How do I start using fountain pens

The great fountain pen & learn to write fountain pen test

In this fountain pen test we would like to offer all writing beginners and those interested in fountain pens a useful overview of the best fountain pens and which particularly recommendable pens are currently available on the market. All fountain pens and school fountain pens have been extensively tested and then rated. Here you can find out what to look out for when buying a fountain pen and which fountain pen best suits your writing habits. The selection for school children and beginners to write should also be made easier with this fountain pen test.

I have mainly rated fountain pens for beginners, school beginners and advanced writers, which offer a particularly good price-performance ratio and are in the price range between around € 5-20 for pens for learning to write and € 30 to € 500 for the upper class (premium fountain pens) . This filler test closes the gap at the article level of this blog, which is aimed at filler fans who have completely fallen for the "filler fever". In addition to the collectors, all those interested in high-quality writing instruments are of course welcome to explore the other areas of this website.

 

Table of Contents

 

The most important evaluation criteria of our fountain pen test

All visitors to this blog may have already recognized that the high quality of the fountain pens, which are described here, is particularly important to me. Therefore, the benchmark for the filler test has been set very high from the start: for me, all fillers in this test must deliver the best possible quality despite the perhaps low price. This means that these writing implements must prove to be particularly durable, resistant and functional in everyday life. Certainly, the use in school, in the office or at home makes further demands on the ergonomics and design of the tested fountain pens, which are assigned an important role here. In most cases, the assessment is based on long-term use and experience with the writing implements and tries to avoid a conglomerate of Stiftung Warentest and other shop assessments.

 

Selection of filler brands

The range of products and manufacturers is not limited in terms of a brand selection. Every fountain pen gets a realistic chance and the evaluation portfolio is continuously updated when I have the opportunity to test further fountain pens by hand. I would also like to make sure that in addition to the established school fountain pens and beginner pens such as Lamy, Pelikan or Parker, manufacturers who are less known for school use also get a platform here. In most cases it can be said with certainty that the traditional brands and their bestsellers really deserve their place, but here and there there are a few exceptions and highlights which, in terms of their quality, have a place in the feather cases. These include brands such as Kaweco, Faber Castell and Schneider.

 

Categorization and prices of the fillers

Learning to write fountain pens & school fountain pens

The following Filler & Learn to Write Filler Test 2021 is roughly divided into two parts. The first part is particularly aimed at the needs of novice writers. There are primarily a large number of school fountain pens, children's fountain pens and learn-to-write fountain pens that are particularly suitable for beginners and children thanks to their ergonomic design. Basically, a fountain pen for kids should offer a very good grip so that the hand does not tire when writing for a long time. Rubberized, slightly corrugated or curved recessed grips also have the advantage that the fingers do not slip onto the spring as quickly. While it is often recommended that school children start with thicker pens, I do not share this recommendation because thick writing tools are more difficult to guide accurately. Filigree fountain pens are therefore usually better suited for children. No compromises should be made in terms of durability, so that the fountain pens can withstand even temperamental children and everyday school life. Writing beginners in particular often have a strong pressure, which the nib should be able to cope with without putting a lot of ink on the paper. From my own experience I can say that I myself was one of the children who first tested all fountain pens to see how far the wings of the nib could be bent apart while writing before irreparable damage occurred. The nibs or nib sizes used for fountain pens or suitable for school children are marked by the manufacturers with an A for beginners. These springs have the properties just mentioned and are consistently made of very resistant stainless steel. After learning to use cursive or at the point in time when an individual typeface is being shaped, you can also experiment with other nib sizes that match your own font size. The price range for learners to write and school fountain pens for these writing implements is in the cost-effective range between approx. € 10 and € 20.

 

Left-handed fountain pen

In order to meet the special requirements when writing, pens for left-handers have a special cut of the writing tip. The grain here is generally rounded with a slight bevel or bevel on the right side. Left-handed people slide the fountain pen across the paper, while right-handed people tend to use pulling movements. The beveled grain ensures that the filler does not dig and scratch the paper. Paper fluff between the feather wings would be an unpleasant result. Pens that write very wet and ink that dries slowly can smear and smudge with left-handers. Therefore, the nibs have a rather dry ink application. Almost all manufacturers, especially those in the beginner program, have special left-handed springs in their range. I particularly recommend Lamy, Pelikan and Faber-Castell. The springs are usually labeled as "L-springs".

