If you tell all your friends that you’re torn between picking fountain pen vs dip pen, some of them will be confused.
Many of them don’t really know the basic differences between the two.
Some of them might not even know what a dip pen is, or that the two aren’t the same.
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Fountain Pen vs Dip Pen: Similarities
If you look at the two types of pens, you can be excused in thinking that they’re basically the same.
You have a metal nib at the end, which is a lot different from the regular ballpoint tips that most people are familiar with.
The barrels of the pens often look substantial for a more comfortable hold.
Often, these pens also look fancy and expensive, unlike the regular disposable ballpoint pens.
Whether you have a dip pen or a fountain pen, if you’re new to it then you’ll need to practice quite a bit to use it well.
Fountain Pen vs Dip Pen: The Ink
There is one thing you need to be aware of first in the fountain pen vs dip pen debate.
It is that you need different types of ink for each type of pen.
Meaning, if you have a dip pen then you need ink made expressly for dip pens.
You can’t use the ink for fountain pens.
Conversely, if you have a fountain pen then you can’t use the ink made for dip pens.
The main reason for this is that these inks have a different consistency and flow for each.
Putting Ink on the Fountain Pen
With a fountain pen, you have 2 major ways of putting in the ink.
You can take out the ink cartridge and put in a new one.
Or you can dip in the fountain pain into the ink bottle.
The fountain pen can have a plunger mechanism that makes it work like a syringe.
You’re able to suck in the ink into the barrel of the fountain pen.
Putting Ink on the Dip Pen
With the dip pen, there’s no reservoir in the barrel for the ink.
Instead, there’s a smaller ink reservoir right on the nib.
When you dip the dip pen into the ink bottle, you then fill up this reservoir.
Afterwards you can write a few words and lines until you run out of ink, and then you dip it again.
Basically, it’s like using a paintbrush—the paint runs out and you need to dip the brush in the paint again.
It also feels like you’re in Hogwarts and you’re using a quill to write.
Fountain Pen vs Dip Pen: The Nibs
In the fountain pen vs dip pen discussion, you also need to know how different the nibs are for each pen.
The difference isn’t just about how it takes in the ink.
The other main difference is about how the nibs are designed to work and to last.
Flexible Dip Nib
The nib on a dip pen is flexible.
It can bend, which then gives you a lot of variance when it comes to the kinds of lines you can make.
Because of this flexibility, dip nibs aren’t really meant to last for years and some of these nibs can last only a few days.
However, you can have a lot of nibs in your collection.
Aside from your everyday writing nib, you can have other nibs of different widths for larger letters.
These are great if you’re going to create letter posters by hand.
Durable Fountain Pen Nibs
On the other hand, the nib on a fountain pen is meant to last.
These aren’t as flexible, as they’re usually made of tough metal.
You can find nibs made from stainless steel or even gold allow, and they can last for a hundred years.
Fountain Pen vs Dip Pen: Control
In both cases, you can even up with inky fingers and leaks on clothes if you’re not careful with the ink.
With the dip pen vs fountain pen issue, it’s really all about practice, but most people agree that for newbies, fountain pens are easier to control.
While you do need to practice it (especially if you’re mainly used to ballpoints), but it shouldn’t take you long to master a fountain pen.
It’s a different case with a dip pen with its flexible tip making it a lot more sensitive to your writing motions.
The slightest changes in direction or hand pressure can lead to rather large changes.
The consensus among users is that it’s a lot more difficult to learn how to write and draw with a dip pen.
Our TOP 5 Fountain Pen vs Dip Pen Reviews
Whichever camp you belong to in the dip pen vs fountain pen showdown, we have you covered.
We made sure that you get terrific options to get, whichever camp you end up with in the great Fountain Pen vs Dip Pen showdown.
“Affordable Luxury Pen”
Our Rating: 4.5
Many of the best options in the fountain pen vs dip pen debate look terrific, and often downright expensive.
This fountain pen from Wordsworth & Black is a superb example.
It looks like it costs thousands of dollars compared to a cheap ballpoint, even though it actually costs about the same as a few cups of coffee.
You actually have a dozen color combinations to choose from, though we can’t help but point out that the black and gold color scheme is especially classy.
