Brian’s Top 5 Fountain Pens for Newbies

Even though it’s been 7 years since I was a complete newbie in the fountain pen world, I still remember very distinctly how incredibly overwhelming all of the options seemed. Especially if you’re shopping online, all of the different pens and their features all sort of seem to blend together and it can be paralyzing. Fountain pens are such a personal thing, and while you don’t always know what will be the ultimate perfect pen for you, it’s best to start out with a reliable writer that is a good introduction to the hobby. 
After years of experience using hundreds of different pens and talking with thousands of customers, I have compiled my personal list of what I feel are 5 of the best pens to consider for the newbie just getting into the hobby. While I didn’t use any scientific reasoning, the main criteria I used were value, reliability (especially in writing), and positive reputation. 
Here is a bullet-point style run down of my 5 favorite fountain pens for newbies:
Price: ~$15
Video Marker: (1:09)
Pilot Metropolitan
Pros:
  • Converter is included
  • Incredible value
  • Nibs write very fine, finer than other brands of the same size designation
  • Reliable writer
  • Many color choices
  • Durable
  • Nice case included, great for gifting

Cons:

  • Included converter does not show ink level
  • Limited nib options (fine and medium)
Price: ~$3.95 
Video Marker: (2:49)

Platinum Preppy
Pros:
  • Cartridge/converter is easy to use
  • Eyedropper convertible for large ink capacity
  • Affordable
  • Reliable writer
  • Cap seals great (better than many much more expensive pens)
  • Clear body shows ink level without having to open it up
Cons:
  • Proprietary Platinum cartridge/converter
  • Expensive converter, costs almost twice what the pen does
  • Plastic can break if dropped hard
  • Limited nib options (fine and medium)
  • No case/box included with pen

Price: ~$3
Video Marker: (4:58)
Pilot Varsity

Pros:

  • Great performers
  • Convenient, no need to ink up/refill
  • Easiest FP in the world to use, no knowledge required

Cons:

  • Not refillable (unless hacked)
  • Limited ink color options, prefilled
  • Only one nib size (somewhere around a medium)
  • No case/box included with pen

Price: ~$9.90
Video Marker: (6:49)
Jinhao x750

Pros:

  • Converter included
  • Standard international converter/carts, easier to find/replace
  • #6 size nib fits nibs from other brands like Goulet, Noodler’s, Edison, Monteverde
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Included converter isn’t fantastic, can be replaced with standard international
  • Heavy pen
  • Limited nib options purchased with the pen, additional nibs must be bought to swap
  • Limited color options
  • No case/box included with pen

Price: ~$29
Video Marker: (9:13)
Lamy Safari
Pros:
  • Workhorse/durable
  • Reliable
  • Ink window means you can see ink level without opening pen
  • Cartridge/converter
  • Swappable nibs, huge range of sizes (EF, F, M, B, 1.1, 1.5, 1.9)
  • Lots of fun colors

Cons:

  • Most expensive of this group
  • Converter is not included
  • Proprietary Lamy Z24 cartridge/converter
  • Triangular grip is polarizing, some love it and some hate it

While there are many other pens that I absolutely enjoy, these ones are the go-to pens that I find best to recommend as an introduction into the fountain pen world. You personally may love or hate them, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on them in the comments below. Do you have any other pens you find are great to start out with? I’d love to hear that, too. 
Write On,
Brian Goulet

2017-10-11T14:09:43+00:00 August 5th, 2014|Shopping Guides, Top 10 Lists|72 Comments
  • Guest

    My first interest in fountain pens was purely for flex nib writing, which of course led me to the Noodler’s Creaper & Ahabs. Some would argue that they’re horrible pens for “noobs” but I’ve realized that the required tinkering it has taken to work with them has immersed me in learning about fountain pens much quicker than expected. I would only recommend them to someone who is interested in flex nib writing and is somewhat handy and willing to learn.

    • Yeah, because of the price point and the versatility of these pens, they are often very appealing to newbies. But boy, do we get a lot of questions about how to use them, and honestly, they’re just not the best introduction for a BRAND new fountain pen user. It’s a bit involved.

      • guest

        so what flex nib pen would you recommend as a good starter pen… if that even exists?

        • soniasimone

          IMO, flex nibs & newbies aren’t a great mix. Unless the person has a passion to learn and tinker, in which case Noodler’s would be the right place to start.

