It seems the height of folly to look for the best fountain pens under 200.
After all, rumor has it that the best fountain pens can cost a lot more than that.
And if you want to keep a tight lid on your pen expenses, you can get a decent rollerball pen for much less.
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Heck, some disposable pens cost a little more than a dollar each, and they’re not all your usual ballpens.
The truth is that some of the more reasonably priced pens are actually terrific.
It’s true that for a lot of people, $200 may not be all that “reasonable” in an economy ravaged by pandemics.
But then again, if you’re stuck at home, writing is a fun exercise—and a fountain pen is a great tool to work with.
Facts on Using Fountain Pens
Some people have trouble using fountain pens, because they’re not like ballpoint pens in several ways.
Some of these people misuse a fountain pen and then blame the pen for their mistakes.
That may even happen with the best fountain pens under 200, since they might think that the low cost naturally leads to lower quality.
But you need to know what you’re getting, so you can really get your money’s worth.
Fountain Pens Can be Picky with Papers
That’s a fact that pertains to all fountain pens, and not just to the best fountain pens under 200.
Even the more expensive ones may be a bit picky on what kind of paper they work on well enough.
That’s why it’s best that you limit your use of fountain pens for higher-quality paper.
These papers are often thick enough to prevent problems like the ink bleeding and showing through the paper.
They may be designed to be more resistant to feathering.
Also, you may need to balance your desire for a quicker drying time with a paper that’s smoother to write on.
Fountain Pen Ink Just Doesn’t Dry Very Quickly
If you’re used to gel or ballpoint pens, you won’t like how the ink for fountain pens simply don’t dry as fast.
That’s a fact that you need to deal with.
It’s true that there are some inks for fountain pens that are supposed to dry much more quickly.
The main problem with these inks is that they’re often prone to result in feathering even when you use them with feathering-resistant paper.
They’re Not Archival
That is, you can’t expect to write on your journal today and expect to read your musings 20 years from now.
In most cases, the writing just won’t last that long if you use a fountain pen, even if you spend a lot more on it.
The ink’s resistance to water also doesn’t compare to the water resistance you normally find in ballpoint and gel pens.
Again, there are exceptions to this rule, but you sacrifice another thing instead.
So, you may find a fountain pen ink that’s more resistant to water.
But you may also likely find that this type of ink will dry even more slowly, and will me more likely to smear.
Are there disposable fountain pens?
Sure, and they can even cost a lot less than $200.
Heck, they may even cost less than $2.
But these pens are disposable for a reason.
You’ll Do a Lot of Refilling
We’re willing to bet that you’re looking among the best fountain pens under 200 for something to keep for years.
That means regular refilling.
For those who do a lot of writing with their fountain pens, refilling may become a weekly task.
Some graduate students (especially law students) may write stuff for the whole day with their fountain pen.
They may end up refilling their pen every other day (or even every day).
Airplanes May Not Be a Good Idea
Leaking can be a problem if you bring along even the best pocket fountain pen on your flight.
That used to be a real problem back in the day, but it’s probably less of a problem with modern pens.
If you pick among the best fountain pens under 200, you shouldn’t worry too much about it.
Still, it’s always a good precaution to either keep the fountain pen completely full of ink, or completely empty.
The ascent of the plane causes the air inside the pen to expand, which pushes the ink inside.
Not for the Winter
Icy temperatures will freeze the ink, causing your best pocket fountain pen to expand (like the ice in your fridge).
A ballpoint is usually better for winter.
Your writing surface has to be reasonably level.
A fountain pen doesn’t normally work properly if you’re on your bed and writing upside down.
Lots of Cleaning
Even the best fountain pens under 200 require regular maintenance, unless you get a cheap disposable fountain pen.
It’s part of the “charm” of owning your elegant fountain pen.
Our TOP 5 Fountain Pens Under 200
Okay, now that you’re aware of the special challenges of owning and using a fountain pen, which pen is ideal for you?
Check out our list of the best fountain pens under 200, so you can get the full value for your money.