But there are more youthful blue or green colors to choose from, and there’s even the hot pink color scheme as well.
A Complete Kit
What makes this option especially cost-effective is that you really get a lot for your money.
Aside from the fountain pen itself, you also get 6 ink cartridges.
You won’t have to worry about ink cartridges that don’t fit your pen, because these ones will certainly fit.
If you want to try out other types of ink, you can also use the ink refill converter that also comes with the kit.
This ink converter lets you refill your fountain pen using a bottle of ink.
Great for Newbies
The folks at Wordsworth & Black also thoughtfully included a nice PDF file with your purchase that gives you lots of info.
You can then get more detailed instructions, along with best practices when using your Wordsworth & Black fountain pen.
These aren’t really mass-produced pens.
They’ve been crafted by hand, and tested by hand too.
Before you get one for yourself, you’re assured that the fountain pen you get has already been tested to work.
The design of the barrel is also not just for the looks.
It’s also ergonomic, and you’ll realize this when you hold the pen in your hand.
It’s as if they built a pen precisely for your hand only.
This comes with a medium nib, which most people use for daily notes.
It measures about 0.75mm.
This also comes with an interchangeable nib system, which theoretically means that you can take out the nib and put in a new one.
However, you’ll need a nib made by Wordsworth & Black to make sure it’ll fit your pen.
“Fantastic Starter for Beginners”
Our Rating: 4.5
Remember how we mentioned that using a dip pen is like using a paint brush for artwork?
This particular point is especially emphasized but the design of this dip pen.
Its barrel is like a delicate stem for an artist’s paintbrush.
The good news is that this is even more affordable than the Wordsworth & Black (though that will depend on the seller, most likely).
You also get a lot of stuff for your money, which is one factor to consider in the dip pen vs fountain pen discussion.
These things include 2 extra nibs, a bottle of ink (non-toxic), and even a base for the pen and the ink bottle with a nice antique look.
Handcrafted and Gorgeous
This one is handcrafted, and it is gorgeous.
The nibs are made from stainless steel, the grip is from copper alloy, and the stem is from spiral glass.
With this dip pen, you have a tool not just for writing but also for drawing.
You will have to get used to its design, as it’s not shaped like the vast majority of pens out there.
You can practice using the different nibs, to see which one will best suit your needs.
They all have different nib sizes, which is also great if you like to create drawings with fine details.
A single dip of ink goes a long way when you’re busy writing or drawing.
When you do dip this in the ink bottle, you only need to submerge the nip partially.
Then you drain the excess ink against the mouth of the bottle.
Only when you’re sure that the nib isn’t dripping with ink anymore should you start writing with it.
Once you’re done using the nib, it’s a good idea to clean the nib right after.
Use detergent and warm water, and then use soft cloth to dry it.
“Fun Elegant Newbie Fountain Pen”
Our Rating: 4.5
Pilot is one of the most popular brands in the world for good reasons.
In general, you expect their pens to work as well as intended.
This one certainly does, but this fountain pen is more than just a functional tool.
Aesthetics is a crucial factor in the dip pen vs fountain pen debate, and this is one great-looking fountain pen.
This looks terrific, though you actually have half a dozen color schemes to choose from.
They’re all funky and neat, like they were designed by cool hippies back in the 1960s.
The basic template is a color for the entire barrel with stainless accents.
However, you also get a patterned accent band right on the grip for some added visual pizzazz.
The overall look is fun, yet somehow still elegant.
It works very well in a creative office, though college kids will like the aesthetics as well.
Medium or Fine Nib
You can go with either the medium or fine nib, depending on your preferences.
However, the general rule is that if you tend to write small then you should go with the fine point nib.
Your kit comes in a nice gift box, even if you’re gifting yourself with it.
You get a black ink cartridge, and you better get the same size when you buy a new one after that.
At least Pilot offers lots of different cartridges, and you’ll know the ones that suit your Retro fountain pen.
You can also buy your ink in a bottle, since your package also comes with a squeeze converter.
Smooth and Fine Writing
This one is fine for writing, especially at this price range.
It’s not too heavy, but it has a substantial heft to it that offers a nice solid feel.
