For anyone who loves to write or is a dedicated note-taker, doing better than a fountain pen is impossible. Typical ballpoint pens or other budget options are okay for those who hardly ever write, but for more dedicated pen-users, choosing a better option is necessary.
How can you become more dedicated to writing, note-taking, or journaling? The first step you should take is getting a pen that you’re excited to use. If you want to venture into the world of more expensive, esoteric pens, go for something you won’t forget to use and won’t lose in your desk drawer after a week.
What is special about the price range in fountain pens we are going to discuss today? This range enables you to venture into gold nibs and other high-quality tips. In addition, costlier (but still affordable) fountain pens are just plain beautiful! Let’s check out some of the best options available on the market today.
The Best Fountain Pen Under $200
- The LAMY 2000 Fine Black Pen
- Sailor 1911 Pen with 14K Gold Medium Point
- Parker Fountain Pen with Golden Trim
- Pelikan M200 Fine Black Fountain Pen
- Pilot Namiki Falcon Fountain Pen
Each of the fountain pens on this list was selected for its reliability, versatility, and overall quality based on user reviews. Most users know that higher-quality fountain pens mean better nibs and a smoother ink flow. Every item on this list offers both qualities. And as you will soon see, each one offers something unique.
The LAMY 2000 Fine Black Pen
For those who want an upgrade from their current steel tip fountain pen, the LAMY 2000 is a great choice. Although the pictures online look nice, the pen looks even more beautiful in person. It comes in a simple, elegant paper box that fits the pen design well and makes it a nice gift option.
“The 2000 is more than a fountain pen,” said Josh at Tools and Toys. “Sure, the Lamy 2000’s reverence came from its near perfect design, its incredibly smooth nib, and its piston filling system which is second to none.”
Users will quickly notice that this pen comes with a nice weight, offering a solid feel. When the pen is filled, it has a medium weight and is a lot more sturdy-feeling than other fountain pens. It isn’t as heavy as other high-end pens but will be an ideal fit for many users. It also comes with a gold nib, which offers a far smoother writing experience.
The exterior on this pen is great, has a feeling similar to brushed stone, and feels smooth and cool in your hand as you write. Take a closer look at the finish and you’ll be able to see the brush marks on its surface. Although the pen is definitely more satin than matte, it isn’t too shiny. It’s a unique surface and is obviously high-quality.
The metal area close to the nib is brushed, as well, and the pen itself is seamless with incredible tolerances. As you write, you won’t feel ridges and the pen is comfortable to hold for long periods of time. While other fountain pens are finicky with how you hold them, this pen is suitable and ergonomic for various grips and writing styles.
The nib is better than other brands and although the ink is wetter, it’s also very smooth. You can apply far less pressure as you write with this pen with the same result, preventing cramping or soreness during those long hours of writing at your desk. From a distance, someone may mistake this pen for just an ordinary black writing utensil. Up close, however, it offers so much character and elegance.
For those who prefer classy simplicity in their fountain pens, this option is hard to beat. There’s a reason why this style has existed in popularity for as long as it has. While the pen has a lot of style and elegance to it, it’s also basic enough to be used on a daily basis. You may even begin favoring it over your other fountain pens.
Sailor 1911 Pen with 14K Gold Point
If you favor flexible, superb nibs, the Sailor 1911 is a choice worth thinking about. This Japanese-made pen was designed by a revered master of nib-making, Mr. Nagahara. It has become a solid, trusted choice among pen enthusiasts.
“The Sailor 1911S is classic and timeless with an understated elegance,” said Best Fountain Pen. “The derby and barrel end are both black capping off a navy blue body with 14K gold trim and there are two gold rings separating the black ends from the blue body.”
The design is attractive, classy, and is made with a gold-plated clip and trim. The fountain pen is made from high-quality resin and the nib offers a new level of responsiveness and smoothness. Along with typical writing nibs, this brand offers a Music nib. This tip has created originally for composers and is similar to an italic point. It offers thick down strokes and smooth up strokes, with thin side strokes.
