Fountain pens are a timeless writing utensil. They’re built to last for years, with some of them traded and sold as collectibles. You may have come across them on the desks of employees of all types, and using them is completely different than writing with a disposable BIC. But fountain pens aren’t cheap at all. Some of them can cost the same amount of money that one would spend on a piece of jewelry or even a brand new laptop computer. That’s because the body of the pen itself could be built from gold, silver, or other decorative metals. However, deals can be found. Below are six of the best fountain pens under $100, chosen for quality and comfort during writing. When you’re done, be sure to look at the Buyer’s Guide for tips that’ll help you decide on which pen you want.
1. Waterman Perspective Fountain Pen – Best Fountain Pen for Collectors (Editor’s Choice)
The Watermen Perspective is a remarkable fountain pen that’s sold in several unique colors. If you want something that will glide with ease when it’s time to write, look no further. one common problem among cheaper fountain pens is the way they unevenly distribute ink when it touches the paper. The nib of this Watermen has no such issues and can help even a beginner to fountain pens write well. Use it for calligraphy or more work-related assignments.
If you’re a lefty, this pen is also recommended. You won’t have to awkwardly hold it when writing and will fit into the palms well of most people. The body is weighted, meaning that less movement will have to be made with your hands to manipulate the ink when you move it across paper. It also comes with a nib that’s made from real gold, 24 karats to be exact. But the density is touch, so don’t about it breaking or scratching too quickly. But there’s only one, so you should grab more if you plan to do any other writing with fountain or ballpoint. It’s also quite a nuisance when opening the pen up (portions of it are glued).
Still, the Watermen Perspective remains on top and will make any collector happy. Try it out for the way it allows users to write at a good pace. Or maybe you just want something to touch up your desk (or look) to give a more professional impression. Whatever the case is, this pen is highly suggested for anyone.
- Strokes are smooth and go on most paper evenly
- Easy to write with for both left and right-handed people
- The nib (fountain) is 24-karat gold
- The pen is weighted, making writing easy and steady for people with shaky hands
- Only one nib is included with the set
- Difficult to take the pen apart (some parts are fastened together with an adhesive)
- For people with large hands, possibly uncomfortable to hold for long periods of time
- The handle is pencil-shaped, making it easy to hold for users that are new to writing with fountain pens
- Comes with a stainless steel nib
- Disassembles easily; cartridges go in and out fast
- Scratch-resistant and safe to put in the pockets of clothing
- Attempting to write without the pen cap may feel odd
- Writing could result in missed spots in strokes for people that write quickly
- Users have the option to pick either a medium or fine nib to go along with the product
- The ink is solid black in color
- An 18-karat sterling silver nib is featured, difficult to scratch
- Good flow during fast writing and doesn’t skip over strokes
- Must be used frequently or stored in average humidity (so the nub doesn’t dry out too fast)
- The pen is lighter than most but not too delicate, doesn’t cause fatigue when writing for a long time
- Customers can choose between nine different nibs
- Doesn’t need to be moistened in order for the ink to flow; never dries out
- No converter is included with the pen itself
- Writing smoothness could be dependent on the type of nib being used, along with user experience
- The handle is hand made from walnut wood
- Included an ink converter and two disposable cartridges
- When placed on its cap, has a discreet appearance
- The shaft may clog with lots of ink residues
- The shaft is quite small, making it a chore to fit the ink cartridges inside
- Extra-fine nibs are an option (to go along with the pen) for very precise writing
- The pen is plated with chrome tips
- Nib quality is the same as what is seen on pens with a higher price tag
- Solid construction; the pen should last years without wearing down (so long as it’s properly maintained)
- Slippery to hold for a long time, especially for people with sweaty palms
2. Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen Brass Nib – Best Fountain Pen for Casual Writing
At first glance, the Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen might resemble the pencils that have a refillable lead. That’s due to the octagon-shaped handle. It makes holding the pen simple, no matter how moist or fatigued your hands may have been with other fountain pens. The nib is made from stainless steel and has engraved marks that add lots of beauty to its design. It can serve as either a writing pen or one to place on your desk for decoration. If you’re a collector, you’ll finally have a pen that won’t make you afraid to take it out of the box.
