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  • 10 Best Fountain Pens UK 2023 | Parker, Pilot and More 1
  • 10 Best Fountain Pens UK 2023 | Parker, Pilot and More 2
  • 10 Best Fountain Pens UK 2023 | Parker, Pilot and More 3
  • 10 Best Fountain Pens UK 2023 | Parker, Pilot and More 4
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10 Best Fountain Pens UK 2023 | Parker, Pilot and More

It may surprise you to learn that in the age of keyboards and touchscreens, the humble fountain pen’s popularity is on the rise. This could be for several reasons, such as the fact they can reduce hand fatigue when writing or drawing for long periods, or perhaps because they’re better from an environmental point of view as they can last a lifetime.

 
The only obstacle is finding the right one. After all, this isn’t a purchase that someone makes too often, so you're likely unversed in the top brands of ink pens. To help out, we’ve put together a guide highlighting a fountain pen's most essential features, as well as the best buys on sale at Amazon, John Lewis and eBay from Caran d'Ache, Pilot, Lamy and more.

Last updated 29/01/2023
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Table of Contents

How to Choose a Fountain Pen in the UK

Key Points to Consider
  1. Choose the Right Sized Nib to Suit Your Writing Style
  2. Pick Between a Stainless Steel or Gold Nib Depending on Intended Use
  3. Opt for Ink Cartridges for the Most Convenient Style
  4. Find a Pen That's Comfortably Weighted to Avoid Strain 
1

A Medium Size Nib Will Suit Most, but Opt for 'EF' if You’re Left-Handed, or 'DB' When Writing Cursive

A Medium Size Nib Will Suit Most, but Opt for 'EF' if You’re Left-Handed, or 'DB' When Writing Cursive

The first place to start is the nib. This is the part of the fountain pen that makes contact with the paper and is thus a fundamental component that affects how comfortable one feels when writing. The size of nibs available range from extra fine (EF or XF) to double broad (DB or 2B) with various stages in between. A great rule of thumb is that the nib should match up to the size of your writing!


Extra Fine (EF or XF)

  • Best if you have small handwriting
  • Releases the least ink
  • Perfect if you're left-handed as this helps avoid smudges

Medium (M)

  • Most popular option
  • Will suit anyone with average-sized handwriting
  • Great as a gift if you're unsure about the person's writing style

Double Broad (DB or 2D)

  • Great for large, broad cursive
  • Ideal for calligraphy
  • Great for art and drawing


For more options for drawing, check out out Best Coloured Pencils!

2

Choose a Fountain Pen With a Stainless Steel Nib for Daily Use, or One With a Gold Nib to Give as a Gift

Choose a Fountain Pen With a Stainless Steel Nib for Daily Use, or One With a Gold Nib to Give as a Gift

Stainless Steel Nibs Are a Robust Choice for Students

Steel is the most common type of material used in fountain pen nibs. It’s durable and sturdy, but also inexpensive to replace should the pen be accidentally broken. And while it may have been true that steel-nibbed pens weren’t as smooth as gold a few years ago, that’s not so much the case nowadays. 


That said, many of the well-regarded top-quality pens still prefer to employ gold as their material of choice, so you're more likely to find a steel nib on an everyday fountain pen than a luxury one. 

Consider Giving a Gold Nib Pen as a Luxury Gift for a Special Occasion

When it comes to companies producing their fanciest ranges of fountain pens, you’ll see that they will often elect for a gold nib. This not only gives the pen a classier finish, but it’s a superior material because it adapts over time to accommodate your handwriting. In turn, this will give you a more comfortable experience. 


Of course, as with anything gold, you can expect to pay much more, as they will typically use only the top-end 18, 23 or even 24 Karat gold, so they can easily cost well into the hundreds. If you're planning on gifting a pen or investing in something special though, why not go for gold? 


For a more affordable pen for everyday use, try out Best Gel Pens!

