15 Common Fountain Pen Questions Answered!

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Fountain pens are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people switch over from using a standard ballpoint or rollerball pen to using a fountain pen. Although most people have picked up one of the better entry-level fountain pens on the market, some people have opted for an intermediate price point fountain pen or even a premium price point fountain pen.

With so many people making the switch over to using a fountain pen, we have noticed more and more people reaching out with a wide range of questions covering pretty much everything that you could ever think of. Due to this, we have decided to publish this dedicated review going over the most commonly asked questions about fountain pens that we see time and time again to try and help any of our readers who also have the same question in the future.

As we are covering so many questions all in the same article, we have decided to add our table of contents below to help any of our readers save time by going directly to their question that they need help with instead of skimming the whole article. If you are brand new to using a fountain pen though, it may actually be worth at least skimming over all of the questions as many of them may be useful to you.

Why Is A Fountain Pen Expensive?

Fountain pens tend to be expensive due to the time and effort put into the craftsmanship of designing the product as well as high-quality manufacturing. Although there are a number of budget-friendly fountain pens on the market that perform well enough while having a price tag of around $20 depending on retailer, there are some premium price point fountain pens that can be almost $1000 or more.

As you may be able to guess, the higher you go up the the price scale the better the quality resulting in a better, smoother writing experience. That said though, even the modern day entry-level fountain pens tend to offer a very smooth writing experience right out the box without the need for you to break the bank when purchasing them.

How Much Should I Spend On A Fountain Pen?

You should only spend as much on a fountain pen as needed to meet your requirements out of that particular pen. In our opinion, the Lamy Safari is an excellent budget-friendly fountain pen that should easily meet the needs of most of our readers without breaking the bank. It is usually only around $20 depending on where you purchase it from but it offers you excellent performance and functionality.

From there you can go with something like the Lamy 2000 that has a more intermediate price tag attached to it but does offer a number of advantages for this including a better writing experience amongst other things. When it comes to the higher price point fountain pens such as the Pelikan m800 it becomes more about the prestige associated with the pen than its performance.

Are Expensive Fountain Pens Worth It?

For a small number of people, an expensive fountain pen can be worth it as it offers the best possible performance as well as a certain level of bragging rights for something like the Montblanc 149. The people who usually purchase these expensive fountain pens are usually either very wealthy and prefer luxury items or fountain pen collectors who collect rare and valuable fountain pens as their hobby.

In our opinion, although the Montblanc 149 does have a huge amount of prestige attached to it due to having being from the Montblanc range, when it comes to the actual performance of the pen, something like the Pelikan m800 offers users a very similar writing experience while saving you a few hundred dollars. Unless you specifically want something like the Montblanc 149, there will almost always be cheaper alternative options around that you can go with instead.

Is A Fountain Pen Good For Everyday Use?

A fountain pen is an excellent option for everyday use with many people using a cheap yet high-quality fountain pen as their everyday carry for general writing. Depending on how much writing you will be doing each day as well as if you want a better writing experience out of your everyday fountain pen, you can use the Lamy 2000 but most of our readers should be fine with the entry-level option that saves money.

As we have touched on throughout the article, although there are an absolute ton of high-quality fountain pens on the market that cost many hundreds of dollars, the majority of our readers will not need them for their everyday carry when it comes to their pen. The cheaper options will do the majority of what you need without you having to break the bank with their price tags.

Does Fountain Pen Improve Handwriting?

As we covered in our article on the best pen for ugly handwriting, simply making the switch to a fountain pen can help to improve your handwriting and offer a quick, easy, and cheap win. Again, our recommendation for anyone looking to improve their handwriting with a fountain pen is the Lamy Safari as it is very cheap, has an excellent writing experience, and performs very well.

When it comes to improving your handwriting, there is no substitute for putting in the time and effort with practise, a decent fountain pen can definitely help. Although this is down to a number of reasons, one of the main ones is the fact that the nib has more flex in it than a ballpoint or rollerball pen allowing you to keep the natural movements of your hand when writing.

How Often Should I Clean Fountain Pen?

You should clean the average fountain pen once every four to eight weeks depending on usage. A cheap flush cleaning kit it a quick, easy, and cheap way to clean your fountain pen for regular fountain pen maintenance and will work flawlessly on any fountain pens that use a piston filler, vacuum filler or cartridge convertor system.

We know that a large number of our readers never clean their fountain pens but it can be done in a matter of minutes in most situations. Taking the time to actually clean your fountain pen on a regular basis offers a number of benefits with the main one being that dried ink and gunk is removed from the ink path keeping the ink flow consistent.

How Many Fountain Pens Do You Need?

The majority of people will only need one fountain pen and something like the Lamy Safari will easily be able to get the job done. That said, fountain pens do tend to be slightly addictive if you are required to write using pen and paper on a regular basis and people usually start to accumulate or collect different fountain pens at a rapid pace.