If you like to write in cursive, this is a solid addition to your collection. Not only does the pen write smoothly, but it’s comfortable to hold. As you may already know, fountain pens can be messier to write with than ordinary pens, so don’t shake it up.
The way a fountain pen will fit your hand depends a lot on the way it’s designed, your hand size and shape, and the way you write. But most users will find this one all-around ergonomic and satisfactory as far as comfort goes.
If you use this each day, you will likely be more consistent with your journal or taking notes because you’ll look forward to writing. The nib is a great width, the ink flow is consistent but not too wet, and the pen itself is beautiful.
This pen comes with two black cartridges and a converter, but note that the converter won’t hold a lot of ink compared to Sailor cartridges or other brands. If you enjoy converters, the pen will need refilling quite often. Sailor cartridges are unique in that they’re made from flexible plastic. This enables you to attach them, then squeeze to get the ink down more quickly. Instead of waiting for the ink to make its way down via gravity, you can begin writing faster.
Parker Fountain Pen with Golden Trim
If you want a pen that will reflect your status and personal level of sophistication, this Parker Fountain Pen will get the job done. Parker Sonnet pens are made by hand with artistry and excellence, offering smooth lettering and beautiful writing. Use it for casual notes or for making handwritten letters or invitations.
“This pen is hefty, given that it’s sterling,” said Gentleman Stationer. “I’m not sure whether it’s pure sterling silver or plated, but it looks nice and feels durable. The cap is a slip-cap, which pops on and off securely. There’s no rattling involved. The clip is still tight.”
For writers who enjoy using varying levels of pressure with a continuous flow of ink, this durable nib will stay consistent as you write. Choose between 11 different finishes for your pen, including a geometric pattern or a brushed steel body. Whatever your personal style is, there will be a design to suit you. No matter which type of ink you use with it, this pen will write incredibly each time. It also comes with a Parker converter included in your purchase.
The pen is sturdy, looks great, and best of all, works as it should. Note that it’s a bit lighter in weight than other fountain pens but equally durable. This can be either a positive or negative depending on your tastes.
Users with bigger hands may think this pen feels small, but even so, it won’t make your hand cramp up when you write. When you have the cap on top of the pen, it feels heavier which some may like or even prefer. The nib will create a line somewhere between a fine and medium stroke. This works well for both regular writing and shorthand. For the best results, try to use the pen soon after you insert the cartridge.
Pelikan M200 Fine Black Fountain Pen
Another classic option on our list, the Pelikan M200 has a familiar, timeless look to it with a polished black cap and barrel. The decorative ring is plated in 24 carat gold and the signature Pelikan look includes a see-through ink-viewing window and a beak clip.
“I enjoy the writing experience and particularly like the fact that the nibs are affordable enough to have a few different sizes on hand,” said the Penman Post, “thereby increasing the versatility of just one pen.”
The pen comes with a trustworthy piston-filling function and the nib is made from stainless steel. Choose from a variety of sizes for the nib to personalize your writing experience. This pen is comfortable to write with and feels very sturdy in your hand, offering a retro-inspired and elegant style. Older users may feel nostalgic as they use it and be reminded of their younger days.
The Pelikan M200 draws a perfect line each time, is easier to fill than other pens and comes at a great price point for the quality offered. Even if you drop it (God forbid), it will stay consistent in quality over time. The nib is smooth and doesn’t require much pressure at all to create a solid line of ink and perfect writing. If you want more control, just apply more pressure as needed.
This ink, though consistently flowing, won’t bleed through even cheap or thin paper, although special fountain pen paper is always recommended. This is what you get when you invest in a quality pen with a great nib.
