Over the years, Lamy has positioned themselves as the go-to pen brand of choice for anyone looking to pick up their first decent fountain pen, ballpoint pen or rollerball pen. Due to this, we constantly see people asking questions based on the perfect Lamy pen for their needs and budget with a large number of people asking for a direct Lamy Al-Star vs Lx comparison.
As have noticed more and more people reaching out and asking for this comparison specifically, we have decided to publish this article dedicated to putting the Lamy Al-Star and the Lamy Lx head to head with each other. Both pens are very similar in price point while offering very similar performance and functionality too so we can see why so many people reach out with questions about the better pen for their needs.
Although both the Lamy Al-Star and the Lamy Lx are available as a fountain pen, a rollerball pen, and a standard ballpoint pen, we will be focusing our article on the fountain pen variants of each model. Although a few people do specifically reach out for advice on the rollerball or ballpoint pen variants of each pen, the vast majority of people tend to be looking to purchase the fountain pen variant of either model of pen.
As usual, we have our comparison table below comparing some of the key features and benefits of both pens to each other, then we have a short text breakdown below that followed by our more in-depth look at both pens. We have found that formatting our articles in this way helps provide a quick and easy comparison for our readers who are short on time while also having all of the information required for anyone who wants to know as much about both pens as possible.
Lamy Al Star Vs Lx Head To Head
As you can see from our comparison table above, both the Lamy Al-Star and the Lamy Lx are very similar to each other in a number of ways. This is usually the case for most of the fountain pens in the Lamy range as the actual technology in all of their pens other than the Lamy 2000 are very similar to each other.
When it comes to the Lamy range, you are often paying for improved aesthetics of the pen as you work your way up their price range rather than and drastic improvement to its performance and functionality. Although the Lamy Lx definitely does look better than the Lamy Al-Star, the actual improvement in its performance and writing experience is minimal.
Although the Lx uses the z52 nib that is slightly smoother than the z50 nib on the Al-Star, all Lamy fountain pen nibs other than the Lamy 2000 are interchangeable meaning you can often purchase a Lamy z52 replacement nib and put it on your Lamy Al-Star to have the slightly smoother writing experience while the total cost can be cheaper than going with the Lx.
We have seen some people report that they go with the even cheaper Lamy Safari as their fountain pen of choice, purchase a Lamy z52 replacement nib to put on it and use that as their everyday fountain pen carry. Although it may seem like a hassle to switch out your nibs, it can help to keep costs as low as possible while offering a very similar writing experience.
This is true all the way up to the Lamy Studio where many of our readers will probably be better of just going with a cheaper model from the Lamy range and putting a better nib on it. The only stand out pen model in the Lamy range as explained in our Lamy 2000 vs Studio comparison article is the Lamy 2000 as it is an outstanding pen in its own right that uses the piston filler system can and outperform fountain pens with higher price tags than it.
We will now be taking a more in-depth look at both pens going over their advantages and disadvantages of each when compared to each other.
Lamy Al Star Review
The Lamy Al-Star is a very popular entry-level pen due to it offering you great performance and functionality without the need to break the bank. As we have touched on above, Lamy has not put as much effort into the coloring or finish of the pen as they have with the Lamy Lx in an attempt to keep its price tag as low as possible. Although there are a number of pen collectors out there, the majority of our readers looking at pens in this price bracket will probably looking for a functional pen rather than a potential collector’s item.
The Lamy Al-Star is available as a fountain pen, a ballpoint pen (shown in the image above), and a rollerball pen but the fountain pen variant of the pen is the most popular option by far. As the majority of people who ask for a comparison between the Al-Star and the Lx are looking to purchase the fountain pen variant, we will be focusing on that for our break down below.
The Lamy Al-Star Nib
The nib on the Lamy Al-Star is available in extra-fine, fine, medium, and bold with a standard western sizing. If you are used to using fountain pens from a North American company then the nib sizes from the Lamy range are extremely similar, if you are used to using fountain pens from a Japanese, Korean, or Chinese company then you will find the Lamy nib sizes to be around a size larger than you are used to. This is very common with fountain pen nibs from Western and Asian pen brands so if you are used to a fountain pen from an Asian brand, we would recommend you go with a size down on your Lamy Al-Star or Lx to stay with the size you are used to.
As you can probably guess from its price tag, the regular nibs on the Lamy Al-Star are made from stainless steel and although some people do upgrade to a Lamy platinum nib with gold plating, we really don’t think that it is worth it for either of our featured pens in this article. The gold plated nibs can help improve your writing experience but they are much more than the total price of the actual pen and if you do want a better nib, just go with the Lamy 2000 from the start as it has a much better nib than the rest of the Lamy range.
