Updated: Dec 11, 2020
Whether you are just starting out and want to buy your first fountain pen, work in areas where it may not be wise to carry something expensive, or simply be on a budget, there are many reasons to want to keep the price of your pen on the less expensive side.
Here's a list of the best buys in fountain pens at $50 or below:
Lamy's Safari has long been the first choice of fountain pen beginners. The triangulated grip section acts as a kind of training device, ensuring the nib is kept in proper alignment to the page for ease of writing. The lightweight ABS plastic body is available in many colors, is incredibly durable, and nibs swap out fairly easily if one needs to be replaced. The paper clip-like clip fits securely to pages or pockets. Safari uses Lamy ink cartridges or ink converters, both of which hold a larger than normal amount of ink; perfect for school or work. With all this and nib sizes in EF, F, M, and B, it's easy to understand the appeal these pens have had for so long.
Did we mention Safari is available in many colors? Every year Lamy introduces new, special edition colors or collections of Safari! For 2020 Lamy created the Safari Candy
series fountain pens in Aquamarine, Mango, and Violet!
The Lamy Safari series fountain pens list at $37.00. $31.45 at Appointments.
2. Lamy AL-star
The Lamy AL-star is the slightly upscale version of the Safari. It features an aluminum body and translucent grip section, but otherwise it is unchanged from Safari. It's a nice upgrade for those times a plastic pen just doesn't quite fit the occasion! Many Safari lovers will buy an AL-star for just this reason.
The Lamy AL-star lists at $47.00. $39.95 at Appointments.
3. Kaweco Classic Sport
The beloved Kaweco Classic Sport fountain pen is the original and most popular version of this pocket pen wonder! A favorite the world over, the Sport features a durable ABS plastic body, octagonal cap so it won't roll off the desk, and steel nib selection in EF, F, M, B, and BB! While primarily designed to use standard international ink cartridges, there are two other ways to fill your Sport with ink: You can use the optional Mini Plunger Converter or use an eyedropper to fill the pen's barrel. Classic Sports are available in many colors, and there are even two different styles of clips which can be added to the cap for attaching to a pocket in the conventional manner.
The Sport series has been so popular, there are now two new sets of colors for the line: Skyline Sport (Silver tone trim and nib),
and Frosted Sport (Semi-translucent colors with silver tone trim and nib).
No matter which version of these Sports suits your fancy, all begin at just $25.00.
4. Kaweco Perkeo
Available in a myriad of fun color combinations, Kaweco's Perkeo is a pen created for the youngest of beginners, but plenty of appeal for fountain pen users of any age! Perkeo's triangulated grip section helps guide the hand, the sturdy ABS plastic construction takes whatever life throws at it. The pen barrel is long enough to accommodate two standard international ink cartridges at a time: one activated while the second sits back-to-back behind it so you never have to worry about running out of ink. Because of the longer barrel size, Perkeo can also use a standard ink converter for use with bottled inks! Nibs are steel and come in sizes F and M.
The Kaweco Perkeo is a great value at just $17.00.
5. Cross Bailey Light
All too often pens in this price bracket sacrifice style for their price. Bailey Light offers grown up style at a student budget price! Available in over a half dozen colors with gold or silver tone trims, EF, F, and M nibs, legendary Cross quality, and style you'd expect from a $100 pen, these are pens to take into serious consideration. The Bailey Light uses Cross ink cartridges or the Cross push-in ink converter.
The Cross Bailey Light begins at just $25.00.
6. Faber-Castell GRIP series
The GRIP 2010 is the more colorful of the two versions of GRIP, with a polished surface to the barrel and cap, where the GRIP 2011 is more subdued, with a matte finish to the pen; otherwise, they are exactly the same pen. What makes the GRIP a great choice is, ... well, its grip! Faber-Castell has designed an extremely ergonomic grip section for these pens, making them an absolute joy to use whether you are a beginner or an experienced fountain pen user. You'll be able to write for hours in the classroom or in meetings without experiencing much hand cramp. The durable, lightweight ABS plastic construction helps too. GRIP fountain pens come provided with one standard ink cartridge, but the pen's barrel can accommodate two, so your spare is always on hand when ink runs out in the first. The GRIP series can also be used with a standard ink converter for use with bottled inks.
The GRIP 2010 and GRIP 2011 both list at $20.00.
7. Diplomat Magnum
Diplomat's Magnum fountain pen is the beginner pen for those who enjoy a pen with a slimmer body style. Designed with the beginner in mind, the Magnum has a triangulated grip section to help keep the nib aimed properly, and is constructed in durable ABS plastic. Magnum's steel nib is available in either fine or medium, and the pen uses standard ink cartridges or an optional ink converter. The pen barrel can accommodate two ink cartridges, so your refill is always on hand when the first runs out.
The Diplomat Magnum lists at $27.00. $22.95 at Appointments.
8. Pilot Explorer
Pilot's Explorer is a lightweight, aluminum bodied pen available in six colorful finishes offset by matte black trim. Available in fine or medium point steel nib. Each Explorer comes equipped with one Pilot ink cartridge, but can be outfitted with Pilot CON 50 piston ink converter or the larger capacity, easier to use, Pilot CON 70 ink converter!
The Pilot Explorer lists at $29.50. $25.08 at Appointments.
9. Pilot Metropolitan
The Pilot Metropolitan is a favorite, is available in three style collections, and offers a lot of value for the money. The Metropolitan Animal collection is shown at top and features a different animal print on the band for each color. Next is the Metropolitan Retro Pop collection, where patterns reminiscent of the 1960s and 70s stylishly accentuate each piece.
Finally there is the standard Pilot Metropolitan, where the polished band stands in elegant contrast to the matte finish of the rest of the pen.
For those who love writing a very fine line, we recommend in this price segment the fine nib choice here or the EF of the Cross Bailey Light.
Each Pilot Metropolitan is equipped with a squeeze converter for use with bottled inks as well as a Pilot ink cartridge for when cartridges are preferred.
Pilot Metropolitan lists at $29.99. $25.49 at Appointments.
10. Scrikss 419
The Scrikss 419 offers a unique experience in this price segment: it has the style and piston-fill system of much more expensive pens. It comes with a smooth medium steel nib and ink window on the barrel so you can visually gauge the ink level. The 419 is made of a gloss lacquered acrylic resin. The nib and stainless steel appointments are plated in 23K gold. Try one! You'll be glad you did!
Oh, best of all, the 419 is just $40!
11. Capitol 350AC
The Capitol 350AC is a piston-fill fountain pen with a difference!