Another selling point is the way it comes apart. Doing so is easy, even for a beginner. Most parts to unfasten themselves when by unscrewing or pulling at them. This is a good thing since cartridges will go in very quickly; you won’t have to look at any videos online just to learn how to open your fountain pen. It’s also scratch-resistant. If you wanted, it could sit in your pocket all day without the box and never get a scratch (that doesn’t mean you should place it next to your keys though!). But if you’re a fast writer, you might want to slow it down a bit with this pen. Strokes are smooth most of the time, but using in a dry environment might cause the nib to produce blank spots along with your strokes.
When it’s not in use, it’s a good idea to keep the blunt end of the pen in an upright position, with the nib facing the floor. Doing this will make it write better or maybe avoid the situation described altogether. In any case, the Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen is great for casual writing.
3. Parker Sonnet Black Lacquer Fountain Pen – Best Fountain Pen for Fast Writing
The Parker Sonnet Black Lacquer Fountain Pen is a beautiful product that’ll make an outstanding addition to anyone’s collection, or even a highlight to a professional wardrobe. Before you check out, you’ll notice that the company allows customers to pick the type of nib that comes with the pen. Choose carefully, because anything more would have to be acquired through a separate order. The first time that you use the pen, you’ll quickly notice how black the ink is. On a white sheet of paper, it stands out. Visible and bold, your writing will look sophisticated and executive-like in every sense of the words.
The nib, made from 18-karat gold, fancy but glides across smooth paper with ease, regardless of the size you end up with. Yet some improvements could be undertaken with up-and-coming editions. The ink flow is fast from the nib but may dry out at times. And the only thing that seems to prevent this from occurring is to use the pen as often as possible, which would deplete your cartridges faster. Remember to store it properly in the box and avoid using placing it down with the top off in areas where the air is dry.
4. Pilot Fountain Pen Custom 74, B-Nib, Black Body (FKK-1000R-B-B) – Best Fountain Pen for Calligraphy
The Pilot Fountain Pen is a tad lighter than the other pens reviewed already. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less easy to control when you’re writing with it. Instead, your hands will thank you in the end, since fatigue won’t ever happen. This is a fountain pen that one uses for extensive writing, so try it if your work requires you jot down lots of notes or drafts of any kind. There are nine nibs in total for you to choose from which includes everything from fine-medium, medium, soft fine, etc. You’ll never find yourself licking the pen or putting the nib under a faucet just to get the ink properly siphoned through through it.
It won’t dry out unless one were to intentionally leave the cap off the nib for an extended period. But if you’re looking for a fountain that has a converter included with it already, you’ll have to look elsewhere. And nibs could be inconsistent with their ability to write smoothly. There’s no way to know for sure, but the lighter weight might be due to this. But overall, the Pilot Fountain Pen will look and feel outstanding in anyone’s hand.
5. LACHIEVA Luxury Walnut Fountain Pen with Elegant Box – Best Fountain Pen for Durability
If you want a pen just for looks alone, the Lachieva Luxury Walnut Fountain Pen will turn heads when placed in the front pocket of your shirt. It’s hand made from walnut wood, topped off with a nib that’s hard and very difficult to scratch. And since each handle isn’t the same, your pen will have a unique feel to it from each product from the same brand. And best of all, you’ll get an ink converter with the pen, along with two cartridges that you can dispose of when finished. Another nice thing about this product is the way it doesn’t stand out too much from other fountain pens. It’s beautiful but discreet, meaning that it won’t give others think that you’re writing in that’s filled with gold or silver parts.