As we covered in more detail earlier in the article, the Lamy Al-Star uses the Lamy z50 that is the cheapest nib currently available in the Lamy range at the time of writing. Although replacement z50 nibs are easy to source, many people do upgrade to a Lamy z52 replacement nib as they are both at a very similar price point. In our opinion, going with the Lamy Al-Star and using z52 nibs with the pen is the better option than going with the Lamy Lx.
Although the standard z50 nib on the Al-Star does tend to offer a smooth writing experience relative to its price point in the market right out of the box, Lamy nibs can be somewhat of a lottery. You can purchase replacement nibs in bulk and out of a box of ten nibs, five of them may be silk smooth, three of them may be smooth, and two of them may be scratchy. Unfortunately, this is just the way it is with the lower price point Lamy nibs and most other fountain pen brands are very similar.
Although we have seen some people say that both the z50 and the z52 write wet, there are definitely wetter nibs on the market and although we would not consider the range to be dry nibs, we wouldn’t consider them to be wet writers either. We feel that they offer a nice middle-ground for people new to using fountain pens who are yet to decide if they prefer a wet write or a dry writer. Due to the price point of the pens, this fits the target markets for both models perfectly too.
As with most entry-level pen nibs on the market, they can be scratchier than normal when used on cheaper paper. Although this does tend to be slightly worse if you go with the extra-fine or fine nib, it can also happen with the medium and broad nibs too. Although there are a number of ways to correct this issue, we feel the easiest is to just write on a higher quality of paper when possible.
The Barrel Of The Lamy Al-Star
The body of the Lamy-Al Star is made from high-quality aluminium to keep the pen light while also being able to have the lowest price tag possible. Although the pen is tough when considered to other pens in this price bracket and should be able to take its fare share of punishment with out breaking, some people have reported they rather the barrel be made from steel. In our opinion, due to the low price point of the fountain pen, Lamy have gone with aluminium over steel to keep the weight low as if the pen does get damaged in an accident, its easy to replace it due to its low price tag.
The Lamy Al-Star has a transparent grip that lets you quickly and easily view the ink feed if required. Although the pen does have an ink viewing window that we will cover later in the article, it is nice to have a transparent grip so you can check how much ink you have left in the pen when it is running too low to check with the ink window. The grip is also ergonomically shaped to try and ensure that there is no fatigue build-up during those longer writing sessions and for its price point in the market, we feel Lamy has done a good job and reached its goal.
The Lamy Al-Star Cap
The cap of the Lamy Al-Star is also made from high-quality aluminum offering the same advantage as the barrel of the pen in that it is very light. This helps to keep the pen balanced when writing with the cap posted as it does not cause any problems with back weighting the pen due to a heavy cap. Even in this day and age, some of the entry-level fountain pens can have issues with back weighting due to poor pen design by the Lamy range tend to be very balanced writers either posted or uncapped.
Although the cap itself is made from aluminum, we do think that the clip on the cap is made from stainless steel. This is not much of an issue but it does have a slightly different feel when compared to the rest of the metal used on the pen. The clip is a little ridged but this is normal for a lower price point pen but it gets the job done and ensures that the pen will stay attached to your pocket or paper without accidentally falling off.
The Ink Reservoir Of The Lamy Al-Star
Unlike a piston filled fountain pen, there is not a traditional ink reservoir on the Lamy Al-Star model as it uses a cartridge converter system. The Lamy T10 ink cartridge mounts directly to the converter without any faff or time-wasting making it very quick and easy to switch your cartridge when you are low on ink. Although the black or blue T10 cartridges are the most popular by far, there are also a number of coloured T10 ink cartridges on the market.
Although this is not really a replacement for a piston-filled fountain pen that allows you to use any ink you want with it opening up a world of different ink shared and textures, it is nice to see Lamy going that extra mile for the users of their entry-level pens. If you do want a piston filler fountain pen then the Lamy 2000 is an excellent option but its price tag is higher than both the Lamy Al-Star and the Lamy Lx.
The T10 cartridge holds 1.15ml of ink and the low price of the cartridges makes it easy for you to stock up on them to ensure that you never run out of ink. If you do want to switch between ink colors when your current cartridge runs out then the cleaning process for the pen and its nib is very simple and straight forward making it easy to switch from one color to another.
Lamy Lx Review
As you can probably guess from what we have said throughout our Lamy Al-Star vs Lx comparison so far, when it comes to the performance and functionality of the pens, both models are almost identical. The Lamy Lx does have an ever so slightly better writing experience but as we mentioned above, you can easily get your hands on a Lamy z52 replacement nib and put it on yourLamy Al-Star to have the same writing experience at a lower price point.
