If you are looking for a great fountain pen under $50 you are going to have a lot of options… too many in fact! You might feel the pressure to spend more, but you certainly don’t have to if your goal is simply to get a great, highly usable pen.
This article will run through some of our favorite sub-$50 fountain pens sold today. These are pens we’ve tested, owned, and lived with long enough to form an opinion.
First, the “Ground Rules” of the best fountain pens under $50:
- All the pens are still available for sale
- “Under $50” is determined by the popular street price of the pen, not the MSRP, price used on Ebay, etc.
- Any pen under $50 can be included on this list, but the focus will be on pens between $20 and $50 because we have other best lists for different price categories.
This choice won’t come as any surprise to people who have been doing their research into affordable, beginner, or collectible fountain pens. The Lamy Safari fountain pen has a comfortable triangular grip, is easy to find, is released in fun special editions, can be had for under $20, uses Lamy’s excellent fountain pen cartridges, and is very well made. Basically it’s the total package.
If you like the Safari but want a clear pen (known as a “demonstrator”) then what you are looking for is the Lamy Vista. It’s the same pen with a transparent body.
Another advantage is that the Safari is available as a ballpoint, pencil, and rollerball as well as the fountain pen so you can get a nice set. That’s not an option available with most pens on this list. The Safari also has an interchangeable nib system so you can buy a few Lamy pens and have access to a lot of different nibs with those pens.
The Twsbi Eco is a great pick because it doesn’t seem like a $30 pen at all. This Taiwanese-manufacturered pen has a piston converter, a screw-on cap, and at the fit-and-finish of a pen that costs twice as much.
The materials used the are far superior to most other pens in the class, with a really nice feel to the plastic and enough metal hardware than the pen never feels cheap.
The only way in which this pen feels like a sub-$50 is the undersized steel nib, which feels a but small on the fountain pen and throw off the aesthetics a bit. If you spend twice as much and get yourself a Twsbi Diamond 580 you get basically the same pen but one nib size larger. The two write almost identically, so the Eco is the way to go.
Kaweco Sport Classic
The Kaweco Sport line of pocket pens are small, plastic pens that are the best pocketable, highly portable fountain pens sold today. Yes, they have tiny nibs and don’t hold much ink, but they look great, they write well, they don’t leak, and they are surprisingly comfortable. The main innovation here is a huge cap that is posted onto a tiny body in order to make a full-sized pen out of a small one. This design is fun to use and works extremely well.
The Kaweco Sport is sold in a wide range of colors — from a clear demonstrator (pictured at the top) to neons to opaques to pastels — so you can have a color for every mood and every day of the week.
Keep in mind both the aluminum and the plastic body version of this pen is under $50. If you want brass it’ll cost you a bit over $50 and steel will be even more than that. Don’t feel pressure to spend more on the metal versions as the plastic Sport Classic is very nicely made and will take a drop better than any of the other models (except for the steel one).
The pen, sadly, doesn’t ship with a clip (unless you get a premium model or limited edition), but you can buy one separately in gold or silver finish for under $10.
One cool perk of this pen is that it has a wide variety of nib sizes, going all the way up to a really fun, super wet double broad.
The Penbbs 456 is the most desirable of the set of affordable Chinese-made vacuum-filling fountain pens that have gone on sale over the past few years. This pen was based on the Pilot Custom 823, which is about a $250 pen — and Penbbs got surprisingly close to the 823, so you know the Penbbs 456 is a solid pen for $35.
The 456 has a screw-on cap, a large and elegant nib, and a vacuum-filling system that works great. This is a larger pen with a classic Japanese fountain pen look to it (even though it’s not Japanese).
Dollar-for-dollar this is one of the strongest pens under $50 sold today, especially if you are a fountain pen geek… or on your way to becoming one.
That’s it for now! Email if you have suggestions for pens that should be on this list but aren’t!