What GSM Paper Should you Use with a Fountain Pen?

If you’re new to fountain pens, the first thing that you should know is not every type of paper goes well with a fountain pen. One of the things you will want to become familiar with is the term Grams per Square Meter (GSM).

GSM is the term for a paper’s weight, and different GSMs will affect how your fountain pen writes.

The best GSM for fountain pens is going to be anywhere between 60 and 90 GSM. The higher the weight, the better it will resist feathering and bleed-through. However, there are thicker papers that are not very cooperative with fountain pens too, so you want to stick with those that are designed for fountain pen use. 

Now keep in mind that GSM is only one factor when it comes to the quality of a paper. There are a lot of things that are worth considering if you want the smoothest experience possible. This is especially true when you have an entry-level fountain pen, as some of the fine nibs will have trouble with cheaper paper. This article will talk about what GSM to use for entry-level pens and recommend some quality paper based on GSM.

Table of Contents

GSM Choice for Entry-Level Pens 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with entry-level fountain pens, especially when you are just getting into using fountain pens versus whatever you have used in the past. Many entry-level pens are outstanding fountain pens, such as the Wordsworth & Black Primori.


Even Cross has several lines of entry-level fountain pens that are outstanding. However, entry-level fountain pens aren’t designed with the level of nuance and precision of the more expensive pens. They have to justify the severe price drop, after all. 

What you end up getting is a bunch of nice fountain pens that struggle on cheaper paper, only when dropping your nib size to that of a fine point. Fine point nibs on cheap paper are going to be scratchy

Picking the right GSM

So for entry-level fountain pens, you want to go with a GSM that’s at least above 60, but ideally somewhere between 80-120. You will also want to stick with premium paper brands. It may seem counterintuitive to go with a less expensive pen, only to pick up a more expensive paper. 

But with premium paper, you’re going to get more out of your fountain pen.

If you want the best of the best, look for a GSM of 100 or up. Whether you go with a Dryden fountain pen or a Parker Sonnet, make sure to pair it with a great paper from a trusted manufacturer.

For example, Moleskine notebooks are great, but they can be hit and miss when it comes to writing with fountain pens. Below we will recommend some better options.These a

Picking the Right Paper for a Fountain Pen

The high price of premium paper is simply something that you will have to live with. Cheaper paper, especially when it comes to entry-level pens and fine nibs, just isn’t going to cut it and will ultimately kill your experience and the joy of using your fountain pens. 

That doesn’t mean that premium paper has to break the bank either. 

Clairefontaine Triomphe

You can get fifty sheets of this premium paper for about ten bucks. Sure, it’s definitely twice the expense of 100 sheets of wide-ruled notebook paper but you will love writing on Triomphe paper so much more. 

It has a 90 GSM, so it’s just a shade under the most ideal GSM for entry-level pens, but it’s perfect for mid-range and premium fountain pens.

If you’re really into calligraphy or if you are enthusiastic about learning calligraphy, then this is one of the most popular papers available for calligraphers.

Triomphe is French stationery and is even better for consumers since it is manufactured using environmental processes and with water preservation as a primary focus. 

Life Writing Paper T35

LIFE Bank paper writing paper [snow] T35
  • Fine, plain, smooth writing paper in approximately A5 size

Life Writing Paper, at least the T35 type, is more for using your fountain pen to do some ink sketching. Its completely blank, lineless, and dotless so you have complete freedom of expression with your fountain pen. 

For $20, you get 100 sheets of 85 GSM paper that are acid-free. Life Writing Paper doesn’t just come in the blank variety either. You can find just about any lined or dotted Life Writing Paper that you want, depending on what you want to do. 


Rhodia paper is typically between 80 and 90 GSM and is one of the most popular papers on the planet when it comes to fountain pen users. It’s one of the most premium papers that you can buy and it comes in simplified, dual-stapled notebooks that are easy to open up wide. 

You can also find it in different variations of notebooks, but the stapled varieties are the most popular. This paper is very resistant against feathering and bleed-through and allows for a very smooth and exciting writing experience.

Rhodia Wirebound Notepad, A4, Dot - Black (185039C)
  • SMART: a cardboard reinforcement at the back of the block allows comfortable note taking, even without support!

All Things Considered

You typically want to use a higher GSM when you are writing with your fountain pen. Just remember, GSM isn’t everything, and the brand of writing paper and what it is primarily designed for makes all of the difference in the world. For the most part, however, 80 to 120 GSM is going to be the sweet spot.

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