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


Top 5 Blue Pens to Cure the Blues

Blue, Blue & More Blue

Looking over all the new pens that have been launched by the greatest pen-makers like Pelikan, Pilot, Conklin and more, we've noticed a great deal of blue this year. Without further adieu, let's check out all the awesome blue pens that are currently available :

Pilot Vanishing Point Matte Blue Fountain Pen (View)
2016's latest line extension of the ever-popular Pilot Vanishing Point ("Capless" if you're outside of the US) retractable fountain pen. This royal blue is finished with a satin feel and stealth black trims. A black plated 18kt gold nib is installed to complement the furniture and clip.

Conklin All American Lapis Blue (View)
We were so stunned by the vibrant, marbled blue of the Conklin All American that we had to do a video overview on this pen to capture its gorgeous color.

Pelikan M205 Blue Transparent (View)
A re-issue of the same style that had been a hit success back in 2011 with a slightly updated finial top. Not much changes with these Pelikans, and that's a good thing! If you're a fan of high-performing demonstrators and the color blue, this one is a must have for your collection.

Pelikan M805 Vibrant Blue (View)
This special edition for Pelikan does not disappoint. The barrel and cap are made from a translucent, marbled blue acrylic that is a marvel to behold and feel in hand. Check out our video review, which has been lovingly called "pen porn," here.

OMAS Arte Italiana Vintage 556F (View)
While this isn't a new pen, we recently got our hands on the very last of this classically designed OMAS pen because we fell in love with the simplicity and the richness of the resin color. The navy blue is paired with either gold trim or platinum-plated trim. The demure and subtle quality of this combination is not to be overlooked.

To match these wonderfully blue pens, we'd recommend the following inks and notebooks :

Mont Blanc Leo Tolstoy Sky Blue Ink (View)
A limited edition ink, this Leo Tolstoy is one of our best sellers in Mont Blanc fountain pen inks.

Rhodiarama Webnotebooks (View)
The high quality paper in the Rhodia webnotebooks can handle most fountain pen inks and nibs. The sturdy hard cover and elastic band ensure your writings and sketches stay protected in your daily travels. The Rhodiarama collection has a color cover to match every personality, with several shades of blue to match your blue pens & inks.


The Write Stuff Clairefontaine Notebook Giveaway

So, we've got this little newsletter we do once a week called "The Write Stuff." This week, we're writing up issue #52, which means we've done this for about a year now. A giveaway is in order!

At over 29,000 active subscribers and growing, we're eager to hit that 30k milestone. In case you haven't heard of us, or have been reluctant to get YET ANOTHER E-MAIL from a online retail company, please allow me to tell you why the Write Stuff is better than your typical, sales-driven e-mail list.

It's full of photos of awesome, beautiful, writing gear. 

Hey, we get it! You've got to eat and pay the mortgage like anyone else. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy the aesthetic beauty of these wonderful, new pens and inks we have to offer. Our newsletter has plenty of gorgeous pictures for you to oogle and put on your wish list for later.

It keeps you informed of the best pen content on the internet.

We love sharing posts from your favorite pen bloggers like Brad Dowdy from the Penaddict.com, Azizah from Gourmetpens.com, Matt from Penhabit.com and SBRE Brown. We share links to pen reviews, ink reviews and other fun articles that will inspire and delight.

It gets you the best bang for your pen buck.

Every week, we try to have a new promotion where we are adding value to your order by including a complimentary pen, ink or notebook. We run our Weekly Dip specials that change every Thursday that you can take advantage of at an additional discount. We also run special sales where you can save additional $'s off your next order. How will you know about any of these specials? By signing up, of course!

It only happens once a week, for a few minutes.

Think of all the times you have to listen or watch the same ad over and over again. On any given day I'm listening to at least 20 minutes of ads on Spotify, watching 8 minutes of ads on a 30-minute television program, or scanning through ads on the Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feed. All we ask for is a quick 2 minutes each week for you to look through our newsletter. That's it! The only time you can expect a few extra e-mails is during a special, holiday promotion or during Christmastime.

It's an exclusive list that never gets spammy

Look, we get a ton of e-mail, everyday. There are some e-mails that you look forward to opening, and others that you are eager to find the "unsubscribe" button. We treat your attention like it is ours and would only want to send you premium content that you enjoy looking at each week. Goldspot will never rent or sell your e-mail address to ANYONE! We respect the trust you have put in us to provide us with your e-mail address and would never compromise it for a quick buck.

So, if you're looking to join for FREE and enter our giveaway, please submit your entry below. You also have the option to tweet about this giveaway to spread the word (and earn an additional entry in the giveaway).

This week, we're giving away these Clairefontaine Classic pocket notebooks (3.5" x 5.5" size) that contain a 96 pages of fountain pen-loving ruled paper. We'll pick 10 winners to get 2 notebooks a piece. Giveaway closes Tuesday, June 21st at 11am. Good luck and have fun!

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