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 ten 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.
Best Fountain Pen Under $100 Reviews
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
2. Cross Classic Century PVD Fountain Pen – The Best Dainty-Looking Fountain Pen
Cross Classic Century PVD Fountain Pen is quite popular for its super slim silhouette. It is considered one of the best dainty-looking pens that make it look too fragile. However, this fountain pen promises that even though it seems too thin and light, it is actually tough and solid. Even though it is lightweight and short, this Cross Classic fountain pen feels well-balanced, whatever the user’s hand size is.
The slim barrel is not the only thing that makes this pen good-looking. There is also its brushed black PVD finish. Together with the diamond-patterned engraving, this pen looks imposing with its polished black finish. It has a click-off cap, stainless-steel nib with polished black PVD plating. Even the writing grip is smooth black, contributing to its stylish look. Also included in this package is a gift box and 2 medium, black fountain pen refill cartridges.
Cross Classic Century PVD Fountain Pen is also available in other types. As a fountain pen, it is available in fine and medium nibs. As a rollerball, this Cross pen has refill options including porous point, gel rolling ball, and jumbo ballpoint. Another type is a ballpoint, which uses a small rotating ball for its tip. Unlike the fountain pen, it isn’t capped but retractable through a rotating barrel mechanism. The last type is the mechanized pencil with 0.7mm tip.
- It works well for the price
- Writes smoothly and comfortable in hands
- Durable thanks to the metal body
- Beautiful, modern design that looks elegant
- The clip loosens after turning the cap many times
- Might feel flimsy to others due to its slim body
3. Parker Urban Fountain Pen – The Best Ergonomic Fountain Pen
Hourglass-shaped fountain pens are a popular type of pen nowadays due to their ergonomic shape. Holding this type of pen feels comfortable, which is what many writers and writing enthusiasts want. Parker Urban Fountain Pen is a sleek hourglass-shaped pen with the curves to keep its user feel nice and comfortable while writing.
Its shape conforms well to the user’s natural grasp. It also provides perfect balance and weight, adding to the comfort that the pen offers. This hourglass curve also adds to the modern look of the pen that can easily match up with the user’s personal style. Another notable feature of the pen is the aluminum barrel.
The pen’s barrel is anodized aluminum with subtle sandblast orange tint. Graphic tones etched the cap. It is a solid cap, not an aluminum cap that easily dents or warp with the slightest drop or knock. The material is sturdy and has a nice weight to it. It also posts quickly with a tight, arrow clip that is a signature of the PARKER brand. As for the nib, it is stainless-steel – durable and engraved. It is a solid nib that the user can rely to give them a dependable, consistent writing experience.
All these details complement the pen’s chrome trim. When it comes to the finish, this PARKER fountain pen has a range to offer. It also has different trims, each made so that they will conveniently complete the user’s unique personal style. PARKER Urban Fountain Pen also stands out for its richly pigmented ink. They are quite luxurious, with the cartridge being so easy to insert into the pen and the ink flowing smoothly for the best writing experience.
PARKER fountain pen is ideal for sophisticated gifting. At the same time, it is also affordable. Given inside a PARKER gift box, this pen makes a nice present for every occasion. It is excellent as a gift for graduations, wedding parties, corporate events, or other occasions where you want to make a memorable impression.
- It writes well even with dry inks
- The pen has an excellent, solid nib for smooth writing
- It has a sturdy structure with a good heft
- Great starter set for a newbie in fountain pens
- It needs to buy the proprietary cartridge converter separately
- The black coating may start peeling off after a time
4. 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.
- 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
5. 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.
- 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
6. 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.
- 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
7. 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.
- 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)
8. MONAGGIO Bamboo Fountain Pen – The Best-Selling Fountain Pen
This bamboo fountain pen is MONAGGIO’s best-selling pen. It is highly popular for supporting effortless writing without any smudge. It is a handcrafted pen that makes up for a beautiful gift for all occasions. This bamboo pen even has an elegant case to complete the package. When it comes to how the pen looks like, it combines traditional and modern looks truly well.
MONAGGIO Bamboo Fountain Pen boasts of providing the smoothest writing experience. It promises no scratches or smudges when writing, providing only the cleanest lines. This bamboo pen is designed to make writing easy, promising that it is perfect for both beginners and pros. A useful feature of the pen is that it has an ink converted included with the package.
On the other hand, it does not include ink cartridges and can be bought separately. Black and blue ink cartridges are available. MONAGGIO’s ink converter is designed to enable the seamless switch between bottle inks and cartridges. Inserting the ink cartridges is easy and MONAGGIO even has some instruction on it.
