Where to start looking?
If you are interested in getting your first fountain pen, here are some very good beginner pens that won't break the bank:
- Large hands: Jinhao x450 (check price on Amazon) - heavier pen, great for larger handwriting and hands, affordable, good nib
- Small budget: Platinum Preppy (check price on Amazon) - lighter pen, very cheap
- Versatility: Lamy Safari (check price on Amazon) - good pen for tripod hold, lightweight, bit more expensive, interchangeable nibs (try out multiple nibs on cheaply)
- Cheap paper: Pilot Metropolitan (check price on Amazon) - one of the best beginner pens, Pilot's Medium (M) nib works great on cheap paper.
These are well-known and well-respected in the fountain pen community, and they won't disappoint.
Things to Consider before Getting your Everyday Fountain Pen
There are three main things to consider before getting your first fountain pen:
- what size nib you want
- what size pen you want
- what type of ink you want
You can get fountain pens in Extra Fine (EF), Fine (F), Medium (M), and Broad (B). For your first fountain pen, I recommend getting a Fine (F) or Medium (M) nib.
You can quickly determine what size nib you want based on the size of your handwriting, and the type of paper you'll use.
What paper will you write on?
- Regular paper (copying paper, notepads) - Fine nib
- Moleskine or Leuchturm - Medium nib
- High-end paper (Rhodia, Clairefontaine) - Anything you like
If you usually write on regular paper (copying paper, regular notepads, etc.), you should try the Fine nib. If you write on higher quality paper, for example in Moleskine or Leuchtturm journals, you should try the Medium nib. I prefer the Leuchtturm blank A5 notebook (check on Amazon).
How big is your handwriting?
- Small handwriting - Fine (F) or Extra Fine (EF) nib
- Large handwriting - Medium (M) nib
- Large handwriting but cheap paper - Medium (M) nib with anti-feathering ink
If you have small handwriting, try a Fine (F) or Extra Fine (EF) nib first. If you have large handwriting, try the Medium (M) nib first. If you have large handwriting but will use cheap paper, go with a Medium (M) nib and get the right ink. Noodler's X-Feather is a non-feathering ink, which will work well on cheaper paper.
How big are your hands?
The size of the pen depends on the size of your hands. Bigger hands = bigger pens. The best way to figure out what size you like is by going to a physical store and trying out different pens. However, I'll give some all-star pens below if you don't want to do that.