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Whether you’re looking into getting into the fountain pen because you were coaxed by a fountain pen geek, or “aficionado”, the following pens are the best ones to get for beginners. This information was gathered from my own personal experience, accounts from fountain pen geeks I know, and the overall consensus of the fountain pen community.
They’re mostly well balanced and forgiving in a way that if you mess something up, you won’t regret it too much. A major factor in that is the price, as none of these pens will go over 40 usd.
Don’t let the affordability fool you though, these pens are heavy hitters that even experienced fountain pen aficionados love and use for everyday things.
Aside from the pen itself, I’ll throw in some accessories and peripherals that I think you’ll need if you’re going to start. The fountain pens won’t come with their own ink bottles, save for a single cartridge that usually comes in the box.
- Pilot Metropolitan (link to Amazon)- The Pilot Metropolitan has been a staple starter pen for almost a decade now. Once you get the feel for it, it’s no wonder why. I’m sure that this was the pen many started with ever since it came out.
- Lamy Safari (link to Amazon)- Famous for being a “workhorse”, durable, and dependable. The Lamy Safari is another go to starter pen for the majority.
Why The Pilot Metropolitan?
The Pilot Metropolitan is a go to starter pen, that means that no matter who you talk to, more often than not this is one of their recommendations for you to start with. With a metal body and an affordable price, this is perfect for everyday use, making it better than others for newer fountain pens owners that might be a little rougher with a pen.
- Perfect for beginners who want to dip their toes in the fountain pen community
- Will allow them to learn more about how the fountain pen experience
- Perfect gift for casual or beginner users.
- Best Value For Money
Nib – Because Pilot is a Japanese brand, you can expect their nibs to have a finer writing. That means that a fine nib will write with a thinner line of ink compared to that of a Lamy or other western brands. Still it writes very smoothly and it’s just very comfortable to write with.
Converter – The Pilot Metropolitan uses a proprietary converter, meaning that only Pilot converters will work with it. It’s important to get one or two extra converters just in case. Pilot Con 40 and 50 will do fine for this pen.
Here’s a link to the Pilot Con-40 (link to Amazon).
Why The Lamy Safari?
The Lamy Safari is the next best starter pen for me. Even with the plastic body, the pen itself is quite durable and is great for everyday use. It’s comfortable to use, the writing itself is very smooth. Based on user experience, it’s not that far off from the Metropolitan.
- Has window to track how much ink is left
- Light plastic body
- Perfect gift for casual or beginner users.
- Variety of colors available
- Great value for money
Nib – The nib of the Lamy Safari is interchangeable with many of the other Lamy models, although being a beginner, you might not want to swap out nibs yet.
Converter – The pen takes in proprietary converters, meaning it also only takes in Lamy converters. As above, it’s important to have some extra converters if you go with bottled inks. About 2 converters will be great.
Here’s a link to the Lamy Converter (link to Amazon).
What To Else To Get?
For inks, it’s important to remember that you need to clean out your pen once in a while. That’s something that a beginner could easily forget. So the inks I’ll be suggesting are easy to clean out of your pen even if you forget it for a while. They are also affordable and are pretty good when used for writing.
I’ve got to admit, though, I’m a bit of a Pilot fan boy. These are the first inks I got at the start and they were pretty easy to deal with. I’ve forgotten to clean my pens a few times already but even though it dried out, they were still pretty easy to clean.
So, here’s my recommendation for you:
Converters are great because you can reuse them, instead of throwing them away like you do with ink cartridges. They’re also better for the environment compared to regular ballpoint and cartridges.
Of course, with ink bottles, they’re pretty much a must.
How many to get? One converter is great, two converters are better, in my opinion. You just never know if you might lose one or if something happens to the one you have.
For the fountain pens I have suggested they are both pretty much proprietary exclusive converters, meaning they only take in converters from the same brand.
For the Pilot Metropolitan, you’re going to want to buy a Pilot Con-40 (link to Amazon).
The Pilot Metropolitan will come with its own converter that’s of a different design, but this converter will be piston based, meaning you twist it so that you can suck in the ink.
For the Lamy Safari, you’re going to want to buy a Lamy Converter (link to Amazon).
The Lamy Safari won’t have a converter that comes with it, so you will really have to buy a separate converter. The converter you’ll buy will be piston based, as well, meaning you twist it so that you can suck in the ink too.
Pen Sleeve or Roll
When you get your pen, you’ll want a secure case for it.
This will prevent scratches of damage that might occur during travel. This is also great because in the off chance that it might leak, like if you’re in a plane and the pressure inside the pen acts up, you’ll have an extra layer of protection.
For one pen, I suggest a pen sleeve.
For more pens, if you plan on getting more in the future, a roll would be ideal. Again, Rickshaw offers a wide selection of Fountain Pen Rolls. These are pretty neat, and back when I was starting, I got one even though I didn’t have enough fountain pens to fill it.
For maintenance, I would suggest a simple bulb syringe. You can get this anywhere near you but here’s a link just in case.
Maintaining your fountain pen regularly is something I can’t stress enough. It’s quite simple, and all you really need is water.
While you might make mistakes as a beginner, the items I suggested will make it so you don’t feel so bad if you get something catastrophically wrong.