Our regular readers will know that we are huge fans of the Pelikan M series of luxury fountain pens and a pen from this range is usually our go-to recommendation for anyone looking to purchase their first intermediate price point fountain pen. Although the Pelikan brand has always had a great reputation amongst the community, a few other popular fountain pen brands have recently had issues with their range causing both the Pelikan fountain pen range and Cross fountain pen range to see a spike in sales and solidify their position as two of the best options currently available.
With Pelikan being so popular all around the globe, we often see people reaching out and asking for a comparison between different options from their M series of fountain pens. These usually involved the Pelikan M600 due to it being the most popular pen from the Pelikan range and with so many people also having recently reached out about the Pelikan M400, we have decided to dedicated this article to our ultimate Pelikan m600 vs m400 comparison.
Our hope is that we will be able to help any of our readers who are considering either of these fountain pens and although both are great options, we do feel that the Pelikan m600 is definitely the better option. Considering the difference in build quality and performance between the m600 and the Pelikan m400, the slight increase in price for the m600 really is minimal when looking at fountain pens in this price range.
Although there are higher price point pens such as the Pelikan m800, we usually recommend that our readers go with the m600 over its higher price point alternatives due to Pelikan having hit the nail on the head and created such an excellent little fountain pen with the m600. If by chance you are also considering the m800, we also have our Pelikan m600 vs m800 comparison article available that you can read too if you have the time.
Pelikan M600 Vs M400 Head To Head
As you can see from our comparison table of the two pens above going over some of their key features and benefits, we have given both fountain pens a four out of five rating. Please note that our rating system is not only for the pens when compared to each other but also compared to other pens at similar price points from competing brands.
Although the Pelikan m600 is usually only between $50 and $100 more than the Pelikan m400, the m600 is considered to be at the bottom of the intermediate price point of fountain pen whereas many would consider the m400 to be at the upper end of the entry-level fountain pen price range.
Due to both pens being dominant in their relative price brackets, we always give them a score four out of five. That said though, in a direct comparison between the two with a relatively small increase in price tag to go with the m600 and the better performance and functionality that it offers, we would deem the Pelikan m600 the better option for the needs of the majority of our readers.
We will not be taking a more detailed look at each pen, what it has to offer, and the specific circumstances that we feel they are the better option for our readers. Due to both pens being from the Pelikan M series range, they do have many similarities but as they have both been designed for different price brackets in the market, there are plenty of subtle differences to set them apart.
Our Pelikan M600 Review
We make no secret of the fact that we feel the Pelikan m600 is one of the best fountain pens ever made for its price range. It sticks so many boxes for its performance, functionality, builds quality, and usability with so few drawbacks that it has few pens that really challenge it. As we touched on above, we often recommend the m600 over the more expensive m800 as in our opinion, the higher price tag of the Pelikan m800 is more for the higher carat rating of the nib and slightly larger ink reservoir than any direct improvement to the pen’s performance over what the m600 provides.
The Nib Of The Pelikan M600
As you would expect from a modern fountain pen at this price point in the market, the m600 is available with either an extra-fine, fine, medium or broad nib as standard with the medium nib usually being the most popular option. If this is your first fountain pen then we would recommend that you just go with the medium nib as it usually covers the majority of writing requirements and looks great in the vast majority of situations. Although the extra-fine, fine, and broad nibs definitely have their place in the market, we would only recommend them if you have used them before and prefer them.
No matter what nib size you go with, Pelikan pens do tend to write a little wetter than pens from other brands. Although this should not be a major issue for most people, if you are a left-handed writer and you write at a fast pace, the wetter ink run of the Pelikan m600 can cause you to smudge or smear your work even when using a fast drying ink.
The nibs of the M series from Pelikan are made from gold rather than being stainless steel or gold plated with the m600 having a 14-carat gold nib. Depending on what you want to use your pen for, the gold nib may work to your advantage as it does offer slightly more flexibility than a stainless steel or gold plated nib meaning that it is slightly better at replicating your natural handwriting. That said though, although this is true, it is very conditional and depends on what you will be doing with your pen and is usually just something people who own gold nibbed fountain pens say for bragging rights rather than actually taking advantage of it.
The nib of the m600 does offer a very smooth writing experience with minimal scratching on the majority of paper types. This allows you to write regularly no matter what task you are working on without having to worry about your pens nib ripping paper or the quality of your writing degrading due to using cheaper paper.