3

Ink Cartridges Are Convenient, Converters Let You Refill the Reservoir When It Runs Out

Ink Cartridges Are Convenient, Converters Let You Refill the Reservoir When It Runs Out

Next, you’ll want to consider how you get ink to your pen. Each pen has a reservoir inside, which is essentially a vessel for the ink. Most pens utilise a classic cartridge which can be swapped for a new one when it’s empty. These are quick, clean and convenient. However, they do create plastic waste, and you’ll be required to buy new cartridges forever, which will work out more expensive than ink over time. 


The other option is a converter. These pens use a refillable reservoir, which looks like a classic cartridge but works a little differently. A converter will allow you to alternate between different inks and save you money over time. The downside is that it’s not as convenient and can be a little messy while you’re getting acquainted with using it. 


Thankfully, some pens combine both of these functions. This versatility gives you more options, and essentially the best of both worlds as you can pick and choose when you want to use one or the other.  

4

The Average Fountain Pen Weighs 30g So Find a Comfortable Weight to Avoid Straining Your Hand

The Average Fountain Pen Weighs 30g So Find a Comfortable Weight to Avoid Straining Your Hand

Finally, you’ll want to consider the pen's size and weight. The average is around 17 cm, but if you like a longer, chunkier pen, look for one above this, and likewise, if you like smaller pens, look for a shorter one. Usually, you’ll find that people with larger hands find larger pens more comfortable and vice versa for those with smaller hands. 


After the size, you’ll want to think about the weight, which will be directly affected by both the dimensions and the materials used. Fountain pens can range from 30 grams to 300 grams, but the lightest tend to be the most popular, so 30 grams is a great starting point to avoid straining your hands.


While it does come down to personal preference, it is worth thinking about how long your writing sessions are, because if you need to write for longer, a heavier pen will bring on the fatigue much sooner. 


To complete your stationary set, try our Best Mechanical Pencils!

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10 Best Fountain Pens in the UK

This ranking has been compiled by the writing team at mybest UK via careful evaluation of the points made in the buying guide and thorough research of each product and comparing multiple verified customer reviews across the EC sites used.
Popularity
Products
Image
Price
Click to purchase
Key features
1

Caran d'Ache

Ecridor Retro Fountain Pen

Caran d'Ache Ecridor Retro Fountain Pen 1枚目

£142.37

High Mid

Palladium Fountain Pen From a Swiss Luxury Brand

2

Faber-Castell

Ambition Fountain Pen

Faber-Castell Ambition Fountain Pen 1枚目

£100.90

High Mid

Unique Walnut Body and Dual Ink Refill Options

3

Lamy

Safari Left-Hander Nib Fountain Pen

Lamy Safari Left-Hander Nib Fountain Pen 1枚目

£20.74

Low Mid

Lamy Fountain Pen With a Left-Handed Nib

4

Pilot

Capless Medium Retractable Fountain Pen

Pilot Capless Medium Retractable Fountain Pen  1枚目

£177.99

High Mid

18 Karat Gold Pen With a Retractable Nib

5

Parker

Jotter Fountain Pen

Parker Jotter Fountain Pen 1枚目

£15.69

Low Mid

A Great Beginners Fountain Pen for Students

6

Cross

Wanderlust Fountain PenBorneo

Cross Wanderlust Fountain Pen 1枚目

£90.00

High Mid

Decorative Fine Nib Pen to Give as a Gift

7

Waterman

Expert Fountain Pen With 23 k Gold Trim

Waterman Expert Fountain Pen With 23 k Gold Trim 1枚目

£57.57

Mid

3 Karat Gold-Plated Nib for Smooth Writing

8

Parker

Urban Fountain Pen

Parker Urban Fountain Pen 1枚目

£21.99

Low Mid

An Affordable Option From Parker Pens

9

Faber-Castell

Grip Edition B Fountain Pen

Faber-Castell Grip Edition B Fountain Pen 1枚目

£25.00

Low Mid

Broad Nib Fountain Pen With Additional Grip for Drawing and Calligraphy

10

Sheaffer

Intensity Fountain Pen

Sheaffer Intensity Fountain Pen 1枚目

£63.48

Mid

Contemporary Fountain Pen From Sheaffer’s Heritage Range

If you don't see the product you're looking for, you can request that it be listed.
No.1

