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Fountain Pen Buying Guide

Fountain Pen Buying Guide - Pure Pens

Ross Adams |

History of Fountain Pens

Fountain pens are the traditional type of pen and give the widest range of colour, materials and price. Most will have ink cartridges available to fit them but BE AWARE than some makes require you to buy their own cartridge as universal ones will not fit.


Parker, Cross, Sheaffer and Lamy are the most notable makes which will only allow their own type of cartridge to fit. They will normally offer a 'converters, which fits in place of the ink cartridge and allows you to use a bottle of ink.


Some makes like Mont Blanc, Pelikan and TWSBI are renown for their piston filling mechanism meaning they can only be filled from a bottle. Many people consider these to be 'traditional fountain pens' rather than the newer cartridge only, 'ink pens'. Not everyone will get on with the piston fillers, so a cartridge is a good starting point and will often be a little less messy.


Types of pen

The things to consider when looking at which pen to buy will probably start at price, but then the filling system, the barrel material, the nib material. Most mid range fountain pen are brass with lacquer over the top or steel which is brushed to give a more robust finish. This will make them quite heavy in comparison to cheaper pens which are generally plastic. Once you move up to more expensive pens, they often move to resin which will make them lighter again. We have suggested some options below.


Buying as a gift

If buying as a gift – think about the other person's size and gender. Lots of pens could be seen as being more masculine in design, but there are pens which are more neutral and have less monochrome colouring and designs.

Engraving – we offer this, but consider the occasion and what the pen will be used for. We wouldn't want the pen to be considered to be down-valued by an engraving which isn't to their taste.


Under £30

Lightweight – Parker Vector

Large – TWSBI Eco

Quirky – Noodler's Ahab

Quality – Parker IM

Small – Kaweco Perkeo / Skyline


£30 - £50

Lightweight – Sailor Procolour

Slim – Waterman Hemisphere

Large – Kaweco Student

Quirky – TWSBI Diamond


£50 - £100

Lightweight – Pelikan M200

Slim – Cross Century II

Large – Waterman Expert

Heavy – Sheaffer 300

Quality – Sheaffer Intensity



Lightweight – Sailor 1911

Slim – Cross Century II

Large – Cross Townsend

Quirky – Waterman Carene

Quality – Pelikan M400/5