          The other option would be to try and find a vintage flex on eBay, but there’s an even greater learning curve there.

  • VickNish

    My first interest in fountain pens was purely for flex nib writing, which of course led me to the Noodler's Creaper & Ahabs. Some would argue that they're horrible pens for "noobs" but I've realized that the required tinkering it has taken to work with them has immersed me in learning about fountain pens much quicker than expected. I would only recommend them to someone who is interested in flex nib writing and is somewhat handy and willing to learn.

  • Freddy

    I purchased both of my Metropolitans from the always reliable Goulets and their staff. I HATE the medium nib one. It skips, is a hard starter, and is not all that smooth (especially for a medium nib). However, I LOVE the fine nib one and I love it for all of the reasons the medium nib pen didn’t make it. The fine nib pen is a smooth writer, starts right up, and doesn’t skip. Also, for its price it is an exceptionally well built pen.

    Another pen, for about the price of a Safari, is the Kaweco Sport. Of the two, I lean towards the Kaweco. While both are fine choices, the Sport is a smoother writer than the Safari. Because it is a pocket pen, the Sport is easier to carry around than the Safari. In fact, the Kaweco Sport has become my everyday carry for a couple of years now.

    Unlike Brian, I would not recommend the Preppy. While certainly dirt cheap, that is pretty much the way it writes; it’s pretty scratchy and might turn off someone curious about fountain pens. I do agree with him about the seal when the cap is snapped closed. When reopened, the pen is ready to write. There don’t seem to be any hard starts, at least for me.

    Obviously, these are just my opinions and there are other pens out there that are pretty reasonably priced. Brian gives a great jumping off point to anyone just starting out. Of all the ones he mentions that I have tried (I’ve not tried the Pilot Varsity) I think a fine nib Pilot Metropolitan is the best of the ones here, and not just for newbies, either. πŸ˜‰

    • Really? That’s definitely not the way the medium Metropolitan usually is, I’ve written with a bunch of them and what you have seems to be the exception rather than the rule, I’m sorry! But your fine is right on par, that pen is fantastic. Good point about the Kaweco, that would have made my list but the cartridge-only aspect of it is what bumped it off my list. It’s also not nearly as known as the Preppy, part of why I included the Preppy on my list isn’t because it’s necessarily the absolute best writer (it’s pretty good, generally), but more because it’s a known quantity and they’re really widely discussed and known by just about everyone.

      • Freddy

        Fair points, Brian, and you would know better than I. Interestingly, though, I also purchased a medium nib Metropolitan for a friend at about the time I got mine and her reaction to it was the same as mine. I’m not sure why that was but, based on my experience with the fine nib, I’m willing to accept the fact that I may have gotten a medium that was the exception rather than the rule because the fine nib model made a believer out of me.

        • Rob

          I own three medium Pilot Metropolitan pens. I use each one with different kinds of ink/color. I mainly purchase Noodler’s inks and those with a light viscosity tend to perform better with the medium nib. My favorite ink is Noodler’s 54th Mass (somewhat thick viscosity) but it does skip especially if I haven’t used the pen in a few days. Every now and then I take the Metropolitan apart and sink it all in warm water to clean the tracks. Afterwards, it rarely skips. My 2 cents πŸ™‚

    • astra2

      I too have been disappointed in my M Metropolitan which skips all the time. For $15 I’m not going to complain much (maybe I’ll try to fix it) but I would worry that a beginner would get frustrated and give up on fountain pens if they got the one I did.

    • S. Tom

      I’ve never tried the Fine-nibbed Metro, but the Medium nib is one of the very first pens I bought from Goulet. From the very start, it wrote like a dream. Never any problems, regardless of the ink. What’s more, after owning a Pelikan, Visconti, Platinum music nib, Faber Castell and many others, the Pilot Metro is as smooth or smoother than any of them. It’s an amazing pen for the price.

  • Freddy

    I purchased both of my Metropolitans from the always reliable Goulets and their staff. I HATE the medium nib one. It skips, is a hard starter, and is not all that smooth (especially for a medium nib). However, I LOVE the fine nib one and I love it for all of the reasons the medium nib pen didn't make it. The fine nib pen is a smooth writer, starts right up, and doesn't skip. Also, for its price it is an exceptionally well built pen.