“Fountain Pen Set for College”
Our Rating: 4.5
There are plenty of reasons why the Cross brand is first on this list, starting with its iconic legacy.
The brand has been producing writing instruments before the US Civil War.
It’s been used by US presidents to sign crucial legislation since the days of Gerald Ford back in the 1970s.
Made for Newbies
Another reason to consider is that this is a set that’s specifically made for fountain pen newbies.
That starts with the price of these pens for beginners, which is well below our limit.
In fact, you can get 4 of these sets and remain within your budget, and then you can gift the other sets to friends and family.
Just make sure that you practice with your set, if you’re getting this for yourself.
Writing with a fountain is a lot different from using a ballpoint.
You have to learn how to refill the ink, and you have to deal with the regular maintenance.
A Complete Set
This gift set has just about everything you need.
Aside from the pen, you also get a 62.5ml bottle of black ink, a converter to fill the pen with the bottled ink, and 6 ink cartridges.
The price is a true bargain, because the cost of the set is only a couple of dollars more than buying just the fountain pen only.
This Cross pen from the brand’s Bailey Collection sure doesn’t look cheap at all, with its classic balanced designed.
You have the eye-catching cap-over-barrel styling, the multi-grooved center ring, and the deep-cut engraving accents.
This will fit in well even in a CEO’s office.
Superior Writing Experience
This comes with a stainless-steel nib, which you can get in either the fine or medium width.
This feels great in your hand, with a diameter of 0.79 inches and a length of 5.875 inches.
It weighs about 0.79 ounces (22.4 grams), making this one of the best pocket fountain pen options.
The fountain pen ink flows smoothly, so you can write your notes without issue.
“Easy and Fun to Use”
Our Rating: 4.5
The “Varsity” in the name indicates clearly that this is for students, which is why it’s ridiculously affordable for fountain pens.
This is sold in packs of 7 fountain pens.
It’s a price so low that you can buy 14 packs (for a total of 98 pens) and still spend within your $200 budget.
This is the hallmark feature of the Pilot brand, which has long established a reputation for offering good-quality disposable pens at student-friendly prices.
They’ve been around for a century, and all this time their pens are favorites all over the world.
One of the reasons why this may well be among the best fountain pens under 200 (besides the low price) is that these are disposable pens.
That means you won’t have to deal with the mess of refilling the pen, which can be rather annoying for busy students new to fountain pens.
You won’t have to deal with regular maintenance either.
This features a precisely laser-cut medium point nib made of stainless steel.
The pen feels nice in your hand, and the smooth glide over the pair can really encourage you to write more.
This is the best pocket fountain pen that you can use for everyday purposes, from taking classroom notes to making lists of grocery items.
It’s already filled with ink, and you can see at a glance how much ink is left in each pen.
Each pen comes with a different color, which is great for artists, designers, color-happy kids, and color-coding note-takers.
The colors are in black, blue, red, purple, pink, turquoise, and green.
Each pen has the same black-colored body, so the pens look formal enough even for office work.
But each one has the color of the ink on both ends, to help you to quickly identify the color of the pen you plan to use.
The advanced liquid ink system gives you a very smooth flow for the ink, so even fountain pen newbies won’t have as much trouble.
“Beauty and Function”
Our Rating: 4.5
The Parker brand is another famous name in the pen industry, and in some countries it’s actually a tradition to give new Parker pens to new graduates.
The Sonnet pens make up one of the most successful pen lines from Parker, with its classic look that fits in well with any office setting.
We picked the model with the stainless-steel nib, to ensure we don’t go over the budget.
We also went with the medium nib, which is great for all-around use and everyday note-taking.
Give this as a gift, and it will surely impress.
It comes in an attractive and elegant case, which clearly indicates that this is no cheap ordinary pen.
The Sonnet combines modern design principles even as it still evokes the feeling of timelessness.
We went with the classic glossy black lacquer with the gold finish trim, as it certainly cuts a striking look.
But you do have other color options to choose from.
