Sep 1, 20175051 views

Community Picks: Best Fountain Pens Under $100

⚠️ UPDATE: View the results in the follow-up discussion here:
View the official poll results here:
At Massdrop, we're driven by what the community thinks is best.
In Writing, one of the most popular product categories is fountain pens. So we want to create a discussion, and then a poll, specifically about what the community thinks are the very Best Fountain Pens Under $100.
HOW IT WORKS Now: Discuss what you think is the Best Fountain Pen Under $100 below. Wednesday, September 6th: We’ll create a poll with the top 10-20 products. Wednesday, September 13th: We’ll announce the pens with the highest votes.
NOMINATE THE BEST FOUNTAIN PEN In the discussion below, tell us what YOU think the best fountain pen under $100 is and your reason why. We can have it on our site already, or it could be something that you’ve always wanted to see on Massdrop. We’ll gather all the nominations (and endorsements/likes) from the discussion and then we’ll be able to officially vote on the best ones.
COMMUNITY POLL On Wednesday, September 6th, we’ll create a poll with the top 10-20 suggestions and nominations from the discussion so we can get the final vote on what the community thinks are the best fountain pens. When the poll closes, we’ll highlight the top 5 fountain pens in a follow-up talk post.

Join the discussion and tell us what YOU think the
Best Fountain Pen Under $100 is and why.

Shao, MikeMD, and 14 others

It’s about the nib! Both my TWSBI mini and eco and my first pen a Keweco Sport! If you can find one under $100 get a Sailor or Pilot. My Keweco was $25!
a sheaffer targa or parker 51/75 in great condition would be a really nice choice. But since here is the massdrop I guess that doesnt count. For the pens still producting, I would recommend pilot vanishing point if you are using it for meeting/ noting.

If you like a more classic looking pen or do not like the clip on vanishing point, pilot 91/74 are also decent choices. The soft nib for them is really good, not too soft, but enough to provide a unique feedback.


The reason both of my recommendation are Pilot is that there are really no reason to choose any pen other than a japanese pen at this price point. And the Pilot has the most durable point material around all the well known fountain pen companies. And one of the best quality control.
Pilot Metropolitan, and anything by Parker
TWSBI ECO! Fantastic pen for the price no other piston is even close to that low of a price point or quality.
I have many of the pens others have mentioned and they are all fine writing instruments. But a good portion of what makes a pen 'magical' is how it fits in ones hand. It's a personal thing I suppose. For my hand, The Churchman's Prescriptor by Italix writes as if it were part of my hand, as if it were a sixth finger. I have a very relaxed grip centered at approximately one and a half inches from the tip of the nib. The Churchman's Prescriptor has a unique feature which is the gold-plated metal band that functions as a stop for the screw-on cap. For me, it also functions as part of the grip: my two fingers lie below the ring and I place my thumb above it. It is hard to explain, but this provides me with much more control over pen. The pen itself is already well balanced in my hand when not posted and with this unique grip I am able to glide an extra-fine nib over the page as smoothly as I can write with my medium point Montblanc. I have Twsbi's and Pelikans with extra-fine nibs which are polished just as smoothly as the one J P Ford ground for my Churchman's Prescriptor, but a major difference is how the pen that holds the nib lends itself to be held in my hand. Now if the feed of The Churchman's Prescriptor were not up to the task then what I've been describing probably would not be possible. But in short, the expertly ground nib, the balance and profile of the pen and the superb flow characteristics of the feed and nib section all work together to provide for a transcendent writing experience that literally amazes me every I put pen to paper.
Namisu Orion Titanium. Utterly gorgeous.
Once in a while Pilot Custom Heritage 92's go on sale and dip below the $100 mark. It's smooth nib doesn't need tinkering with out of the box. For a gold nibbed piston filler, it's hard to find anything comparable at this price point. Alternatively, there's the Pilot 74--with their soft nibs, there's just enough line variation to make handwriting interesting without having to plunder the wallet to upgrade to a falcon/elabo.
Kind of surprised neither of these pens show up on the poll.
Any Kaweco Sport (White, Alu, Brass, Cognac)
pilot 74 f or m
a lot of random postings on personal favorites - I have most of them but there's a need for
1. set of FP and rollerball that both use cartridges or converters with fountain pen ink Monteverde RB ink rollers are sensitive to inks and will squeak with the wrong ink Kaweco ink roller (RB using fountain pen ink) are great but discontinued Herbin RB using FP ink are only available in the US with plastic demos - consider higher end pens from Herbin that are not plastic demos. maybe try Rosetta's RB pen
2. flex fountain pens. but not noodlers.
3. complete set of FP inks from a good suppler - include specials, one-offs, etc. Maybe a Massdrop special blue-black that's bulletproof.
sorry, 100 bucks just won't cut it. FPs are like wines, you're going to be willing to shell more for ones as your taste goes up. I'm not a wine drinker though, :)
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Thanks for your input. It didn't seem to me that ordering/returning was an attractive moral choice and I'm glad to know it's not standard practice. So it's a bit of a treasure hunt. I'll keep an open list and try various shops as I travel. Thanks.
i'm a newbie myself, too. I read online reviews and follow some popular youtube channels. I have bought all my pens without testing them in store. Gotta buy/try some pens before you can figure out your preference. My advice is just not to buy too many pens of the same tier
I recently purchased a MonteVerde Impressa. I still haven't decided how I feel about it. But, overall it has left a good impression. But, for value, you can't beat a 10$ Pilot Metropolitan.
Depends on what you count as value. For me, Metros just aren't interesting pens--their designs are too try-hard, there's nothing special about the materials used in the pen's construction, and the writing experience, while reliable, is okay at best. The only things I found them to be useful for is loaning out to folks in my office and hitting small reset buttons on electronics.
I recently bought a Marlen ONE - £50. Not for the larger hand, unless you post it, but a very smooth nib (mine was a fine - "European" but not as broad as a Pelikan or Visconti). Looks good and feels well made. Also holds a decent amout of ink. One of my present favourites.
I'd vote for the Kaweco line and the newish Caran d'Ache 849 fountain pen.
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Like mrcub said, Caran d'Ache run on the wide side (no pun intended). Very similar to Pelikan nibs.
Think this will be my next acquisition ... after I check out the little list you posted befor
Wouldn't the point of Massdrop be to recommend slightly more expensive pens to then be available under 100$? My recommendation would be the Pelikan M215. I'd like to see the M400 series, as it is actually a 150ish € pen on our side of the pond, but I currently can't see that happening in the US
For around the $us100 mark you get into the bottom end of the serious range of japanese pens from platinum pilot and sailor. The 3776, custom 92 or medium size sailoprs [their various naming schemes drive me bonkers but here they're 1911m's] are a major step up in writing quality over twsbi lamy metropolitan and the like [all of which I own and enjoy for what they are]
I have a sailor pen which I am quite keen on.
For value? The TWSBI Diamond 580al and Pilot Metropolitan are cream of the crop.
The TWSBI ECO is fantastic too
I really like the Kaweco models.
TWSBI Eco, TWSBI Diamon 580 AL, Lamy Studio, Faber Castell Loom
Kaweco Sport- any model, Lamy Studio and Safari
I just have to plug two more: the VenVstas 78 and CarbonT. Both are bellow the $100 mark, available in linear or 2D carbon fiber and in fiberglass (for the 78) also. I can think of no other pens under $100 I'd rather see make their debut on Massdrop.
78 Linear Carbon Fiber
78 2D Glossy Carbon Fiber
78 Fiberglass
CarbonT Linear Carbon Fiber