You’ll want to check your shaft periodically. It may clog sometimes, and require that you clean it out. If you use the pen heavily, this must be done regularly. And the shaft is also on the small side, which may cause problems when you’re ready to change it out. Try not to force it in if it doesn’t fit. Instead, go slow until it eventually goes all the way down. If you don’t think will pester you, then the Lachieva Luxury Walnut Fountain Pen is well-suited for collectors and anyone who simply wants a durable pen.
6. LAMY Studio Fountain Pen, Brushed Stainless Steel – Best Fountain Pen for Art
The Lamy Studio Fountain Pen another good pen for calligraphy. But if you enjoy making artwork other than the former mentioned, this is highly recommended. And by art, that means portraits or even rough drafts for vector images. Nib sizes are varied, but the smallest is nearly as sharp as the tip of a needle. Near-perfect, fine lines can be done with this, and the pen will guide you on its own when considering how weighted the entire product is. Even the cap and upper portion of the pen is slightly weighted, although this won’t make it awkward for most to hold.
It’s built well all around, and definitely something that you’ll have long after you’ve purchased it. Even the box that’s included with the product is nice, shielding the pen from dust and dry humidity. If you have sweaty palms, you may have trouble holding the pen for a long time. It’s quite smooth to the touch, and will eventually get pretty slippery. The best remedy (or prevention) is to wipe your hands down thoroughly before each use, minimizing the oily feeling on the pen when held.
Here are some useful tips to help you before making a final pick of the pens shown above.
What’s the most important thing to consider before purchasing a fountain pen?
Before you settle on one fountain pen, think about how you will use the product. Will it be worn or sat in a location for decoration alone? Will you use it for writing on paper every day? How about the setting in which you’ll use the pen? What’s the weather like? The humidity can have a big effect on how well a pen works, whether it’s a fountain pen or not. You won’t want to use them in an outdoor setting, at least for a long period. Doing so will quickly dry out the ink, possibly even making the pen unusable. If you want one primarily for decoration, then it won’t matter how well or bad the pen feels in your hand. As a result, you have more freedom to pick one that’s based on what you think looks best.
Functionality should be put on the back burner in this case. But if you do plan on writing with the pen, how it holds up and writes should be prioritized. Observe how well the handle is made. If the pen has some weight to it, that’s a plus. Additionally, consider the brands that have a good choice of nibs. The style and type of writing you’ll do is highly dependant on the size of your nib. If you want to write in cursive, nibs that glide along the paper are best. Calligraphy artists would do well with multiple nibs, whereas anyone that needs a ballpoint tip should settle on the more modern roller balls.
How to avoid Runny Ink?
There are a couple of things that you could do to prevent your ink from getting too runny. The best way would be to simply take the cartridge out of the pen itself, at least when it’s not being used. Ensure that the nib is placed tightly on the pen, and never use cartridges that are either too big or small for the model you own. If too much continues to come out when you write, then you might be better off trying a different cartridge brand altogether.
However, you’re likely to experience a pen that’s too dry than runny, especially if you live in a region that has a dry climate or store them in an indoor setting that has a low temperature. Unless you keep the fountain pen stored in the ordinal box that you buy it in, ensure that you never place the pen in an upright position. If you do, the lower part of the cartridge that’s closest to the nib could clog, altogether blocking the flow of ink or reducing its flow. Never leave them in your pocket and be careful not to place too much force on the nib as you write.
If you’re still not sure which of the six pens you would like to buy, don’t fret over it. There are two from the list that outperforms all others in terms of quality and ease of writing. Numbers one and two respectively, the Waterman Perspective and Kaweco Sport Fountain Pens are the best of the best. They’re strong and look amazing, built with such quality that would satisfy the most serious pen collector. But even for normal shoppers that need a good quality pen that isn’t cheaply made, the two described should enhance your writing much better than a plastic ballpoint can do. Nevertheless, don’t let that stop you from trying out some of the others, especially if you plan to get more than one fountain pen. Each piece has an attribute that makes it a worthy buy, so go with your intuition if you must!