And why not? Fountain pens are Teh Awesome. You go through life thinking these are okay writing utensils:
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.
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!
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.
Another great source for fountain pens is Goulet Pens, check out their Varsitys here.
Can buy refill cartridges, still pretty cheap at less than $4 per pen.
Also at Goulet 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??
Super Affordable Entry-Level 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.
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.
Available at Goulet Pens too! Click here.
Slightly Less Affordable But Still Entry Level Fountain Pens
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.
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.
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.
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!