So You Think You Want A Fountain Pen …

And why not? Fountain pens are Teh Awesome. You go through life thinking these are okay writing utensils:

Skilcraft. BLEGH.

Skilcraft. BLEGH.

And really think you’re moving up in pen circles when you start using only Pilot G2s – which, admittedly, are the superior pen of choice for most offices.

Pilot G2. Periwinkle is the best color.

Pilot G2. Periwinkle is the best color.

And life with your pens is pretty good. But then, you hear about fountain pens. You start reading about them, and if you’re lucky, get to see them in action, even WRITE with them. And if fountain pens were chocolate, suddenly you are strolling with Willy Wonka through a magical world of pens and ink samples and converters, and

But …. first you have to figure out how to get started. That is the question I get asked most often, what are some good beginner fountain pens that won’t break the bank? So without further ado, here are some entry-level finds to enable your new chocolate tasting.

Disposable/Uber Cheap Beginner’s Pens (less than $10 each):

Disposable pens are a super easy way to start writing with fountain pens. You don’t have to mess with the sometimes complicated or messy ink bottles or cartridges. On the downside, it’s often hard to find disposable fountain pens in stores. Either way, once you fall in love with how fountain pens write, you won’t be content with disposable for long – not with all the fantastic ink colors out there!

1. Pilot Varsity Disposable Pen

The most popular disposable brand. You can’t refill them, but they will give you an idea of how fountain pens write and at least have a few fun colors.

Source: JetPens - Pilot Varsity Disposable Fountain Pens

Source: JetPens – Pilot Varsity Disposable Fountain Pens

Another great source for fountain pens is Goulet Pens, check out their Varsitys here.

2. Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen

Can buy refill cartridges, still pretty cheap at less than $4 per pen.

Source: JetPens. Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen

Source: JetPens. Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen

Also at Goulet Pens.

3. Pilot Petit1 Mini Fountain Pens

The Pilot Petit fountain pens are super adorable and mini-sized, perfect for bags and pockets. They’re also great writers and only $4, so don’t break the bank while you get used to them. And don’t they remind you of the old Apple Imacs when they first came out??

Source: JetPens. Pilot Petit1 Mini Fountain Pens

Source: JetPens. Pilot Petit1 Mini Fountain Pens

Super Affordable Entry-Level Fountain Pens

4. Pilot Kakuno Fountain Pens

Next up are the Pilot Kakunos – unlike the Varsity or Petit pens, you can use either ink cartridges or converters to use all the gorgeous bottled inks out there. Not bad for less than $20 each. AND, the Kakunos (which come in lots of fun colors, btw), have SMILEY FACES on the nibs. Like, how can you go wrong? They also write really well.

Source: JetPens. Pilot Kakuno Fountain Pens

Source: JetPens. Pilot Kakuno Fountain Pens

5. Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pens

The super affordable yet more professional looking Pilot Metropolitan is seriously a dark horse beginner fountain pen – it writes sooooo much better and is a higher quality than any $15 fountain pen has any right to be. Most of the colors are boring black, silver, gold bla bla bla – but I have this one, the White Tiger, and its awesome. There’s also a dark purple I have my eye on.

Source: JetPens. Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen.

Source: JetPens. Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen.

Available at Goulet Pens too! Click here.

Slightly Less Affordable But Still Entry Level Fountain Pens

6. The Lamy Safari Fountain Pen

Now, on to the grand-daddy of beginner fountain pens – the Lamy Safari. This was my first fountain pen ever, and I’ve been in love ever since. It’s relatively affordable, super-durable plastic, has interchangeable nibs (if you don’t like a medium, for example, it’s super easy to swap to a fine or a calligraphy nib or whatever). It has a triangular grip, which is nice for FP newbies to learn how to hold it. And it comes in really fantastic colors – every year is a new Limited Edition color – this year’s was my new all-time favorite, the Neon Coral. I’ve been using and collecting Lamy’s for 6 years now, and seriously can’t praise them enough, and if you click through the tags on this blog you’ll see they make up like 80% of the pen pics I post. They are German-born pens though, so differ from the Pilots above in that they naturally have a wider line – the Lamy F is more like a Pilot M, for example.