Do Fountain Pens Use More Ink?

A fountain pen can use more ink than other pen types but it will depend on the specific nib size that you use with your fountain pen. The larger the nib size the larger the font it produces and the more ink that is required when writing with the pen. An extra-fine, fine or fine-medium nib size will usually use a similar amount of ink to other pens where as a medium, broad or double-broad nib size will usually use more.

On top of this, some pen brands such as Pelikan intentionally design their nibs to be wet writing to offer the smoothest possible writing experience for their users. If you have a fountain pen that has a wet writing nib then it will use more ink than a standard or dry writing nib.

We always recommend that our readers consider using Noodlers ink with their fountain pen if it uses a piston filler or vacuum filler system as it offers excellent performance, comes with a low price tag, has a huge selection of colors, and one of the best reputations out there. Although the majority of fountain pen brands do try to get you to only use their ink with their pens, this is an attempt to get more money out of you. Noodlers ink has a huge customer base and one of the best reputations going while often being much cheaper than the competing ink on the market too.

How Often Do You Refill Fountain Pens?

Depending on the specific model and how often you use your fountain pen, you could be refilling it anywhere from once per week to once per three months. We would suspect that the average person will be refilling their fountain pen once every six weeks or so with expected use.

There are a number of factors that come into play as different fountain pen models have a different maximum ink capacity as well as using different amounts of ink when writing as covered above. In addition to this, different types of paper will absorb ink at different rates meaning that you may have to press harder to transfer more ink for a thicker font on thin paper too.

Do Fountain Pens Leak In Your Pocket?

Although very rare, a fountain pen can leak in your pocket but this is almost always due to user error or damage to the fountain pen. A modern fountain pen that is not damaged and has its cap placed on it correctly prior to being put in your pocket should never leak or have any issues with its ink causing a mess on your clothing.

As we touched on earlier in the article, if you are using a cartridge based fountain pen then try to always stick to the official ink cartridge that your fountain pen brand product for that specific pen model. This is due to some third-party ink cartridges not forming a tight seal and potentially resulting in the ink leaking when the pen itself is not actually at fault.

Are Fountain Pens Hard To Use?

When it comes to general writing, many people find a fountain pen easier to write with due to the nib often being wetter than a ballpoint or rollerball pen resulting in a smoother writing experience. When it comes to maintenance and ink refills, a fountain pen can be harder than a ballpoint or rollerball, especially if your pen uses a piston filler for its ink but in the grand scheme of things, it is still very easy to use.

No matter what fountain pen model you settle on, you will be able to find an article on our blog or on YouTube going over exactly what you have to do, step by step for any task that you may find. In our opinion, the better writing experience that a fountain pen offers you as the user is well worth it and once you know how to refill or clean your fountain pen, it can be done in a matter of minutes once a month.

When Should I Replace My Fountain Pen Nib?

Replacing your fountain pen nib will depend on the actual nib as well as what you have been using it for. A stainless steel nib will usually have to be changed more than a 14 carat gold nib and the majority of gold fountain pen nibs will never need to be changed unless they are damaged.

Please note that we often see people trying to change their fountain pen nibs when they have misaligned tines. This is essentially a waste of money as the majority of the time, you are able to realign the tines in your fountain pen within minutes using the process in the video below.

Does Anyone Still Use Fountain Pens?

Since the initial surge in people moving over to using a fountain pen a few years back, the popularity of people using fountain pens has been steadily increasing with each passing year. Although both the penthusiast and fountain pen collector community has always been strong, it is nice to see more and more people making the switch over to using a fountain pen.

Are Fountain Pens Messy?

The modern fountain pen has been specifically designed to not be messy when used and the design of the pen drastically reduces the chance of having any issues with your writing. Modern nibs are considerably better than they used to be and the steadily increasingly popular cartridge convertor system has also had a number of improvements over they years.

If you fountain pen is messy when writing with it then there is a good chance that the pen is damaged. One of the main causes of this can be misaligned tines on the nib or using third-party ink cartridges as covered earlier in the article. Both tend to be a very easy and cheap fix but some of the more difficult issues may require a trip to your local stationary store to have an expert take a look at your pen.

Can You Write With A Fountain Pen Upside Down?

Some fountain pens are able to write upside down without issue allowing you to use the fountain pen for a number of less common jobs outside of general writing. The cheaper, entry-level fountain pens on the market do tend to be worse at writing upside down though so try to go with an intermediate price point pen if you suspect that you will have to be writing upside down on a regular basis.


That brings our article going over the most commonly asked fountain pen questions that we see to a close. We hope that you have found the article helpful and that we have answered your question. Fountain pens can be an excellent writing utensil and are well worth trying out as most people tend to take to them and stick with using a fountain pen over other pen types. With modern fountain pens having a larger number of cheap, entry-level options that perform well, there has been no other time to try one out.