CarbonT 2D Glossy Carbon Fiber
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You should see the pricier ones. lol
WOW. The avant-garde and v.a.c. are bloody brilliant looking. Sigh.
Monteverde, Conklin Durograph, Faber Castell Loom, Laban Platinum. This is not in any order.
Older Sheaffer Preludes--'90s and a bit later-- used are another good option. They are well made pens that have interchangeable nibs. They originally sold for under $100 and you can get a good used one for relatively cheap. They take the old school Sheaffer cartridges, still available, or a converter. With fountain pens, a well made one that hasn't been abused will last over 100 years. There a lot of WWI era pens on the used market that would work well as everyday writers.
The tiny KAWECO pens are very well made. They used to sell for as little as $6 but are still a good deal in the $20 range. You can now get a variety of screw on replacement nibs for them too.
Used pens: If you like a fine point and can replace a pen sac there are a lot of fun Sheaffer and other lever fill pens around from the '60s and before for well under $100, some as low as $10. A lever fill is the best and easiest first pen repair project. You can get gold nibs and other features you have to pay a lot for in a new pen. Most all of them will need a new sac but replacement isn't a big deal. You need a sac, some shellac or (some purists frown on it) clear nail polish, a pair of scissors, and some powdered graphite or talc. Getting the pen apart may take a little work. You might have to heat it with a hair dryer because some people use shellac on the threads. You have to clean the place where the old sac was attached, trim the new one to match, and stick it on with a light coat of your adhesive. Dust the sac with your powdered lube and put the pen back together. There are lots of web sites with very clear directions, e. g.
TWSBI is good across the whole line and has excellent customer service. I've had good luck with Monteverde. YAFA owns both Monteverde and Conklin. Pilot's less expensive pens are well made and write well out of the box. I've never tried a Nemosine pen but I've used a Nemosine italic nib as a replacement in a Levenger pen and found it excellent.
DIY way: Buy a Jin Hao, Baoer, or other Chinese made pen that takes a #6 nib and std international cartridges. Replace the nib with a Jowo or Bock from a vendor like Goulet. If you want to spend a little extra, add a better converter. Pen $15 or less. Nib $15. Converter under $10.
I've actually had great experiences with cheaper Jinhao nibs but have had issues with the bodies. I was thinking of doing the opposite: switching the nibs onto heftier bodies.
Conklin Duragraph, consistent writer with nice build quality and resins.