The best fountain pen

Writing Supplies

Nib size isn’t universal: An extra-fine nib on a German fountain pen may only be fine on a Japanese fountain pen, and so on. Research the manufacturer and read reviews closely before purchasing.

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Which fountain pen is best?

In an age of keyboards and touch screens, there are many people who still value the timeless simplicity, elegance and performance of a high-quality fountain pen. 

Unlike a ballpoint pen, fountain pens have a metal nib and a built-in reservoir that allow ink to flow smoothly onto the writing surface. If you’re looking for a stylish, classic writing utensil that’s built to last for years, the PILOT Vanishing Point Pen is the top choice.

What to know before you buy a fountain pen

Nibs

The sharp point that puts ink to paper, the nib is usually made of stainless steel and rounded to deliver uniform lines. Nibs come in extra-fine, fine, medium and broad sizes, enabling you to choose a nib that best suits your writing style. 

Parts of a fountain pen

The piece that supplies ink to the nib is called the feed. The ink itself is held in a reservoir, which can be found in the form of a cartridge or a converter. Cartridges are containers of ready-to-use ink that can be simply swapped out once an old one runs dry, while converters are used to refill the ink by hand. 

For more detailed information about the components of a fountain pen, check out the complete fountain pen buying guide from BestReviews.

What to look for in a quality fountain pen

Weight

The ideal fountain pen should feel agile but substantial. While heavy fountain pens are commonly considered more luxurious, the most important thing is to choose one that feels natural in your hand while writing. 

Grip

The grip of your fountain pen should feel ergonomic and comfortable. Some writers prefer a textured surface for better handling, while others may want a grip that’s completely smooth. 

Style

Like a wristwatch, a fountain pen can be a finely crafted and elegant accessory that lets you present your unique style to the world. Choose a color and design that fits your personality and makes you feel confident when writing by hand.  

Case

Some fountain pens come in high-quality cases made of premium leather or wood. This is a nice touch if you’re purchasing the pen as a gift or you plan to use it only for special occasions. 

Additional fountain pen tips

  • If you plan to bring your fountain pen on a flight, ensure that the ink reservoir is either completely full or completely empty. This will prevent ink leaks caused by the plane’s pressurized cabin. 
  • Unlike ballpoint pens, the ink used by fountain pens can take a bit of time to dry. Give the ink a moment to settle before turning over your paper.
  • If your fountain pen’s tip feels scratchy or dry, place a drop of water on the nib to rehydrate it. 
  • Fountain pens are very personalized and professionally crafted to last for years. Before you purchase a fountain pen, experiment with some of the pens you already own and figure out which weights and styles you like best. 

 

How much you can expect to spend on a fountain pen

The cost of a fountain pen can vary dramatically depending on the quality and materials used. A solid beginner’s pen can be purchased for around $10-$20, while most midrange pens will cost between $50-$300.

Fountain pen FAQ

How do I clean my fountain pen?

A. Fountain pens can clog easily and should be cleaned every couple of months, depending on usage. Simply disassemble the pen, setting aside the cartridge or converter, and rinse each part under cold water. To completely flush the ink reservoir, force water through one end until it’s clear.  

Can left-handed people use fountain pens?

A. While there is a slightly increased risk of ink smudging, left-handed people can use modern fountain pens the same way they use other writing utensils. 

What’s the best fountain pen to buy?

Top fountain pen

PILOT Vanishing Point

PILOT Vanishing Point

What you need to know: This elegant, premium writing utensil is built to last for a lifetime. 

What you’ll love: This high-quality fountain pen features a retractable, 18-karat gold nib, rhodium accents and a large frame. The pen comes packaged in an elegant gift box that includes a pre-filled blue ink cartridge and a converter.

What you should consider: Some users may prefer a traditional cap over the retractable nib. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Top fountain pen for the money

Kaweco Classic Sport Fountain Pen

Kaweco Classic Sport Fountain Pen

What you need to know: This pen is affordable and durable, making it ideal for beginners. 

What you’ll love: This stylish pen features a black frame with a gold-painted stainless steel and iridium nib. The lightweight design means it’s perfect for pocketing and carrying with you throughout the day. The pen comes with one pre-filled blue ink cartridge. 

What you should consider: This fountain pen might feel too light for some experienced writers. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Honorable mention

Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen Set

Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen Set

What you need to know: This fountain pen set comes with seven different colors of ink. 

What you’ll love: This is a cost-effective set of lightweight, comfortable fountain pens in seven bold colors. The ink flows smoothly, and there are two replacement cartridges per ink color. This set is a great gift for kids interested in fountain pens.

What you should consider: Some users report that the lightweight plastic frame can break easily.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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