Caran d'AcheEcridor Retro Fountain Pen

Ecridor Retro Fountain Pen Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Ecridor Retro Fountain Pen Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£142.37
High Mid
Reference price
£142.37
High Mid

Palladium Fountain Pen From a Swiss Luxury Brand

The Swiss know a thing or two about making things to a very high standard – just look at their work with chocolate, cheese and army knives. So, when Carran d'Ache opted to produce a fountain pen, we're pretty sure they were thinking about taking that up a notch too. And we're glad they did. 


Firstly, the whole pen is covered in palladium which, if you don't know, is a rare and lustrous metal. This is decorated with a braided design, which, combined with the material, gives a really lavish look. With a light weight and smaller length for comfort, if you're willing to splash the cash, you won't be disappointed. 

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No.2

Faber-CastellAmbition Fountain Pen

Ambition Fountain Pen Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Ambition Fountain Pen Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£100.90
High Mid
Reference price
£100.90
High Mid

Unique Walnut Body and Dual Ink Refill Options

Using a quirky cocktail of offbeat materials, this pen from Faber-Castell is another fantastic option if you're looking for something more contemporary. The walnut used for the body has a unique feel to it, and while it might be unusual initially, you'll find yourself becoming more comfortable the more you use it. 


This wood is then adorned with chrome-plated metal at either end, giving the product a welcome bit of weight. When it comes to replenishing the ink stock, you can use either a cartridge or a converter, so this is a practical as well as a pretty choice. 

No.3

LamySafari Left-Hander Nib Fountain Pen

Safari Left-Hander Nib Fountain Pen Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£20.74
Low Mid
Reference price
£20.74
Low Mid

Lamy Fountain Pen With a Left-Handed Nib

Rejoice, left-handers, because the folk at Lamy kept you in mind when whipping up some of their pens. This led to the utilisation of a left-handed nib. While in essence the same, the company designed it to work at a slightly steeper angle and with a little more of a push motion, therefore giving you a little more control.


Although the nib is designed differently, that doesn't stop it from coming in a wide range of different sizes, so you have access to whatever suits your handwriting style best. Other pluses include the stylish design and appealing price. 

No.4

PilotCapless Medium Retractable Fountain Pen

Capless Medium Retractable Fountain Pen  Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£177.99
High Mid
Reference price
£177.99
High Mid

18 Karat Gold Pen With a Retractable Nib

The highlight of this pen is its innovative retractable nib which is operated with a click, meaning you'll never have to worry about losing the lid again! This mechanism is the first of its kind, and while it might seem more likely to leak, it is extremely secure. 


The pen works with either a cartridge or a converter, both of which are included in the purchase. With its 18 karat gold nib, this option from Pilot's Luxury Capless collection is a great buy if you're looking to invest in something that will last. Due to the additional components, it is on the heavier side, although this will be beneficial for some users. 

No.5

ParkerJotter Fountain Pen

Jotter Fountain Pen Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Jotter Fountain Pen Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£15.69
Low Mid
Reference price
£15.69
Low Mid

A Great Beginners Fountain Pen for Students

Another wallet-friendly option from Parker here, only this time it's cleverly named the Jotter. It has a stainless steel cap and body and a black grip, though it does come in many other colourways if you would prefer. Moreover, it combines a classy silhouette with a traditional feather-shaped steel nib, which we think is a particularly nice touch. 


Additionally, the company provide two additional blue ink cartridges, and it's all packaged in a lovely gift box. It might not be the fanciest pen out there, but if you're looking to get started, this could be the perfect place to begin without committing too much financially.

