Top Five Starter Fountain Pens

I’m excited to share my top five starter pens. Interested in giving fountain pens a whirl? You can’t go wrong with any of these. They’re inexpensive, but they’re also reliable. If I weren’t such an addict, I could probably use a collection of these five for the rest of my life. I anticipate this post changing, even over the next year, with new pens coming out all the time. I’ll probably just start an honorable mention list. Without further ado, here’s my list.

5. Pilot Metropolitan

The Metro, as it’s affectionally called, often takes the top spot on many lists. It’s tough, made of brass, comes in a number of colors, and generally writes well right out of the package. You can’t go wrong. I’d highly recommend choosing at least medium nib, though. Finer nibs, in my opinion, can be a tad scratchy.

4. Lamy Safari/Al-Star

The Safari is another well-known and well-loved beginner pen. I own an aluminum “Al-Star,” as it’s called, but the Safaris, which are less expensive, are made of plastic. They come in lots of colors with new ones being released each year. Like Pilot Metros, they use proprietary cartridges and converters. The one thing to note: Safaris and Al-Stars feature triangular grips that folks either love or hate. I think they’re fine. They’re meant to teach kids how to hold a pen. Therefore, if your grip is strange, I’d choose something else.

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3. Kaco Edge

The Edge is a Lamy 2000 knock off, except for the fact it features a traditional (not hooded) nib and has an unusual, almost non-functionable, clip. It’s made out of the same Makrolon material. It writes like a dream. It’s well-built. It’s a tremendous value.

2. Kaco Retro

The Retro really pops. It’s a looker of a pen. In the hand, it feels like cheap plastic, but I have no doubt it’ll hold up just fine. It features a wet, hooded nib. It has a unique, striking clip. I own two Retros, and both of them write as well as anything I own. A starter pen has to write well. Otherwise, folks abandon the hobby quick. The hooded nib may take getting used to for some. I’m so impressed with this very inexpensive pen.

1. TWSBI Eco

Don’t fear the ink bottle! Beginners tend to gravitate toward cartridges, but why not jump right in and enjoy the real thing? The Eco is a piston-filler. It’s a true fountain, in my opinion - it only fills by bottle. But oh… it works so well. It holds a ton of ink. As demonstrators, the Ecos look great. Seeing the ink slosh around will make you smile. They’re inexpensive pens with great nibs. Why not start here and get sucked down the rabbit hole?

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