Pen Buyer’s Gift Guide
A quick note! I recommend Goldspot Pens and Pen Chalet for all your fancy pen purchasing.
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.
I’m also partial to the Pigma Micron drawing pens.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here are my favorite inks
- Robert Oster Dragon’s Night
- Robert Oster African Gold
- Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-gaki (Orange)
- Sailor Mayno Akebi (Purple/Pink)
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
- Platinum 3776
- Kaweco AL Sport
- Sailor pens are my favorite if you want to go HAM.
I’ve purchased 3 Leonardo Memento Zeros and LOVE them. Whether it’s steel or gold nib, it feels and writes great.
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.
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!
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.
Field Notes are easily my favorite.
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:
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
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