No.6

CrossWanderlust Fountain PenBorneo

Wanderlust Fountain Pen Image 1
Source:johnlewis.com
Reference price
£90.00
High Mid
Reference price
£90.00
High Mid

Decorative Fine Nib Pen to Give as a Gift

If you're looking for something a little different, you're going to love the Borneo from Cross's Wanderlust range. Its rich, swirling design is reminiscent of luscious rainforests, snowy mountain caps and firey canyons all in one. It's sure to make an impression on those who use it as we doubt they'll have written with one like it!


In addition to the unique design, the pen has a lot of well-revered practical features too. The gold nib is smooth and comes in a smaller 'fine' size, making it ideal for those with smaller handwriting or even left-handed folk who want less ink on the page. This special pen would make the perfect gift, we think. 

No.7

WatermanExpert Fountain Pen With 23 k Gold Trim

Reference price
£57.57
Mid

3 Karat Gold-Plated Nib for Smooth Writing

With this aptly named 'Expert' fountain pen from Waterman, it's going to feel like your writing is gliding or drifting across the page. Not only is the 23 karat gold-plated nib a joy to work with, but its perfect size and weight will be delightful for most too.


Furthermore, the pen has the option of re-filling either by cartridge or converter, adding another string to its sophisticated bow. However, while the reservoir can work with either replenish options, it is known to be a little intermittent, which could be frustrating. 

No.8

ParkerUrban Fountain Pen

Urban Fountain Pen Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Urban Fountain Pen Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£21.99
Low Mid
Reference price
£21.99
Low Mid

An Affordable Option From Parker Pens

Since their inception in the late 1800s, Parker has become a household name in the world of fountain pens. While they do have pens in their arsenal that are worth hundreds of pounds, thankfully, they also cater for the more budget-conscious


That's where the Urban Fountain pen steps in. It maintains a simple and elegant design and has reliable, long-lasting parts that also provide a positive writing experience. It is a cartridge only affair, but it's hard to begrudge that at such a reasonable price. 

No.9

Faber-CastellGrip Edition B Fountain Pen

Grip Edition B Fountain Pen Image 1
Source:amazon.co.uk
Grip Edition B Fountain Pen Image 2
Source:amazon.co.uk
Reference price
£25.00
Low Mid
Reference price
£25.00
Low Mid

Broad Nib Fountain Pen With Additional Grip for Drawing and Calligraphy

With a striking jet-black casing that's almost futuristic in design, this fountain pen really is like no other we've ever seen. Aside from the aesthetics, it has an all-over grip design which should see that it's extra-comfortable whether you're sketching or penning your latest masterpiece. 


It's worth mentioning that this is a pretty chunky option as far as fountain pens go, in fact, it's by far the largest in our ranking, so you'll want to make sure that you're comfortable with something this weighty before hitting the purchase button. 

No.10

SheafferIntensity Fountain Pen

Reference price
£63.48
Mid

Contemporary Fountain Pen From Sheaffer’s Heritage Range

Our first fountain pen recommendation is this mid-priced, mid-sized offering from Shaeffer. The Intensity pen is part of the company's Heritage range and it comes with a contemporary deep-edged, ridge-patterned finish while still maintaining a classic silhouette. 


The fact that the nib is steel but finished with a gold paint may attract some people, as you get the looks without the higher price tag. Similarly, it may put some people off due to its lack of authenticity. This is a pen from a very reliable brand though, who even provide a lifetime guarantee. 

Top 5 Fountain Pens

No. 1: Caran d'AcheEcridor Retro Fountain Pen

No. 2: Faber-CastellAmbition Fountain Pen

No. 3: LamySafari Left-Hander Nib Fountain Pen

No. 4: PilotCapless Medium Retractable Fountain Pen

No. 5: ParkerJotter Fountain Pen

View Full Ranking
The descriptions of each product are referenced from content available on manufacturer, brand, and e-commerce sites.
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