Pen Buyer’s Gift Guide

A quick note! I recommend Goldspot Pens and Pen Chalet for all your fancy pen purchasing.

Ballpoint/Rollerball Pens

uni-ball signo DX

Before we get into the expensive pens, here are some well-priced ballpoints I recommend. My favorite right now is the Uniball Signo DX. Fun colors and a very fine point.

Sub-$10 Pens

I’m also partial to the Pigma Micron drawing pens.

Mark One


Once you’re ready to start experimenting with some pricier pens, you can go to premium rollerballs. Don’t worry – we’ll get to fountain pens soon 🙂

My favorite rollerball. It’s a well built, beautiful pen, and the knock (the click sound) is so satisfying. I’m a huge fan of all Studio Neat’s work. I love this so much I’ve got two.

Get the Mark One

Retro 51


If you’re looking for variety, check out Retro 51. They create fantastically designed rollerball pens; I have quite a few in my collection. What you choose is up to you, but you can see what they have to offer over at Pen Chalet. They do a lot of special editions too. The Tornado Poppers are fantastic.

Check out Retro 51

Both the Mark One and Retro 51 accept “Parker-style” refills, which are common in lots of pens. My favorite is the Schmidt easyFLOW 9000.

First Fountain Pens

Lots to choose from

Fountain Pens are the most fun! There’s lots of stuff to know, and lots of different styles to choose from. Here are a few good first fountain pens.

A few notes…

There are different nib sizes – and those sizes vary a little based on manufacturer. Fine and Medium are safe in most cases (including the pens I recommend above).

There are two ways to ink up fountain pens (excluding the TWSBI above): a cartridge, which is a pre-filled disposable tube, or a converter, which you can fill with any ink you’d like.

If you’re interested, check out my blog post – it includes my favorite fountain pens!

Also, Episode #400 of The Pen Addict Podcast is a great primer on all pen-related things.



The TWSBI Eco is pretty much a no-brainer as far as beginner recommendations go. It’s an affordable fountain pen and it has a piston filler, so it’s very easy to get ink into – no converter or cartridge required! Plus there are several colors, and the fabulous TWSBI nib I love so much.

Get the TWSBI Eco



Another great, affordable option is the Lamy Safari. It comes in a variety of colors too!

These pens are great because these are the fountain pens you’ll find in stores. If you want to try one, you can find a Lamy distributor, or most likely check your local Barnes and Noble.

Get the Lamy Safari

Upgrade Fountain Pen Picks

Once you’ve tried one of the earlier recommendations, you might be ready to check out some of the upgraded picks. These are generally more expensive due to better quality and materials, like an aluminum body (as opposed to plastic) or a gold nib (as opposed to steel or iridium).

Other Upgrade Fountain Pens to Consider


I’ve purchased 3 Leonardo Memento Zeros and LOVE them. Whether it’s steel or gold nib, it feels and writes great.

Get the Leonardo Momento Zero

Lamy 2000


Gosh I love this pen. It’s sub-$200 which is really good for a gold nib and it’s crafted really well. After years, it’s still in my top 3.

Get the Lamy 2000

Pelican M205


This was my first fancy pen. I love it because even though it’s a steel nib (keeping in the sub-$150 price point), it write smooth and is light weight!

Get the Pelikan M205

Pilot Vanishing Point

This is interestingbecause it’s a clicky fountain pen! Made by Pilot, it’s a recognized brand and quality. I love mine.

Get the Pilot Vanishing Point


Pocket Notebooks

Field Notes are easily my favorite.

Standard Notebook

After many years, the Leuchtturm 1917 has been dethroned by the Subtle notebook. It lays flat, is light, and well made. If you’re looking for something thinner, try the Totebook.

Looking for Variety?


Great for variety, + fountain pen-friendly paper:
Rhodia Notebooks.


I’m a big fan of WaterField Designs and their incredible bags. I picked up the Mezzo backpack last year but it looks like that’s sadly no longer for sale.

If you like messenger bags, you can’t go wrong with Timbuk2.

last updated: November 2022 | Contains affiliate links

5 Fast Fixes to Grow Your Podcast!

Wondering why your podcast growth is stagnating (or non-existent)? You likely just need to make a few small tweaks to see growth. In this free email course, we’ll go over what they are, why they work, and how you can implement them. Sign up below to have it delivered instantly.