    Another pen, for about the price of a Safari, is the Kaweco Sport. Of the two, I lean towards the Kaweco. While both are fine choices, the Sport is a smoother writer than the Safari. Because it is a pocket pen, the Sport is easier to carry around than the Safari. In fact, the Kaweco Sport has become my everyday carry for a couple of years now.

    Unlike Brian, I would not recommend the Preppy. While certainly dirt cheap, that is pretty much the way it writes; it's pretty scratchy and might turn off someone curious about fountain pens. I do agree with him about the seal when the cap is snapped closed. When reopened, the pen is ready to write. There don't seem to be any hard starts, at least for me.

    Obviously, these are just my opinions and there are other pens out there that are pretty reasonably priced. Brian gives a great jumping off point to anyone just starting out. Of all the ones he mentions that I have tried (I've not tried the Pilot Varsity) I think a fine nib Pilot Metropolitan is the best of the ones here, and not just for newbies, either. πŸ˜‰

  • Esme Vos

    What about the Pilot Kakuno? I bought a Pilot Kakuno in Tokyo last year just out of curiosity (note: I already have a Pilot Namiki Falcon purchased from Goulet Pens). The Kakuno writes very smoothly and it’s really cute (with a smiley on the nib). It cost around 1100 Yen, which is about $11. The sales person told me that it’s for kids πŸ™‚ but honestly anyone starting with fountain pens will find it very easy to use.

    • VinΓ­cius Cordeiro

      I believe that Brian made the video with an Western audience in mind, since the Pilot Kakuno do not sell (officially) outside Japan.

      • Esme Vos

        You can buy the Pilot Kakuno from Jetpens.

      • It’ll be coming into the US in early 2015. I didn’t include it on my list partly because it’s not available in the US, but mainly because I don’t personally have experience with it. All of the pens I recommended I know really well and have used them extensively.

    • soniasimone

      Sounds like a fun pen, will look forward to it officially coming to the States. πŸ™‚

  • Esme Vos

    What about the Pilot Kakuno? I bought a Pilot Kakuno in Tokyo last year just out of curiosity (note: I already have a Pilot Namiki Falcon purchased from Goulet Pens). The Kakuno writes very smoothly and it's really cute (with a smiley on the nib). It cost around 1100 Yen, which is about $11. The sales person told me that it's for kids πŸ™‚ but honestly anyone starting with fountain pens will find it very easy to use.

  • Ted

    I like these choices, but I would recommend the x750 only for a large-handed person. There are other smaller inexpensive Chinese pens that are slimmer and just as good.

    • True, but I’m a big-handed guy πŸ™‚ Most of the other pens I recommended are much better suited for smaller hands, so I wanted to throw a big one in there πŸ™‚

  • Ted

    I like these choices, but I would recommend the x750 only for a large-handed person. There are other smaller inexpensive Chinese pens that are slimmer and just as good.

  • Juliana Suzuki

    I’m a total noob and your videos sure help a lot! So thanks for that =)
    In this case, I wonder if it would be cool to have a beginner set with mixed properties. Starting out a couple of weeks ago, I had a couple of random pens at home, but then I bought the Lamy because it’s such a classic. And I got a Pilot Parallel and recently ordered a Metropolitan and a Noodler’s Flex pen, you know, to try different things.

    So I was wondering if we could have a recommendation from you of a mixed set, for example: get a Lamy with medium nib, a Pilot Metropolitan with fine nib, Noodler’s Flex pen and some other pen with italic nib. How does that sound?

    Thank you for the awesome blog and shop!

    • Sounds like you just did my work for me, Juliana! That’s a pretty good mixed set right there πŸ˜‰ You could always throw a Lamy 1.1mm stub on the pen, or put a #6 Goulet 1.1mm stub on that Noodler’s Flex. Or the Pilot Parallel in the 1.5 could serve as the italic of the bunch.

      Generally what I like to recommend for newbs trying out a lot of different nib sizes is to stick with Lamy, the Safari or Al-Star. Then get a few nibs, like an EF, M, and 1.1, and swap them out to see what you like best. It’s cheaper than buying whole pens (depends on the pen, of course) and you get a good idea of the variety that’s out there.