The Pelikan M600 Barrel
The m600 has a barrel made from premium celluloid acetate to ensure that the pens barrel is soft to touch but as tough and robust as possible. You can tell that Pelikan have put plenty of time and effort into the design of the barrel to and ensured that they only use the highest quality materials available. The black translucent lines that cover the length of the body of most m600 designs catch the light in different ways to give the effect of stars glimmering in the night sky adding a nice little effect the the pen.
The standard Pelikan m600 is available with a barrel of black, red, green or blue whereas the special edition Pelikan m600s are available in a wide range of colors and designs depending on the reasoning behind the release of that particular special edition of the pen. Keep in mind though, the rarer the design of the special edition m600 pens the higher the price tag due to supply being low and demand usually being high amongst fountain pen collectors.
The m600 comes with a gold trim and standard just like the rest of the M series fountain pens from Pelikan whereas the Pelikan m605 comes with a silver trim as standard. Depending on the rest of the barrel color, the silver trim can look better over the gold trim option, especially on some of the special edition pens. Although this will come down to your own personal preference, the all-black barrel does seem to be more popular with the silver trim whereas the other colors seem to be more popular with the gold trim.
All of the pens in the M series have a slight flare to it but it is usually not very visible with the larger pens in the series such as the m800 or m1000. You can see it slightly on the m600 but it can be much harder to notice on the smaller fountain pens in the series such as the m400 and m200. The flare can definitely be felt if you run your palm along the barrel though and it can offer additional comfort when writing for those longer sessions.
The Pelikan M600s Cap
Unlike some of the competing luxury fountain pens at this price point in the market that have a regular pop off cap, Pelikan have gone with a twist cap for their M series. Again, this will come down to personal preference but we feel that twist off caps are much better on the more expensive fountain pens. Not only does it help prevent the cap accidentally coming off in your pocket causing ink to get on your cloths but it helps to stop the cap popping off and going missing on a pen worth hundreds of dollars.
The cap of the m600 has the new Pelikan logo on the top of it of the mother pelican and her baby. Please keep in mind that there are now three official Pelikan logos on the top of their fountain pens and the mother pelican with a single baby is the newest one. We have seen some people ask about their M series Pelikan fountain pen being a potential fake as the other, older Pelikan pens they have either have the logo of the mother pelican with two babies or the mother pelican with four babies but the single baby logo is just the newest logo Pelikan are using and it is an official logo for the brand.
The clip on the cap of the Pelikan m600 has been engineered to have just the right amount of flex to it ensuring that it can quickly and easily be stored in a pocket or attached to paper with ease while ensuring the pen is secure. Although you would be right to expect this at this price point in the market, there are countless complaints about the clips on entry-level fountain pens either being too flexible so they slip out of your pocket or not having enough flex so they accidentally snap but the M series has hit the nail on the head when it comes to the pen clip.
The Ink Reservoir On The Pelikan M600
The ink reservoir on the Pelikan m600 is able to hold 1.75ml of ink meaning that once filled, it is able to carry almost double the usual payload of ink. This can offer you advantages if you have to travel around for work on a regular basis as a single refill of the pen can last you longer than many of the competing fountain pens on the market right now.
The black translucent lines on the m600 do act as an ink window allowing you to check your current ink levels in the pen but this can depend on the lighting you have available. We have seen a number of reports saying that it is difficult to see the amount of ink left in the m600 via the window even in optimal lighting so this is one minor draw back of the pen. That said though, the translucent black lines on the barrel of the pen are all unique rather than being bulk produces so some are easier to see through than others.
Although not essential, we would recommend that our readers use Pelikan Edelstein Bottled Ink for the best performance out of their pens. As we touched on earlier, the Pelikan range do tend to write a little wetter than other pens but this can be mitigated slightly with their Edelstein ink as well as ensuring that you are getting the best possible performance and writing experience out of your pen.
Our Pelikan M400 Review
As we mentioned back at the start of the article, due to both the m600 and the m400 being from the same brand as well as the same series of pens, there are a large number of similarities between them. Rather than just duplicate most of the information that we have covered above for the m600, we will only be covering points that stand out or are unique for the m400 to try and save our readers time.
The Nib Of The Pelikan M400
Just like the m600, the nib of the m400 is available in extra-fine, fine, medium, or broad nib, and just like the m600, the medium nib is by far the most popular. That said though, unlike the m600, the extra-fine nib on the m400 can be a little scratchy when compared to that of the m600 even though some of the nibs available for the pens are interchangeable between the two pens. We have no idea what causes this issue but we have seen it reported by multiple people who own an extra-fine nibbed Pelikan m400 now where as the problem seems to be very rare with the m600.
