6 Great Budget-Friendly Beginner Fountain Pens

Fountain pens are an amazing writing companion, but finding the right one for you can be overwhelming, especially if you are a beginner. You are probably looking for something that isn’t too spendy but will still be good quality and effective in introducing you to the world of fountain pens. 

There are tons of options when it comes to fountain pens, which can feel a bit intimidating. The best fountain pens for beginners include Pilot Metropolitan, Platinum Preppy, Jinhao X450, Pilot Varsity, TWSBI Eco, and Lamy Safari. 

Try not to feel overwhelmed by all of these different fountain pens. The rest of this article is going to go over all of these options more in-depth, and hopefully, this will help you narrow down these choices so that you can find out which fountain pen is right for you. Let’s get into it!

Pilot Metropolitan

Pilot Metropolitan has been a fan favorite since 2012, and in this time it has grown to be a very popular brand. They are also pretty affordable, usually about $17-$20 for one fountain pen. 

These pens are made of metal and come in a ton of different patterns and colors to choose from. So even if you are a beginner, these pens still make it possible for you to customize what you buy and make it fit your style.

The pen also has 8 different possible ink colors, which is a pretty good selection considering that some pens only have the standard red, blue or black. 

Pilot Metropolitan fountain pens also have different nib sizes, which isn’t very common in cheaper fountain pens. You can choose between fine, medium, and medium italic.

This pen also writes nicely and produces crisp, clean lines. It really is a great investment if you are just starting out and don’t want to spend a ton of money on a super fancy pen.

PILOT Metropolitan Collection Fountain Pen, Silver Barrel, Classic Design, Fine Nib, Black Ink (91113)
  • Pilot Signature Pens: Elegant design with fine nib for smooth writing.
  • Quality Mid-Range Price: Exceptional writing instruments at affordable prices.
  • Brass Barrel: Durable metal construction with stainless steel accents.
  • Retractable Nib: Convenient pen with a smooth writing experience.
  • Pilot Pens: Trusted brand known for quality writing instruments.

Pilot Varsity

Pilot Varsity Fountain Pens

Pilot Varsity pens are made of plastic, and you throw them away once they run out of ink. This is nice because you don’t have to worry about refilling the ink or doing any other maintenance that would come with a long lasting fountain pen.

These pens write really well despite being made of plastic and don’t come off as scratchy on the page. They are great if you just want to try out a fountain pen to see if you like it. This way, you don’t have to invest in a long-lasting one and you will still be able to see how a fountain pen works.

You can get them for as little as $3 for one pen or $13 for a pack of 6, which is really nice if you are looking for something affordable.

PILOT Pen 90029 Precise Varsity Pre-Filled Fountain Pens, Medium Point Stainless Steel Nib, Black/Blue/Red/Pink/Green/Purple/Turquoise, 7-Pack Pouch
  • Everyday Fountain Pen: This striking, pre-filled fountain pen is convenient & easy to use. Featuring a precision laser...
  • No Maintenance: This elegant, pre-filled disposable fountain pen is ready to use & requires no maintenance. The visible...
  • Designed To Delight: A heritage of art, design & quality runs through all Pilot products. From everyday highlighters &...
  • Trusted Quality: We've been making pens for over 100 years. Whether you're taking notes, stocking up on school or office...
  • Power To The Pen: Pilot makes exceptional writing instruments to suit all your needs. We have fountain, ballpoint,...

Platinum Preppy

Platinum preppy is another great affordable option for fountain pens. The pen’s body is made of plastic, but the nib is made of metal. The nib is also made by the company, and is super nice to write with.

Preppy pens also have replacement tips, so if you find that you don’t enjoy the fountain pen as much as you thought you would, you can just switch it out for a felt marker or highlighter tip. 

You can find a Platinum Preppy fountain pen for as little as $5, and it will write super smooth and last a good amount of time. Though it won’t be as long lasting as some of these other options, it is definitely a good and cheap beginner option.

Platinum Fountain Pen, Preppy, Fine Nib, Black (1716012.0)
  • Platinum color fountain pen Preppy
  • Item Weight: ‎0.48 ounces
  • Slip sealing mechanism cap kept out ink dry
  • Item model number: ‎1716012.0


These pens are a little bit more pricey, running on average about $33 for one fountain pen. 

This fountain pen is nice because it has about 3 times as much ink in it as a converter-filled pen usually does. This means that you won’t have to refill it as often. And for a beginner (or anyone, really), less refilling is a great perk of any fountain pen.

Though when you do end up having to refill your TWSBI Eco, it should be easy because it has a piston filling mechanism that does most of the work for you. All you have to do is dip the nib into your ink and twist the filler knob, then ink will magically start going into the pen barrel.

This is a great method, and usually you can only find it in super expensive fountain pens, but TWSBI Eco lets you have it for cheap!

This pen also gives you a ton of nib size options, which is great if you are looking for something specific. If you aren’t sure what size to get, the most common size for a beginner would be 0.5 or 0.7. 