  • Juliana Suzuki

    I'm a total noob and your videos sure help a lot! So thanks for that =)
    In this case, I wonder if it would be cool to have a beginner set with mixed properties. Starting out a couple of weeks ago, I had a couple of random pens at home, but then I bought the Lamy because it's such a classic. And I got a Pilot Parallel and recently ordered a Metropolitan and a Noodler's Flex pen, you know, to try different things.

    So I was wondering if we could have a recommendation from you of a mixed set, for example: get a Lamy with medium nib, a Pilot Metropolitan with fine nib, Noodler's Flex pen and some other pen with italic nib. How does that sound?

    Thank you for the awesome blog and shop!

  • VinΓ­cius Cordeiro

    I believe that Brian made the video with an Western audience in mind, since the Pilot Kakuno do not sell (officially) outside Japan.

  • Esme Vos

    You can buy the Pilot Kakuno from Jetpens.

  • Yeah, because of the price point and the versatility of these pens, they are often very appealing to newbies. But boy, do we get a lot of questions about how to use them, and honestly, they're just not the best introduction for a BRAND new fountain pen user. It's a bit involved.

  • Really? That's definitely not the way the medium Metropolitan usually is, I've written with a bunch of them and what you have seems to be the exception rather than the rule, I'm sorry! But your fine is right on par, that pen is fantastic. Good point about the Kaweco, that would have made my list but the cartridge-only aspect of it is what bumped it off my list. It's also not nearly as known as the Preppy, part of why I included the Preppy on my list isn't because it's necessarily the absolute best writer (it's pretty good, generally), but more because it's a known quantity and they're really widely discussed and known by just about everyone.

  • It'll be coming into the US in early 2015. I didn't include it on my list partly because it's not available in the US, but mainly because I don't personally have experience with it. All of the pens I recommended I know really well and have used them extensively.

  • True, but I'm a big-handed guy πŸ™‚ Most of the other pens I recommended are much better suited for smaller hands, so I wanted to throw a big one in there πŸ™‚

  • Sounds like you just did my work for me, Juliana! That's a pretty good mixed set right there πŸ˜‰ You could always throw a Lamy 1.1mm stub on the pen, or put a #6 Goulet 1.1mm stub on that Noodler's Flex. Or the Pilot Parallel in the 1.5 could serve as the italic of the bunch.

  • Freddy

    Fair points, Brian, and you would know better than I. Interestingly, though, I also purchased a medium nib Metropolitan for a friend at about the time I got mine and her reaction to it was the same as mine. I'm not sure why that was but, based on my experience with the fine nib, I'm willing to accept the fact that I may have gotten a medium that was the exception rather than the rule because the fine nib model made a believer out of me.

  • Linda Dunn

    Whenever I see the cartridge vs. converter ($) or no converter, I always wonder why the syringe option isn’t mentioned. For about $5 I got two ink syringes (from you!) that put me in the category of never having to worry about converters again — I just flush an empty cartridge, fill with the ink of my choice, and go on about my writing business. A syringe is the TRUE universal, and a good investment for any newbie to make!

    • Tom Johnson

      Me too Linda! Good point. Some cartridges hold more ink than their converters (Pilot) and I refill the cartridge quickly and easily with my Goulet syringe. Plus, I can suck up the last bit of ink in the bottle or vial.

      • ncwclark

        I found that to be the case with my Lamy Vista. I bought the converter but prefer refilling the cartridge with syringe. Holds way more ink.

  • Linda Dunn

    Whenever I see the cartridge vs. converter ($) or no converter, I always wonder why the syringe option isn't mentioned. For about $5 I got two ink syringes (from you!) that put me in the category of never having to worry about converters again — I just flush an empty cartridge, fill with the ink of my choice, and go on about my writing business. A syringe is the TRUE universal, and a good investment for any newbie to make!

  • Tom Johnson

    Me too Linda! Good point. Some cartridges hold more ink than their converters (Pilot) and I refill the cartridge quickly and easily with my Goulet syringe. Plus, I can suck up the last bit of ink in the bottle or vial.

  • astra2

    I too have been disappointed in my M Metropolitan which skips all the time. For $15 I'm not going to complain much (maybe I'll try to fix it) but I would worry that a beginner would get frustrated and give up on fountain pens if they got the one I did.

