As I’ve been sharing some of my fountain pens on Instagram and here on the blog, I’ve received some messages asking for recommendations for affordable fountain pens for fountain-pen-beginners or for those who don’t want to spend a lot on a pen. When I bought my first “real” fountain pen a few years ago with my birthday money, several people warned me that I had just opened a door into a whole new (addictive) world. Several fountain pens later and I see they are right. I’ve said before that I’m not into designer shoes and purses, but give me a pair of crocks and nice writing/art supplies and I’m set.
When I was in a fountain pen shop in Paris a couple of years ago, buying a 1920s fountain pen as a souvenir, an older gentleman was buying a young woman a €900 fountain pen. Wendy, who was translating for me, leaned over and told me with wide eyes what was happening. The scenario looked like a grandfather buying his granddaughter, who perhaps just graduated from high school or college, a gift. Maybe that wasn’t the situation at all, but that was our best guest.
At that time, I was buying a pen that was about €100 and that seemed like a huge splurge for me on a pen. They were in a whole other league. But, as I’ve learned more about the world of fountain pens, I’ve come to appreciate that a beautiful pen is like a piece of jewelry. There is artistry, craftsmanship, and high-quality materials (like exotic woods, sterling silver, platinum, and gold) behind that price tag.
But, I get it. When you are first testing the fountain pen waters, you need something to try that’s a step above a cheap pack of ballpoint pens but isn’t quite into the hundreds of dollars. I have some great affordable fountain pen options for you that range from under $5.00 up to about $85. Fountain pens make great gifts, so I thought I’d share while everyone is trying to get their shopping done.
Here is the round-up of pens I gathered for you. There are a few different brands represented and they are all great pens. I tried a few others that didn’t make the cut because they leaked, the nibs clogged easily, or were too fiddly to take apart and put back together.
(As a disclosure, I am a brand ambassador for Luxury Brands of America, which distributes Platinum and Benu pens. I have also partnered with Kaweco after purchasing and loving some of their pens. They sent me the Kaweco Student and I bought the other two. This post is not a part of any paid sponsorship, though, and all opinions are honest and my own.)
I know…that black pen is messing with my blue, white, silver & gold theme going on!
Here’s a video showing this affordable fountain pen round-up, so you can see them in action…
And here are links and prices for all of the fountain pens I share along with some great fountain pen stores that sell these brands and more.
This is one of the best-selling fountain pens in the world and I can understand why. At around $5.00, it is super affordable and it works and writes great. If you just want an everyday fountain pen or a very affordable place to start, the Preppy will be perfect for you.
Just like the Preppy, you pop a cartridge in the Prefounte and it’s good to go. It writes well and has a look that’s a little sleeker than the Preppy. It’s another great beginner or everyday fountain pen.
I love this little pen! It has great look, it’s light-weight, and it is very easy to use. I have a few Kaweco fountain pens and I haven’t had any problems with them being fussy. This comes in a lot of colors and even in brass (which I’ll show later in this post.)
I have a few Lamy pens and they are also a nice option for beginners. I have found they dry out a little easier than the Platinums and Kawecos, so I have to clean and fiddle with them a bit more often. This pen also comes in lots of colors and has a more modern look. Just a note about fountain pens that are a bit more fiddly…that’s not necessarily a bad thing when they are at a lower price point. It’s important to learn how to take apart a pen and clean it with confidence before you invest in one that’s more expensive.
We’re jumping up into pens that are made of nicer materials and are a bit heavier in weight. I think the next few pens are great gifts to give to writers and artists. They are nice, but not hundreds of dollars nice! The Kaweco Student is a classic and pretty pen that also comes in different colors. I love the blue and white one, of course.
I think this pen is very comparable to the Kaweco Student in materials, weight, and aesthetics. It really comes down to preference, I think! You’ll see in the video that this one writes very thin, which I like.
This fountain pen performs very similarly to the Kaweco sport, but it’s made of unvarnished brass. It is heavier for that reason and it will develop a patina over time. It can be polished if you want to keep it looking new, though. I love the weight and feel of this pen. It’s a good one if you’re a “tactile person.” If you are one, you know just what I mean. If you don’t get it, then you likely don’t fall in that category.
This one is such a fun little pen and the sparkles are over the top! They remind me of German glass glitter. This one writes like a dream, is a great small size and, as you can see, it’s not a stuffy, traditional fountain pen. You’ll know if this is the right fountain pen for yourself or someone on your Christmas list. The pen starts at $85 and the price varies depending on the design.
I hope this gives you some idea if you or someone on your list is interested in fountain pens for writing or sketching.
You can buy fountain pens from several online shops, but here are some that are reputable and have great service as well as great resources for cleaning, care, and troubleshooting.
- Atlas Stationers (use code Mustardseed15 for 15% off)
- Pen Chalet
- Fountain Pen Hospital
- Goulet pens (use code Mustardseed15 for 15% Noodlers Ink & Platinum Pens)
- Choosing Keeping
Any other fountain pen-lovers out there? What are your favorite brands and models? Any questions about fountain pens?