The 10 Best Fountain Pens Costing Less than £20.00

 

Angie Thistelewood a keen fountain pen enthusiast has kindly sent us her review of what she believes are the best fountain pens that are under £20.00 to purchase. She has given a full review of the 10 best fountain pens which include writing performance, nib sizes, and cost of ownership.

10 Best Fountain Pens Under 20.00

Berol Handwriting Cartridge Pen

Berol Handwriting Cartridge Pen

Details of pen & inks available:

  • Nib sizes: only the one provided -M
  • Colors of ink available: limited to standard size small cartridges
  • Disposable/refillable: refillable
  • Cost of the pen: about £3
  • Cost of ownership: washable ink cartridges 25 for £2

The Berol Handwriting Cartridge Pen is a great pen for the beginner, it is easy to write with, the ink flows easily from the beginning, though a few lines of “squiggle” are needed to get the ink flowing. It doesn’t scratch the paper or stutter on the page and there really isn’t any splatter from the ink, unless you force the nib where it doesn’t want to go.

I have to say that despite this being a beginner pen and very much at the cheap end of the market I was surprised by the nib as it was not at all scratchy and didn’t pull at the paper The ink from the pen dries nicely giving an even color and tone. However, for me, an experienced fountain pen user, the pen wasn’t comfortable to hold for extended periods of time, it really seems to be more for the novice and the rubber grip around the nib seems designed to help you hold it in a specific way and to reduce inky fingers.  I also personally like a pen that the cap fits on the end of, so I was frustrated by it not fitting on the end of the pen – I had to remember where I had put it!

The pen itself is easy to open and replacing the cartridge is a breeze. The cartridges supplied do produce nice clear writing, this of course, will depend on the ink you put in it. Just be aware that this pen looks like a pen that a student would use in school, it is clearly marked with what it is and is only available in the rather bright red/orange color.

Overall, this pen seems ideal for a beginner, as all in all the pen was smooth and easy to write with, and the supplied ink flows nicely.

Overall score 5.5/10

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Bic All in One Disposable Fountain Pen

Bic Disposable Fountain Pen

Details of pen & inks available:

  • Nib sizes: only the one provided -M
  • Colors of ink available: black, blue, red
  • Disposable/refillable: disposable
  • Cost of the pen: about £2.35 (single)
  • Cost of ownership: £2.35 per pen

This is a great little pen, as a disposable, I wasn’t expecting much but I was pleasantly surprised. The pen itself is pretty sturdy with a nice solid nib and barrel, the cap fits on the end and has a good secure clip on it, so I didn’t have to remember where I put it.

The nib is plain, but given the cost, a nice nib to write with. The ink is clear and crisp and there is little scratching on the paper when you write – in fact it is quite effortless (better than many gel pens I have used!) The ink has a good depth of color (I was using a black pen) and would work well in a photocopier or scanner. The ink dried quickly and didn’t smudge – a pleasant surprise at this end of the market.

The pen wrote well and looks nice, a pen I wouldn’t be unhappy to have in my pencil case. My real misgiving is the limited number of colors, I am also not sure how long the pen will write for as you are limited by the original ink supply as this is a disposable pen.

All in all a great little pen, that I was surprisingly pleased with and may even consider replacing my day-to-day workhorse pen with one.

Overall score 7.5/10

Editors Note now unavailable but recommends the Bic Easy Clic Fountain Pen as an alternative.

Pilot VPen V4 Fountain Pen

Pilot V Pen SVB Black

Details of pen & inks available:

  • Nib sizes: only the one provided -M
  • Colors of ink available: black, blue, red, light blue, light green, pink, violet
  • Disposable/refillable: disposable
  • Cost of the pen: about £3.50-4.50 (single)
  • Cost of ownership: £3.50-4.50 per pen

The Pilot Vpen is a nice pen, with a wide range of colors, again as it is disposable I wasn’t expecting great things but I have to say that I wasn’t disappointed with the pen or its overall performance. The pen is pretty well built with a nice solid nib and barrel, the cap fits on the end and has a good clip on it but a little plasticky (I was a bit concerned it would snap with excessive use.)

