As more and more people look to make the switch from a regular ballpoint or rollerball pen over to using a fountain pen, we see more and more people asking questions about the better entry-level fountain pens on the market trying to decide on the better model for their needs. Due to this, a number of people have been seeking a dedicated Lamy Safari vs Kaweco Sport comparison article due to both fountain pens being popular options in the entry-level price bracket.
Due to this, we have decided to publish this article going over the features and benefits of both pens to try and help any of our readers who are considering adding either option to their collection. As both pens come with a low price tag, they are both very popular amongst the community while also having excellent reputations with large users bases too. In our opinion though, the Lamy Safari is going to be the better option as the octagonal barrel of the Kaweco Sport can annoy some people.
We have our comparison table for the main features of both the Lamy Safari and the Kaweco Sport below as well as a short breakdown below it for any of our readers who don’t have much spare time to read the whole article right now. Below the comparison table, we have our full breakdown for both fountain pens that go into as much detail as possible for any of our readers who do have more time available though.
Lamy Safari Vs Kaweco Sport Head To Head
As you can see from our comparison table above, we feel that the Lamy Safari with be the better option for the majority of our readers and due to its dominant position, huge user base, and excellent reputation amongst the community, it would seem that most people agree. In our opinion, the Lamy Safari does offer a better writing experience than the Kaweco Sport in general but the octagonal barrel design of the Kaweco Sport seems to push even more people over to the Lamy Safari too.
Lamy Safari Review
We will be kicking off our deep dive into the featured pens with the Lamy Safari as it is our recommended entry-level fountain pen of choice for our readers due to its low price tag, excellent performance, and having the best reputation going for fountain pens at its price range. Since its release onto the market, the Lamy Safari has continues to steadily grow its user base seeing solid growth in sales with each passing year as its reputation keeps getting better and better.
The Lamy Safari Nib
Due to its low price point in the market, the nib of the Lamy Safari is made from stainless steel rather than gold or a gold plated variant. That said though, relative to the competition in the entry-level price bracket for fountain pens, the Lamy Safari offers an excellent writing experience due to the design of the Lamy nibs ensuring that the nib will smoothly glide across your paper when writing.
The Safari comes with the four standard nib sizes covering the extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad spectrum that the vast majority of people will be using with their fountain pen. Although there is no double broad or oblique variants of the Lamy Safari nib, this is common at this price point in the market as both double broad nibs and oblique cuts have a much smaller market share so the majority of fountain pen brands do not offer them for their lower price point pens.
The Lamy range are made in Germany and conform to standard western nib sizing too so if you currently use another western pen brand such as Parker then you can usually stick to your current nib size if you want to keep the same font when writing. If you are used to using an Asian fountain pen brand such as Pilot then you may want to downsize your nib as Asian nib sizes tend to be a size smaller than their western counterparts. For example, if you currently use a medium nib Pilot pen then look to go with the fine nib size on your Lamy to keep the same font when writing.
Unlike the rest of the fountain pens in the Lamy range that tend to be wet writers, the Safari is a dry writer, at least at first when it is right out of the box. Although this should not matter if you are only looking for a fountain pen for general writing, if you are looking for something for shading in areas of a bullet journal or something like that, it may cause some minor issues.
For example, the extra-fine and fine nib sizes on the Lamy Safari can be a little scratchy when used for shading on low GSM paper due to the dry nature of the nib. You are able to opt to use a higher GSM paper to help prevent this or simply go with a medium or broad nib size for your fountain pen. At this price point in the market though, small levels of scratch when writing are common and upgrading to something like the Lamy 2000 to prevent this is a large hike in price.
Another issue that is common with the cheaper fountain pens on the market, especially when using them on low GSM paper is that they can feather, bleed, and ghost easily. Although the dry nature of the nib on the Safari does help to minimize this, it can still happen at times but in all fairness to Lamy, it does tend to be much less than the competing brands that offer wetter nibs on their entry-level fountain pens.
Although most people tend to neglect regular maintenance of their pens at this price point, cleaning your Safari with a cheap flush cleaning kit can work wonders at maintaining your writing experience with the pen after a few months use. If you are brand new to using a fountain pen then there is no need to worry as the Lamy range are particularly easy to clean to remove dried ink and gunk to keep it writing as smooth as possible.
The Barrel Of The Lamy Safari
Just like the majority of other fountain pens in the sub-fifty dollar price bracket, the Lamy Safari has a barrel made from plastic and although they have done their best to ensure that the plastic is as tough as possible, the pen will not sustain much damage when compared to the higher resin based pens. This is common though as the majority of people will simply replace their Safari if the barrel breaks due to its lower price tag.