  • Rob

    I own three medium Pilot Metropolitan pens. I use each one with different kinds of ink/color. I mainly purchase Noodler's inks and those with a light viscosity tend to perform better with the medium nib. My favorite ink is Noodler's 54th Mass (somewhat thick viscosity) but it does skip especially if I haven't used the pen in a few days. Every now and then I take the Metropolitan apart and sink it all in warm water to clean the tracks. Afterwards, it rarely skips. My 2 cents πŸ™‚

  • ncwclark

    I found that to be the case with my Lamy Vista. I bought the converter but prefer refilling the cartridge with syringe. Holds way more ink.

  • Brooks

    One trick, if you are not already using it, is to cut a piece of blotting paper the size of the notebook sheet. Then, when you finished writing on the page, slip the blotting paper sheet in between the wet page and the previous dry page. As you close the book, the blotting paper will keep the ink from smearing.

    If you can't find blotting paper, Kleenex, a paper towel, or construction paper will sort of work (though not as well as J Herbin blotting paper, in my experience).
    Hope this helps.

  • Thanks for the trick! I'll try to find and use one.

  • ann

    http://blog.andersonpens.net/delta-unica-sneak-peek/#more-3694 Will you guys be carrying this pen? Looks to be a pretty good deal for the price. A new entry level Delta for $76. Same nib as the Serena, but the pen looks nicer, in my opinion (especially the blue one!)

    • Alex at Goulet Pens

      No plans as of right now, but definitely something we can check out, Ann! Thanks for pointing it out β€” it is a lovely pen.

  • ann

    http://blog.andersonpens.net/delta-unica-sneak-peek/#more-3694 Will you guys be carrying this pen? Looks to be a pretty good deal for the price. A new entry level Delta for $76. Same nib as the Serena, but the pen looks nicer, in my opinion (especially the blue one!)

  • Drew Walker

    I think you may have missed the mark a bit with this one. Usually, your suggestions are spot on, but this time, the wrong direction may have been taken.

    The only two pens I’d recommend here for beginners are the Lamy Safari and the Pilot Metropolitan an mayyyybe the Varsity.

    What I mean is, when I was new to fountain pens, I wanted something that I could put my own bottled ink in, and that I could use for a long time. I never considered the Varsity, because a disposable fountain pen was something that just didn’t make sense to me. I thought of fountain pens as superior writing instruments meant to stand the test of time, not to be thrown away like a Bic-Stik. I also never thought about the Preppy because the term Eyedropper had to context for me, or any other non-FP users. Sure, I knew what it meant, and that it greatly increases ink capacity, but never having used a cartridge/converter pen yet, I had no idea how long a normal fill lasted in the first place.

    I wanted something reliable and easy, that was going to last me a long time, not the crackable Preppy or the Toss-able Varsity. I also wouldn’t recommend the Jinhao, simply because I think a new user would mess up the pen. The Jinhao steel nibs are so soft, a newbie might interpret it as the ‘Flex’ they’ve been reading about and then spring the nib or make it otherwise worthless, turning them off of fountain pens forever, since this one broke so easily. Same thing goes with the Preppy. It cracks and leaks ink all over an important item, and they get turned off of fountain pens.

    My recommendations instead would be the Metropolitan, the Safari/AL-Star/Vista, Sheaffer 100, TWSBI 580 (This one is pushing the price, I know), and the Platinum Balance. They appeal to what I think the average newbie is looking for in fountain pens.

    • Freddy

      The Sheaffer 100 is a wonderful pen and I think it would be great for newbies. Unfortunately, its price has gone up sharply over the last few years. I paid $26.00 for mine and they now go for $45.00.

    • soniasimone

      Different strokes — I think the Varsity & Preppy are both great to find out if you even enjoy the FP experience before you sink $$ into a pen. Not everyone likes the feeling of writing with a FP, or the joy of inky fingers …

      The Safari is the one I always recommend, but it’s a lot of money for a pen if you’re used to the disposables.

      • Ruth Morrisson

        I’m in the minority. I tried someone’s Safari and did not like the grip. That should have been mentioned in the video as one of the downsides to them. I know some people really like the triangular grip, but I don’t think I could get used to it.

