One of the coolest things about fountain pens is having the ability to pick from a wide range of characteristics when shopping for a new one. You can choose a pen based on brand, filling systems, nib sizes, materials, price, and other properties. But the best part is that you don't have to compromise on quality to stay in a lower price range.
If you're looking for a fountain pen on the lower end of a price point but still want a solid writing tool that won't constantly malfunction, we've listed our top seven fountain pens for under $25.
The Pilot Varsity is a fashionable fountain pen that could be used as a disposable tool, although you don't actually have to throw it away. In fact, if you don't want to replace this pen, you can pull out the nib and feed unit to refill it as an eyedropper.
It's priced at just below $5, but don't let the cost fool you. This pen has been known to shock users with its flawless writing experience, even if it's unattended for several months, which would be impressive even for a $300 pen. The Varsity also comes with a medium steel nib and is pre-loaded with ink, ready to write!
For less than $10, you can purchase a Platinum Preppy. While the Varsity is limited to only one nib size, the Preppy allows you to choose from extra-fine, fine, or medium. Platinum is a Japanese brand famously known for creating extra-fine nibs that give you an extremely narrow line width, which isn't the easiest to manufacture. That said, getting a Preppy with an extra-fine nib for under $7 is pretty amazing!
The Preppy's first cousin, the Platinum Prefounte, probably wins the aesthetics award in comparison, but it's a hair more expensive. If you were to splurge on one of these two pens, choosing the Preppy is the more economical choice. Both of these pens come with a Platinum ink cartridge, and you can purchase a converter separately for use with bottled ink.
The Pilot Kaküno is the underdog of this list and comes in at just under $15.
The steel nib used on this fountain pen is the same one that Pilot has on pens priced at more than $60. This doesn't mean that any fountain pen priced above the Kaküno is too expensive or isn't worth buying; it just means that the Kaküno gives you a premium writing experience for more than four times less than other writing instruments.
The Kakuno also features a fun feature – a smiley face on the nib that varies depending on the pen color! Writing with this pen will bring a smile to your face too.
The Sailor Compass HighAce Neo differs from the rest of the pens on this list because it only comes with calligraphy nibs. You can also call these stub nibs, which have flat tips instead of rounded ones. The stub nib produces a broad line on the downstroke, and a thin line when writing side-to-side. For $20, you can practice some neat lettering styles, making this pen worth trying.
The Compass HighAce Neo also has a clear feed, which is both fun to watch and easy to see after thoroughly cleaning the pen.
One of the most popular introductory pens in the fountain pen industry is the Pilot Metropolitan, which falls just above the $25 price range, but we thought it was close enough to still include on this list.
The Metropolitan delivers the same writing experience as the Kaküno but has a coated brass body with a streamlined profile, which may appeal to various preferences. It's a solid-weighing pen, especially for its affordability, and although it may not come with a smiley face nib like the Kaküno, it does come with a converter. You can start writing immediately without dropping a few more dollars on a converter if you already have a preferred ink at home.
Next up is the Diplomat Magnum, an incredible fountain pen that comes in a vast array of beautiful colors with a chic pearlescent finish, including our favorite Prismatic Purple, a color exclusive to Goulet Pens.
This lightweight writing tool has a little cutout in the barrel where you can see your ink level. But what really makes this pen one of the best under $25 is the nib. The Magnum's nib is almost bouncy, making writing comfortable and consistent for a competitive price.
Our last pen on the list is the Pilot Explorer coming in right at $25. The Explorer has the same nib as the Kaküno and the Metropolitan, but the body is a combination of them both. Plastic like the Kaküno, but streamlined like the Metropolitan. Its lightweight feel may mislead people into thinking it's not a valuable tool, but the Explorer brings variety to the table that's priceless!
The Explorer provides many standard options in terms of color, material, and finish, but they do have some wild cards in their deck. For example, the Pilot Explorer in White is sharp and polished, the Black Matte is flat and soft, and the Clear is entirely transparent. The unique selection of Explorers allows you to find a color to connect with, which most fountain pen lovers genuinely value.
That's our list of our favorite fountain pens under $25! All the pens listed are great candidates for gifts, first-time pens, or travel. To accurately compare each fountain pen listed to more expensive ones, or each other, check out our Pen Plaza. Write on!