- Black Lacquer and Gold
- Prestige Chiseled Purple and Rose Gold
- Prestige Chiseled Silver and Gold
- Prestige Chiseled Silver and Rose Gold
- Metal and Pearl Lacquer
- Prestige Pearl Lacquer and Rose Gold
- Chiseled Silver and Black with Gold Trim
- Black | Gold Trim
- Prestige Brown Rubber and Rose Gold
The stainless-steel nib still looks terrific, since it has an 18K solid gold finish.
The cap also has a gold clip with the famous arrowhead design.
Writing with a Parker
The Parker stainless steel nib is great, as it glides nicely over the paper.
The ink flows smoothly, which doesn’t always happen in fountain pens in this price range.
But this is one of the best fountain pens under 200 for not just its looks, as it writes very well indeed.
This pen may be best for those who already have prior experience with fountain pen use and ownership.
Maybe once you’ve gotten used to a fountain pen starter kit, you can then graduate to this model.
So maybe you can use the disposable fountain pens for high school, and then use the fountain pen newbie kit for college.
Once you graduate with your degree, you can then get this pen (or receive it as a gift).
It can get you suitably armed for the real world of the adult workplace.
“Elegant and Feminine Fountain Pen”
Our Rating: 4.5
Fountain pens don’t all have to look all serious.
This one comes with more fashion elements, since it features a purple lacquer body.
It’s very charming, yet it still offers that classic vibe that makes it eminently suitable for the office.
As this is the “Beverly” collection, it does offer a rather feminine design with the polished chrome details and the delicate curve of the clip.
But we know of plenty of men who like this too, and they’re all secure in their masculinity.
In other words, it’s actually unisex.
Feels Great to Hold
The metal body feels reassuring, and it encourages you to adopt a serious mindset.
It certainly feels a lot more professional than plastic pens.
The dimensions are within the common range, though perhaps you might call this a sleek design.
It’s 5.34 inches long, with a diameter of 0.46 inches.
It feels comfortable to hold, even long periods of writing in school or the office.
Also, compared to other fountain pens the ink dries a bit more quickly, and with the right paper, the ink doesn’t bleed through.
Perhaps the only issue is with the cap, as it takes a bit more effort than usual to take it off.
When you put it on the other end of the pen when writing, it doesn’t sit comfortably and securely either.
There’s really no other word to describe the pen.
It’s gorgeous and classy, and you shouldn’t be surprised if plenty of people give you compliments on it.
It does look somewhat feminine, and not just because it’s purple.
The overall design is very graceful, but not quite masculine enough for some folks.
Just take care of it nicely, and it should last you for many years.
“Possibly Your Favorite Flawless Pen”
Our Rating: 5
Again, we have a Pilot pen, but this time this is anything but cheap.
This is the most expensive pen on our list of the best fountain pens under 200, though with that budget you can still get 2 of these.
So maybe you can get one for yourself, and for your best friend.
This was first released in 2013 to commemorate the 95th anniversary of the brand, and it’s a limited edition too.
What You Get
This comes in a gift box with a black ink cartridge.
You’ll need to buy the converter separately if you want to use ink from a bottle.
You can stick to cartridges if you want, since these aren’t all that expensive anyway.
This is available with medium, fine, and extra-fine nibs, so we opted for the middle-of-the-road fine nibs.
That makes it great for small letters and finely detailed drawings, but still easy to read.
The 14K nibs are moderately tough for durability, but still nicely flexible.
The unique shape of the nib gives you the leverage, and it feels somewhat springy.
This is a compact pocket pen, and it measures only about 4.7 inches with the cap closed.
Once you take the cap off, it becomes just 4.1 inches long.
It weighs only 6 grams, and it’s great for quick notes.
You have a comfortable taper to the grip, to go with the longish nib.
It’s really a great candidate for the best pocket fountain pen you can get.
Conclusion: Best Fountain Pens under 200
Even with the best fountain pens under 200, you should really practice your writing with it to make sure you get the best results.
And of course, you better take care of it too.
The good news is that within this price range, you can opt for the no-fuss disposable pens if you want.
Once you get the urge for fountain pens, you can try the classier options among the best fountain pens under 200.