        My favorite pen to suggest to new fountain pen users is the Parker Vector. Not sure that they’re still being made, but they’re pretty cheap on Ebay (under $20 in many cases). I know that some people look down on them as “school pens” — but I’ve also heard that said about Safaris! Mine are, for the most part, little workhorses. They come in a bunch of different colors (mine happen to be all UK made, but the French-made ones have some really cool colors). I have six (mostly fines and mediums, but also one that someone turned into a stub italic nibbed pen). Plus, I got a FP/BP “set” [well, they were the same *color*, anyway… πŸ™ ] for my husband’s niece as a graduation present last year, since she was valedictorian of her class.

        Downside is that they are slim pens if you have big hands, and that they take proprietary Parker cartridges or converters.

  • Drew Walker

    I think you may have missed the mark a bit with this one. Usually, your suggestions are spot on, but this time, the wrong direction may have been taken.

    The only two pens I'd recommend here for beginners are the Lamy Safari and the Pilot Metropolitan an mayyyybe the Varsity.

    What I mean is, when I was new to fountain pens, I wanted something that I could put my own bottled ink in, and that I could use for a long time. I never considered the Varsity, because a disposable fountain pen was something that just didn't make sense to me. I thought of fountain pens as superior writing instruments meant to stand the test of time, not to be thrown away like a Bic-Stik. I also never thought about the Preppy because the term Eyedropper had to context for me, or any other non-FP users. Sure, I knew what it meant, and that it greatly increases ink capacity, but never having used a cartridge/converter pen yet, I had no idea how long a normal fill lasted in the first place.

    I wanted something reliable and easy, that was going to last me a long time, not the crackable Preppy or the Toss-able Varsity. I also wouldn't recommend the Jinhao, simply because I think a new user would mess up the pen. The Jinhao steel nibs are so soft, a newbie might interpret it as the 'Flex' they've been reading about and then spring the nib or make it otherwise worthless, turning them off of fountain pens forever, since this one broke so easily. Same thing goes with the Preppy. It cracks and leaks ink all over an important item, and they get turned off of fountain pens.

    My recommendations instead would be the Metropolitan, the Safari/AL-Star/Vista, Sheaffer 100, TWSBI 580 (This one is pushing the price, I know), and the Platinum Balance. They appeal to what I think the average newbie is looking for in fountain pens.

  • Henry

    How about Brian’s Top 5 Fountain Pens for “Expert Users”? Select at least one soft, hard and flex nib pens.

    • Alex at Goulet Pens

      Great idea, Henry! I’ll definitely pass that along to him. I like the idea of doing top 5 for every level of FP user.

  • Henry

    How about Brian's Top 5 Fountain Pens for "Expert Users"? Select at least one soft, hard and flex nib pens.

  • guest

    so what flex nib pen would you recommend as a good starter pen… if that even exists?

  • soniasimone

    The Metro was not an awesome pen for me, possibly my dry climate (I’m in Colorado) makes it more prone to skip? Or I might just have a non-awesome one.

    The Safari, OTOH, is dead reliable. I have a whole cup of them for bright inks. I have a few really nice pens (apparently I have a little Nakaya problem) that I use every day, but I still use my Safaris every day as well.

    • Alex at Goulet Pens

      That’s interesting about your Metro! Have you tried a bunch of different inks with it? If not, maybe try giving it a good cleaning and trying out a different brand of ink to see how it behaves. If still poorly, email us and let us know! We’ll get you squared away.

      Glad you love the Safari πŸ™‚ It is a super reliable pen and great for day in and day out!

    • Christina Cortright

      Wow. I’ve had the exact opposite experience in Florida. My metros are dependable, my safaris are hit and miss hard starters. I prefer the safaris because of the color variety, but have given up on them because of the inconsistencies.

      • Lydia At Goulet Pens

        I’m glad to hear there’s a pen that works for you though, Christina. What ink are you using in your Safaris? I find wetter inks, like Robert Oster, Diamine, or De Atramentis, work much better for me in my Safaris and Al-stars.

        • Christina Cortright

          I see. I was primarily using them to work through my considerable ink drop collection. I was pairing the ink to the pen color (so that I would have a rainbow selection) at all times.

  • garbones

    I have all of these except the Lamy Safari, they are all great pens, it’s funny but my favorite is the preppy. I also have some others including a Lamy 2000 – which are also very nice. I love having a selection and enjoy changing them up – but I always have a preppy with me.