 

High quality filler

The second part of this filler test is dedicated to a segment that is slightly higher in price. The pens evaluated are characterized by particularly elaborate processing or were manufactured using very high-quality materials. In terms of design, these fountain pens range from classic to innovative and are therefore significantly more "adult" than the fountain pens for learning to write. All fillers are also recommended here without exception. In terms of price, this range is in the range between € 30 and € 500. Since this is more about empirical values ​​and not so much an actual filler test, I have deliberately omitted the separate listing of evaluation points. The tested pens are suitable for all requirements in school, office, university and everyday life.

 

The best fountain pens in comparison:

Fountain pen for beginners & novice writers

 

Lamy Safari & Lamy AL star

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The Lamy Safari fountain pen is probably THE school fountain pen and reminds me of my own school days (here in size F). The recessed grips guarantee a high level of writing comfort and the hand does not tire so quickly. There are no restrictions on durability or quality. The pen is sure to forgive even a heavier fall. And if the nib does suffer or does not write so well, it can be exchanged easily and inexpensively. The material used for the Lamy Safari is ABS plastic, which makes the pen extremely light. Just right for older elementary school children. The fountain pen's 80s design also goes very well in the office. If you like it transparent, you should take a closer look at the Lamy AL-Star. With this fountain pen, Lamy has an interesting product variation of the safari in its range. The fountain pen is made of anodized aluminum and the handle is transparent gray. The colors of the AL-star particularly appeal to me: for example, it is available in dark purple, copper orange, ocean blue and graphite. If you prefer to use an inkwell instead of cartridges, you can buy the matching converter Z24, which goes with the Safari and AL-star models and is offered separately by Lamy. Lamy fountain pens cannot be filled with the small standard cartridges - but the somewhat larger Lamy cartridges are available everywhere and they don't empty too quickly. Conclusion: clear buy recommendation!

Quality and durability: 09/10
Feather: 10/10
Ergonomics: 10/10
Design: 09/10
Price: 08/10 (from approx. € 13)
Standard cartridges / converters can be ordered separately: No / Yes

 

Pelican Pelikano

 

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The Pelikano is now considered an absolute classic among entry-level fillers. Every generation of schools since the 1960s should know it, even if the design has changed several times over the years. The current version, like its predecessors, has a very robust and high-quality stainless steel spring. The handle is round, rubberized and slightly grooved. Overall, the diameter of the handle is nice and narrow and does not dictate the finger position. In this way, children can find the best posture for themselves. Except for the gripping surfaces, the front piece is transparent and merges into the ink viewing window. So you always have the cartridge level in view. The Pelikano is available in different colors, including in blue, black, red and green. Conclusion: Absolute recommendation of our filler test!

Quality and durability: 09/10
Feather: 10/10
Ergonomics: 09/10
Design: 08/10
Price: 08/10 (from approx. 13 €)
Standard cartridges: Yes

 

Tailor Base Kid

 

 

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The Schneider learn-to-write fountain pen is of good quality and is particularly suitable for children from the first or second grade. There is one version for boys and one for girls, which differ in the choice of color and motif. The picture above shows the version for girls with a cute cat motif. Left-handers have also been thought of and corresponding "L" versions are available in stores. Special feature: The pen is delivered with two different shaft sizes and can therefore be easily adapted to growth.

Quality and durability: 08/10
Spring: 09/10
Ergonomics: 09/10
Design: 08/10
Price: 07/10 (from approx. 15 €)
Standard cartridges: Yes

 

Pelican twist

 

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With the "Twist", Pelikan has brought a solid fountain pen to the market that is suitable for left and right-handers alike. The design in particular can be described as very unusual here, because the pen follows a curved shape. This twisted look is particularly suitable as a children's fountain pen, as the windings adapt very precisely to the anatomical conditions of the hand. This can certainly be a benefit for some children. Here you should try out whether a specification of the finger position is optimal or a round grip, as is used with the Pelikano. The fountain pen is also an eye-catcher with regard to the available intense and crisp colors, which are available in a large selection. When the hands are wet, the plastic becomes slightly slippery, but the fingers still find enough grip in the deep recessed grips. The stainless steel nib also leaves nothing to be desired with its good writing properties, so this school fountain pen is also a recommendation of mine.

Quality and durability: 09/10
Spring: 08/10
Ergonomics: 10/10
Design: 09/10
Price: 10/10 (from approx. € 8.50)
Standard cartridges: Yes

 

Faber Castell Scribolino

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The Faber Castell Scribolino school fountain pen has an asymmetrically designed grip zone and is therefore perfect in the hand. This fountain pen is also ideally suited as a learning device and beginner fountain pen. Many school children often press very hard, which requires a pen that absorbs the writing pressure well without scratching. The Scribolino was completely convincing in the writing test and is therefore highly recommended. The curved end of the cap is also very suitable for attaching a small pendant or loop to it to further individualize the fountain pen. Right-handed and left-handed versions are available. You can also choose from a wide range of colors.