In our opinion, the only area where the Lx does overtake the Al-Star is in the aesthetics department as the Lamy Lx does look more visually appealing than the Al-Star. In our opinion, it does have better colour schemes and better colour shades too so if you do care about how your fountain pen looks, the Lx is probably going to be the better option if you have the budget for it.
The Lamy Lx Nib
The nib on the Lamy Lx is also made from stainless steel but the Lamy platinum nib with gold plating that we touched on for the Al-Star also fits to the Lx. That said though, due to the price tag of the gold plated nib and the price tag of both the Lamy Lx and Al-Star, we would not recommend that you pick up a gold plated nib for either pen.
The Lamy Lx uses the Lamy z52 nib design that is slightly newer than the Lamy z50 design that the Al-Star uses. This is why the Lx offers a generally better writing experience right out of the box than the Al-Star, especially when writing with the fine or extra-fine nib sizes on lower quality paper. As we have mentioned a few times now though, Lamy z52 replacement nibs are easy to source and cheap allowing you to add one to the Lamy Al-Star, get the same writing experience as the Lx and usually come in with a lower overall price tag.
Just like the Al-Star, the Lamy Lx is available with a nib size of extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad with medium being the most popular amongst the community. Although we did tough on this earlier in the article, the nib sizes of the Lamy range do tend to be a full nib size larger than the nib sizes of Asian fountain pen brands. If you currently use an Asian fountain pen such as a Pilot and like your writing size we would recommend that you choose one nib size lower than your listed Asian pen brands nib size.
The Lamy Lx Barrel
Just like the Lamy Al-Star, the Lamy Lx is made from high-quality aluminum but the Lx has been anodised, an electrolytic process to produce a thick oxide coat on the barrel of the pen. Although the main reason in anodising the barrel and cap of the Lamy Lx is to protect it from corrosion and to try to reduce the chance of the pen barrel sustaining damage during an accident, it also offers a smoother, more professional look to the barrel.
The anodising of the aluminum is one of the main reasons that the finish to the Lamy Lx looks so much better than the finish on the Al-Star but we do not feel that it is worth the hike in price tag unless you put a high priority on the visual appeal of your pens. The section of the Lx has the same ergonomically shaped sides as the rest of the Lamy range to try and help prevent fatigue build-up for longer writing sessions.
The Cap Of The Lamy Lx
The cap of the Lamy Lx has the same anodising process on its aluminum to ensure that it has a matching finish to the barrel of the pen. Due to the anodising process adding minimal weight to the cap it does not have an effect on the overall balance of the pen when posted. This ensures that the Lx is not back heavy when writing with its cap posted to further improve its ability to prevent any fatigue building up for the writing on those longer sessions.
As you would expect from the price tag of the Lx, the finial is blank with no fancy plating or visual enhancements due to the LX being an entry-level, budget-friendly fountain pen. The clip does seem to be made from stainless steel rather than aluminum similar to the clip on the Al-Star with the clip on the Lx also being a little more ridged than we would like. That said though, just like with the Al-Star, the clip on the Lx does its job and it does its job well ensuring that it will not release from your pocket or your paper resulting in potential damage to the pen or it ending up lost.
The Lamy Lx Ink Reservoir
The Lamy Lx uses the same ink cartridge converter system as the Lamy Al-Star and takes the same Lamy T10 ink cartridge with a maximum ink capacity of 1.15 ml of ink. Again, if you do want your fountain pens to use a piston filler system for its ink delivery into the ink feed then the Lamy 2000 is going to be the best option out of the Lamy range by a long shot.
Due to both pens using the same ink delivery system, the same coloured cartridges that we recommend for the Al-Star will fit into your Lx without issue. This does open up the color possibilities for your ink when using either pen to try and ensure that it is able to meet your needs.
That brings our ultimate Lamy Al-Star vs Lx comparison article to a close. We hope that you have found it helpful and that we have hopefully been able to point a few things out to potentially save our readers some money. As we have touched on time and time again through our article, we feel that the Lamy Al-Star with the Lamy z52 replacement nib mounted to it will be a better option than the Lamy Lx for the majority of our readers.
The only area where we feel that the Lx does take over the Al-Star is in its visual appeal but if you are looking for a cheap, reliable fountain pen to use on a daily basis then you will probably not care about the visual appeal of your pen. Depending on your circumstances, it will probably make more sense for you to just go with the cheaper option and keep the price difference in your bank account for something else.