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Nowadays, fountain pens are an anachronism – they’ve mainly been pushed out of the market by cheap ballpoint pens and newer gel-based ink pens.
Once upon a time, they were the premier writing instrument on the scene and for good reason: they were more convenient than dip pens, and offered a convenient, mostly dripless design.
While inexpensive alternatives to fountain pens are much more convenient, they lack a certain personality and verve when writing that can only be found in a classic fountain pen.
In our guide below, we’ll help you find the best fountain pen under $100. The $100 price range is just right in order for you to find a quality pen that is worth the purchase, so here, we will help you navigate your way through the top 6 models!
What to Consider When Buying Fountain Pens
Fountain pens, being as old and exotic as they are, aren’t all built alike. Some of the primary differences concern the method of ink refills. Read on below.
- Cartridge-Based Vs. Bottled (Converter). The biggest differences between fountain pens lie mostly in how they accept ink – modern fountain pens usually accept cartridge-based ink. These self-contained, plastic units slide into the pen, and click into place, after which an internal mechanism pierces the plastic, and allows ink to flow.
- Converter-Based. Pens don’t use a cartridge at all – instead, they use a specialized device that comes out of the pen and is placed into a large bottle of ink, sucking ink into it either via capillary action or through suction.
Some pens can use both cartridges and converters, but it’s rare for them to come with both. The costs are pretty similar overall, with converter-based pens offering a very slight economic advantage over cartridge-based pens.
Top 6 Fountain Pen Under $100 Table
Ink reservoirs aren’t the only things that change depending on the model of fountain pen
- Nib Plating Material. The material of the nib (the end of the pen through which ink flows) is more than just an aesthetic decision. Mostly, nibs are made out of stainless steel or plated with 14k gold.
Both stainless steel and gold offer an excellent surface “wettability” – that is, they are able to contain and hold ink on the surface without it dropping off. If price is no object, Gold is preferable in this regard, as it offers a slightly higher performance than stainless steel.
Top 3 Best Fountain Pen Under $100 Reviews
The Waterman Expert Fountain Pen has been crafted with a Parisian-styled, cigar-shaped profile which incorporates a gorgeous black lacquered body with bright, lustrous gold accents. This combination creates an elegant, sophisticated pen that is just as functional as it is beautiful.
This French-made pen also includes a 23K gold-plated stainless steel nib, which offers a fantastic combination of durability and wettability, and helps the ink flow freely over the page – no stuttering, blotching, or other undesirable issues. This pen also comes with a converter, which makes it perfect for traditionalists who don’t want a cartridge-based pen.
Finally, the Waterman Expert Fountain Pen comes with a three-year warranty which can be extended to five years upon registration of the pen, so you can rest easy, knowing your purchase is protected.
The durability, elegance, and practicality of this pen elevate it beyond others on this list, and for that reason, it’s certainly a fantastic choice if you’re looking for the best fountain pen under $100.
This fountain pen by Cross is an exquisite product, designed with a sleek design that’s at once futuristic and retro, in a pure stainless steel with a simple black rear cap accent. It’s also cartridge-based, so if you don’t want to deal with manually refilling ink from a bottle, this product is a great choice.
It’s eminently practical, as well – no need to worry about spilled ink, as the threaded cap and barrel design allow it to be tightly fastened when not in use. This pen also comes with a gift box, and has a lifetime mechanical guarantee.
Presented in a luxurious gift box, this distinctive rhodium-plated fountain pen is a great gift. The subtle blue and black coloration and beautiful metal details accent the stainless steel nib, which is built for flawless ink flow and a quick-drying writing experience, avoiding smears and smudges.
This pen also comes with two included cartridges, but a converter can be purchased if one desires to refill their ink in the traditional style, directly from a bottle.
Despite its slim profile, this pen feels weighty and solid – while holding it, you get a true feeling that you’re using a precision writing instrument.