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A Beginner’s Guide To Choosing The Right Fountain Pen

The perfect fountain pen will make the act of writing a true pleasure. The feel of it gliding comfortably across it’s canvas, the sight of the ink flowing easily onto the page, and the beautiful writing it produces are reason enough to invest in a quality writing instrument. Besides high quality, there are a number of other factors that you should look for when selecting just the right pen for your needs. Taking these features into consideration will help you to purchase a pen that will meet your particular writing needs, look beautiful, and last you over the long term.

Nib Material

Stainless-Steel-Pen-Nib-300x225The first feature you should look for is a gold nib. The nib is the tip of the pen, where the ink flows out onto the paper. The type of nib you choose will have the greatest impact on the appearance of your writing. The nib can be made of a variety of materials, such as steel or platinum. The material from which the nib is made affects how it works and feels. For instance, a stainless steel tip will catch more on the paper, creating more friction than other types of nibs. Gold nibs, on the other hand, generally provide a very smooth feel as they glide over the paper. They are recommended for purchase by those who have already practiced writing with a fountain pen, since the extra smooth flow can make it more difficult to maintain consistent handwriting without practice. However, this type of nib provides a good combination of luxurious feel and reasonable price. They generally come in 14K gold and provide a comfortable, pleasurable experience and beautiful writing.

Nib Width

The second feature you should look for is a nib width that meets your writing needs. Fountain pens come with a variety of nib sizes: Extra fine, fine, medium, and broad. Each nib width offers a different writing experience and is, therefore, suitable for different situations. For instance, extra fine or fine width pens minimize the amount of ink that bleeds through the paper or smudges during writing. As a result, they are the ideal size for taking notes or conducting any type of writing that requires precision, accuracy, and clarity. On the other hand, a wide nib serves as the ideal size for calligraphy, or fast writing. However, for everyday use, a medium width nib is ideal. This size creates clear, appealing writing in all of the wide range of situations you will encounter in your day to day writing, from signing your name to creating a shopping list to writing business memo or crafting a love letter. It is, therefore, the best size to look for if you intend to only buy one or two pens instead of purchasing a pen for specialized uses.

Pen Weight

The third feature you should consider is the weight of the pen. Its weight will depend primarily upon the material from which it is made. For instance, gold pens tend to be heavier. Each one you look at should come with a weight ranking of either light, medium or heavy. The ideal weight for you will depend primarily on your own personal preferences, as well as your own previous experience with fountain pens. For instance, some people prefer a lightweight pen that is easier to handle, while others enjoy the more luxurious feel of a heavier pen. In general, a medium-weight pen will provide the smoothest and most comfortable writing experience, particularly if you are writing for any length of time. A medium weight pen will also be least likely to cause hand strain, even if you do not have much experience handling a weighty pen.


The fourth feature you should look for when choosing a fountain pen is beauty. Nib material, nib size, and pen weight are all practical considerations that will affect the function of the pen. However, beauty is just as important, because you are investing money into this item and will be using it on a regular basis for many years to come. As a result, you deserve to own a gorgeous pen that makes the very act of writing feel important and elegant. Beauty is also a very subjective feature. You can find many different types of fountain pens, from basic models to those that possess fancy accents. The one you choose should be the one that you find the most luxurious and appealing and that makes you excited to use it. Details that may add to the appeal of the pen include accents along the edge, pens consisting of gold, or a particularly sleek or elegant design.

Pen Material

nib width-284x300Finally, you also want to select a pen that is made of high quality material. Real gold and metals, as well as a careful design create a writing instrument that will be durable and worth every penny you invest in it. In fact, quality is so important that you should reconsider any item you find that meets all of your other criteria but does not appear to be well-built. You can gain an idea of a particular pen’s quality by consulting reviews from others who have used that type before you. If you see many complaints of the pen breaking, needing to have parts replaced, or generally not meeting consumers’ expectations, you should turn your attention to other types of pens that have a better reputation.


Each of these features affects how the pen looks and feels as you use it. As a result, many of these features are a matter of personal preference as to which is the best fountain pen for you. For instance, an artist who wants to use a pen to draw might be more concerned with its nib, while a corporate executive may emphasize a gorgeous appearance and weighty feel. However, each of these features is vital in choosing just the right fountain pen for you, because the wrong selection can leave you with one that is uncomfortable, difficult to use, or simply unsatisfying. As a result, a careful consideration of nib material and width, as well as the weight, appearance, and quality of the pen can help you choose a writing instrument that you will enjoy and use for the long term.

Updated: October 14, 2014 — 2:54 am

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