Sep 14, 2017

Community Picks: Top 10 Best Fountain Pens Under $100

We asked. You answered. We polled. You voted.
We set out to gain an understanding of what the community members thought the best fountain pens were in the Writing Community. The results are in and we can now announce the Top 10 Best Fountain Pens Under $100 as chosen by you, the community.
Your thoughts and feedback are what drive us to source the right products for each community so it's extremely valuable for us to hear what you think. We wanted to share the community's thoughts on each of these pens as discussed in the original post wherever possible.
Since we've had some of these pens on Massdrop before, we've included the links to those products in case you wanted to make your official request to get them back on our site. We'll also be making every effort to source the pens listed below that haven't yet made it our way!
View the original discussion here: View the community poll results here:
So without further ado, here's the list of pens:

#1. Platinum 3776

Featuring an opaque resin body with thick gold accents, the pen is a smooth writer and well-balanced with or without the cap posted.
Community Endorsement: "Japanese quality, 14kt gold nib, under $80; what more do you need?" - @theroc
Massdrop Link:

#2. LAMY Safari

Built with lightweight and durable ABS plastic and accepting easy-to-load ink cartridges, the LAMY Safari Fountain Pen weighs in at a pocket friendly 0.61 oz and writes like an old pro.
Community Endorsement: "I would have to second, third, and fourth Pilot Metropolitan, and Lamy Safari!" - @thomdavies2053
Massdrop Link:

#3. TWSBI Eco

The TWSBI ECO (short for Economical) is the newest model to the TWSBI fountain pen lineup, and is most affordable model yet. This pen features a piston mechanism, a clear barrel, black cap and piston knob, and a medium stainless steel nib.
Community Endorsement: "TWSBI ECO! Fantastic pen for the price no other piston is even close to that low of a price point or quality." - @ROBERT
Massdrop Link: Not on Massdrop yet!

#4. Pilot Metropolitan

Known for its durable brass barrel and stainless steel nib that outperforms pens that retail at much higher prices, Pilot’s Metropolitan is the gold standard for fountain pens in its class.
Community Endorsement: "They always have great nibs that write well out of the box and great selection of colors, and this is the pen I buy for stocking stuffers, birthday presents and graduation gifts for those I want to spread the fountain pen bug to. :) Absolutely can't go wrong with this as a first fountain pen." - @AC-Mitchell
Massdrop Link:

#5. TWSBI Vac Mini

The TWSBI Vac Mini is a slightly shorter version of the Vac 700. This clear demonstrator fills via a vacuum filler mechanism and has a broad stainless steel nib.
Community Endorsement: "I've only had one other TWSBI but from what I recall the nib is similar - reasonably stiff but smooth. Even though I like springy gold nibs I enjoy my Mini Vac very much :)" - @StitchpunkNZ
Massdrop Link: Not on Massdrop yet!

#6. Faber-Castell LOOM

The metallic body of this entry-level fountain pen by Faber-Castell features a grip section with a series of finely embossed rings. The snap-top cap—which is capable of being posted without affecting the pen’s balance—is fitted with a spring-loaded clip.
Community Endorsement: "I do think FC loom is a phenomenal pen for the price." - @Bailey2013
Massdrop Link:

#7. Faber-Castell BASIC: Carbon

For those who prefer pens with some heft, the Faber-Castell BASIC is an absolute pleasure. The metal barrel lends satisfying weight to each stroke, while the grip section features horizontal grooves, soft-touch coating, and enough length to accommodate the big-mitted among us.
Community Endorsement: @thomdavies2053
Massdrop Link:

#8. Kaweco Sport

The most popular model from a brand long synonymous with classic, high-quality fountain pens, the Kaweco AL Sport has the compact charm of others in the Sport Series—with a polished aluminum body that adds unmistakable character and satisfying weight.
Community Endorsement: "Best compact fountain pen: Kaweco Sport aluminum, brass, or steel." - @theroc
Massdrop Link:


The 78 is a very functional cartridge/converter fountain pen. Perfect balance, perfect size, brushed or polished stainless steel and the choice for 3 different body finishes: linear carbon, 2D glossy carbon and white translucent fiber glass.
Community Endorsement: @theroc
Massdrop Link: Not on Massdrop yet!

#10. Kaweco Liliput

At less than 4 inches, the Liliput is the smallest fountain pen in the Kaweco lineup. But the pen extends to a comfortable 4.9 inches when the screw-on cap is posted at the end of the threaded barrel. Made of aluminum, the black and silver models weigh less than half an ounce apiece, while the hefty brass version more than doubles their weight.
Community Endorsement: @Kados
Massdrop Link:

Thanks to everyone for taking part in the Community Picks. We're really happy with the response we got and are very much looking forward to doing this again.

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TWSBI is overrated. FC has best steel nibs in this range. Hard nails but great work pens.
Question: what version of the 3776 is that? I'm smitten with it, but when I looked for something similar, I could find no such pen.
Pilot Custom 74 / Custom Heritage 91 should be added here as well. They are a better choice than Platinum 3776 Century.
The results of the poll would make a lot more sense if it was for best value fountain pen under $100. However, the aim of this poll was to determine the best, period. In that regard, with the exception of the 3776 in the top spot, the poll didn't quite hit the mark.
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Custom 92 is readily available from Japanese retailers at under $100 usd. So it's safe to say they obviously don't cost more than that to manufacture. Which means if Massdrop wanted to do a $100 custom 92 with midnight blue cap ends I'm sure it could happen if they sold 1500 of them. Pilot would probably be excited for the exposure. Just because something retails for a certain price doesn't mean a manufacturer won't do special runs in lower prices if you're buying in bulk, that's the point of Massdrop.
Platinum preppy is the best very inexpensive pan I have ever used
The Metropolitan dries out too quickly. I like the funky Kakuno better, although the Metropolitan looks nicer. I like the TWSBI Vac Mini--maybe more than the Vac 700. Fill the TWSBI with Pilot Iroshizuku ink. The Iroshizuku inks coat the inside of the barrel so that the pen becomes a solidly colored shade of your ink. Other inks ball up and don't coat the inside, as far as I have found. Once you use the Iroshizuku ink, you will agree that the Vac pens look much better than the piston fillers, since the Vac pens hold much more ink and can really fill the pen with color.
I picked up the TWSBI ECO and I love it. Besides the fact that it came with a wrench, I have had no issue with it leaking or with it not writing smoothly. Inks that have not flowed very well in other pens seam fine in this one.

Cheep too.
follow up: twice I have had it drain into the cap, but this was only after a long time (week) sitting unused upside down.
No love for Karas Pen Co.'s Fountain K? Too bad.
Wow! If the 3776 comes in at under $80 it is an exceptional buy. That's absolutely the class of this top 10. I paid a lot more than that for the two I have.
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A lot of Japanese sellers are using Amazon's fulfillment service now. Thus you get Japanese street prices without international shipping costs.
Good to know.
This was a good poll, but I have to say that if the Diamond 580/al were an option, it would easily make top 5.
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Granted, my Diamond 580 in rose gold is very pretty, but the fill mechanism of their Vac pens means I like my Vac 700 more. Not as pretty though.
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