“What’s a good pen that a beginner can buy?” is probably something that I always get asked every week, and it makes me happy every time I get a message like that—for it means that people are curious, and people are trying. That means more potential pen geeks, so I always count that as a win!
After every handwriting class that I hold, I send a love letter to my students, which doubles as a shopping list, for it has a list of brands of paper they can practice with/hoard and pens that they can also buy. Since most of the students that I get in my classes consider themselves as newbies to fountain pens, inks and papers that cost more than lunch, I break them in by giving them a list of the pens I’ve personally tried, and I make sure nothing is over P2000 (roughly 40USD). I’m sharing that list here today, in the hopes that it’d be of help to those who are looking for a good pen to start their fountain pen journey with.
From left: Lamy Safari, Platinum Prefounte, Platinum Plaisir, TWSBI Eco, Kaweco Sport, Kaweco Perkeo, Pilot Prera, Pilot 78G, Pilot Kakuno, Pilot Metropolitan.
I don’t really recommend anything that I haven’t tried, so if you think the pens that I’ve included in this list are a bit limited, well, because it is just limited to the pens that I’ve used… and abused. Also do take note that with respect to fountain pens, a pen that costs P2000 or less is relatively cheap. Fountain pens get such a bad rep for being so crazy expensive—I mean, some pens are very very pricey, minsan para ka nang bumili ng tao, but there are pens that are budget-friendly too. I just felt the need to put some sort of disclaimer here, to keep the haters at bay. Actually, I don’t mind naman. HEH.
Under P1000 (20USD):
- Platinum Plaisir — It’s actually an upgraded Platinum Preppy. I’d say that the Platinum Preppy is also a good buy too for a starter pen, but I did not really like the feel of its body, as it felt like I could discard it after one use. (Some people actually do.) The Plaisir is something that I’d recommend more, since it has a much better feel and it comes in a LOT of colors, so that’s a win, right?
- Platinum Prefounte — This one’s a more recent release and I just recently got my hands on it. (I waited for it actually before posting this entry.) It’s way cheaper than the Plaisir, but there’s also so much difference between the feel and balance of both pens. I must say though, that I’m a Platinum biatch, so my default is to love anything that Platinum comes up with!
- Kaweco Perkeo — I was so happy when I got my Perkeo in 2017, because the Perkeo proved to be another no-fuss pen that writes well. It has a grip that kind of resembles that of a Lamy’s, but it proved to be very comfortable to write with, even if you’ll hold it for looooong periods of time.
- Pilot 78G — I don’t know if this is a bit easy to get right now, but this has been my go-to pen for my handwriting classes. I’d always tune it first though before distributing it, as the 78G is a very dry writer, and I like it for my students to experience the difference with the flow of ink in a fountain pen, especially when most of the people who enroll in my classes have not exactly been exposed to a lot of fountain pens. The 78G has a plastic body, but it looks way too regal in person for you to actually think that it costs less than P500 (10USD).
- Pilot Kakuno — This is the current pen that I include in my handwriting classes for it’s a lot easier to get nowadays than the 78G. Writing with the Kakuno feels the same to me as it does with a 78G. The smiley face on the Kakuno’s nib is also a plus, very kawaiiiii! For my (cancelled) classes in Malaysia, we were supposed to give the students Pilot Kakuno to use in class. That’s how much faith I have in this pen, haha!
- Pilot Metropolitan — It’d be such a joke if I talked about beginner fountain pens and not have the Pilot Metropolitan in the list. I think it was in 2013 or 2014 when I got my first Metropolitan from Cosmos Bazaar (in Binondo) and it only cost P540-ish. This pen would be one of my automatic answers whenever I’d get asked what pen they should get. It writes well and Pilot is known for its high regard for quality with its pens at any price point.
Under P2000 (40USD):
- TWSBI Eco — (If I had an Eco T, I’d put that pen in this list too!) When the TWSBI Eco came out in 2016 (if I remember correctly, haha), pen people went crazy and the Eco was sold out in a snap. It only had two colors at first (black and white) and it was TWSBI’s answer to a new breed of fountain pen users who weren’t in it to be flashy. Maraming masasagasaan nyang sentence na yan, but again, I don’t care—HAHA. The TWSBI Eco takes its name from the vision of TWSBI for what it should be: economical. The nibs of TWSBI Eco’s don’t really disappoint, and it’s a steal for a pen with a piston mechanism.
- Kaweco Sport — I had reservations before buying this pen since I have big, big hands and it’s such a small pen. It’s meant to be posted when used and it’s meant to be used, trust me.
- Pilot Prera — This is another small pen, so I had so much reluctance to use it at first, until I got one with a solid yellow body. It’s balanced enough, even for people with big hands and who write a lot—like me!
- Lamy Safari — This one’s the last on this list as I’ve always had a tumultuous relationship with Lamy, as it always makes my handwriting look weird. But it is very very worthy to be a starter pen, as it writes smooth and it comes in quite an impressive array of colors, too!
Again, I cannot stress this enough: these pens are just the ones that I’ve used (and abused). There are a number of pens that are worthy enough to be called a beginner pen that did not make it to my list, so I urge you guys to research too. Let me know if you agree with my list (or not).
Next entry: writing samples!