Quality and durability: 09/10
Spring: 09/10
Ergonomics: 10/10
Design: 09/10
Price: 09/10 (from approx. € 12)
Standard cartridges: Yes

 

Lamy abc

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I am thrilled - this pen is a real surprise for me. The Lamy abc school fountain pen is a perfect fountain pen for younger school children. Material and workmanship are excellent. The handle is designed to be suitable for children and offers a good grip thanks to the roughened surface and ergonomic shape. The push-on cap has a tight fit and a special feature: instead of a clip, which usually breaks off very quickly and is rather unnecessary for children, a name tag can be attached to the cap. The nib completely convinced me in the fountain pen test. It is pressure-resistant and can be handled very well. In terms of color, the learn-to-write fountain pen is available in blue and red. In addition to the Lamy cartridges, the filler, like the Lamy Safari, can be equipped with an additional plug-in converter. Filling from an inkwell is not only classic, it is also kind to the environment.

Quality and durability: 09/10
Feather: 10/10
Ergonomics: 09/10
Design: 09/10
Price: 09/10 (from approx. € 12)
Standard cartridges: No.

 

 

Filler test for advanced writers

 

Faber Castell Ambition & Basic

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The Faber Castell Ambition is an unreserved recommendation from me. The quality and workmanship of the entire fountain pen, including the stainless steel nib, are excellent. I like to use it for everyday writing and in the office. The nib shows hardly any resistance and glides smoothly over the paper (even with finer nibs). Thanks to the thin shaft, the pen lies very comfortably in the hand and is easy to control. The slightly heavier weight ensures good controllability. The fountain pen is also ideal for school children from around 12 years of age, provided that a high-quality copy is desired. Ink application is full but not too wet. The Ambition is offered using different materials. The beautiful wooden design (as shown) hardly slips out of the hand while writing and has a very natural and warm feeling. Those who prefer to use the plastic variant can choose from various colors and patterns. In terms of price, these versions are a bit cheaper and start at around € 40. Very price-conscious buyers should definitely check out the Faber Castell Basican for around 22 €. This comes with an identical spring, is easy to control due to its high weight and has a slightly modified, modern design. Unfortunately, the Faber Castell Basic does not include a plug-in converter in the scope of delivery, but this can be purchased separately if required. This is included in the stainless steel and wood versions.

Price: from approx. € 20-70

 

Staedtler Premium Resina

 

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Another first-class pen in the middle price segment is the Staedtler Premium Resina. Simple and noble elegance is paired here with the excellent quality of all components. The body is made of high-gloss precious resin. The cap sits firmly on the chrome-plated screw thread. In terms of color, the Premium Resina is available in blue and white in addition to black. In my opinion, this beautiful fountain pen is also very suitable as an individual gift for Christmas, birthday, confirmation or special occasions.

Staedler Premium Resina: approx. 80.00 €

 

Lamy studio

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When it comes to design and innovative design, Lamy has always been one step ahead. An example of this is the Lamy Studio by product designer Hannes Wettstein. In this fountain pen, classic elements such as the indicated cigar shape are combined with very modern details such as the propeller clip and the matt dark blue color. The stainless steel fountain pen is simple, elegant and does very well in school, university, office or at home - a real all-rounder. You don't need to say a lot about the nib: here the buyer gets the usual high Lamy quality. The converter Z26 is offered separately for the Lamy studio. This converter can also be used with the Lamy accent, cp1, dialog, linea, logo and st model series. Of the latter, the Lamy accent is particularly recommended in our fountain pen test. With an inserted and exchangeable wooden element as a grip, the fountain pen gives the writer a particularly pleasant tactile feeling.

Lamy studio price: from approx. € 41.00
Lamy accent price: from approx. € 56.00

 

Kaweco student

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The Kaweco student impressed me extremely positively.The nib is flawlessly processed and writes very softly without dropouts. The M-strength is more on the narrow side, but just right for everyday use. The ink application is not very wet, but the ink dries very quickly and does not smear so easily. The classic design and colors make the retro fountain pen an eye-catcher, especially in vintage blue, red or yellow. If you like it more subtle, you can choose between blue-transparent, white and black. Tip: In addition to the normal cartridge filling, a standard size converter can also be used. This enables filling from an inkwell and enormously expands the range of uses of the fountain pen. The converter models from Kaweco (approx. 5 €) are highly recommended and very valuable. An aluminum version is available under the name Kaweco Allrounder.