  • Lisa Millraney

    lol! I just got into fountains like 2 weeks ago, and without ever having seen this post til just now, I have over the past 2 weeks procured every one of these pens. (except the Pilot Metro and it is in my cart over there right now) (points to cart) πŸ˜€

  • Kane Gruber

    Now, see here one minute! I’ve been into fountain pens for a few years now and I have to say: these are fantastic pens for FP veterans too! Wonderful coincidence is I own one or more of each of these on the list!

    My wife and I have both come to rely on the Metro as our everyday pens, and I’m quite a big fan of the Safari (EF, if you’d please). You don’t need to be new to this game to realize almost nothing beats these pens, both in price and quality. I’ve never used a $100+ pen that had any real advantages over the Safari or Metro.

    But maybe that’s me. Just wanted to say a word or two in defense of us *experienced* folks who prefer these pens. πŸ™‚

    • Christina Cortright

      I agree! The majority of my collection is made of these pens. It let’s me have several inked a a time.

  • Nikko

    I bought the Lamy Safari and the Pilot Metropolitan. I love the pilot (serious love), but since the day it came out of the box, the lamy skips and hard starts regularly. i actually really don’t like writing with it because it is so inconsistant. Is that normal? if it’s abnormal, what should I do to fix it? I have only had the two pens about a month.

  • Tracy Brainard

    I was recommended this blog/video by Susan in customer service because I wanted to find a good pen, ink and paper combo for my granddaughters birthday Saturday. I had originally inquired about this because my granddaughter is turning 8 years old. She has always shown an interest in my pens and with her learning cursive in school I wanted to get her her very own pen. But after reading your blog and watching the video, I’m still at a loss as to which pen would be recommended for its durability for an 8 year old girl. She knows how to take care of things, so I know she wouldn’t be rough with it, but she is still only 8.
    Any personal ideas, suggestions or recommendations would be extremely helpful!!

    • Christina Cortright

      I would recommend the pilot varsity. Not expensive, prefilled and ready to go right out of the box.

  • Patrick McCord

    the Nemosine Singularity is the best entry level pen. Bar none. It’s got a tight design, wet nibs that write every time, beautifully balanced in the hand, and it’s eyedropper capable.
    For honest comparision, set aside the disposables—which are both really good but disposable pens. Set aside the Jinhao, which is clunky as hell and of uneven quality. Too clunky to be a good starter. The $15-25 price point seems to mark the place to start to think about a “good” daily use, keeper, kind of pen. Once upon a time, Pilot had a decent pen in the Metro, and Lamy had the Safari. Back then, both offered a lot of pen for the $.
    But now the Singularity is so much better, I don’t think it’s in the same conversation. It’s a really sophisticated writing instrument, in several ways better than the Safari or the Pilot (of which I am still fond).
    Compared to the Singularity:
    The Metro feels heavy and strangely balanced at best, and it posts horribly. For my hand, it’s too short to use unposted, but posted, the cap always falls off, onto the floor, under my chair, etc. Pilot makes great nibs, but selection is limited and the best nib doesn’t change the balance; and for what it’s worth, the Metro can’t be an eyedropper.
    The Safari, posts securely but then, it’s very long, slightly back balanced. I can write unposted, but then the pen is so light and the nib is so damn stiff, it’s not as much fun as a springy-er, slightly wetter nib of the Singularity.

    The Singularity is a substantial, well balanced, tightly posted, eye-dropper convertible, pen that writes wonderfully writing pen. It has nifty stub sizes available and it’s assembled in the USA. I got my first one a couple months ago and a couple nibs, and it’s very impressive. I’m going to get another so I can keep a couple nibs inked up all the time.

    I’ve favored Pilots for years (10 or so pens including the Namiki Falcon, Metro, a couple of Preras, some 78Gs), and I have a couple Safaris and several nibs. I keep reaching for the Singularity.

    • Bruce Leeds

      Interesting! I have never heard of this pen but it looks good. I may try it. Thank you.

  • Mark S

    An option I would have included is the Platinum Plaisir. Its the as the Preppy but with an Aluminum body like the Pilot Metropolitan. Since the price point between these two pens is so close I’m surprised the Plaisir isn’t giving the Metropolitan stiffer competition.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Very good point, Mark. That is definitely a pen worth including.

  • Bruce Leeds

    See my list of favorite pens here: https://bestpenblog.wordpress.com/