You wouldn’t normally consider a pen to be a luxury item, however, fountain pens are altogether a different story. Even the cheap ones will run you $20+, which is enough to buy 40 BIC ballpoint pens.
Fountain pens are indeed a luxury item and a favorite collector’s item. Some of the most popular fountain pens come in around $500-$1,000, but you can find some great fountain pens that are under $100.
In this buyer’s guide, we will recommend the best fountain pens you can purchase for under $100. If money tight you can also check out our guide for Best Fountain Pens Under $50.
What to Look for in a Sub-$100 Fountain Pen
You don’t normally link the idea of a pen with technological prowess but the truth is, fountain pens are nifty and often, highly technical.
For instance, a $25 fountain pen purchased on Amazon is going to be all plastic and will have no other worthwhile features besides running ink down the nib when you write.
A mid-range fountain pen, however, is going to have a set of features, such as:
- Different styles
- Higher quality material
- Pocket sizing
- Its filling system, built-in
- Longevity, and durability
Some of the fountain pens on our list will have different filling systems than others. For instance, one filling pen may draw ink into what’s called a “converter,” while other fountain pens will draw ink directly into the barrel.
With some, you will have ink bottles that plug directly into the back of the fountain pen where the ink is then drawn inside until the fountain pen is full. There are so many ink bottle colors available that we could write an entire article on them. Like fountain pens, some inks are simply better than others.
The cheaper variety of fountain pens are simply ballpoint pens, without the ballpoint and once they are dry, that’s pretty much it. Some are refillable but the result is a sub-par experience far removed from the real thing.
5 Best Fountain for Under $100
Finding the best fountain pens that are under $100 is no easy task. There are a ton of options out there and there are also some fountain pens that are exceptional pens at an exceptional price that were left on the drawing-room floor.
The good thing is, you know what to look for in a solid, sub-$100 fountain pen and by the conclusion of this article, you will know even more.
- Pilot's sleek Metropolitan Collection signature pens
- Finest quality at a mid-range price
- Medium nib
- Ships with 1 Pilot black ink cartridge and 1 Pilot Press Plate Converter
- Black barrel
The Pilot Metropolitan is easily the cheapest fountain pen on our list. However, this is an incredible pen for the price.
For a pen that is below $20, the Pilot Metropolitan is the exception to the rule. This is considered an “entry” level pen and it is constructed entirely of plastic, even though it has a heft to it that gives you the feeling that you are holding a more premium plastic.
It’s a cartridge pen, which means that you won’t be using ink bottles to refill it, but cartridges that come in either blue or black. The cartridges are proprietary too, so you won’t be able to buy a generic “universal” cartridge and you’re relegated to the type that comes with it only.
In terms of design, the Pilot Metropolitan doesn’t do much to truly separate itself, which is understandable for an entry-level fountain pen. You can tell that Pilot was going for a classical look and that’s exactly what you get.
There are some optional prints available and while the body stays the same, there are other colors and various pattern looks to choose from as well.
The nib is stainless steel and comes with all of the durability and anti-corrosive features that you expect from stainless steel. You can tell that it’s built to last and whether you purchase a fine point or medium point, you will get a consistent level of writing out of it.
|– Sturdy, plastic build|
– Stainless steel nib
– Consistent writing ink flow
– Cartridges are easy to replace
– Around $25
|– Cartridges are proprietary|
– Fine point is consistent but can sometimes be “too fine.”
- INCLUDES ONE Monteverde Impressa Fountain Pen in deep Gun Metal
- CUBED CAP transitions into round barrel to create a unique, yet subtle design
- STRIKING TRIM gives the pen a robust style
- CONVENIENT FILLING with included standard international G3 ink cartridges or piston ink converter
- SLEEK PRESENTATION BOX included for added luxury
There are several editions to this pen, with one of the more popular editions consisting of the red trim. When you pop off the cap, you’re rewarded with black, stainless steel that seems to give off vibes of lethal precision.
And that’s exactly what this pen is, a tool of lethal precision. From its checkerboard appearance that reminds us of a machined, metallic chessboard, manufactured from carbon, which happens to be the case.
The Monteverde’s body is a glorious combination of carbon fiber and black, acrylic resin. You even get a slick, “Monteverde” logo etched into the top band.
The nibs are individually hand-fitted to the body, and they are machine cut to a precision that you wouldn’t expect from a fountain pen that’s well below the $100 mark. The nib also comes in three variations:
- #6 Black Steel Nib – extra-fine point, medium, or broad
- 1.1mm stub
- JoWo Omniflex Steel Nib
Any one of which will more than convey the sense of penmanship you are trying to get across.
The Innova pairs well with a bottle of Monteverde Midnight Black Ink0
- Sold as 1 Each.
- Fits generic ink cart/bottle ballpoint pen.
- Bottle packaging.
