Top 5 Beginner Fountain Pens (and Top 3 for the Risk-takers!)

So, you want to try out a fountain pen, or two...

The single most common question we get from intrigued fountain pen newbies is "which is the best, first fountain pen?" -- and this post should help narrow that down for you. 

As you venture into the fountain pen world, you'll soon notice that much of the appeal of these pens is how personal they can be; my idea of a perfect pen might have a fine nib and a moderate weight, while yours might have a medium nib and be as light as a feather. The point is, with fountain pens, there are many options, and within each pen, you'll find even more options.

The following are 5 of our best recommendations for your first fountain pen, including features, specifications, and thoughts on each pen. I suggest purchasing finer nibs if you are used to writing with 0.5 - 0.7 mm tips, as the transition may be easier. If you're feeling risky and want to try flex writing or calligraphy, scroll down to find three additional pens that are sure to bring excitement to your writing.

For Normal Writing:

1. Pilot Metropolitan

  • Cost: $14.95
  • Nib Sizes: fine, medium
  • Grip: round
  • Overall Weight: 26g
  • Filling Method: proprietary Pilot cartridge and con-20 converter included
  • Durability: metal, very durable (unlike thin plastic which may crack under large amounts of pressure)
  • Colors: comes in many colors, including classic, animal and retro pop styles.

The Pilot Metropolitan has quickly become the top recommendation for newbies. It’s a great value, smooth-writing fine nib, round grip, average weight, and strong durability makes the pen suited for the majority of new users. Two thing to look out for: 1) Pilot nibs are proprietary, meaning only Pilot cartridges and converters will fit into Pilot pens and 2) you can’t see the ink level in the con-20 converter, so you won’t know exactly when you are out of ink until the pen stops writing. If this bothers you, Pilot offers the transparent con-50 converter as a substitute.

  • Cost: $29.95
  • Nib Sizes: EF, F, M, B, 1.1mm, 1.5mm, 1.9mm
  • Grip: triangular
  • Overall Weight: 17g
  • Filling Method: proprietary Lamy cartridge included. LZ24 Converter sold separately.
  • Durability: made of extremely durable ABS plastic
  • Colors: comes in many colors (can upgrade to Al-Star)
  • Ink window

The Lamy Safari is long considered a staple in the fountain pen world. It is a great value, with a nib known for being smooth, but with feedback (not glossy smooth, but enough to let you know the nib is touching the paper). The barrel of the Safari is made of ABS plastic, the material used to make the famous Lego toys, which can withstand large amounts of pressure -- making the Safari extremely durable. Many beginners choose this pen because later on, you can try out one of the many other nib sizes (ranging from EF to 1.9mm), which is always fun.

3. Kaweco Sport

  • Cost: $25.00
  • Nib Sizes: F, M, B (also, EF, BB, 1.5 mm, 1.9 mm, 2.3 mm)
  • Grip: round, good for all people
  • Overall Weight: 10g
  • Filling Method: standard international cartridges, can buy separate Kaweco Sport squeeze converter
  • Durability: durable plastic, perfect for pocket, workhorse
  • Colors: comes in many colors (can upgrade to AL, etc.)

4. Nemosine Singularity

  • Cost: $19.95
  • Nib Sizes: EF, F, M, B, 0.6mm, 0.8mm
  • Grip: normal, round, good for all people
  • Overall Weight: 17g
  • Filling Method: standard international cartridges and converters (comes with)
  • Durability: strong plastic, should withstand pressure
  • Colors: comes in many colors, including clear/blue/purple tinted demonstrators
  • Demonstrator looks cool, can see ink

5. Platinum Preppy

  • Cost: $3.95 - 4.95
  • Nib Sizes: EF (02) highly recommend for people who like very thin lines, F (03)
  • Grip: normal, round
  • Overall Weight: 13g
  • Filling Method: platinum cartridge (or buy separate converter but costs more than pen), eyedropper (but beware of cracking)
  • Durability: can crack if dropped hard or stepped on
  • Colors: 7 different colors, can come in pack too

Top 3 Beginner Pens for Risk Takers

  • Cost: $20 for most, $40 for acrylic materials
  • Nib: Fine/Medium Flex (can buy replacement nibs, some flex and some not)
  • Overall Weight: 13g
  • Filling Method: piston filler (recommended over the ahab for this reason)
  • Durability: relatively durable plastic
  • Colors: many
  • For the tinkerer, and for those interested in flex nibs (beginners)

  • Cost: $10, $26.95 for all four
  • Nib Sizes: 1.5mm, 2.4mm, 3.8mm, 6.0mm
  • Overall Weight: 10g
  • Filling Method: pilot cartridge (con-50 converter can be used, sold separately)
  • Durability: relatively durable plastic
  • Colors: four colors, corresponding with nib
  • For those interested in calligraphy, must get used to nib to use it well, can do color gradient, check out @seblester

  • Cost: $27.95 - 35.95 (for AL)
  • Nib Sizes: 1.5mm (fine), 1.5mm (medium), 1.9mm (broad)
  • Grip: triangular (not suitable for people without “normal grip”)
  • Overall Weight: 17g
  • Filling Method: comes with cartridge, but must buy separate converter (can see ink level), proprietary to Lamy
  • Durability: made of extremely durable ABS plastic (what legos are made of)
  • Colors: three colors


  1. I'm relatively new to fountain pens, been using them about a year. I, like many others, followed recommendations like these to get started. I have two Pilot Metropolitans and like them both. They're solid writers for me and I don't mind throwing them in my bag. On the other hand, I have three Lamy's - a Safari (broad - previously a fine), an Al-Star (medium), and a Vista (medium). I rarely use them and simply don't find them enjoyable. Can't say why, but I almost never ink them up. For the same pricepoint, I prefer the Platinum Plaisir or Pilot Prera, or my even less expensive little Pilot Kakuno. I don't have a Kaweco Sport, but have been wanting to try one.

    Thanks for the tip about the Nemosine Singularity and the Noodler's Konrad. They've both been on my would-like-to-try list for quite a while, but I haven't pulled the trigger. This list has given me just the nudge I need.

    Appreciate you taking the time to put your thoughts online.

  2. I have been using fountain pens for a few years now, and I agree with you on preferences. I own several Pilot Metropolitans in the M nib (which is like an American F point) and I like them very much. They are all nice writers. My Lamys, however, do not get as much use. I even changed a couple of them out to 1.1 mm stub nibs, because I love writing with stubs. However, my Lamys just don't give me quite the pleasure I get from other fountain pens. They're just not as smooth or something.

    I do recommend you try Kaweco Sport; they are fun little pens. Rather than fussing with converters or cartridges (because I love using a wide variety of bottled inks), I have converted mine to eyedroppers. Find some clear silicone grease (available on fountain pen websites) and fill the barrel of the pen with ink. Then, while holding the barrel up (so you don't spill the ink!), put a little of the silicone grease on the threads and then join the barrel with the section. Wife off the excess from the outside and *lo and behold!* you can see the ink sloshing around inside the Sport (if you got a demonstrator, which most of mine are), and you can always tell how much ink you have left. Just be careful not to get grease on your nib; it won't write with grease on it, and you'll have a big mess.

    Other than being careful with the silicone grease, turning pens that are suitable into eyedroppers is fun and practical, plus it lets you use bottled ink on some pens that would otherwise only take cartridges. This practice just requires that you check your pens once in a while to make sure everything is screwed together properly so you don't have leaks or any other problems.

    Have fun with your fountain pens!