Source: JetPens. Lamy Safari Neon Coral Fountain Pen

Source: JetPens. Lamy Safari Neon Coral Fountain Pen

Don’t forget to check out Goulet Pens either, they have a great selection of Lamys.

7. Lamy Al-Star

The Al-Star line is about $10 more than the Lamy Safari, and has a slightly more sophisticated shiny, lightweight aluminum finish. Just as nice as the Safari, but slightly more prone to scratching.

Source: JetPens. Lamy Al-Star BlueGreen Fountain Pen

Source: JetPens. Lamy Al-Star BlueGreen Fountain Pen

8. Monteverde Artista Crystal Demonstrator Fountain Pen

I’ve just recently branched out into this pen line, and am really enjoying it. It writes well, has a slightly more traditional look than the Lamy line, for about the same price as the Al-Stars.

Source: JetPens. Monteverde Artista Crystal Demonstrator Fountain Pen

Source: JetPens. Monteverde Artista Crystal Demonstrator Fountain Pen

Also at Goulet Pens here.

So there you go! There are probably other pen brands out there, but I haven’t tried them myself yet. I’d love to hear if you have any favorite entry-level pens too!

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12 thoughts on “So You Think You Want A Fountain Pen …

  1. That Lazy Crazy Lady Hazy November 21, 2014 at 9:04 am Reply

    Ooh…The cheapest fountain pen in stock anywhere nearby costs about $50. I’ve seen them in action, though, and yes. They are so amazing I want to weep.

    • pensandart November 23, 2014 at 1:49 am Reply

      Haha, I’m really impressed by the Pilot Metropolitan, definitely give it a shot if you are able to have it shipped to you, $15 is a crazy deal for a great fountain pen 🙂

      • That Lazy Crazy Lady Hazy November 23, 2014 at 1:54 am

        I know! I’d get it ASAP if I found it available nearby. I wanted to order some pens but the shipping costs to where I am are crazy, and usually cost more than the pen itself.

        One day, though… one day…

  2. redharparts November 21, 2014 at 2:28 pm Reply

    Good selection of the low cost entry points into the world of fountain pens. Of course, Jet Pens is a good on-line source. I like to patronize Goulet Pen Company. http://www.gouletpens.com/ Brian, the co-founder/owner, has dozens of very helpful videos that teach us just about everything needed to learn to use and care for these pens. The ink sample options lets you spend just $1.50 to try out any ink in stock so you don’t have to buy the entire bottle. There is also a blog http://blog.gouletpens.com/ which has more helpful ideas and information.

    A friend of mine did a test: which pens will still write after being neglected for a couple weeks. The Metropolitan was the winner.

    • pensandart November 23, 2014 at 1:49 am Reply

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment! I am definitely a big fan of Goulet Pens, just didn’t want to add links to their site when I was posting it. 🙂

  3. Pao November 23, 2014 at 7:15 pm Reply

    My favorite entry level pen was a second-hand Ohto Poche which I bought for P500 (roughly $11). I enjoyed that pen a lot! +1 on the Pilot Metropolitan. Great nib, good weight on it, nice look and feel. 🙂

  4. dknights November 24, 2014 at 8:05 pm Reply

    Monteverde makes a couple of fountain pen/rollerball hybrids that are awesome. http://monteverdepens.com/megaball_gold.html
    and
    http://monteverdepens.com/color_fusion_inkball.html

    • pensandart December 4, 2014 at 2:32 am Reply

      Wow dknights! I’ve never heard of those before, those are really cool!!

  5. Pao November 24, 2014 at 8:16 pm Reply

    Another nice entry-level Pilot is the 78G. These budget Pilot pens are awesome. The 78G and Metropolitan, in particular, can be at par with many of my mid-level fountain pens.

  6. nelizadrew November 26, 2014 at 1:24 pm Reply

    I really like the Platinum Plasir. Similar to the Pilot Metropolitan and a bit under 30 if I remember. I like fine nibs and they have a kind of “classic” shape.

    • pensandart December 4, 2014 at 2:33 am Reply

      Hmm …. I haven’t tried the Plasir yet Neliza! I’ll keep that in mind next time I put in a Jetpens order 😀

  7. […] you are into fountain pens – either as a beginner or advanced user – you’ll soon see the appeal of testing out new inks via ink sampler […]

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