The plastic that Lamy have used for the barrel of the Safari is light though helping to keep the weight down when writing to reduce the chances of fatigue setting in for any longer writing sessions. The finish on the plastic is also nice to touch and comfortable when gripped between your thumb and fingers helping it to score some points over some of the other pens on the market right now.
As you would expect from an entry-level fountain pen, the Lamy Safari uses a cartridge convertor system for its ink storage and delivery rather than a piston filler. This is totally normal at this price point in the market though but if you do want to use a fountain pen that comes with a piston filler system then the Lamy 2000 is one of the best options on the market but it is in the intermediate price bracket for fountain pens.
The Lamy T10 cartridges mounts seamlessly to the convertor system though and as they have been designed to work with each other, it is rare that you will have an issues with the cartridge leaking. That said though, there are a number of third-party cartridges on the market that can mount to your Lamy Safari but for the sake of a dollar or two, we would recommend that you just go with the official Lamy T10’s and not have issues with leaking or clogging.
Unlike most of the Lamy range, the Safari is available with its barrel and body in a number of different colors including the very popular matte black that has a unique look to it when compared to what the competition are offering. This wider range of color combinations for the pen allows you to pick something that you prefer the look of rather than being stuck with a standard black with a gold trim.
The Lamy Safari Cap
The cap of the Lamy Safari is made from the same type of plastic as the barrel of the pen helping to keep it as light as possible to prevent any counter weight or back weight when writing with the pen while having the cap posted. Although this may sound basic, at this price point in the market, there are a large number of pens that can have issues with the weight of the pen knocking it off-balance when having the cap posted and detracting from your writing experience.
Although the cap is made from plastic, the clip is made from stainless steel and has a nice level of spring to it allowing you to quickly and easily clip the pen to your pockets or any papers that you may need to clip it to when not in use. So many fountain pens at this price point have a plastic clip that will often break and fall off shortly after getting the pen but it is nice to see Lamy take additional steps to prevent this from happening.
The Lamy Safari has a push to lock cap mechanism and our regular readers will be aware that we prefer the twist lock cap on the higher price point pens but due to the low price tag of the Safari we don’t feel that we can mark it down for this. The push to lock system Lamy has used works well anyway and we know that a large number of people actually prefer the regular push to lock system anyway.
The Ink Reservoir Of The Lamy Safari
With the Lamy Safari being based around a cartridge based system rather than a piston filler, the pen does not have a traditional ink reservoir that dictates the limitation of its ink capacity. The Lamy T10 cartridges that we recommend that you use with the pen have between a 0.7ml and 1ml maximum ink capacity depending on the size of the cartridge that you purchase but the 1ml cartridges are hard to source outside of Europe.
The ink view window for the Lamy Safari is decent in all fairness and better than we would expect for this price point in the market. Although it is far from perfect, it does let you check the current ink level of your ink cartridge at a glance and get an idea of how much ink you have left. Due to most people using the 0.7ml ink cartridge, it is definitely worth keeping and eye on your ink supply for your pen but due to the cartridges being so cheap you can easily replace them when needed.
Lamy Safari Writing Samples
Kaweco Sport Review
Moving on to our deep dive of the Kaweco Sport fountain pen and although it is not our primary recommendation when put up against the Lamy Safari, it is still a solid little fountain pen that offers great performance for its price tag. We just feel that the Lamy Safari is the better option and offers you much more for your money as well as a better writing experience.
The Kaweco Sport Nib
The nib of the Kaweco Sport is also made from stainless steel just like the other entry-level fountain pens on the market but it also comes with an iridium tip to try and improve the writing experience for the user. That said though, opinions do seem to be split on if the iridium tip actually does anything or if it is just a marketing ploy but due to the low price tag of the pen, it doesn’t really matter either way as it definitely does not detract from the writing experience.
The Kaweco Sport is available in the extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad nib sizes so should be able to meet the needs of the vast majority of people looking for an entry-level fountain pen. Additionally, we have seen some people report that they have upgraded the nib on their pen to the gold plated nib to improve the writing experience but in reality, this will not improve your writing experience with the pen much.
Gold plated nibs are more for their visual appeal rather than to improve the writing experience of the user. The actual design of the nib matters more than if it has gold plated and then the beneficial properties of the gold don’t come into play until you get a solid gold nib that is 14 carats or more. This is when the additional spring and flex comes into play and helps to improve your writing experience with the pen, not when it is just gold plated so try not to fall into that trap and potentially waste your money.
Kaweco are also a German fountain pen brand just like Lamy and although their nibs do tend to be closer to the western standard for nib sizes, they can be a little off when compared to other western brands but not by as much as most Asian brands. Due to this, you can probably stick with a medium nib from your current fountain pen and still have a similar font when writing with the medium Kaweco Sport although it will be ever so slightly different.
