a few favorite affordable fountain pens

by | Nov 28, 2021 | a slice of life, art supplies, Favorite Things | 24 comments

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.

a few favorite affordable fountain pens | under $5 - $85 | miss mustard seed

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.)

a few favorite affordable fountain pens | under $5 - $85 | miss mustard seed

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.

platinum preppy | $5.00

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.

a few favorite affordable fountain pens | under $5 - $85 | miss mustard seed

platinum prefounte | $11

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.

a few favorite affordable fountain pens | under $5 - $85 | miss mustard seed

Kaweco Sport fountain pen | $20-25

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.)

a few favorite affordable fountain pens | under $5 - $85 | miss mustard seed

Lamy Safari | $25

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.

a few favorite affordable fountain pens | under $5 - $85 | miss mustard seed

Kaweco Student | $60-70

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.

a few favorite affordable fountain pens | under $5 - $85 | miss mustard seed

Platinum Procyon | $60

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.

a few favorite affordable fountain pens | under $5 - $85 | miss mustard seed

Kaweco Brass Sport | $80-90

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.

a few favorite affordable fountain pens | under $5 - $85 | miss mustard seed

Benu Minima | $85 – $120

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.

a few favorite affordable fountain pens | under $5 - $85 | miss mustard seed

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.

Any other fountain pen-lovers out there?  What are your favorite brands and models?  Any questions about fountain pens?

24 Comments

  1. Irene Kelly

    Just love your collection of fountain pens. My first fountain pen was a Waterman then a Mont Blanc. And my first ballpoint pen was a Cross which I have many of and used in my sales business when you wrote orders by hand no computers 50 plus us ago. I love writing in long hand and I have been told I have beautiful penmanship but so many young people cannot even read it which is so so sad. So love the fact you are highlighting even using pens. In the last six or so years I’ve taken many calligraphy classes but do not practice as much as I would like.

    Reply
  2. Deb

    I loved this information about the pens. I used to work with a guy who was very much in to fountain pens but his were always well over $100. When we were in grade school we had to use cartridge pens but could only use blue or black ink.
    Well my best friend decided she needed a bit more choices so she found peacock blue cartridges and used that color which was so much prettier than the plain old blue. We have been out of grade school many years but if you went to her house you would find all kinds of gel pens, felt pens etc. I am getting both of us one of these pens along with 8 colors of cartridges. Won’t she be surprised when she opens her present. Thanks for the great information.

    Reply
  3. Betsy

    Thank you so much for this posting. Your writing about pens in the past had me remembering using a fountain pen in grade school. I loved the feel of the pens, something no ballpoint could match. I want my daughter to experience the joy of using a fountain pen and your reviews have been a big help in what direction to go. Bless you!

    Reply
  4. Terrie

    Marian, maybe I was just in the mood … but this was one of your more fun posts to read and research further!

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Oh, I’m so glad!

      Reply
  5. Mar

    You’ve sent me down the fountain pen rabbit hole, I bought myself one in 2014 with an ef nib and just never took to it. I’m researching either a medium or a broad nib to try next. I may have to buy a whole new pen!

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      All of these pens came with a cartridge, but you can order extra ones in blue or black and you can order a converter for several of these so you can fill them with your preferred fountain pen ink. I have two different sizes of cartridges and I have been able to mix brands when the cartridge is the same size. I hope that helps! As far as which pen you might prefer, it really is a preference. I would start with the one you feel most drawn to and then figure out what you like and might want in your next pen.

      Reply
  6. Terry A.

    I didn’t know I needed a fountain pen, but maybe I do! Do the pens come with the ink cartridges, or do you have to buy them separately? Are there differences to be aware of, or are they pretty standard?

    Reply
  7. Mary

    Years ago I bought my husband a silver Montblanc pen for Christmas. He has used it thru thick and thin, and even had a daughter bite it when she was teething. I have never written with it, however. You see, he is right handed and I am left handed. The nib would be messed up if I were to use it. Same thing with scissors…a left handed person cannot use a right handed pair of scissors/shears because the angle is slightly different and it will not cut! These instruments are actually very personal and should be used solely by the owner. Lovely pens in your post.

    Reply
  8. Scribe_Samples

    My son helped me down the fountain pen rabbit hole two years ago. I am still learning so all of mine were less than $100. Someday…I will pick that pen which will be the heirloom to pass down. Hope others choose to join this wonderful world of pens.

    Reply
  9. Nancy

    Today our church bulletin cover had artwork by a 3rd grader. It was a picture of a crucifix with scripture superimposed over it written in cursive! Cute childish cursive!!!
    I was so surprised to see that since I have run into so many young adults that can’t read cursive, I had no idea anyone was still teaching this form of writing.

    I have a really old Parker and a Mont Blanc, I used to love them. And recently got a Preppy which has reignited my desire to use them all. Try brown ink, it’s beautiful.

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Yes! I do have some brown ink and I love it as well.

      Reply
  10. Brandy

    I have long loved and used fountain pens. My favorites have always been Parker pens. I like the slim size in my hands.

    Can you tell me where to purchase the slim dip pen to the left of the glitter fountain pen in the last photo? That is just the right size for my hands and I love it! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      The slim silver dip pen is an antique and it’s a beauty! Get in touch with Julia of @ponderandpurchase on Instagram and ask if she can find one for you. I bought it from her and she’s a great personal shopper. She finds things at good prices.

      Reply
      • Mary

        I’ve used an old Schaeffer that uses cartridges (easy to find even pre-internet) that was my parents. One works well, the other never did. I love them as both have passed away now. I have some old, old well used fountain pens of theirs too but they require filling and I have never had good luck with that. Lots of mess and very little ink in the pen.

        Reply
  11. Lynn Pritchard

    Back in the elementary school days, we always had an assortment of blotters on hand!

    Reply
  12. Barbara Poland

    I recently handed down to our 33 year old son my father’s fountain pen that he brought with him when he immigrated from Germany in 1956. Because of his Opa’s pen, our son has really become interested in fountain pens. I think I will give him a copy of the list you put together of places selling pens along with some money and he can make his own purchase. Thank you so much for this helpful information.

    A very Merry Christmas to the entire Parsons family!

    Reply
  13. Richard Turner

    I’ve come back to cartridge pens in myold age . Nothing over $120. How difficult would a pen which requires ink to refill be to use effectively and relatively simply?

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      My favorite pens are ones that are filled with ink through the nib either with a pump or some other mechanism. I don’t think they are more difficult to use, but it really comes down to preference.

      Reply
  14. Mike

    IN the last few years I have become a fountain pen “whore”. I have purchased pens from $5 to $130 which is a lot of money for me. I can sit for hours and clean and tinker with them. I would have been a good watch maker. I have about 25 pens in my collection from a Schaefer to Pilot vanishing point, two of those. Once a year the pen fair comes to Denver and I always buy something. The pen cases are cheap and plentiful. When will this stop, good question.

    Reply
  15. bri

    Wow this is really too good about the favorite affordable fountain pens thanks sharing this article

    Reply
  16. Kathie Tower

    Could I get a little help on the start of my fountain pen? I watched your video showing each one. I have the Preppy platinum and you said to just pop the cartridge in. My popping doesn’t seem to pop. More pressure needed? The cartridge is loose in the pen. Is it the ball side that pops in? I don’t want to break it even though I bought the least expensive one.

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, Kathie, you push the ink cartridge in and the ball pushes into the cartridge. It sounds like you just need to use a little bit more force to pop that ball through.

      Reply
      • Kathie Tower

        Thank you so much! I got it to work and it is so much fun. I appreciate you and your style.

        Reply

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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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