Beginner Fountain Pens: Part I

The choice for a beginner fountain pen is particularly difficult because a pen can leave a lasting impression.  By beginner, I mean either someone who has not used a fountain pen before or someone who is eager to try out a new nib. If I have shared my impression on the pen previously in this blog, click on the title of the pen to see a full post.  Here are some of the fountain pens I have tried and gifted, and hopefully it will be helpful!

1.  Platinum Preppy


Price range:  $2.95-$3.95
Do not be fool by its unassuming appearance, Preppy is one of the easiest fountain pens for anyone who has never used one before.  In fact, I have somehow converted some friends to fountain pen with it.  It writes as smooth as a medium nib, but it delivers a fine and precise line.  It is not selective on ink, even with Noodler’s Bay State Blue.  It can be taken apart easily (without plyers and drills), so it makes cleaning an easy task.  Here is another reason why I recommend this pen, it can either be used with a cartridge (for those who do not want ink-stained fingers), or it can be converted into an eye-dropped pen. Here is one known issue for this pen is that it cracks easily, even without using brutal force or dropping it. Because the nib unit can be easily taken out, if you fall head over heels for this pen, try out its more durable sister, Platinum Plaisir.


2.  Pilot Petit1


Price range:  $3.75-$3.85
Looking for a “toss-around” fountain pen?  Pilot Petit1 might be a good choice.  Though it is compact, it has almost a full-size nib.  Unlike the scratchiness presents in some fine nib fountain pens, Petit1 writes quite smoothly, even for a heavy-handed writer.  It is a reliable fountain pen and can fit in any purse and bag.  In fact, it is my usual pen of choice while traveling.  One downside about Petit1 is that its compact size might cause discomfort to those with larger hands.  The color range for Petit1 is also diverse for those who want to try colors besides standard blue and black.


3.  Plumix
IMG_1841 Price range:  $7.25-$9.16 Plumix encapsulates an idea that “fountain pen is for calligraphy.”  It has an italic nib so it is capable of calligraphy, but one can also write normally with it.  Because of the broader nib, a new fountain pen user can have a greater contact ratio between paper and nib, hence can ease the transition from a gel pen to a fountain pen.  The good news is that Plumix’s nib can be swapped with a Pilot Prera’s, which can add more variety to those who just start a fountain pen collection.  It is also available in major stationery vendors or general good stores (I got mine at Target), so it is accessible to most of us.


Granted that fountain pens are regarded as status symbols, pens will not be useful if they are inaccessible to the users. The above three pens are economical in price, so any of them can be a great stocking stuffer.  They are also suitable to start a child from using one.  Compare to ballpoint pen, fountain pen has more traction, hence provides more control to the writer, especially a young one.  By having that extra control could help with letter formation and steadiness.

Have you spread the joy of fountain pens to anyone around you recently?

8 thoughts on “Beginner Fountain Pens: Part I

  1. Since you mentioned tossing fountain pens around, in my experience the Lamy Safari is one of the best fountain pens with that attribute(used it for most of my school life). I was so used to not having to care when transporting fountain pens that I got a huge shock when I realised that it's not possible with any fountain pen, e.g. not with the TWSBI …because the cap will end up being full of ink.


  2. Hi Matthias! Lamy Safari (actually in my case, it will be an Al-Star) is my other recommendation in part 2 of the write up. Now I know it will be a great recommendation! No fountain pen should ever be tossed around, but it is wonderful to have one with you everywhere!


  3. I couldn't have chosen better pens for a beginner. I also agree with the Preppy on the #1, it's hands-down the best pen for someone who is mostly used to ballpoints (the nib is a nail, but doesn't bother on long writing sessions). I converted a classmate with a Preppy too :DI also always recommend Inoxcrom pens, because they have cute/whimsical designs and are inexpensive and -relatively- easy to find here. I wonder if they're available in the US.look forward to the next installment of this posts. I suggest the Lamy Safari


  4. You and Matthias are on the same wavelength! In fact, I will recommend Safari's cousin, Lamy Al-Star. They both have the same nibs anyway. 🙂 I have seen selected Inoxcrom (owned by Miquelrius) writing instruments here, but I have not seen fountain pens. Their designs are very whimsical and entertaining and I wish more stores will carry it here!


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