Sep 14, 20175583 views

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: https://www.massdrop.com/talk/2273/community-picks-best-fountain-pens-under-100 View the community poll results here: https://www.massdrop.com/vote/Best-Fountain-Pens-Under-100/result
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: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/platinum-3776-fountain-pen

#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: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/lamy-safari-fp-mp-bundle

#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: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/pilot-mr-fountain-pen

#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: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/faber-castell-loom

#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: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/faber-castell-basic

#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: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/kaweco-al-sport

#9. VENVSTAS 78

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: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/kaweco-liliput

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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Ugh. I agree with so many other posters out there, there are many worthwhile pens left out that are just not as "mass market" as ones like the Kaweco Sports and Pilot Metropolitan. Just a few that appeared to be overlooked....

Import Market (<$100 imported via Ebay or Amazon):
1. Sailor Procolor
2. Pilot Lucina
3. Platinum 3776 (they got it right, but put the wrong picture - that's a Sailor 1911).
4. Pelikan M200 (yes, just a touch under $100)

US Market (<$100)
1. Lamy Accent (so overlooked!)
2. Levenger True Writer Select (much better nib than the regular TW)
3. Waterman Hemisphere
4. Aurora Ipsilon (Steel)

I have to disagree with the "top 10." In fact, if you are looking for a good fountain pen under $100, there are so many more that you could have chosen and gotten a far better collection. Maybe I am biased here. I have more than 100 pens in my collection (I stopped counting a long time ago). They include many of the pens in the top 10 and I don't use any of them. Let me illustrate...

The TWSBI are getting a buzz now. Not sure why. Everyone of them I have purchased (I own six) blob on refill, and quite often frequently on use. Not good when you are writing a lot.

The Lamy Safari feels cheap. The nib is good, but the body is uncomfortable. Try it before you buy it.

The Pilot Metro seems to be nib challenged. It is like writing with a pin (I have fine and writes like an ultra fine) and is not representative of the Pilot line (I have a pair of Vanishing Points and one other and they are beautiful nibs. Not so the Metro).

The FC Carbon was a real let down. Of course, I also have a pair of GF-Cs, so after writing with them, and then using the Carbon, I guess I should not be as disappointed as I was, but I was, and mentioned it to the GFC rep when I met them in DC.

What do I like? To start, a brass barrel. I use my pens so much that if they don't have a brass barrel they just will not survive. If you want to stay under $100, look at the Knox pen at Birmingham Pens. $25, German nib (similar to the Levenger nib) and flawless writing. I give these pens away to people that say "Oh, I have always wanted to try..." I have three or four inked up at any one time. That is a good testament to their stamina. And they don't tend to dry out when not in use, so a good seal as well. If you like a fatter body, the Bulow X750 is a medium nib and thicker body.

I have several L-Tech and metal TrueWriters from Levengers. They also have a German nib and are solid writers. I picked mine up when they were below $100. I see the L-Tech is above $100 now, but not so high as to be out of reach ($109).

I prefer the Lamy studio line to the Safari. It is a bit more, but again a metal body. The nib is replaceable for a 14K, but even the stock steel nib is a solid writer.

As with any pen, try before you buy if you can.
I have been collecting and using fountain pens for more than fifty years. In the past I wrote two of my books in longhand on lined paper with two Sheafer PFMs. I have had a significant number of very expensive pens over the years, so I speak with a little experience .... without doubt the Platinum 3776 is the best pen I have ever used. The new version which will keep the ink from drying up for more than a year is a significant advance in pen technology. They can be purchased on Amazon directly from Japan for less than $100, and I own three in black, blue and red, with compatible inks. They may not be the most stylish pen, (they are elegant), but if you use a pen to actually write words on paper, as opposed to admiring one in your pen display case, this is the pen for you.
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.
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Ah! That would explain it then, lol. Thank you for the response. I kinda figured this would just be an unsolved mystery for me, so I am thankful to have it cleared up.
QuinnTheGnoll
Yeah, Im surprised that they used the wrong pen in the picture and no one seemed to mention it
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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Amazon US prices from Japanese retailers. Once again you're talking prices that are double and triple inflated for distributors and the like to make money. This is the point of massdrop, to avoid those prices by buying manufacturer direct and group shipment. Why do I even bother explaining this stuff anymore?
Realizer
No one asked you to explain anything, I was merely pointing out your lucky buy dince the price fir the Pilot pens are higher than the price point argued.
Have a nice day.
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.
jceaser
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.
Theroc
Good to know.
Cheers.
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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4smodeu2
Agreed.
4smodeu2
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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