The Best Fountain Pen

Posted on 20 July 2022

After 8 hours of research, analysing 34 models and testing 10 of them, we finally determined the Schneider Ceod Shiny to be the best fountain pen on the market today.

This comparison is certified 100% impartial and follows our selection process.

Our choice, best budget

Schneider Ceod Shiny

It combines high writing quality with an ultra-comfortable grip, thanks to a stainless steel nib with an iridium tip and an ergonomic rubberized grip suitable for both right and left-handed users.

£ 12.80 on Amazon

Schneider Ceod Shiny

Although it appears to have a metal design, this pen is made of plastic. Nevertheless, this did not impede it from winning the German Design Award in 2020. On testing it, we can say that it represents the best compromise between comfort in hand and writing fluidity. Its triangular rubber grip makes it easy to place the fingers and very pleasant to hold, while the nib glides easily over the paper without spilling too much ink. The price is a further argument for making it an everyday pen, whether for schoolchildren, students or professionals.

 

 

Best mid-range

Pilot MR3

This fountain pen stands out for its colourful design, but also for offering very smooth writing and a pleasant enough grip for long hours of use. It is one of the best in its price range.

£ 22.20 on Amazon

Pilot MR Retro Pop Collection

Our test results were positive for this fountain pen, whose vibrant colours and metallic design we immediately appreciated. It features a good line quality, enhanced by an ultra-strong steel nib. The flow is light, even a little irregular, but this does not make writing excessively difficult, and the ink dries quickly enough for left-handers. Finally, although it is the heaviest of our selection, we found it quite balanced in practice.

 

Best high-end

Waterman Hemisphere

This Waterman Hemisphere model stands out above all for its neat design and its case, which means that it is ideal for giving as a gift. Its grip and writing style make it ideal for short notes.

£ 47.13 on Amazon

Waterman Hemisphere

Made of chrome-plated stainless steel and finished with 23-carat gold plating, this fountain pen has a slim but quite long body and grip area. The long gold nib also glides nicely on paper. In our tests, however, we noticed that it is designed more for occasional use (annotations, signatures, etc.). If it takes one of the podium places in this selection, it is simply because of the excellent construction quality and the elegance of its finish.

 

Budget alternative

Maped Nightfall

Both lightweight and comfortable in hand, we feel this fountain pen is the most suitable choice for young school children learning to write, despite its lower quality plastic barrel.

£ 10.76 on Amazon

Maped Nightfall

This model quickly stood out in our tests due to its comfortable handle. The triangular grip with a soft coating helps to place the fingers properly. In addition, the fountain pen is light, so it can withstand long work sessions without causing pain. The iridium nib sticks a little to the paper, so writing is slower and less fluid than other models, making it ideal for children to practise writing.

 

Mid-range alternative

Parker IM

It is a simple and functional model ideal for those looking for a fountain pen that does its job well, no more and no less. The weight is certainly notable, but this is due to its stainless steel design.

£ 28.40 on Amazon

Parker IM

This practical fountain pen provides performances in line with what you expect from a classic model. The writing is light, the ink flow is good, and it’s comfortable for short note-taking. On testing, we found the line to be a little wider than its competitors, despite having a standard M-size steel tip. In terms of format, it is a little wider than the Parker Jotter.

 

Our selection

Our choice, best budgetBest mid-rangeBest high-endBudget alternativeMid-range alternative
Schneider Ceod ShinyPilot MR Retro Pop CollectionWaterman HemisphereMaped NightfallParker IM
Schneider Ceod ShinyPilot MR3Waterman HemisphereMaped NightfallParker IM
It combines high writing quality with an ultra-comfortable grip, thanks to a stainless steel nib with an iridium tip and an ergonomic rubberized grip suitable for both right and left-handed users.This fountain pen stands out for its colourful design, but also for offering very smooth writing and a pleasant enough grip for long hours of use. It is one of the best in its price range.This Waterman Hemisphere model stands out above all for its neat design and its case, which means that it is ideal for giving as a gift. Its grip and writing style make it ideal for short notes.Both lightweight and comfortable in hand, we feel this fountain pen is the most suitable choice for young school children learning to write, despite its lower quality plastic barrel.It is a simple and functional model ideal for those looking for a fountain pen that does its job well, no more and no less. The weight is certainly notable, but this is due to its stainless steel design.
£ 12.80 on Amazon £ 22.20 on Amazon £ 47.13 on Amazon £ 10.76 on Amazon £ 28.40 on Amazon