Pilot Namiki Falcon Fountain Pen
For writers who love to mix up their lines with plenty of variation, you can’t do much better than the Pilot Namiki Falcon pen. The nib comes with a “soft” descriptor, making it clear to those who see your writing that you’re not using just an average ballpoint pen.
“In the hand, the Falcon is very comfortable,” said Dan at Nibsmith. “Due to its resin construction the pen remains very light, only 19 grams when capped and a feather-like 10.4 when flying capless. It’s just a bit too small and light for me in this configuration and I much preferred writing with the cap posted. It attaches very securely and sits far enough down the barrel to prevent any weird weight distribution issues.”
Pen enthusiasts would describe this product as semi-flexible because it allows consistent line widths of 1.25mm and less. If you don’t apply much pressure, the nib will create 0.4mm lines. The pen’s fine nib is pleasant and smooth to use while both flexing the nib and not flexing it. Extra fine nibs in other fountain pens are known to be scratchy, so this is a welcome change.
Although the nib is flexible and soft, it also responds very well to the pressure you choose to apply. It is far from too soft or mushy, but also doesn’t require too much effort or make your hand sore as cheaper models do. You will find that the feed on this is perfect nearly every time you use it. Paper selection does always make a difference in this area, however.
If you decide to purchase a variety of nib sizes, the flexibility won’t change. The maximum width you’ll be able to write will stay the same. If you are trying to decide on the best pen tip for flexing specifically, you’ll want the fine nib for accentuating swells as you write.
Note that as with most other fountain pens, this one requires a little time to break in and get comfortable with. Some users will even consider the nib slightly resistant initially. After some flex writing, though, it will soften gradually. This pen offers an ink flow that rarely rail-roads and is always reliable.
Proper Maintenance for Your Fountain Pen
A quality fountain pen is an investment, meaning you will want to protect it. To keep your pen lasting as long as possible, follow these guidelines:
- Using New Ink: Fresh ink is a must if you want to properly maintain your new pen. Don’t ever use bottled ink if it’s over a year old. In case you do choose to use ink that is older than a year, make sure you check it for mold before writing with it. The next step is to stir the ink to look for sediment or lumps at the bottom of the pot, which signal solidification of the liquid. Purchasing thinner types of ink means solidification is less of a risk. If you haven’t used your ink in a few weeks, shake it up before you refill your pen.
- Cleaning the Pen: If you’re using black ink in your pen, always clean it out before it has a chance to dry. If blank ink sits and dries inside of the nib, it an lead to serious damage down the road.
- Paper Guidelines: Don’t use paper that has been treated with chemicals with your fountain pen. Chemically treated stationery has a smooth, slick surface and won’t absorb ink properly. This can harm your pen because ink pools in the pen tip and can clog it up. If you use your pen on treated paper and find that it starts skipping, use a lint-free rag to wipe the nib with. If the problem persists, you may have to wash your fountain pen with clean water.
- Flying with your Pen: If you fly with your pen, you should either leave your cartridge empty or fill it up all the way so it doesn’t leak. When the plane is taking off, make sure the nib is upright. If you have to use your pen during the flight, keep it upright and take the cap off slowly. When you’re done using the pen, always put the cap back on.
- If the Nib is Dry: If your new fountain pen doesn’t immediately “start,” which may happen if you haven’t used it for two weeks or more, the ink might have dried in the feed or nib. In order to get it flowing, don’t press down with the nib. Instead, you should get the tip of the pen wet with the same color of ink or some water. If it’s still too dry to write after that, you will need to wash out the pen.
- Storing the Pen: When you put your writing tool away and know you won’t be using it for a while, wash it before you store it. Put it away vertically instead of horizontally and keep the tip pointing up so ink doesn’t clog the nib or feed.
You should also refrain from loaning your fountain pen out to friends since the nib adapts to your personal style of writing in terms of angle and pressure. Keep your bottles of ink stored out of the sun so they don’t fade. Follow each of these guidelines and you will have a long, happy relationship with the new addition to your desk.