Price: from approx. € 39.50

 

Lamy Dialog 3

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It is not a calculated intention that Lamy enjoys a clear dominance in this fountain pen test. The Lamy Dialog 3 has such extraordinary features that it should not be missing here. Many Lamy fountain pens are very reminiscent of designs from the 80s and 90s. Dialog 3, with a swiveling spring that can be lowered into the body, also belongs to this category. Here, design takes precedence over ergonomics. This precision tool is just right for short notes, everyday applications or extended writing sessions and feels very good with the slightly roughened metallic surface. The turning mechanism is fine and precisely tuned. The 14-carat, simple, hand-sanded nib writes fluently and hardly needs any pressure. There are certainly more elaborately designed nibs - the nib looks very simple in my eyes - but it fits very well into the design concept of the fountain pen and makes up for it with its fabulous writing properties.

Lamy Dialog 3 Price: from approx. € 196.00

 

Pelikan Souverän M600

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The Pelikan Souverän M600 is a really nice classic. My favorite remains the version in green-black with the gold-plated decorative elements. I prefer to write this fountain pen with the medium gold nib (this is partially rhodium-plated and made of 14 carat gold), which is a touch wider than usual. If you catch a well-sanded copy, the joy is really great: buttery soft and wet writing behavior without much pressure, as it should be - great! Among all manufacturers in the high-quality price segment, Pelikan currently offers excellent nibs with nice feedback. Writing full of character with a slight flex is very possible here. This noble fountain pen comes with a piston mechanism and is therefore filled directly from the ink bottle. The size of the M600 fits most hands in terms of size, making it an impeccable all-round fountain pen. Small hands prefer to use the Souverän M400, while very large hands should use the Souverän M800.

Price: from approx. 250 €

 

Montblanc masterpiece 146 Le Grand

 

 

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One of my favorites is and remains the Montblanc Meisterstück 146 Le Grand. This noble fountain pen unites, like no other fountain pen in the world, myth, icon and legend at the same time. The highest quality, the best workmanship and exceptional service, combined with very clever marketing, make this writing tool from Montblanc an object of desire for generations. The masterpiece 146 is more suitable for larger hands. Small to medium-sized hands should feel much more comfortable with the Meisterstück 145 as long as longer texts are written with it. The fittings are elegantly gold-plated or available in a sporty platinum version. The masterpiece is filled directly from the ink bottle by the rotary piston mechanism.

Price: from approx. 450 €

 

Do you have any questions? We have answers:

What types of pens are there?

A basic distinction is made between pens according to the filling system: there are cartridge fountain pens, piston fillers and piston converters. Cartridge fillers are filled with ink cartridges that are easy to replace when the ink is used up. Cartridges have either a standard or manufacturer-specific fit. Parker and Lamy have their own fits, while brands such as Faber-Castell, Kaweco, Pelikan or Montblanc use standard Paronen. For some manufacturers there are usable piston converters that can be plugged in or screwed in instead of the cartridge. The fountain pen can be filled with ink from the ink glass through the pistons. Piston fountain pens use the classic filling mechanism, in which the ink is sucked into the interior of the fountain pen by turning the piston mechanism.

Which spring size is the right one?

The right nib size depends primarily on the font size and also on personal preference for how the typeface should look. For a very small font, a fine nib size should be selected such as EF, XF (extra fine), F (fine), for normal font sizes M (medium) is possible, while very large typefaces can handle a B (wide) or BB (extra wide) can. If you are not sure yet, you should start with a medium size and see if it already fits. Letters with tighter curves such as an "e" are very useful for assessing whether the nib size is right: the curve should not be filled with ink. In addition to the standard sizes, there are also A for beginners and angled springs in the sizes OF (left oblique, fine), OM (left oblique, medium), OB (left oblique, wide) and OBB (left oblique, extra wide). BBI (extra wide, italic) is used as a calligraphy pen.

Which pen brands are there?

The following fountain pen brands should be mentioned for inspiration:

Aurora, Caran d’Ache, Delta, El Casco, Faber Castell, Franklin-Christoph, Kaweco, Lamy, Manu Propria, Montblanc, Montegrappa, Nakaya, Parker, Pelikan, Porsche Design, TWSBI, Visconti, Waldmann, Waterman, and many more.

 

Are you still missing a certain filler in this filler test that you would like to have rated? What are your own experiences with the listed fillers? Are there any other open questions? We appreciate your feedback!