With the Pelikan range of fountain pens managing to cement their position as one of the best fountain pen brands in the world, more and more people have started to add a Pelikan model to their stationery collection. As more and more people try a Pelikan fountain pen, their reputation just continues to get better and better as it is common that once someone tries a Pelikan, they will stay within the Pelikan eco system and upgrade within the Pelikan range when needed.
Due to there being a number of excellent options within the Pelikan range these days, we have noticed more and more questions about what model is right for what situation. Due to this, we are going to be publishing out Pelikan m800 vs m400 comparison today in the hope that we are able to put both pens head to head and help any of our readers considering adding either of these pens to their collection.
As usual, we have our comparison table below going over the core features of the Pelikan m800 and the Pelikan m400 for anyone who is short on time. Below our comparison table we have our in-depth look at both pens going over the core features in more detail for anyone who has more free time to read the whole article.
Pelikan M800 Vs M400 Head To Head
As you can see from our Pelikan m800 vs m400 comparison table above, in our opinion, the Pelikan m800 is going to be the better option for the majority of our readers. Although most people instantly presume that this is due to the upgraded 18 carat gold nib on the m800 but in all honesty, the majority of our readers will not be able to tell the difference between the two Pelikan nibs as they are both excellent quality.
The reason that we usually recommend the Pelikan m800 to our readers is due to the longer and wider barrel making it a more comfortable fit in the hands of most people. If you have small hands then the m400 is an excellent, more budget friendly but it can get a little uncomfortable for longer writing sessions if you have regular sized hands. If you have large hands then the Pelikan m400 can be a pain as it was never designed for use for people with larger hands.
That said though, the Pelikan m400 is an excellent pen and is well-deserving of the Pelikan M series branding. If you do have smaller hands and are on a budget then the m400 can make an excellent addition to your stationery collection though as it is a top-quality pen.
The Nibs Of The Pens
Pelikan nibs are world-famous for the higher than average spring and flex that come as standard due to the design of the nib. This ensures that you get a very responsive writing experience during use no matter the type of paper or type of ink that you are using with your pen.
This is one of the main reasons that we usually recommend that our readers pay less attention to the gold carat rating of Pelikan nibs as their actual design offers excellent spring and flex anyway. Unless you are experiences with using a fountain pen, the majority of our readers will probably not be able to tell the difference between the 14 carat gold nib on the Pelikan m400 and the 18 carat gold on the Pelikan m800.
Both the Pelikan m400 and the Pelikan m800 are available as standard in the extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad nib sizes directly from the Pelikan factory. With the medium and fine nib sizes being the more popular options, this covers most basis and although the extra-fine and broad nib sizes tend to make up a smaller market share they are still a popular option.
As both the m400 and m800 have replaceable nibs, you are often able to switch the nibs out for a double broad, oblique, or fine-medium option with an after market nib. Depending on your local stationary store, you may also be able to purchase your pen with one of these nib options direct from them and they will keep the stock nib as a spare replacement nib to sell to anyone who needs is.
All Pelikan fountain pen nibs do tend to write a little wetter than average but wet writing nibs have grown in popularity over the last decade or so to become the dominant option over dry or standard nibs anyway. The wetter nibs on the m400 and m800 do tend to offer you a smoother writing experience even with the smaller nib size options on thinner paper that would be scratch for some other pen brands.
On the flipside of this though, this can sometimes cause issues with feathering, ghosting, and bleeding when writing on thinner paper. Thankfully though, you can counter this and prevent it from happening by using some high GSM paper as the thicker paper tends to do well with wetter nibs and prevent issues with ghosting or bleeding anyway.
The Pens Barrels
As we touched on earlier in the article, the main differences between the two pen models is in their barrels with both pens not only using a different material but also having a different sized barrel. In our opinion, this is going to be the section that helps you decide on the fountain pen model that you add to your collection as both models are very similar in all other areas.
Now, the Pelikan m400 has a barrel that is made from high-quality acrylic resin to help keep the price tag of the pen as low as possible. Although some people may see this as Pelikan skimping on the materials, their acrylic resin is of the highest quality and is very tough and robust so there should be no change in the life expectancy of your m400 should you choose this model.