The most glaring drawback is that the nibs are designed with a deal of flexibility in mind, however, Goulet warns that heavy-handed writers shouldn’t press too hard, as it may not return to its original shape.
|– Outstanding choice of nibs|
– Ships with ink, cartridge, and converter
– Body is durable and resilient carbon fiber and acrylic resin
– An aesthetically beautiful pen
|– Nibs don’t handle pressure well|
- Only the discreet golden gleam of its trim competes with the deep black of its lacquer. A powerful, contemporary...
- Its smooth curves add suppleness to your handwriting. As generous as it is sophisticated, this golden with 23K gold...
- The clip: Golden with 23K Gold
The Waterman Expert is a resin-crafted pen with the accents trimmed in 23K gold (gilded, of course) or chrome, depending on the color variation that you choose to go with. The pen’s presentation is unique as well; worthy enough for a display case at the least.
It sports a classical design, so you won’t find anything overly fancy or jaw-dropping here, but it does have an attractive, sleek quality to it that’s hard to deny. The top of the cap is branded with a “W” in a flourish, which represents Waterman Paris.
The nib is stainless steel and also carries an engraving of the “W”, along with “Waterman.” Writing with the pen is smooth if a bit chalky, with no bumps or skips along the way. The ink that comes with it is a bit on the dry side and certainly finishes curing quickly.
Like the Monteverde, this pen can use either the converter or a cartridge for ink refills when you’re ready. However, the pen only comes with a cartridge, and you will have to get a converter elsewhere.
While the body of the pen is very smooth, it doesn’t slip in your grasp, and it’s not a weighty pen, so you’re hand probably isn’t in any danger of cramping up too quickly. Plus, unposting the pen will give you a little less weight to work with, if that’s your thing.
Overall, it’s a very balanced pen, with a grippy surface area and not too heavy or too light. And, you don’t have to make any kind of snappy adjustments or sit around trying to fine-tune it for half the day. It works great as soon as you take it out of the package.
|– Smooth, sleek aesthetic|
– Nice flow when writing
– You can go with either a converter or a cartridge
– Grippy Not too heavy
|– Doesn’t come with a converter|
– Dries a little too quickly
- Our ever popular 580 now has aluminum milled parts (Grip, connector, piston rod)
- Piston filler type fountain pen. Easy twist to fill, no hassle.
- 580 has improved the smoothness of cap thread turning
- 580 has increased ink capacity, about 30% more than 530
- Comes in EF, F, M, or B nib sizes. Please look at other listings for different size
The Diamond 580AL is an upgrade over the standard 580AL and comes with an aluminum and plastic cast body, whereas the original was all plastic. The 580AL is an extremely popular fountain pen and even if you are just jumping on the bandwagon, you’ve likely heard of it.
There are no cartridges here, and the piston filling mechanism sucks ink out of the bottle. Depending on where you purchase the pen, it may or may not come with an ink bottle, so prepare to purchase one or two separately if need be.
The pen is very well balanced, if a bit on the large side, so it’s probably not best for those with really small hands. This is especially true if you post the cap, which makes it uncomfortable unwieldy.
With the cap off, however, it feels well balanced and proportioned, even when you know it’s a bigger pen. You can choose either a fine, medium, or firm (EF), depending on either your writing style or the sense that you are trying to convey.
There are also a host of colors to choose from, depending on what caters to your writing creativity and despite the pen being an upgrade over the 580, it only comes with an ever-so-slight price increase.
|– Aluminum body is a nice aesthetic|
– Feels balanced
– Excellent piston filling mechanism
– Several color variations
|– May be too large for some|
- Piston Fountain Pen
- Nib EF
We know. This pen is a little bit more than $100. But the Pelican M205 is such a great pen for only a few dollars more than $100.
The Pelican has a unique look, with a nearly (but not quite) opaque body and a sterling silver cap. The nib is stainless steel and is considered to be some of the best stainless steel nibs on the market today.
Pelican fountain pens use a piston-filling mechanism that works perfectly whenever you are ready to fill it for the very first time or the hundredth time. The fine and medium nibs are true-to-style, so you get exactly what’s advertised.
It’s the opposite of the Diamond 580AL in that this is a pretty small pen, including the length. If you have long fingers or just very large hands, you may want to look elsewhere, but posting the cap does make a bit of a difference.
It also features interchangeable nibs, so feel free to purchase additional ones if you want, which is a nice change from some of the others.
|– Nice visual aesthetic|
– Interchangeable nibs
– Excellent piston filling mechanism
– Very lightweight and comfortable
|– A bit small for those with larger hands.|
There you have it, five of the best fountain pens for under $100. Fortunately for you, there are a lot more than just these five out there. However, with any of the above-listed pens, you will find an outstanding writing instrument and overall experience.
The best thing is, the fountain pen is gaining in popularity again. Because of that, more outstanding pens are coming and perhaps this post will be updated shortly for an all-new best five pens for under $100.