As a Community Coordinator here at The Goulet Pen Company, I often get asked, "I want to buy a fountain pen, which one should I get?" I definitely understand the difficulty that shopping online presents when trying to find the right fountain pen for you. You can’t hold it or write with it beforehand, so we want to do our best to help you throughout the process.
Writing with a fountain pen is different than writing with anything else. It’s truly an enhanced writing experience. It takes commitment to maintain and ink your pens, but you get so much in return. You have a new hobby to explore, an avenue to improve your handwriting, and the daily reminder that writing down your thoughts is powerful. Since there is so much to love about fountain pens, it can feel daunting to try and find a pen that meets all of your criteria. To help make it easier, my team and I put together this helpful guide to help you purchase your first (or next!) fountain pen.
1. Identify your must-have list
It’s important to realize that you might not be able to find everything you are looking for in one pen. That's why it's easy for so many of us to end up with an entire collection! (After all, you can't have too many pens, right?) You might be looking for a daily carry pen -- a versatile writing instrument you can take anywhere, anytime -- a flex pen or a less expensive pen that you can lend to friends. Our website, GouletPens.com, has a comprehensive search function that will help you filter products based on your must-have list. You will find all of these listed on the left hand side of our website. Here are several factors to consider as you make your list...
- Body Color
- Body Material
- Cap Type
- Compatible Inks
- Filling Mechanism
- Nib Material
- Nib Sizes Offered
- Overall Weight and Diameter
- Trim Color
- Grip Section
- Writing Experience (Smooth, scratchy, offers feedback)
- Where You’ll Use It -- work, home, school, etc.
We have awesome customers who write incredibly detailed reviews. Each individual product page has reviews written by our customers, and we now have close to 50,000 in total! Take advantage of these to learn what others have discovered while using a specific pen. We also have a section of questions asked by our customers and then answered by our team. Take a look at trends in the reviews -- as opposed to taking a single one at face value -- and don’t be afraid to ask us questions! There are other great resources on our website that will help make your online shopping experience a bit easier.
Did you know about the Pen Plaza or the Nib Nook? The Pen Plaza is a feature on our site that allows you to view and compare the size and shape of all our pens. The Nib Nook allows you to do the same with writing samples of all of the nib sizes we currently carry. Seeing two writing samples or two pens side by side, really can help you make your final decision.
3. Remember that your friend’s favorite pen might not end up being yours
Writing with a fountain pen is a unique experience for everyone which can leave a lot up to your personal preference. How you like to hold your pen, the amount of pressure you apply while writing or the speed at which you write all vary. For example, you might love the grip on the Lamy Safari but your friend might find the shape of the grip difficult to write with. You might find the clip on the Pilot Vanishing Point to be the feature of your favorite pen, but your friend might find it distracting.
We reached out to Tom Johnson, a fountain pen enthusiast and frequent commenter on this blog. He's been using fountain pens for 50 years and has experience trying different brands, nib sizes and models of fountain pens. Tom shared what attracted him initially to all of the fountain pens he now owns, and these qualities range from the design to the price. But he also learned that what first drew him to a pen might not be the reason he ultimately loved or loathed it. It just goes to show that you might find yourself pleasantly surprised with a pen you weren’t sure about.
Tom shared about one of his most recent purchase experiences when deciding to get the Pilot Metropolitan. He says, "Rather than cleaning out a pen and changing ink I decided to see if everyone is right about the Pilot Metropolitan, and ordered one with a F nib." He goes on to say, "Everything positive about these pens proved true in the one I got. Writes very well, nicely wet and smooth."
A big thank you to Tom for sharing his experiences with us. What things do you take into consideration before getting a new fountain pen? Let me know in the comments below.