TWSBI ECO Fountain Pen White F Nib
  • Piston Filler Fountain Pen
  • Pen cap is able to post onto the back of the pen
  • Comes in EF, F, M, B, or stub1.1 nib size choices.
  • Inner cap to insure a perfect seal when pen is capped
  • White, Clear demonstrator

Jinhao X450

The Jinhao X450 is only about $5-$10, but it’s pretty nice for what you pay. The nib is gold plated, giving it an elegant look, but you can still tell that it isn’t a super expensive pen from looking at it. 

This pen writes smoothly and comes with an ink converter, which allows you to fill the pen with ink a lot easier. This is a nice addition for the pen to come with, given that this is usually only seen with more expensive fountain pens.

This pen is one of the heavier ones, and it’s also a bit thicker. So if you’re using it to write a lot, you might want to consider getting a different pen so that your hand doesn’t tire. But if you just want to use your fountain pen for signatures or for writing a small amount, this one could be perfect for you.

JINHAO X750 Fountain Pen M Nib (Steel Body)
  • Nib:M (steel nib); Length:138mm; Diameter:14mm; Net weight:36g
  • Cap:push type; Converter:screw type(you also can buy the jinhao ink cartridges in my shop for this pen, ASIN is...
  • Quantity:1pcs come with a converter(ink pump, fit for bottled ink), NO ink, NO gift box
  • If any problems caused(like did not receive or pen did not work), please don’t hesitate to contact us, we will try our...

Lamy Safari

The Lamy Safari was very popular in the 80s and was seen as one of the best beginner fountain pens for quite a while. Averaging at about $20 per pen, this is definitely a good one to start out with.

The most common version of this pen is made out of plastic, but there are also metal versions that you can find. Most find that the plastic is pretty indestructible and suits them just fine.

The Lamy Safari also has a window where you can check the ink levels. This helps you conveniently know when the ink is getting low or if it has dried up. 

This pen is best if you have small or medium-sized hands and like to hold your pen with a traditional grip. Because of its odd shape, not everyone likes the way they have to hold it. This is something to consider if you are set on holding your pen a certain way.

Lamy Safari Fountain Pen - Charcoal - Fine
  • Charcoal Black ABS coloured plastic body
  • Black coated steel nib; fine point
  • Includes one Lamy T10 Blue Cartridge
  • Accepts Z24 cartridge converter, sold separately.

Which Fountain Pen Is Best For You?

Now that we’ve gone over all of the different types of fountain pens, it’s time to decide which one is the best fit for your specific needs. It all really just comes down to what you are willing to spend and the kind of quality you want to have.

If you are looking for a more long-lasting pen and are willing to spend the extra money, Pilot Metropolitan, Lamy Safari, and TWSBI Eco are all great options. You’ll be able to use them for a while with no problems. If you want one that’s easy to refill, the TWSBI Eco is going to be your best bet.

If you want something cheaper that you can try out and still get a nice idea of what a fountain pen is like, go for the Pilot Varsity, Platinum Preppy, or Jinhao X450. All of these pens are affordable but still have pretty high quality. 

What Is The Most Affordable Beginner Fountain Pen?

If you are a beginner to fountain pens and not looking to spend too much, there are luckily still some good options out there for you. The most budget-friendly pens that we’ve talked about in this article are the Platinum Preppy and Pilot Varsity, though you could also get the Jinhao X450 for pretty cheap.

Here is a table of the fountain pens we’ve talked about ranging from cheapest to most expensive:

Pilot VarsityCheapest: ~$3 per pen
Platinum Preppy~$5 per pen
Jinhao X450$5-$10 per pen
Pilot Metropolitan$17-$20 per pen
Lamy Safari~$20 per pen
TWSBI EcoMost Costly: ~$33 per pen

Where Can You Buy These Fountain Pens?

Since fountain pens aren’t as popular as your typical ballpoint or rollerball pens, you may have a hard time finding them in certain stores. If there are any pen shops near you, those would be your best bet if you are looking to shop in person. Bigger stores may carry the cheaper fountain pens, but this isn’t always the case.

If you are interested in just purchasing your fountain pen online, you can do so in a couple of different ways. Amazon has a good selection of beginner fountain pens, and it’s a great way to get what you are looking for. There are also pen websites such as JetPens and Goulet Pens that will carry most of the fountain pens you might need. 

Getting Used To Your Fountain Pen After Buying It

As a beginner, you probably don’t have much experience with fountain pens, if any at all. And that’s perfectly okay! However, you are probably eager to get some use out of your new fountain pen, and may be wondering about the best way to break it in. 

There isn’t really any right or wrong way to go about first using your fountain pen. Once you get it, you can pretty much start using it however you see fit. 

One thing you should try with your new fountain pen is experimenting with different kinds of paper. You’ll find that the paper you use with your pen can actually make a really big difference in how it writes. It may flow super smooth and have clean lines on some papers, whereas on others it may be scratchy or the ink may bleed.

You can try using the pen in different notebooks, on post-its, office paper, construction paper, or any other paper you have lying around. Getting a feel for the best paper helps you know what you like, and it gets you a little more familiar with your fountain pen in the process.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully this article has given you some good insight into all of the beginner fountain pens that are out there. Being a beginner at fountain pens can be overwhelming, but maybe this list has helped guide you a little bit and figure out what the best purchase might be for you.

Good luck on your fountain pen journey, and we hope you enjoy whatever you choose to get!

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