This pen is compatible with standard disposable cartridges. With that, it is possible to use disposable ink if the user has used up their Monaggio ink cartridges. Still, the Monaggio ink cartridges are the fittest for the pen. It has a nice nib somewhere between fine and medium. It writes effortlessly, creating refined lines with every stroke.
The bamboo body looks elegant, leaving a unique impression that also makes it a nice pen to give as a present. It is especially perfect for giving to an outdoorsy person, given the bamboo barrel. Besides the cartridge, the pen may also come with 13 different colors of dry erase marker are also available for colorful and fun writing experience with MONAGGIO Bamboo Fountain Pen.
- It comes with a lovely bamboo barrel that’s good for a nature lover or outdoor person
- Writes smoothly and feels well-balanced in hand
- Includes an ink converter with the package
- It does not include an ink cartridge
- It might feel a little small for some people
9. 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.
- 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
10. LAMY Imperial Blue Studio Fountain Pen – Best Fountain Pen for Calligraphy and Art
LAMY Imperial Blue Studio Fountain Pen is a nice fountain pen that works well when used in art. Of course, it also functions well for daily use thanks to its practical design. This fountain pen showcases an all-metal design with a beautiful, sleek matte blue lacquer finish. LAMY Imperial Blue Fountain Pen comes in the classic cigar-shaped design.
But there is a difference in how LAMY takes the classic design with a contemporary style through polished chrome fittings and premium lacquer finish. These design features provide the pen with a more modern look, making it more distinctive than other fountain pens. Besides the new take on the barrel, this pen also has a distinctive clip that comes in propeller shape.
The clip has a unique shape, but also a practical design ideal for writers who like to clip their pen. As for the nib, this LAMY fountain pen has a polished steel one. The nib is easily replaceable and available in varying need sizes. It makes the pen an ideal writing tool for calligraphy and other artworks, such as making drafts for vector images or creating portraits.
With the different sizes of nibs, artists and writers can choose from one as smallest and as sharp as that of a needle. These extra-fine nibs make fine lines that are essential in developing all kinds of art. The nib’s smoothness, together with the pen’s ergonomic grip, provides the user with complete comfort when writing.
Along with that, the pen’s high gloss chrome grip keeps the pen within the user’s grasp. The ink cartridge the pen uses is cartridge T 10, but the pen can be modified, so a converter Z 26 also works. A small concern that some users might have about this pen is that the upper portion and cap is a little heavy.
However, LAMY does assure users that it will not make it awkward to hold the pen. It is also a concern for some that the pen is too smooth and become slippery, especially for users that get sweaty palms easily. Because of this, it is best to wipe the hands thoroughly when using the pen. Together with the pen is a premium gift box, also designed to protect the pen from humidity and dust.
LAMY Imperial Blue Fountain Pen is truly a well-built pen. It looks stylish and functions just as intended. There are some concerns, but they are easy enough to remedy. This pen is great because it does not only work well for daily use but for art as well, making it a multi-function writing tool.
- It delivers smooth writing experience
- Has excellent balance and design
- No worries about bleeding or stutter
- It has an attractive and minimalist look
- Allows precise writing with option for extra-fine nibs
- The pen has chrome-plated tips
- Sturdy quality of nib the same with more expensive pens
- It has a solid construction that should last for years
- Too smooth, making the pen slippery
- The ink can sometimes accumulate inside the cap
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.
Why are fountain pens so expensive?
Typically, it is because of the materials that fountain pens are made off. Unlike with ballpoint pens where they’re disposable or for single-use, fountain pens are made to last forever or to be used forever. So, the materials they’re made off are much more durable and therefore expensive.
How long does a fountain pen cartridge last?
There are two factors that determine how long a cartridge can last for. One is the quality of the product. If the product is cheap, for example, then the leakage might be greater. The other is how often you use it. Obviously, the more you use it, the less ink in the cartridge.
Do fountain pens improve handwriting?
Writing with a fountain pen can absolutely improve your handwriting skills. After all, writing with fountain pens is a type of writing skill. So, as you develop your fountain pen writing skill, then you’ll naturally develop your ability to overall write.
Can you fly with fountain pens?
Thankfully, majority of modern fountain pens are safe to fly with. But, to be safe, you should always remove the ink because the consistent pressure changes in the cabin can cause the pen to leak.
Are fountain pens good for everyday use?
Fountain pens can be used everyday, although they’re not really designed for regular writing like with ballpoint pens. Of course, you can choose to write with them daily if you want, but you just need to consider the quality and design. For example, some pens are meant more for daily use while others are just for certain occasions only.
If you’re still not sure which of the ten 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!
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