Whether you’ve never used a fountain pen before or use one every day, the vast amount of options can be overwhelming. We’ve organized our list of fave fountain pens by price to help you narrow things down and choose the best one for you.
Things to Consider Before You Choose a Fountain Pen
If you’re new to fountain pens, there are a few things you need to know before you can decide which one to buy. Here are a few things to consider:
- Nib: The end of the pen where the ink comes out is the nib. They’re typically available in quite a few sizes, including 1.1 mm, extra-fine, fine, medium, or broad. Some people might prefer the ultra-precision of an extra-fine nib, while others appreciate the easier to use wider nibs. Think about your writing style, and which size would work the best for you.
- Refilling mechanism: You refill the ink in a fountain pen, and there are quite a few different mechanisms for doing so. All the pens on our list have either piston-filler (the kind you dip into an ink jar to refill) or cartridge (the kind with replaceable ink cartridges) mechanisms. Note that you can use an ink-converter on a cartridge pen so you can also dip it in jarred ink, but you usually have to buy that separately. We note on the lists below which pens include a converter or recommend a specific model for those to which this applies.
- Material: This largely depends on your preference. Some people want something sleek and smooth, while others might prefer something that offers a better grip. Either way, your pen should be comfortable for you to use and made of a material that’s worth the price you pay for it.
The Best Fountain Pens Under $25
If you’ve never used a fountain pen before or don’t want to spend a lot on one, none of these will break the bank:
- Kaweco Perkeo Fountain Pen: This entry-level fountain pen looks nice and is available in four color combinations (blue and white, gray and yellow, pink and gray, or pink and black). It’s a cartridge pen but is compatible with Kaweco’s converter if you want to use jarred ink. You can also choose either a medium or fine nib.
- Lamy Safari Fountain Pen: One of the most highly regarded budget options out there, the Safari is available in black with a black-coated steel nib, or a red, white, and blue combination. Its understated design won’t draw any stares, but it still looks good. This cartridge pen is also compatible with the Z24 converter. You can choose either a fine or extra-fine nib.
- Pilot Varsity Disposable Fountain Pens: It can be a bit worrisome to bring even a $20 pen to the office because they usually aren’t treated as something of value. Pilot tackles this problem with its cheap plastic fountain pens. You can’t refill these, but for the price, they’re perfect for office-workers or first-time fountain pen users.
- Pilot Metropolitan Collection Fountain Pen (with refills): A more expensive entry from Pilot, the Metropolitan is another well-regarded budget fountain pen. The great thing about it is it comes with a pack of ink refills. This makes it a perfect first fountain pen, or a great gift for the writer or artist in your life.
The Best Fountain Pens Between $25 to $50
After you use your budget pen for a while, you might want to step it up a bit in both build quality and presentation. If so, any of these pens would be a worthy upgrade:
- Duke Ruby Fountain Pen: If you want something more unique looking, the Duke Ruby is perfect either for yourself or to give as a gift (it even comes in a gift box with a converter included). This cartridge pen is available in four colors (black, black and gold, black and rose gold, or black and silver). It comes with a medium nib, although you can get the black and black and gold with a bent nib, which allows you to adjust the angle at which you write to control the thickness of your lines.
- TWISBI ECO Fountain Pen: The first piston-filler pen on our list, the ECO is mostly transparent, which means you can see the ink inside. The few areas of solid color give it an attractive aesthetic. It’s available in black, white, orange, blue, green, purple, red, or clear with a 1.1 mm, extra-fine, fine, medium, or broad nib.
- Scribe Sword Fountain Pen: Another good gifting option, this one even comes with instructions for people who are completely new to fountain pens. The stainless-steel look is eye-catching and gives the pen a nice weight in your hand. It has a medium nib and comes with six ink cartridges.
The Best Fountain Pens Between $50 to $100
This isn’t an extremely popular price range for fountain pens, but if you want something nice that doesn’t stray too far into the triple-digits, these are some good options:
- Retro 51 Tornado: If you start getting serious about fountain pens, this is the one many people recommend. It comes in a wide range of colors, including copper, blue, black, orange, aquamarine, purple, and pink. You can also get it in themed designs, like this one based on the P-51 Mustang WWII plane. It’s available with a 1.1 mm, extra-fine, fine, or medium nib. No matter which one you choose, you’ll get the same quality writing experience. This pen holds either two ink cartridges or a converter, and both are included with your purchase.
- Lamy Studio Fountain Pen: If you started your fountain pen journey with one of Lamy’s cheaper pens, this one is the perfect upgrade for you. It has the same nib and mechanisms of the Safari we covered earlier, but with a higher quality casing. It comes in black and silver, blue and silver, brushed steel, imperial blue, terracotta, or stainless steel. Some colors (but not all) are available with a medium, fine, or extra-fine nib.
- Kaweco Sport AL Fountain Pen: You’ll find this one feels similar to the Perkeo we covered above—it features the same octagonal design Kaweco is known for. The Sport AL, though, is more compact and perfect for sticking in your pocket. It’s available in aluminum, silver, rose gold, brass, glossy aluminum, stonewashed blue, stonewashed black, black, or grey. You can also get it with an extra-fine, fine, medium, or broad nib.
The Best Fountain Pens Between $100 to $200
When you get into this price range, you start to see some of the more premium features fountain pens can have. Most notably, you’ll see gold-tipped nibs, which provide a softer writing experience than the steel nibs you typically find on cheaper pens. These are some of our fave premium fountain pens:
- Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen: Made of black fiberglass and brushed stainless steel, this pen has a premium feel and a clean look. The nib is 14-karat gold and less-rounded than most fountain pens, which means it requires less pressure. This piston-filler pen is available in four nib options: extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad.
- Sailor Profit Fountain Pen: This classy premium cartridge pen is made of resin and has a 21-karat gold nib. It’s available with an extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, nib, as well as zoom (if you want your writing angle to determine the thickness of the lines), or music (ideal for writing musical notes). You can also get it in maroon with a fine or medium nib.
- Pelikan M200 Fountain Pen: This piston-filler pen is at the lower end of this price range. It has a resin body with 24-karat gold-plated highlights, and a steel, gold-plated, fine nib. You can get it in the black and gold or green marble design.
- Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen: An extremely popular pen, the Vanishing Point comes in a wide variety of nib types, including extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, and stub, which changes based on your writing angle. It has an 18-karat gold nib and comes with both ink cartridges and a converter. It’s also available in a ton of colors.
Fountain pens require a bit more of an investment than your standard ballpoint—and that doesn’t apply just to the price. You have to be gentle with the nibs and refill the ink. However, if you write a lot, the benefits of a good fountain pen will far outweigh its cost.