Is Parker Or Waterman Better – Our Parker Vs Waterman Comparison!

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As more and more people move over to using a more reputable pen brand rather than a standard disposable pen, we have noticed more and more people reaching out for advice and comparisons between the pen manufacturing giants. Although we have seen requests for a number of different brand comparisons, we have noticed a number of people specifically reaching out and asking if Parker or Waterman make better pens.

Due to this, we have decided to publish this dedicated Parker vs Waterman comparison article in the hope that we will be able to help any of our readers who are considering going with either of these brands. Although we already have an article going over if Parker pens are good, we have not pitched them head to head against Waterman before.

Although the Parker pen range is slightly more popular and well known than the Waterman pen range in North America, the brands tend to be tied in Europe and Asia with both being about as popular as each other. That said though, the reputation of the Parker pen range does pushout ever so slightly ahead of Waterman range globally.

Are Parker Or Waterman Better Pens

As with the majority of comparisons in the pen world, the better brand for you is depend on what you actually need out of your pen as well as what you will be using it for. Depending on your situation and circumstances, the Parker range may be better for some of our readers where as the Waterman range may be better for others. Due to this, we are going to be going over the main key features of all pens and covering the advantages and disadvantages of both Parker and Waterman.

Cost Breakdowns

When it comes to the price tag of the pens throughout the various price ranges, we feel that the Parker pen range takes the lead all the way from their entry-level pens, to their intermediate-level pens, to their premium-level pens. Although the difference in price is usually only between five and ten percent, the Waterman pens are almost always more expensive than their Parker counterparts without really having anything to show for the higher price tag.

We feel that this is one of the reasons that the reputation and popularity of the Parker pen range is better than the Waterman pen range in North America due to the lower price tag while having very similar functionality. Although many penthusiasts and pen collectors are happy to pay higher price tags for their pens, they want something in return and similar or in some cases, worse functionality is not going to cut it.

Nib Design And Performance

When it comes to the Parker and Waterman pen nibs, they are both winners and loses at the same time depending on the type of pen that you actually want to add to your collection. Although bot pen brands do offer excellent nibs that offer a smooth writing experience, they do tend to specialise in different writing mechanisms to each other making each brand the better option in their own specialist field.

For example, if you are specifically looking for a ballpoint or rollerball pen then the Parker pen range is the obvious option but if you are looking for a fountain pen then the Waterman pen range pushes ahead. Due to this, both pen brands are winners for the pen-type that they prioritize in their range while the other beats then for the pen-type they seem to view as a supplementary product.

Provided you stick with our recommendation by pen type above relative to our featured brands, you will be getting a smooth writing experience all the way up through the price brackets. That said though, in our opinion, when you get to the intermediate and above fountain pen price bracket, you should be looking towards the Pelikan range of fountain pens rather than the Waterman range as they out perform them with ease while having a similar price tag.

Pen Barrel Engineering

When it comes to the pen barrels for Parker and Waterman, we have to call it a draw as both brands use a very similar design and production process to each other using very similar materials. We belive that this may be due to Waterman being a French pen brand as well as Parker having around half of its production and design work done in France too with the same people working for both brands at different periods of time.

No matter the specific pen model you opt for, both Parker and Waterman offer excellent barrels on their pens that are as tough and as lightweight as possible for their relative price brackets. As you will probably be able to guess, as you work your way up through the pen price ranges, the quality of the barrels improve ensuring that they are as tough and light as possible the more you pay for your pen as the higher price tag allows better materials to be used.

Pen Cap Systems

It is difficult to compare the pen cap systems for both Parker and Waterman as most of the pens in the Parker range are capless where as most of the pens in the Waterman range are capped. Although this may seem as though Waterman should win the category, we are going to call it a draw again as the Parker pen models that are capped offer excellent quality caps.

As we touched on above, we would guess that this could be due to similar designers working on different pen models for both brands resulting in a very similar capping system for both brands. Both brands tend to stick to a push to lock system on their caps for their entry-level pens where as they then move into a twist lock system for their intermediate and premium-level price point pens as is industry standard for most brands.

Ink Capacity And Products

As we have mentioned earlier in the article, as Parker tends to specialize in cartridge-based ballpoint and rollerball pens and Waterman tends to specialize in fountain pens, each brand beat the other in their relative ink delivery systems but only by a small margin. The official Parker refills are cheap, reliable, easy to refill, and very easy to find both online and in your local photography stores pushing them ahead for ink refills.

That said though, the Waterman ink bottles for fountain pens is up there with the Pelikan Edelstein Ink that we consider to be one of the best inks in the world right now. The Waterman ink is a little pricey but most people who opt for a decent fountain pen also want the writing experience associated with a higher price point fountain pen and are willing to spend more for their ink for a better experience.

On the flipside of that though, the Noodlers Ink range is our default recommendation to our readers due to it offering outstanding performance for its low price tag as well as it having such a wide range of different colors. No matter what you are trying to do with your Parker or Waterman fountain pen, we are confident that Noodlers will have the ink color you require.

Over All Pen Range And Reputation

As we mentioned back at the start of the article, although the popularity of Parker and Waterman pens tends to be tied in both Europe and Asia with Parker being a little more popular in North America, the reputation of the Parker brand does sneak out ahead of Waterman globally. We feel that this is due to the Parker pen range having smashed the ball out of the park time and time again without fail with each new model release.

This has rightfully earned Parker the reputation that they enjoy globally and although Waterman do have a solid reputation and have no failed pen models, they definitely have a small number of mediocre pens that had high price tags. If you are in North America, around half of the Parker pens made each year are made in the USA too and this can be a buying factor for many Americans too.

When it comes to the actual pen models and price ranges of Parker and Waterman, both brands do have models available in all price brackets but as we mentioned, Parker tends to focus on ballpoint and rollerball pens where as Waterman focus more on fountain pens. Due to this, the brand for you will probably be decided by the type of pen that you want as well as what you will actually be using the pen for too.


That brings our article going over if Parker pens are better than Waterman pens. We hope that our Parker vs Waterman comparison articles have helped you make your choice and as we mentioned, the Parker pen range tends to be the better option for ballpoint or rollerball pens where as the Waterman pen range tends to be a better option for fountain pens.