The nib offers a smooth writing experience without the need for any sort of pressure at all.
The ink even dries in just 6 seconds or so, which does make this rather challenging for lefties.
“Ultimate Calligraphy Set for Newbies”
Our Rating: 4.5
Now this is the most expensive set on this list so far, but you’ll understand it when you see it.
The good news is that it’s not overly expensive at all.
In fact, with the amount of stuff you get and the overall quality, it feels downright criminally underpriced.
If you’re curious about the dip pen regarding the dip pen vs fountain pen, then this is what you need.
Variety of Accessories
This comes in a cool gift box, complete with the cute bow ribbon graphic.
Inside, you get a lot of stuff, starting with the wooden dip pen.
You have four 15 ml bottles, with brown, red, green, and hot pink ink.
There are also 11 different nibs here to choose from.
There’s even a bell-shaped pen holder.
All in all, it’s a real bargain.
Made of Luxurious Wood
The overall quality of the set clearly indicates how much care the folks at Plotube had in setting everything up.
The pen is made from luxurious wood, and the pen holder gives off this great antique vibe.
The nibs are also made from stainless steel, which means you can expect these nibs to last a good long while.
Ink for Art or Calligraphy
The different colors of the ink do indicate that this isn’t for regular note-taking.
After all, who needs brown or hot pink ink for their grocery list?
No, these ink colors are for an artist or for a calligrapher.
If this was for regular notes, there would have been some black ink included.
But the 4 colors offer a nice change from black, and you can really get to town practicing with this set.
With the 11 nibs, you now have a versatile set of tools to let you experiment with your calligraphy lessons.
You can then practice using these things to perfect your handwriting with italics or regular roman letters.
You can also try them with various Asian language characters.
With these nibs, you can practice your handwriting to make them look like works of art.
Ease of Use
The ink flow is nicely consistent, with no issues.
The nib and the ink work together well, with the ink showing off nicely on your paper.
You have terrific control, while you enjoy how you don’t have to dip the nibs too often in the bottles.
With this, you’ll be tempted to buy a calligraphy book so you can enjoy exploring a whole new world of art.
That’s the only problem here—there are no instructions.
You can find tips and videos online, but you’ll really need a calligraphy book to get going.
“Great for Artistic Kids”
Our Rating: 4.5
This also looks expensive, but it is surprisingly affordable.
The dip set offers a lot of items, plus a nice box with slotted compartments for everything.
You get the uniquely decorated dip pen, along with 4 bottles of ink.
Then there’s the glass cup, along with the dropper for the ink.
The glass pen has beautiful spiral patterns, and tiny sequins to really make it shine.
In addition, even the ink colors come with gold powder for extra vibrancy of colors.
Using is a Breeze
Use the dropper to get some ink from the ink bottle.
Drip the ink into the glass cup, and then dip your dip pen into the cup.
The spiral design of the dip pen boosts ink absorption and ink flow.
In fact, with practice you can use this to write at a clip of 40 to 60 words a minute.
You also need just 10 seconds to rinse the nib with water and then dry with paper.
Conclusion: Fountain Pen vs Dip Pen
As an artist, you may have a lot of tools in your toolbox aside from the usual ballpoint pens.
Perhaps you can get a mechanical pencil along with a gel pen, or maybe even a hybrid pen.
You can have different nibs and tip size options, from medium to extra fine points.
Supplies for beginners can also include various pen inks.
But when it comes to artistic pursuits, you have a conundrum.
Dip pen vs fountain pen: which one is better?
Okay, when it comes to daily note take or writing checks, obviously we’re going to have to go with fountain pens.
But what about when you want to take your handwriting skills into a whole new other level?
We’re talking about calligraphy here, when you want to produce artistically lettered invitations and posters.
There’s a certain joy in creating this form of art, and now you’re faced with a choice between fountain pens and dip pens.
The Final Decision
In the end, it’s up to you.
But if you can afford it, it’s easy enough to figure getting both.
You can use a fountain pen for regular notes, and the dip pen for art.
With our recommendations, you can certainly afford one of each It’s not a strictly either/or proposition when it comes to the fountain pen vs dip pen debate—choose both and enjoy!