Although we would recommend that if you are set on using the Pelikan m400 and are picking it up as your first luxury fountain pen, you go with the medium nib, if you would be wanting to go with an extra-fine nib we would definitely recommend you go with the Pelikan m600 instead due to not having the issue with scratch when writing.
The nib on the m400 is also made from 14-carat gold offering an excellent writing performance for its fine, medium, and broad sizes and although with proper care the nib on the m400 can last you for decades, replacement nibs are readily available and easy to source online if required. If you do accidentally damage the nib on your m400 and have to replace it then the process is very easy and straight forward requiring no specialist tools or equipment.
The Pelikan M400 Barrel
The m400 barrel is slightly smaller than the one on the m600 with the flare being even more subtle to visually see but you can feel it and it can help increase comfort for those longer writing sessions. Unless you are a fountain pen collector, we would imaging that the majority of our readers looking to spend this kind of money on a fountain pen will likely be taking part in longer writing sessions be it for business or pleasure so it is good to know that the flare and small section can help increase comfort.
Although the barrel of the m400 is made from the highest quality resin available and will likely last you for at least a decade with proper care, we see no reason to take the risk of having a weaker barrel than the premium celluloid acetate one on the Pelikan m600. The barrel on the m600 is stronger and is more likley to take any excessive punishment due to accidents involving the pen increasing the likely hood of its survival while only being between $50 and $100 more than the m400 depending on the vendor you purchase it from.
Just like the rest of the pens available in the M series range from Pelikan, the standard Pelikan m400 is available in black, red, green or blue with a huge number of m400 special editions being available. Due to the m400 having been on the market for around thirty years more than the m600 there are more special editions available but the older and rarer ones can become extremely expensive and are not worth the money for a general fountain pen user and are usually priced for collectors.
Just like the rest of the M series of fountain pen, the m400 has the gold trim whereas the Pelikan m405 comes with the silver trim. Again, the gold vs silver trim debate is going to come down to you and your personal preference but most people do seem to prefer the look of the m405 for the black barrel due to the silver trim looking better and the m400 with the gold trim for the other colors.
The Pelikan M400s Cap
The cap of the m400 is also a twist off but due to the age of the pen, the m400 is available with all three official logos of the Pelikan brand. This can add to the confusion when purchasing your pen, especially if you are new to using Pelikan pens as the original m400’s all have the logo with the mother pelican with four babies, there are also a large number with the mother pelican and two babies, and now the more recent Pelikan m400 pens have the latest logo of the pelican and a single baby.
Although this does not really matter for the general pen user, some fountain pen collectors will pay a higher premium for an original Pelikan m400 that is in good condition and has the mother pelican with four babies on its cap. Just like with some of the rarer special edition colors of the Pelikan m400, this hiked up price is simply not worth it for a general user as they are priced for collectors due to their low supply and high demand. If you are just looking for a fountain pen for general use rather than as a collector’s item just go with a modern release of the standard Pelikan m400 as they tend to have the better performance and lower price tags anyway.
The Ink Reservoir On The Pelikan M400
The m400 ink reservoir is able to hold 1.5ml of ink meaning that even though it does have a slightly smaller body than most other fountain pens on the market these days, it actually holds 0.5ml more ink helping to minimize the number of refills required when using the m400 as your go-to pen of choice. Again though, this is another area where we feel that the Pelikan m600 outshines the m400 due to having the larger ink reservoir while not costing that much more than the m400 while also offering other benefits too.
The ink window on the m400 has the same problem as some of the m600 fountain pens and the black translucent lines on the pen barrel can be difficult to see through even in good lighting. As we mentioned above though, each of the translucent lines are individually made rather than being mass produced so you can usually turn the pen in the light and find one that you are able to see through to check your pens ink levels.
As we have gone over multiple times throughout the article, when it comes to a direct comparison between the Pelikan m600 and the Pelikan m400, the Pelikan m600 takes the win for the majority of people and has to be our recommendation to our readers. It does not cost that much more than the Pelikan m400 but has a stronger barrel that is more likely to survive any accidents as well as a larger ink reservoir too.
If you are on a tighter budget then the m400 is still a great little pen that performs well and can make an excellent addition to your stationary collection but in the grand scheme of things, the additional $50 to $100 to upgrade and go with the m600 for a pen that can potentially last you decades will almost always be worth it. We hope that you have found our article helpful and that we have been able to help you make your mind up and decide on the best Pelikan pen for your needs.