Parker Vs. Sheaffer – Which is Better?

Have you ever wondered, is Sheaffer better than Parker? Choosing your stationery with care is important, especially if you spend a lot of time writing.

These two pen brands are often considered on a par with each other, but Parkers are generally thought to be ahead in terms of their pen nibs, and having cheaper refills. Sheaffer switched to manufacturing in China in 2009, which seems to have slightly reduced the brand’s prestige.

There are pros and cons to both of these brands, so let’s compare the two and find out which would better suit your needs.

Is Sheaffer Better Than Parker?

Is Sheaffer better than Parker?

If you’re looking at which of these pens is better overall, it seems that Parker often takes the lead, especially since Sheaffer has begun manufacturing its pens in China. There’s a lot of debate about it, and different people have different preferences, but Sheaffer seems to be falling slightly behind the curve.

It’s difficult to say which is the better pen overall, because people have different preferences, and both have a lot going for them. However, Parker seems to take the lead a little in the following areas:

  • More innovative and high-quality nibs that improve the writing experience and make it smoother
  • More robust and better barrels
  • Cheaper refills in general

By contrast, many people prefer Sheaffer’s refill system, which is super simple and uses a lever rather than a screw thread. Sheaffer has also made great steps in innovating its pen nibs, and this comes down to individual preference to some degree; there is no objectively better design, although many people seem to lean toward Parker pens simply being “nicer” to write with.

Which Brand Produces Better Nibs?

Why is Parker Pens so Popular?

It’s a challenge to say, but on the whole, Parker seems to make better nibs, especially since the Sheaffer production move. Both brands have done a lot to innovate and hone their nibs over time, but Parker has had slightly longer to do so, as it was founded in 1881. Sheaffer wasn’t founded until 1912.

Parker Pens Duofold Advertisement
Parker Duofold pens from a 1920s magazine advertisement

For a long time, the two brands were neck and neck in terms of their nib style and quality, and it would have been very difficult to come down on one side or another. However, in the last 10 years, Parker seems to have pulled ahead in terms of innovation, while Sheaffer is falling behind to a degree.

This may be because Parker is more focused on innovation and redesigning its products or could be for other reasons. Parker has had to face competition in its major market, ballpoint pens, from Japanese pen manufacturers, which may have triggered the innovation to some degree.

Many Western pen brands have lost some of their share in recent years, while Parker has managed to both maintain and increase its share overall in the mid-end bracket.

Which Brand Produces Better Refills?

Why Parker Pen is so Popular

Both brands create great refills, but on the whole, the Parker ones are both cheaper and more readily available. This makes the pens a more appealing option because it’s straightforward to get a refill.

Many people also feel that the Parker refills perform better than the Sheaffer ones, which may tip you toward purchasing a Parker pen.

That said, the Sheaffer fountain pens are thought to be better because the Sheaffer’s bottled ink is of higher quality and works better. It can be purchased in a wider variety of colors, and it doesn’t feather, bleed, or spread as much as the Parker ink.

Of course, this does depend very much on the pen and the nib size, but as a general rule, Sheaffer bottled ink will outperform Parker bottled ink in most cases.

Which Brand Writes Better?

It’s very challenging to say which of these two brands writes better because there are so many options. Both brands produce different nibs, different sizes, different shapes, and styles, and use different inks.

Which you prefer will also depend to some extent on your writing style and the paper that you use. If you exert more pressure or write at a different angle, your experience with a pen will differ compared with another person’s experience – so it’s worth testing out multiple styles in these two brands and determining which you prefer.

It’s also worth noting that many people who love Parker pens also love Sheaffer pens. Although brand loyalty is high, there are plenty of people who purchase and use both pens for different situations. Whichever kind of pen you buy, you are likely to find that it offers a superb writing experience.

Which Brand Is Higher Quality?

If you’re just measuring overall quality, there probably isn’t much difference between these two options. They both offer high quality, well-made pens with good resale value. Parker pens were introduced first, but since Sheaffer hit the market, their pens have proven good competition.

There are some concerns that Sheaffer’s quality has gone down in recent years, however. While older Sheaffer pens are still expensive and have super resale values, the modern equivalents are starting to suffer from a few manufacturing issues and the quality has declined a little.

At present, the brand is still strong, but if Sheaffer isn’t able to innovate and increase the quality quite soon, it’s possible that the brand will lose its equal footing with Parker pens.

Should I Buy A Parker Or A Sheaffer Pen?

It’s difficult to choose between the two options because individual preferences can vary so much. Both options are good, and you will find users who swear by one pen brand over the other – and users that love both equally.

You may wish to try borrowing pens so that you can test them before making a purchase, and if you really can’t decide, you might find a Parker is a safer bet. However, you’re likely to be delighted with whichever kind of pen you choose.


Both Parker pens and Sheaffer pens are high quality and write well, and have enjoyed long-standing prestige. Sheaffer has started to suffer from a few minor issues in recent years, but it’s still a competitive option and delights many of its users.

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