its glossy appearance, you won't have to worry about attracting fingerprints on it. The pen weighs a heavy 48g, but since its overall length is short, the added weight prevents the pen moving out of place and keeps it aligned in the center.

The pen writes exquisitely and gives off a translucence appearance. We recommend you use Montblanc bottled ink. Its nib has been designed to produce amazing results. It features a triangle vent hole along with super-straight tines that offer increased flexibility as soon as the nib touches the piece of paper.

Montblanc Heritage Collection 1912 Fountain Pen

Source: montblanc.com

OUR RATING

Since the pen glides effortlessly, you won't have to worry about uneasy lines. This well-constructed nib offers just the right amount of flexibility.

It features a patented knob which makes the pen easy to use. All you have to do is to twist and pull the knob out. This process will cause the pen to suck up all the ink without causing a mess. You can also push out ink to clean the pen.

Customers also liked that how the pen has everything you will need. Since the piston is full, you won't have to worry about converters and cartridges. This pen includes all the features you will need.

Since this model is a celebration of Montblanc's 100 years in business, it has two special features that distinguish it from other Heritage collection pens. It includes a piston fill and a retractable nib along with a two-step mechanism. 


Alternative: Parker Duofold Centennial Big Red Fountain Pen

The Parker Duofold Centennial Big Red is a reliable pen that has a fantastic shape. It features a specially modified shape that makes it easier for users to hold. Not only does the pen hold well but the thread of the cap does not cause any problems. Some notable features of the product include:

  • Crafted using quality red resin that enhances the appearance of the pen, giving it a glossy look
  • ​Each pen features a quality, hand-crafted precision featuring a solid hand-cast acrylic
  • Quality solid-gold nib that also features rhodium highlights that have been manually assembled to offer better precision and enhanced comfort while writing
  • The pen features finishing made using high-quality materials to offer the user an enhanced writing experience
  • Fine nib that offers excellent flow on paper

With the cap inserted on top of the pen, the Parker Duofold Centennial may look too big, but it offers a good balance when you are writing. Users can choose from many different nibs, varying in different shapes and sizes. We suggest you opt for a smaller nib that will complement the pen's size.

Parker Duofold Centennial Foutain Pen

Source: parkerpen.com

OUR RATING

Whether you are in search of quality penmanship or are enthusiastic about calligraphy, this particular model is an excellent choice. While comparing this pen to the older 1920 models, customers won't have a difficult time spotting the similarities.

The Parker Duofold Centennial Big Red features the same elegant flattop design, with a red finishing. It also includes the same old barrel inscriptions, which gives off a similar appearance to their earlier versions.

This feature gives off a cool vintage look. It also features palladium trims for a solid finishing look. This feature creates the perfect balance between a modern and classic mix. 


Collectible: Cross Townsend Star Wars R2-D2 Fountain Pen

The Cross brand came into existence many years ago, founded by a group of artisans and jewelry makers. The brand has been crafting quality writing instruments in the Western world for many years now. Some notable features of the product include:

  • Super cool color scheme that looks similar to the R2-D2 Droid
  • Available for a limited time only, making this pen a great gift for pen collectors
  • Top of the pen features an iconic look that resembles the R2-D2 droid from the series
  • Includes a collector booklet that contains more information on the R2-D2
  • Lifetime mechanical warranty which means you’re sure to get the best value for your purchase

This special fountain pen honors four of the most iconic characters from the original films including Stormtroopers and Darth Vader. This collector edition looks similar to the R2-D2 Droid, making it a cool gift for folks who love Star Wars.

Cross Townsend Star Wars R2-D2 Fountain Pen

Source: cross.com

OUR RATING

The pen glides effortlessly on paper, resulting in the smoothest handwriting. The fountain pen’s exterior is constructed using metal and thus offers just the right amount of weight for better results.

The pen will feel comfortable in your hands. What’s best is that since the pen comes with a lifetime mechanical guarantee, you won’t have to worry about investing in another pen for a very long time. The Cross Townsend Star Wars R2-D2 Fountain Pen is a super cool themed pen that is excellent for Star War fans all over the world.


Best Fountain Pen Under 200: LAMY Studio Fountain Pen, Palladium X-Fine Nib 

The Lamy Studio fountain pen features a stunning propeller-shaped gloss metal exterior. The pen comes with a Z26 converter and an ink cartridge that is offers increased versatility and convenience. Customers can thus refill the pen using a system that is more convenient for them. Some notable features of the pen include:

  • Smooth metal grip that minimizes slips while writing
  • You may have to purchase the converter separately (depending on the vendor)
  • Excellent mid-range pen
  • Good pen for beginners since it offers good weight and balance
  • Attractive design and is sure to be the perfect gift for pen enthusiasts who appreciate minimalistic designs

Pen enthusiasts will also be pleased to know that the pen is well-balanced and thus feels excellent. Additionally, the ergonomic grip allows users to flaunt their handwriting. The pen includes a palladium finish while the propeller is in the form of a metal clip. The nib is also constructed using quality materials, ensuring greater comfort.

LAMY Studio Palladium Fountain Pen

Source: lamy.com

OUR RATING

Customers were particularly pleased by how the pen can accept both ink cartridges and converters. The ink converter does not cause leaks and is a great investment to make. A customer was also pleased by the sturdy build of the pen as the aluminum metal fits more closely and offers greater comfort. 


Best Fountain Pen Under 100: Pilot Fountain Pen Custom Heritage 91

The Pilot Custom Heritage 91​ is a stunning pen that features a black resin exterior along with rhodium-plated rings situated near the grip. Despite its affordable price, this pen does not fail to impress pen enthusiasts and is an excellent choice for beginners. Some notable features of the product include:

  • Comfortable to use, lightweight pen
  • Sufficient ink supply also includes a CON-70 converter
  • Excellent quality FA nib that is a good option for people who want flex but don’t want to purchase a vintage pen
  • Elegant and simple design

This particular model includes a CON-70 push-button converter which can hold just the right about ink (about 1 ml) that is sufficient enough for most users. While some customers complained that other Pilot converters are easier to clean, you can't complain much because of the low price tag.

Pilot Fountain Pen Custom Heritage 91

Source: ebay.com

OUR RATING

However, what makes this pen shine is its 14K rhodium-plated FA nib that looks similar to wings since FA is short for Falcon. Users can purchase the pen with other nibs. Customers appreciated how the nib offers brilliant results. The pen works excellent, right out of the box which means you can use it for many applications.

This feature is beneficial for folks who are in search of a pen that is an all-rounder. You can improve usage by increasing the ink flow of the pen to suit your needs. Some people have complained that nib is a little springy; however, this won't be much of a problem for folks who do not have a cursive handwriting. 


Conclusion

Consider the factors mentioned above if you want to purchase the best fountain pen. Good luck!

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