 

Honorable mentions

Waterman Allure (£14.49 upon publication): a rather good fountain pen reserved for right-handers. This medium-sized fountain pen is a little heavy, but it’s pleasant on hand and glides well on paper. However, it releases more ink than its rivals and therefore dries more slowly, making it unsuitable for left-handers who run the risk of smudging when writing. Its chrome-plated metal barrel and its softness on paper make it an attractive and low-cost alternative for right-handers.

 

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How to choose a fountain pen?

Capable of offering a unique graphic and artistic experience, the fountain pen differs from its ballpoint counterpart by the quality of its writing (wider and more sophisticated), but also by the ink it uses. Indeed, far from the oil-based ink usually offered by classic pens, it benefits from a more traditional liquid “fuel”.

Stylo-plume
The fountain pens we have tested. | Source: Selectos

To choose the fountain pen best suited to your needs, you should pay attention to a few criteria prior to purchase:

  • The materials: there are fountain pens with a metal coating or resistant plastic, such as ABS. For the nib, the most commonly used is stainless steel, but some high-end models use small touches of gold to make them more precious. Depending on the materials you choose, the weight and price will be more or less affected.
Stylo à plume
There are pens made of metal or durable plastic. Depending on the material, price and weight will vary. | Source: Selectos
  • The grip space: the quality of writing depends, no doubt, on how the fountain pen is held. The place for the fingers should be long enough and comfortable. Silicone pens, for example, offer a better grip.
Stylo-plume
The nib comes in different calibres: extra fine, fine, medium (best compromise) and large. | Source: Selectos
  • The nib: this is one of the most important parts, as it will define your writing on paper. It is available in different sizes; XF (extra fine); F (fine); M (medium) and B (broad). Please note that size M satisfies 80% of users.
stylo-plume
The quality of the writing depends on how you hold the pen. | Source: Selectos
  • The ink and cartridges: although most fountain pens use universal cartridges, usually available in two different lengths, some only use branded cartridges. Check the compatibility of these, as well as the drying time of the ink on the paper.

 

How did we do the tests?

To test these fountain pens, we naturally took the time to write with each one. First, we looked at their overall appearance, weight and the materials used. Next, we evaluated the handling comfort, especially the length and material of the grip area (space for the fingers).

During the writing tests, the fluidity on the paper, the thickness of the line and the amount of ink supplied were analysed. The drying speed of the ink was also checked.

 

Other products tested

BIC Xpen (£14.63 upon publication): could not finish the tests. On paper, this fountain pen stands out with its ridged grip area, designed to make it easy to hold for both right- and left-handed users. In practice, however, we found the plastic design very uncomfortable under the fingers. In addition, we found it impossible to write a single word with the pen, despite a full ink cartridge… A manufacturing flaw, perhaps limited to this single example, but did not make a good impression on us.

Lamy Safari (£19.89 upon publication): a disappointing plastic design. Although we appreciated the presence of an ink indicator and the writing quality of the nib, we didn’t find it comfortable enough when holding to place it in our top selection. Tthe triangular grip could be an advantage if it weren’t made of plastic. Moreover, it is not convincing in terms of quality and design, given its price.

Parker Jotter (£15.43 upon publication): too small to be comfortable. Although very popular, this fountain pen did not convince us during our tests. It writes smoothly and has an elegant design, but it has serious drawbacks: it is very short and thin (it doesn’t offer the best grip comfort), and the ink is very diluted, so the result on paper is not very good.

 

 

Translated by Ramsés El Hajje

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