The most popular video we’ve ever made here at Goulet Pens has been the ‘Top 5 Fountain Pens for Newbies‘ that focuses on entry-level pens. Once you’re into the fountain pen hobby you realize that there’s another level, gold nib pens. These pens start around $140 and go up from there, so I wanted to give you my personal favorites that are entry-level price (under $200) with 14k or 18k gold nibs.

Why gold nibs? The gold is a softer metal than stainless steel, and will act sort of like a shock absorber when you’re writing. It will typically make for a smoother writing experience. These pens I’m about to mention are the ones I think are the best value, to give you the best writing experience, most unique features, and best introduction into gold nib pens.

Pilot Custom 74

  • I personally just really love the way this pen writes, it was my first gold nib pen
  • Several fun demo color options
  • Attractive design, nothing over-the-top
  • Takes the larger Pilot Con-70 converter with slightly higher ink capacity
  • Fantastic nibs
  • Not attractive to everyone
  • Ink does get in the grip that’s hard to remove
  • $160

Lamy 2000

  • Classic design, 50 years old now
  • Hooded nib stays wet for a long time
  • Very durable
  • Piston filled
  • Snap cap
  • It does have a sweet spot that takes getting used to
  • $159.20


Pilot Vanishing Point/Decimo

  • Not only affordable, but has a retractable nib!
  • Very convenient to use
  • Nice range of nibs (including a quality stub)
  • Tons of color options
  • VP is fatter/heavier, Decimo is lighter/slimmer but take the same nibs
  • Nibs are swappable
  • Not a huge ink capacity
  • The clip on the grip end wigs out some people (but most get used to it)
  • $148


Pilot Falcon

  • Classic design
  • Very unique soft nib
  • Popular among drawers, calligraphers, or anyone wanting line variation
  • Can be used as an “everyday” pen without flexing
  • Reliable and very light in the hand
  • Nib can be overdone though, so you have to be realistic about what it can do
  • Not everyone likes the softness as much as they might think
  • $152


Platinum 3776

  • Classically designed pen
  • Several beautiful color options
  • Slip-n-Seal cap which seals up amazingly well
  • Nibs are stiff and toothy, which feel really different than all these others (some may like this)
  • Different trim choices, which affect price
  • Converters aren’t included, which is odd and at $8 need to be factored in
  • $150-200


Honorable Mention: Pilot E95s

  • Many of us here on the Goulet team LOVE this pen
  • Smaller, great for a pocket pen
  • Not advertised as soft, but the nibs feel pretty darn soft
  • Inlaid nib, throwback design
  • Not everyone’s into it, but it’s worth putting on your radar because it’s a great pen
  • $136


Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE pens with steel nibs, and it’s not to say you HAVE to buy a gold nib pen to have a great writing experience. Now you’re a little more aware of some of my favorites, and I hope you can feel more confident when you’re ready to take that step.

Be sure to check out detailed specs on all these pens and more at, and leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below.

Write On,
Brian Goulet