The Kaweco Sport is a wetter writer than the Lamy Safari that can offer you a slightly smoother writing experience if you are using one of the fine nib size options on lower quality paper. On the flip side of that though, this can result in more bleed, ghosting, and feathering due to the increased ink flow when compared to the Safari while also potentially smearing more if you are a left-handed writer.
Thankfully, both of these issues can easily be corrected by being sure to use some decent 120 GSM paper when writing and although 100 GSM will do, 120 GSM is usually better at preventing bleed. Although the higher GSM rating will not totally stop the risk of smearing if you are left handed, it can help but as the Kaweco Sport is a cartridge-based pen, switching over to a fast drying ink is not an option.
As we touched on above, the nibs on the Kaweco Sport are replaceable but in our opinion, unless you prefer the visual aspect of the gold plated nibs, there is no reason to upgrade. Many people new to using a fountain pen seem to think that gold plating helps with smoother writing but the nib has to be solid gold to offer its benefits.
The Barrel Of The Kaweco Sport
The barrel of the Kaweco Sport is also made from plastic helping to keep the pen as light as possible but just like the Lamy Safari, we doubt that it will be able to take much punishment from any accidental drops and may easily break. As we touched on earlier though, at this price point in the market, this really shouldn’t be a real issue anyway as it is easy enough to just replace your Kaweco Sport if it does break without breaking the bank. That said though, both Lamy and Kaweco ensure that their products are built to last prior to shipping them and we are confident that both models will be able to take their fair share of punishment during reasonable use.
The cartridge system on the Kaweco Sport is similar to the one on the Safari too with the cartridges mounting well and forming a tight seal so you should have minimal issues with leaks. Again though, just like with all popular fountain pen models, there are some third-party ink cartridges available for the Kaweco Sport and although they may be fine, they tend to only be a dollar or so cheaper but may have low quality ink that may clog the nib so we feel it is not worth the risk.
The barrel of the Kaweco Sport does have an octagonal design and although this should not cause issues with you writing experience with the pen due to the section being round, some people tend not to like it. On the flipside of this though, the octagonal design of the pen helps to prevent it from rolling off a table and potentially breaking so you have to measure up the benefits of functionality over visuals.
Another thing that goes against the Kaweco Sport for adults is that the barrel is only available in Red, White, Black, Blue, Green, and Brown and they all look like they have been designed for children. Although some of the market share for entry-level fountain pens is for children at school, the colors of the Lamy Safari barrel will probably push it ahead of the Kaweco Sport for any students in college or for anyone in the work force.
The Kaweco Sport Cap
One of the main drawbacks of the Kaweco Sport against the competing fountain pens on the market in its price bracket is that its cap does not come with a clip as standard. You actually have to buy the clip separately that usually ends up retailing at around $10 depending on the retailer. This definitely holds the pen back as the clip not only comes build in with the Lamy Safari but it also performs well and fits the overall look of the pen.
Due to the clips for the Kaweco Sport being different colors to the plastic used for its barrel and cap, it can look out of place and make the pen look a little strange even though you have to pay almost a third of the value of the pen just for the clip. We have seen a number of reports from people who use the Kaweco Sport as their fountain pen of choice saying that they wish it came with a clip that matches the color of the pen and we are actually su[prised that Kaweco have not released a new design with this included.
The cap of the Kaweco Sport is light enough to not cause any issues with back weighting the pen when posted but the larger cap can seem a little clunky when you have it posted when compared to the smaller caps of competing pens. The Kaweco Sport does use a screw lock system to mount the cap to the barrel of the pen that we do prefer but without a clip to actually clip the pen to things the benefits of the screw lock drop off and a simple push to lock system will offer similar functionality.
The Ink Reservoir Of The Kaweco Sport
Just like the Lamy Safari, the Kaweco Sport does not have a traditional ink reservoir and uses ink cartridges that have a maximum ink capacity of 1.2ml. This is almost double that of the Lamy Safari helping the Kaweco Sport score points but most people who will be using an entry-level fountain pen will probably be able to replace the ink cartridge when required without issue anyway.
Although the older build design of the Kaweco Sport did have an ink view window, the more recent and more common design does not. Although the cartridges on the pen do offer a larger maximum ink supply than average, we feel it should still have an ink view window to allow users to quickly and easily check how much ink they have left in their pens.
Kaweco Sport Writing Samples
That brings our ultimate Lamy Safari vs Kaweco Sport comparison article to a close and as we have mentioned all through the article, the Lamy Safari is the obvious option for most people and has to be our default recommendation to our readers. The Kaweco Sport is a solid pen with a large user base and decent reputation but it just has things missing that the Safari offers as standard while often being available for a lower price tag than the Kaweco Sport too.