Are Fountain Pens A Good Option To Use For School?

Over the years, there have been many debates on whether school-aged children should use fountain pens. Once kids transition from pencil usage, are fountain pens good for school?

In this age of technology, there are two sides to this debate. Some people feel that handwriting is no longer important, others claim using fountain pens can improve handwriting as well as confidence and pride in the child’s work. So who is right?

Keep reading for a deep dive into the debate of whether fountain pens are good for school-aged children. 

Table of Contents

Fountain Pens Through The Years

Although it is believed that fountain pens were being used as early as the 1600’s, they were officially patented in 1827 in France and in 1848 in the United States. Over the years, fountain pens have evolved to be less messy and easier to use. After ballpoint pens became more affordable and easier to use, fountain pens became a status symbol.

The use of fountain pens today is quite different from their use in the 1800s. Through the rise and expansion of technology, fountain pens exemplify a commitment to quality over efficiency, patience over haste, and a deep appreciation for a classic design. They offer a lovely way for anyone to add elegance to their handwritten letters, signatures, or just writing in general. 

There are definitely aesthetic benefits to writing with fountain pens, but what about the benefits for school-aged children to use fountain pens in school? 

Debate For Fountain Pen Use In School

Over the years, there has been global research conducted on the developmental benefits of children and adolescents using fountain pens in school. These include improvement in fine motor skills, an increase in attention to detail and self-confidence, and enhanced pride in your work. 

Fountain Pens Improve Fine Motor Skills

Writing with a fountain pen improves coordination and concentration. A fountain pen must be held in one hand and moved in just one direction.  Only then can the pen glide smoothly across the paper and the ink flow evenly. This fine motor skill difficulty necessitates a high level of coordination and concentration from the youngster — and not just when learning to write.

Fountain pen ink flows much more freely than a ballpoint pen, which requires a significant amount of pressure to get the pen to write on the paper. The muscles of the hand and fingers are constantly contracted and pressured in order to apply such pressure, causing them to cramp up. As a result, writing with a fountain pen is more pleasurable than writing with any other pen.

Fountain Pens Increases A Child’s Attention To Detail

The use of a fountain pen demands caution. As a result, children have more time to memorize the individual letter script motions. The pen is subjected to natural resistance from the paper when writing. This resistance gives additional stability and security when controlling the fountain pen, making movement patterns easier to follow and internalize.

The fountain pen significantly slows down writing movements. This means that children are more meticulous in their work. Smooth-running rollerballs encourage faster and, as a result, more reckless writing, whereas writing with a fountain pen requires more attention. The end result is a script that is neat, consistent, and easy to read.

are fountain pens good for school

Fountain Pens Enhances Self-Confidence and Pride In Their Work

Fountain pens can enhance self-confidence and pride in the student’s work in many ways. Studies have found that students who write with fountain pens do it more neatly, making it easier to grade their assignments. As a result, the kids are more confident in their writing, which boosts their self-esteem overall.

Further, some believe that fountain pens are beautiful and give the piece more value when writing with one. Some feel it is hard to trash with a fountain pen (and even if it is trash, it doesn’t feel like trash). Consequently, writing with a fountain pen increases a student’s pride in their work. 

Debate Against Fountain Pen Use In School

In 2006, the headteacher of a school in Edinburgh, Scotland had all his students over age 9 only write with fountain pens in an attempt to increase their fondness for handwriting. While using fountain pens seemed to increase academic performance, the pens seemed to create more problems than solutions. 

Fountain Pens Are Messy and A Distraction In The Classroom

While they can easily become classroom weapons and the cause of issues between students, this is not the biggest headache with fountain pens. Most fountain pens, even the high-end ones, can be cumbersome and messy. They can easily drip or smudge and get messy ink stains on your work.

Further, left-handed writers often have to modify their pen grip to keep from smudging the ink when they write. This could make it uncomfortable to write and decrease the student’s affinity for hand-written work.  

Fountain pens also require students to keep ink cartridges on hand to refill the pen. If your ink runs out of ink during an exam, it may cause some anxiety and affect your test performance.

Fountain Pens Are Expensive

While the school in Scotland was able to provide their students, age 9 and up, with a fountain pen for classwork, most school districts in the United States (and worldwide) do not have the budget for such a luxury. Further, most families could not be expected to front this either.  

On the lower end, fountain pens cost about $3.50 per pen and approximately $.50 per refill ink cartridge. For just one class of 24 students, providing a pen and two ink cartridges per student would cost the school $108. 

Fountain Pens Are Unnecessary Due To Current Technology

In the age of computers and smartphones, schools are turning their emphasis away from handwriting and toward typing and coding. Technological skills are more valued in today’s society than handwriting, so it could be viewed as a waste of time to have students focus on the nuances of handwriting. 

Best Fountain Pens For School 

While there are some downfalls to students writing with fountain pens in school, the benefits outweigh the negatives. Not only does focusing on handwriting by using a fountain pen enhance the skill, but it also improves character and personality traits helpful in life-skill development. 

Before we get to the list, if you are looking for the best fountain pen for a small child, consider the Lamy ABC. This fountain pen was designed by one of the great pen manufacturers Lamy and is designed as a beginner fountain pen.

LAMY ABC Beginner Nib Fountain Pen - Red
  • Made of maple wood, cap and cube of red plastic. With a non-slip, rubberised plastic grip. With name sticker.
  • Cartridge filling system with LAMY T 10 blue ink cartridge (can be used with the Z 24 converter). Steel nib, polished.
  • Designer: Entwicklungsgruppe Mannheim/Prof. Bernt Spiegel

Here are some of the best fountain pens for students. 

Jinhao 51A

The Jinhao 51A comes with a converter and an extra-fine hooded nib that works well on less expensive paper and won’t dry out!

Pilot Varsity

You can get the Pilot Varsity for under $4 per pen. These pens come pre-filled with ink, so you won’t have to worry about filling them up in class. These come in a set of seven and come in a variety of colors.


The TWSBI GO features a unique spring-loaded piston and a large range of nib choices. It’s enjoyable and easy to keep track of your ink levels thanks to the clear body and grip section.

TWSBI GO Smoke Fountain Pen Nib M
  • Simply press and release and your ready to GO!!

Kaweco Frosted Sport

If you’re searching for a bright pen, the Frosted Sport is the way to go! It’s a pocket-sized pen that, when posted, expands to a full-sized pen. For even more ink capacity, it can be dispensed with an eyedropper.

Diplomat Magnum

This is a fantastic lightweight choice that’s perfect for long writing sessions. Each Diplomat Magnum comes with a soft, bouncy JoWo nib, as well as a cartridge and converter.

Lanier Pens Diplomat Magnum Fountain Pen - Pearl White
  • Made in Germany, DIPLOMAT writing instruments have been manufactured using traditional methods of craftsmanship since...

Are Fountain Pens Good For School?

While some may believe that fountain pens have no place in today’s digital age, students who use them for faster note-taking with fewer cramps continue to benefit.

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