Fountain Pen Recommendation?

I am paperless. Everything is digitalized and I use the Apple Pencil to sketch out ideas, speaking notes, etc., in order to gain the benefits of tactile work for creative thinking along with the flexibility of digital.

However, I was recently given the gift of beautiful leather notebook that cries out for the use of a nice fountain pen.

Over the years I have tried a couple of fountain pens but gave up on them because they were messy.

I know that several on this forum are fountain pen aficionados. For a Christmas gift I am going to ask for a nice fountain pen (one that uses a cartridge, not a pump). Recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks!

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I enjoy my Pilot Falcon.

As they go, it’s not too expensive.

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One of the best price/value ratio brands is Leonardo Officina. They have a wide variety of pens that can last you a lifetime.

Lamy Safari Fountain Pen - Charcoal - Fine

Lamy CP1 Matte Black Fountain Pen - Extra Fine


OK I’m convinced. Do you fill them from a bottle still? I assume that is what the ‘cartridge…’ part of the original question meant? My first school we had inkwells and nibs on nib holders… Indeed it was messy. I have circled around the paperless issue for nearly a decade now. I do have need to sometimes actually write on paper though and can’t avoid it.

A couple of pen recommendations for you, but first my main overall recommendation: find a pen with a piston filler. This is critical. You get way more ink capacity than a cartridge/converter. You want to use bottle ink (both piston filler and converter let you do this) so you get access to the multitudes of options/colors. Trust me.

I have two main brand recommendations for you:

  1. TWSBI
  2. Pelikan

TWSBI is a great place to start because their pens are piston fillers and are inexpensive (meaning if you hate it, you won’t have spent a lot of money on a new hobby). Maybe take a look at this one.

Pelikan is my go-to recommendation for people who really want to step into high-quality fountain pens. They also happen to be one of my favorite everyday writers — I carry one with me frequently. Their nibs are wonderful and they are super easy to clean/take apart. If you get a Pelikan, keep in mind their nibs run “wet” meaning you should get an EF or F nib if you don’t want a super wide line. Take a look at this one.


I waited five years, which was five years too long, to pull the trigger on my Pilot Vanishing Point. I’ve loved using it every day in the two years since. Game changer to have the retractable nib. It takes cartridge or converter.


The notebook might cry out for a pen, but the paper might have ink bleed and spread if it isn’t fountain pen-friendly.

I’d suggest you put together a budget.

Actually, I’d suggest you go over and soak in discussions over at FountainPenNetwork, where there are lots of extremely informed people who can help you (or whose archives have discussions which have helped other beginners, at various price-points).

I could give you any number of recommendations, at differing price points, but I don’t know what paper you use, what your experience level is, what ink you’d be using, what nib size you prefer, or of course, your budget.


Also a fan of the Vanishing Point; owned several over the years.

I just read this after cleaning and refilling my Pilot Vanishing Point and coaxing another pen to work properly. 18 months ago, I was, like Bmosbacker, paperless and proud of it but then I realized that learning requires a bit of handwriting. I bought a few gel pens at Staples. Then I accidentally listened to episode 300 of the Pen Addict (McSparky’s fault!), dug out my 2 or 3 old fountain pens, got them working and got back into the whole topic since then. I now have a variety of pens and also ink - back in the day I only wrote with Parker Quink but now there’s a vast choice of ink with different properties.
I’ve found that there’s a huge difference between people’s expectations of what to pay for a “nice” pen, coming from pens that cost a dollar. So we definitely need a price range and a few other guidelines - modern or traditional? nib type? decorative or plain? metal or not?
I would not rule out piston fillers. TWSBI makes piston pens with a matching ink bottle that can fill the pen guaranteed mess free. There are eyedropper pens as well which can be filled via ink bottles with nozzles - daring but again needn’t be messy.

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Cartidge is a little plastic tube containing ink that you buy in boxes of 5 or more. There’s an international standard but many pen brands don’t comply with the standard.

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I use the cartridges. I spilled an entire inkwell once and don’t plan to ever try refilling a pen again. :upside_down_face:

But Lamy pens support both. (I think they just have cartridges which are refillable)

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Fear of ink! I discovered many years ago that scrubbing with soap and a nail brush removes ink from fingers. Rubber gloves are another option. Here’s a video on the TWSBI diamond inkwell which is seriously mess-free:


Hairspray (eg. AquaNet) also works well to remove stubborn ink from fingers, etc.


I love TWSBI, quality is really great I love dismantling it for cleaning.

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You can start with either Lamy or TWSBI which are both inexpensive and has good quality. I’ve experienced great customer service with TWSBI as you can order replacement parts and new nibs from them through the mail.

With cartridges, I dislike buying new cartridges so I use a syringe to refill. One problem you’d encounter with fountain pens is how quickly you’ll start buying new pens with different price points and quality. I even own the cheapest starter fountain pens for $3 and so far, I’m trying to control myself from going overboard to $100++ price range. Over the years, I’ve owned Pilot, Pelikan, Schaeffer, Muji, Jinh, and Parker. SO far, I prefer either TWSBI or Lamy as my daily use.

I’ve used numerous brands over the years. My best suggestion is to get a gold nib and to resist getting the less expensive steel nibs. Gold is smoother. Probably some physics behind that. Dunno.

As a lefty overwriter, gold nibs are completely lost on me, and in some cases I get a worse experience. The less expensive stainless steel nibs are actually my preference. So it’s not always correct to recommend one specific type of fp, especially when you don’t know the user’s experience level, handwriting style, section thickness preference, or budget.

For example: now that I travel a lot, and now that I’ve settled on a few basic inks (after trying and using hundreds over the years), I’ve come to prefer a workaday pen with capacious ink supply and ink protection when traveling. Given my preference for steel nibs and large pens, my preference for thick sections, and my experience eyedroppering my pens, I’ve recently found myself using an Opus 88 demonstrator eyedropper pen with a piston shut-off valve for safer travel. It’s a great pen with a smooth, wet German Jowo steel nib. While it’s definitely not a general recommendation to just anyone, it meets specific needs I have.

And the OP needs to figure out his real needs (and what kind of paper he’s using!), whose options he might not even grasp right now. That’s why I recommended he check out the FPN forum


If someone does not use fountain pens much, he can easily damage an expensive gold nib. That’s why I don’t lend my pens :slight_smile: Steel is definitely better in the beginning. And once someone wants to try gold, he can without the risk of damaging it.

That’s why they sell a lot of different things! :wink:

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