The Pelikan m800 on the other hand sticks to the premium celluloid acetate that the luxary models in the Pelikan fountain pen range are famous for. As you can probably guess though, this does pump the price tag up and is one of the main reasons that it was not used for the m400 but the Pelikan celluloid acetate formula keeps the pen robust and it can last you for decades if cared for correctly.
As we mentioned earlier, the Pelikan m400 is a shorter pen than the Pelikan m800 and although this is partly to help reduce costs, it is mainly to help offer people with smaller hands a model from the Pelikan range that will feel comfortable in their hands. This is both the main advantage and disadvantage of the m400 as it makes it the perfect option in its price range for anyone who does have smaller hands but can go against it if you have regular or large hands.
The Pelikan m800 on the other hand is ideal for anyone with larger hands and will feel comfortable to write with and not cause a build-up of fatigue when using it for longer writing sessions. If you have regular sizes hands, you fall into a middle ground where either the m400 or m800 can perform well but most people will probably feel more comfortable with the m800 and its additional barrel length.
The Caps Of The Fountain Pens
Although slightly different sizes to ensure that the caps mount correctly to their respective fountain pen models, the actual design of the Pelikan caps is almost identical. This ensures that the pen is well protected when capped with each respective cap being made from the same materials as the pens barrel.
Both pens come with the gold trim as standard but their 05 variants come with a silver trim and may be a better option for some people depending on your taste. Although it will come down to your preferences, some people do tend to prefer the silver trim on the black or blue barrel pens.
Both the m400 and m800 use a twist lock system for their cap that we always recommend our readers go with at this price point in the market. A twist lock just adds that additional level of protection for your pen over a push lock to help keep the barrel and cap attatched so the barrel does not come free and potentially fall and break.
Pelikan have taken the time during the design phase of both the m400 and the m800 to ensure that the caps for both pen are perfectly balanced. Although this may sound like a small, minor detail, it mays a huge difference when using any Pelikan fountain pen with its cap posted.
Unlike some other pen brands on the market, even in this price bracket, the Pelikan range are not back weighted at all. If you do like to write with your pen posted then this means that there is no detraction from your writing experience and that everything is setup to prevent fatigue build up too
The Ink Reservoir Of The Pens
Another difference in the pens is the size of their ink reservoirs with the Pelikan m400 being able to hold a maximum ink capacity of 1.8ml and the Pelikan m800 being able to hold 2ml. We doubt that this will be a major selling point for either pen model though as the difference is so small and even the m400’s 1.8ml is almost double the industry average for a fountain pens maximum ink capacity.
One of the few drawbacks for all pens in the Pelikan M series is that the ink view windows have been factored in to be a part of the design of the pens barrel rather than a stand alone ink view window. The black twisted lines along the length of the pens barrel are actually transparent so you can see through it and check the current ink levels of your fountain pen to plan your refills.
The problem is that as the lines are twisted around the pens barrel, it can be a pain to see through them in certain lighting and although you can usually hold the pen up against a light to check its current ink levels, it is just something that could have easily been avoided by giving the pen a dedicated ink view window. We know that this may seem nit picky due to it being a small thing but we always like to point out the negatives of a pen for our readers but the Pelikan M series is one of the best fountain pen ranges ever made and have very few negatives so we have to go in on the small things.
Both pens come with the Pelikan piston filler system that in our opinion is the best currently available on the market, especially for the relative price points of the m400 and m800 at the time of writing. The piston fillers that the pens use are both very easy to refill and allow you to use a wide range of different inks with them if needed.
Although the Pelikan Edelstein Bottled Ink that Pelikan recommends you use with their pens is outstanding, its price tag is a little high for what you actually get unless you demand a luxury ink. Many people do use the much cheaper Noodlers ink with their Pelikan pens and have an excellent writing experience while their ink is much cheaper.
That brings our ultimate Pelikan m800 vs m400 comparison to a close. As we have explained throughout the article, both pens really are excellent writing options but in our opinion, the majority of our readers will be better off with the Pelikan m800 due to its tougher build quality and larger barrel making it more comfortable to write with for most people.
If you do have smaller hands or are o a tight budget then the Pelikan m400 can still make an excellent addition to your stationary collection though. It really is an excellent pen offering a writing experience that few pens in its price bracket are able to compete with and this is why the m400 has such a strong following.