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Cheap fountain pen shootout

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Hi, my name is Edvard, and I'm a fountain-pen addict.
CHEAP fountain-pen addict, that is, and I haven't found the answer to my little habit for a few years now, ever since Parker dropped the fountain version of their "Jotter" line and Pentech was bought by the folks who make cheap Disney branded crap.  
... Then I find this:

I've decided to do a shootout of my lower-cost new normal writing pens.  I've wanted to review most of these before, but haven't been up to giving each one its own review.  I will be reviewing these in approximate price order, from $0 to $30, and scoring them in these categories (each from 0-10 points): Aesthetics, Functionality, Value, Desire, respectively.

--- End quote ---

Part 1:

... and Part 2:

from the Fountain Pen Network

Nice, thanks for posting this.

Much as I love fountain pens (I currently own three), I could never find an affordable one with a fine (or preferably extra fine) on the dry side nib that I really liked.

Any recommendations on that front in the <$100 price range? I lose pens. A lot. (I go through my goto TUL GL1 0.5mm's like there's no tomorrow. )

I've heard Sailor might be the brand to look at for those specs? :)

Read through the comments in both of those threads, dry-side fine nibs are pretty common.  Sailor and Hero are both chinese brands I've not heard of until now that are apparently getting a good reputation, and I've also heard good things about the Indian brands like Camlin and Wality.

Also, for under $100, the field is wide open.  Spending more than that just gets you luxury gewgaws and claims of 'superb craftsmanship', and is inhabited by the likes of Waterman, Montblanc, and the spendier offerings of Pelikan and Pilot.  Many of the aficionados at FountainPenNetwork opine that spending over $300 on a good pen quickly gets into the 'diminishing returns' territory.
Just digging through Amazon filtered by price range and looking at reviews, there are a LOT of good pens to be had in the $25 - $50 range.  If I had to make a recommendation based on 'word on the street', I've been hearing a lot of talk about the Pilot Prera, which can be had in fine or medium.  

Personally, I could never justify a pen purchase over 10 bucks, 15 if it made rainbows shoot out my face while writing, which is why I liked this review series.  I also like my pens utilitarian; not cartoony like the Pelikano or Lamy Safari, not fancy like the Nemosine Singularity or Pilot Metropolitan (though the clear look of the Nemo 'Demonstrator' is quite fetching...).  But alas, keeping such a lid on my spending I'm reduced to cheap-looking as well as dubious quality.  *Sigh*  If only the Parker Vector were a few bucks cheaper...

@E - FWIW two of those pens (A Waterman :-* and a Pelikan) were given to me. The third (also a Pelikan) I bought in the late 70s for around $18. Not exactly an insubstantial amount of money back then (cigarettes were going for about $1.50 a pack as a point of reference) but certainly not the ridiculous prices companies like Montblanc were demanding either.

And yeah, I can't see some of the prices either. Especially now that I know it doesn't guarantee a superior writing experience.

I also don't care about the appearance that much. It's not like I'm posing over a newly ratified treaty for a National Archive photo when I use an ink pen. If a pen looks nice, that's fine by me. So long as I don't need to pay a premium for it. Gold and titanium appointments don't even register with me. Truth is, I'd gladly use a fluorescent green wooden-barrelled pen with Bugs Bunny's face on it IF it writes well - as most cheap Pilot or TUL gels do, oddly enough.

In the case of pens, as I get older I find myself liking a bit of heft (and maybe a hint of girth?) in my writing instruments. That's a big switch from earlier days when I preferred a slimmer design and as little weight as possible. That sort of heft is not to be found in most inexpensive (by which I mean under $50) pens being made today AFAICT.

So I was hoping more for some personal recommendations since I can read up stuff over at the review sites as well as the next guy. (Note: I also don't consider myself an aficionado. Just a person who likes to use well designed writing instruments.) Following recommendations on some of the "pen freak" sites, I've bought a few semi-expensive pens that came highly recommended. All of which I ended up not much caring for.

Fortunately, my sister (a graphic designer) collects ink pens. So I just passed them over to her, happy to see they had a future beyond sitting neglected in the bottom of a writing box. I don't mind being out of pocket for something as long as I don't have to feel like I've wasted money on it. So for that reason I'm not too keen on pen review sites in general.

I sometimes suspect half the people who do those "me too" chime-ins after a pen review don't own (and probably never tried) the instrument in question. Because I can't reconcile my experiences with some of the good things those reviewers and commentators were saying about those pens. Hence my wondering if anybody had a personal recommendation based on hands-on experience.

My search for the perfect pen continues...

Thx for the feedback on the Pilot Prera. Looks kinda short, but maybe I'll place another wager and order one. :Thmbsup:


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