Are you thinking of picking up a fountain pen after having admired them for so long, but not sure about which pen to get? No worries, we're here to help you out. Here are some of the best fountain pens for beginners of all ages.
While our selection is geared towards first-timers, the pens are great for experienced writers alike. To qualify on this list, the pens must be functional, relatively inexpensive, and easy to use and clean for a beginner.
The Pilot Metropolitan is no stranger to lists of this kind. Introduced years ago by Pilot Japan, it is still one of the best options on the market for beginners and fountain pen enthusiasts, offering a durable metal barrel with vibrant colour options. They write nicely straight out of the box with a complimentary ink cartridge.
For only $28, they also come with a pump, which can be used as a converter and a pen cleaning pump. This is a great value for anyone who wants to fill the pen with their favourite ink.
The pen is packaged in a presentation box. Nibs are available in F (fine), M (medium), and CM (calligraphy medium ~1.0 mm, only in some models).
2. TWSBI ECO
TWSBI is a pen manufacturer in Taiwan. They are known for their piston-filled fountain pens, boasting a huge ink capacity and clear acrylic pen bodies.
Their ECO model is a more economical model derived from their classic Diamond 580. It is a fantastic choice, and definitely worth every dollar, if you don't mind spending a little bit more. Even though it is made of acrylic, the pen is solid and of good quality. Be careful not to screw the pen cap back on too tightly, or it may crack.
The ECO nib is smooth and pleasant straight out of the box, which makes it even better as a first pen.
All TWSBI pens come in a pen case, with an instruction sheet and a set of tools to disassemble the pen for cleaning or maintenance.
The Platinum Preppy is another popular beginner pen choice. While it is not as solid as the Metropolitan, it is suitable for anyone who wants to try out a fountain pen before committing to something nicer and better. It has a lightweight clear plastic body that shows the inner workings of the pen.
At a price of $5.50, it is difficult to find a better choice than the Preppy. The downside is that it does not come with a converter, and the Platinum converter runs at about $11 each, which is quite hard to justify for a pen half its price. For this reason, and the fact that the pen body does not have holes, many choose this pen for eyedropper conversion (here's a guide to show you how).
Preppys are available in both F (fine) and M (medium) nib, with a variety of ink colours that match with the colour of the pen cap.
The Kaweco Sport fountain pens are some of the most compact pens available. They are tiny enough to fit into your pocket for daily carry, and come in a wide selection of colours and body materials (plastic, brass, steel, aluminum, etc.).
Both the Classic and Skyline models have a plastic body and a steel nib. The only difference between the two models is the accent colour. The Classic Sport has a gold-coloured nib with matching gold Kaweco branding on the pen body, and the Skyline Sport has a chrome nib with silver branding. The two models come in a different set of colour choices, with the Skyline featuring colours that are a bit more muted.
5. Pilot Kakuno
Pilot's Kakuno is a fun pen for kids and fountain pen beginners. Each nib has a smiley face that faces the writer when their pen is positioned correctly for writing.
The pen is made of plastic, and they come in 2 barrel colours (black and white), as well as a range of pen cap colours. There is also a demonstrator version that is completely transparent.
Since it is a Japanese pen model, they write a bit finer than the European pens. The medium and fine nibs are comparable to the Metropolitan, but extra fine is very very fine (~0.3 mm). As the nib size goes down, the feedback on paper also increases quite significantly.
Kaweco introduced the Perkeo as their introductory fountain pen model. The pen features Kaweco's signature octagonal design in the pen cap, and the pen barrel is hexadecagon-shaped. The grip section features an ergonomic design that helps with finger positioning, which is especially helpful for new users.
The Perkeo model is bigger than Kaweco's Sport series pens in size, but they are sturdy and practical. They are available in 7 colour options, and in both F and M nibs.