It’s the battle of the $20 pens in this THREE-WAY pen battle! In the world of fountain pens, there are a lot of great options for under $30. The Pilot Metropolitan and LAMY Safari are staples to most pen collections, but we wanted to find some underrated options! Lydia, Jen, and Colin will share their thoughts on three offerings (Diplomat Magnum, TWSBI GO, and Nemosine Singularity) and explain why each pen deserves top billing. Then, you get to cast the final vote in our poll to decide which fountain pen you like best!
Hi, everyone, Lydia here! I get the pleasure of reminding you why the Diplomat Magnum is the best option in this group. First of all, let me start by saying that the JoWo nib on this pen is by far one of my favorites I have ever used. Although it is not a #6 size, it has a feeling similar to that of our Goulet Nibs, so buttery smooth with an ever-so-slight hint of feedback. Plus, it’s one of the pens we offer on our site with a Broad nib! The ergonomic grip is comfortable and not so polarizing as some on other pens we offer. The facets on the grip guide your fingers to a comfortable grip but are not intrusive. It is truly appropriate for writers of all ages. This pen also includes a converter so it is ready to write right out of the box.
Although the color offerings are not the brightest we offer, I believe between the Blue, Red, Grey, and Black, there is an option for everyone. They are fun yet reserved. The matte finish on the resin is so appealing to me and makes the Magnum an understated and elegant pen. It is postable as well, so you can keep track of that cap while writing! It is lightweight, with a total weight of just 12 grams. This is a great pen for the office, a backpack, or just to carry around or journal. You can find the Diplomat Magnum at GouletPens.com for $20. Let’s recap why it’s so great:
- Comfortable, slightly molded ergonomic grip
- Offered in a Broad nib size, as well as fine and medium
- Four color options
- Converter included
When you first look at this pen, your eyes are drawn to the massive spring you can see through the transparent body. The unusual mechanics might not be the most attractive, but they make filling a snap. I unscrewed the body, stuck the pen nib-first into a bottle of Diamine Red Dragon, pressed the button, and released. The result? A pen fully filled in mere seconds with 1.61ml of ink. With the TWSBI GO you don’t have to fiddle with twisting little knobs or messy syringes that you’ll have to clean later. It fills completely with just the push of a finger.
Once the pen is inked, the writing experience is lovely. It’s wet and smooth, so the nib easily glides over the paper. I used a 1.1mm stub which gave my handwriting some line variation, which I love. However, if you’re more interested in a thinner line, it’s also available in extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad. As someone with a non-traditional grip, grip sections can be a complete dealbreaker for me. The TWSBI GO grip section was a happy surprise. It has small facets, but they don’t try to force my fingers into weird contortions like some structured grip sections do. The pen was light and felt natural in my hand. The TWSBI GO is $18.99, making it not only the most affordable pen in this battle but the most affordable TWSBI fountain pen available.
- The filling mechanism is quick, clean, and way too much fun.
- A smooth nib.
- It’s available in a lot of nib sizes, including 1.1mm stub, extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad.
- The grip section feels comfortable, even for unusual grips.
Colin here, Community Coordinator for Twitter and Youtube, ready to push the Nemosine Singularity to the top of your wishlist! When looking for a beginner pen, nib/color options and ink capacity are the top of my priority list. The Singularity checks all of those boxes for me.
Let’s start with ink capacity. Yes, the included (another win!) converter leaves a bit to be desired in terms of ink capacity, this is the only pen in this battle that can be eyedropper converted! Push aside the converter, grab your silicone grease and get ready for a whole new look. The ink capacity jumps to an astonishing 4.07ml by doing this, enough for 2 whole ink samples. If you opt for a demonstrator look, the sight of ink sloshing around is truly wonderful.
Next, let’s talk about options on the Singularity! It’s one of very few pens that features a ‘thin’ stub nib options. 0.6mm and 0.8mm offering a hint of line variation but also a smooth writing experience. The 0.8mm in particular is by far my favorite nib currently available! The Singularity also fits all #6 nibs so feel free to swap on a Goulet nib or the unique Re-Entry nib from Nemosine (featured in our 11 Great Looking Fountain Pen Nibs video). There’s also 8 color options to choose from which includes striking marbled or flecked looks to the always popular demonstrator options.
To summarize why the Nemosine Singularity is worth a look:
- Standard International Converter included
- Eyedropper capable for over 4ml of ink capacity
- Thin stub nib options
- Swappable #6 nib
- Lots of color options
The Nemosine Singularity can be yours for $19.99 or $24.99 depending on the model color. Don’t hesitate giving this fountain pen a try!
Now it’s your turn to weigh in! Do you prefer the Diplomat Magnum, TWSBI GO, or the Nemosine Singularity?
Leave us a comment as well letting us know the why behind your choice! Is there another under-$30 pen you gravitate towards? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Lydia, Jen, & Colin