Best Beginner Fountain Pens for Newbies (Pen Test Included!)
HAY, how art you? Do you own a fountain pen? Writing with a fountain pen is such a game-changer if you are into journaling, or need to write for long periods of time. I got to try out two very popular beginner fountain pens recently and I love the experience! In this article, I will be sharing more about the Lamy Safari FP and the Pilot Metropolitan FP. If you are interested, keep scrolling to know more about them!
Beginner Fountain Pens Video
Check out the following video to watch the unboxing and pen test!
beginner fountain pens – Supplies
Lamy Safari Fountain Pen
The Lamy Safari fountain pen is housed in a minimal dark grey cardboard box, with slits around the middle which allow you to get a sneak peak of the pen’s colour. The cardboard is not of particularly thick paper, and it may get crushed if not handled with care.
Inside the box, the pen is secured on a piece of cardboard paper to prevent it from rattling around. The only other item included is a small warranty information slip. If a user is totally new to fountain pens (like myself), some Googling is required to find out how to get the pen inked and ready.
2. Pen ANatomy
I received the Lamy Safari in red, and it comes with an extra fine nib. The pen’s body is made of ABS plastic with a glossy finish. The overall look is very utilitarian and fun, without the formal look of a typical fountain pen. It comes with a chrome clip, an ink window, as well as an imprinted Lamy logo at the top of the pen. The pen has a moulded grip which I am very thankful for, as it makes holding the pen very comfortable and easy.
The default ink cartridge is the Lamy LT10 blue ink cartridge. To fill the pen with ink, simply remove the cardboard ring stopper and screw the barrel shut to puncture the cartridge. Then, leave the pen in a vertical position for about a minute to let the ink fill up the feed.
3. Pen Test & Writing Experience
I tested the pen on a Rhodia dot pad. Rhodia paper is very smooth and fountain pen friendly. Not all papers are compatible, and I didn’t want to shortchange the pens by using paper that may cause the ink to bleed and feather.
The ink flow is very smooth, making writing very enjoyable. I read that Lamy tests all their pens at their factory with blue ink, so the first few strokes that you make may contain the residual ink. The ink is significantly darker after about ten minutes, so it is best to wait a little longer if you want to write with a stronger ink flow. One little complain that I have about the ink is that I wish the default cartridge is black and not blue.
The pen feels light in my hand, which is probably due to the plastic material. It is a strange experience, almost like I am writing with an extra-smooth ballpoint pen (but with ink!). I love the grip the Lamy Safari provides, and I can definitely see myself using this pen for journaling and note-taking.
4. Additional Thoughts
For the price point of the Lamy Safari, I wish the packaging is a little sturdier, and perhaps more presentable for gifting. It doesn’t come with any cartridge converter, though you can purchase a compatible one at around $6.
The most exciting thing about Lamy Safari is probably the limited edition colours which Lamy launches every year. I am already eyeing the 2022 special edition cream colour, which looks really cute and vintage (even the clip is cream-coloured)! The pens also come in both matte and glossy finishes, and a variety of nib sizes ranging from extra fine to broad.
Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen
The Pilot Metropolitan comes in a grey cardboard box. The box is about twice the width and significantly sturdier than the Lamy Safari box. Upon opening the box, I was pleased to see that the pen comes with a simple pen case. My first thought was that it makes a great gifting choice. There is also a use and care guide which comes with all the required information on how to set up and care for the pen, which is super helpful for fountain pen newbies.
2. Pen Anatomy
The pen looks slightly luxurious and can pass off as more expensive than it actually is. I received the turquoise version with a fine nib. The finish is matte metallic, and it is made using brass material with stainless steel accents. It has a chrome clip, and a belly trim with a retro dot design. There is a subtle Pilot logo on the pen cap. The overall look makes it suitable for use in both casual and formal work settings.
The Pilot black ink cartridge sits in the pen case, and after unscrewing the pen, you will find an additional squeeze converter inside. In my opinion, the converter and pen case provide so much value for money for the Pilot Metropolitan’s price point.
3. Pen Test & Writing Experience
As I wanted to try the squeeze converter, I did not install the Pilot ink cartridge. The only ink that I have on hand is Daniel Smith walnut ink, so I experimented with filling the converter with this ink. This ink is meant for use with dip pens and not fountain pens, but it worked, to my surprise. On second thoughts, it is a risky move as the ink might damage the pen, so I would advise you to check the ink’s compatibility before trying it out on your fountain pen.
Using the squeeze converter is not as troublesome as I imagined. To fill it with ink, just submerge the nib area fully in the ink, and squeeze a couple of times. Then, wipe the nib clean and screw the barrel back on. Leave the pen in a vertical position for a while to get the ink flowing. The capacity seems a little small, but it sufficed for testing purposes.
Upon writing, I was surprised that the fine nib is slightly finer than Lamy Safari’s extra fine, even though I am unsure if the ink choice played a part. There is no moulded grip on the pen, so I had to experiment a little to find a comfortable grip for this pen. The pen’s weight on my hand is more significant than the Lamy Safari’s, which is understandable since it is made of metal. The ink flow and writing experience is smooth, similar to using the Lamy Safari. The nib could be a little too fine for my liking though, but I would love to try the pen again with other inks or cartridges to make a fair comparison.
4. Additional Thoughts
Overall, I feel that the Pilot Metropolitan makes a good gift, and provides great value for money. I am not a fan of the overall aesthetics of the pen though, and the colour choices are not as extensive as the Lamy Safari’s. However, it is still a great beginner fountain pen especially if you are looking for a heavier pen with an elegant metallic finish.
Beginner Fountain Pens: A Summary
I have compiled an overview table of the two beginner fountain pens above. Hope you’ll find it helpful in your search for your first fountain pen!
My personal preference & final verdict
Overall value for money – Pilot Metropolitan
Colour choices – Lamy Safari
Nib choices – Lamy Safari
Pen grip experience – Lamy Safari
Pen aesthetics – Lamy Safari
Overall winner – Lamy Safari!
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Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning I earn a small percentage of commission via those links, but it doesn’t cost you anything extra! The fountain pens were gifted by Goldspot but all opinions are my own.