Updated: Dec 8, 2020
We are frequently asked "what is the best fountain pen?" That's an impossible question to answer. There are too many factors to consider. What if the aesthetics are awful/superb but the pen writes well/poorly? What if the pen is too heavy or too lightweight for most to use?
Simply put: there is no one best pen. If there was, that's all we at Appointments would carry.
We can however, put out a list of the 10 best pens for a wide variety of users with reasons why we feel these are pens fountain pen lovers should definitely consider when buying. Please note these are in no particular order. And here we go...
Cross Century II
The Century II is one of our top picks because it fills a need for those who love a slim writing instrument. The choices in that category are few and far between anymore, and Century II offers a wonderful array of finishes to suit most any taste. Whether you prefer traditional black lacquer with gold trim, a refined feminine white lacquer with rose gold trim, or a more contemporary black on black, these reliable workhorses are well worth considering. The Century II is available with a steel nib in fine or medium point. Nibs tend to run on the broader and wetter end in a more western fashion. Uses Cross cartridges or screw-in converter which is sold separately.
2. Lamy Studio
While the Lamy Studio may use the same nibs as the Safari or AL Star, it is the pen for the grown up, materially and stylistically better suited for the suit and tie world of business. It impresses, albeit in Lamy's minimalist form-follows-function fashion. As such, Studio has all the dependable performance and nib variety for which Lamy is known. All Studio series fountain pens come packaged with an ink cartridge and an ink converter.
3. Conway Stewart 100
Conway Stewart's excellent craftsmanship runs through all models they manufacture, regardless of price. The model 100 is a silky smooth steel nibbed piece of art suitable for everyday use. Handmade, the resin bodies are lightweight, but not too light, perfectly balanced, and use standard cartridge/converter ink fill system. Converter included.
4. Otto Hutt design04
You may not have heard of Otto Hutt before, but the German company has been in the pen making business for 100 years now, and they make an awfully good product. Design04 with steel nib is their most popular model for many good reasons: silky smooth nibs in EF, F, M, and B point sizes (18K gold nibs are also an option), standard cartridge/converter ink fill system, a wide variety of lacquer finishes to suit all tastes, and a sturdy clip design. Starting at $195, these are wonderful values for the money.
5. Pineider Avatar UR
The Avatar UR boasted a couple firsts in the pen industry when it was introduced: a resin pen featuring a completely glueless construction, and an innovative, extremely durable UltraResin material. The UltraResin material makes the Avatar UR vastly more durable than most resin pens. The ingenious magnetic cap locking feature creates a very firm, secure hold to keep the cap on tight. Available in fine or medium point, the steel nib is responsive and a delight when writing. Oh, it's also lightweight and balanced, extremely attractive, and has one of the functionally best designed clips in the pen industry. Uses standard cartridge/converter ink fill system.
6. Kaweco DIA2
Kaweco's DIA2 may just be one of the best values for the buck when it comes to an expensive looking pen that will not break the bank. Crafted in precious resin, this elegant pen has changed little aesthetically since the original DIA was first introduced in the 1920s. DIA2 is available in gold or silver trim, with matching steel nibs in EF, F, M, B, or BB. You can even attach a steel silver tone 1.1mm stub nib or even a 14K gold nib on one to customize the DIA2 writing experience to your taste! Pen is packaged with an ink cartridge. Ink converter sold separately.
7. Faber-Castell Ambition
Available in over one dozen different materials/finishes, there's an Ambition for everyone! With barrels constructed in resins, woods, or steel, these pens are the backbone of the Faber-Castell line of fine writing instruments. Steel nibs in EF, F, M, and B point sizes matched to a standard cartridge/converter ink fill system make these pens wonderful choices for yourself or as a gift. Prices on these stunning writing instruments begin at just $80. Add one to your collection today!
8. Scrikss 419
Scrikss has been manufacturing pens in Turkey since the 1960's. Their Model 419 fountain pen is an absolute joy in the world of inexpensive fountain pens. It's attractive with a traditional style (You'd be forgiven if you mistook one for a Pelikan M200 series), lightweight, and a dependable everyday writer. It's also a piston-fill fountain pen with an above average ink capacity when compared to the typical cartridge/converter pens for the buyer who wants a more traditional fountain pen experience. The steel nib is available in just one size, which is between the typical European fine and medium - you know, "just right"! Did we mention the 419 is just $40 list?!
9. Pilot Vanishing Point
You knew we'd get to it eventually, didn't you?
Since its introduction in the 1960's, Pilot's Vanishing Point fountain pens have been some of the most reliable writers manufactured. In a world where the click ballpoint was all the rage, Pilot engineered a click fountain pen to compete. Fountain pen devotees in positions such as doctors and busy businesspeople who required the convenience of a click action pen have been in love with these ever since. The Vanishing Point's 18K gold nib is available in a ridiculously sharp ... er, fine extra fine, as well as fine, medium, broad and stub variants. The Vanishing Point comes packaged with one Pilot ink cartridge, a cartridge cap cover (protects the end of the ink cartridge from the push button of the click mechanism), and ink converter.
10. Cross Townsend
Iconic design, superb writing, quality, and value meet for our number ten choice in fountain pens with this specific fountain pen.
For over two decades the Cross Townsend has been recognized for its style statement. In ballpoint, rollerball, or fountain pen, Townsend is the standard. The quality of these instruments is legendary. The 2-tone 18K gold nib by Pelikan smoothly delivers a nice, wet line of ink to the page. Townsend is the ultimate pen for signatures. The snap fit cap secures snugly to help ensure the nib will always be ready to write when you take off the cap - and it also posts securely as well, so no need to worry about the cap falling off the end of your pen while you're writing.
This particular special edition Townsend model honors the 20th anniversary of the line with a richly engraved platinum plate finish. Appointments made a special purchase on the remaining stock of these pens from Cross and have them available at just $249.95 - a savings of over $325! This is a great opportunity to add a Townsend to your collection.
Each pen comes in commemorative box with Cross ink cartridges and Cross ink converter.