The nib is a standard plain nib but again given the price bracket that it is in, a good nib to write with. The variety of ink available seems to make it a good choice for those that don’t want to be tied to just one color and like the flexibility of choice. Initially, the ink didn’t flow brilliantly in this pen but given a few squiggles, it began to flow well. Again the ink provided in the pen gave a good crisp impression that I would be comfortable scanning or copying, it also dried quickly and smudge-free.

The pen was nice to write with and flowed well on the page, but I have to say that in the color I tested (black) I prefer the cheaper Bic all in one disposable. It is hard to put my finger on why but it just isn’t as nice a feeling to write with on a page and just not quite as smooth, but if I didn’t have another pen to compare it to I would be very happy with it.

The range of colors available in this pen-style/brand makes this a great choice for someone who wants to try a wider range of colors without the expense of a number of fountain pens and cartridges.

Overall score 6/10

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Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen

Preppy 02 Blue Black

Details of pen & inks available:

  • Nib sizes: 3 available -ExF, F, M
  • Colors of ink available: black, blue, red, green, yellow, pink, violet (all in F, limited in XF & M)
  • Disposable/refillable: disposable
  • Cost of the pen: about £2-3 (single)
  • Cost of ownership: £2-3 per pen

This is a good pen to write with, it has a good variety of nib sizes and colors (although these are mostly available with the fine nib and not with the other two.) The pen has a nice solid feel to it and seems to be somewhere between a disposable and a refillable, as you have to unscrew the barrel to pop the cartridge in so the ink will flow. Personally, I really like the fact that the ink feed in the pen was the same color as the ink – I thought that this was a really nice touch… but then I have numerous pens and bottled inks to match.

The pens feel solid enough to write with, I was surprised that I preferred the medium nib to write with as I normally prefer extra fine or fine nibs. In this case the medium nib was the most comfortable to write with as I found the fine and extra-fine a little scratchy. Once the cartridge was “popped” ink the ink took a bit of squiggling to get it to flow well, but once it did the flow was nice and constant.  I tested the black pens and I am confident that they would copy or scan well as the depth of color from the ink was good and I didn’t experience any smudging.

The pens are well built and have a nice, slightly quirky design with the color coded ink feeds. The pen feels sturdy in your hand as does the clip on the lid, it writes well and is comfortable for extended writing. The nib, while plain, is offered in a variety of sizes which makes the pen a more interesting prospect for someone wanting to find out what is right for them.

A sturdy pen with a good variety of options that allow you to explore the fountain pen feel and colors without breaking the bank. 

If you would like to see what other people say about the Platinum Preppy, Rob who is a massive fan of the preppy writes about this in One Man and his Platinum Preppy Pens

Overall score 7/10

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Zebra Fountain Pen

Zebra Fountain Pen Green

Details of pen & inks available:

  • Nib sizes: 1 supplied appears to be a medium
  • Colors of ink available: Black, Blue, Green, Light Blue, Red, Pink, Violet
  • Disposable/refillable: disposable
  • Cost of the pen: about £2-2.50 (single)
  • Cost of ownership: £2-2.50 per pen

These are really nice pens to write with, despite being supplied with a single nib size, the pens write smoothly and cleanly giving nice text on the page. I really like the colors that the pen comes supplied in and the ink level indicator is a nice touch – so you can see how long the pen is going to last. The pen has a solid feel to it and despite the clip being plastic, it is a sturdy clip and means I don’t lose the cap. The pen seems to be somewhere between a disposable and a cartridge pen, given the numerous colors it certainly gives you the variety to write with.

The ink colors are really nice a vibrant and ran easily once you squiggled a bit with the pen. There was no scratchiness or smudging from the pen and nib and the pen wrote very smoothly, the colors were really bright and clean – a real positive as I haven’t always seen this with disposable pens. This pen is certainly a Zebra and delivers the same bright colors I have seen from their other pens.

The pen body is the same color as the ink, so you can’t doubt which one you are using, which I personally really like – it makes picking the right one out of the pencil case very easy. The pens are sturdy, well built and nice to write with, the colors are nice and I enjoy writing with them. It is certainly a pen that I can write with for an extended period of time without it being uncomfortable.

Overall I have to say that these pens are great, sturdy, nice nibs and a really good color selection – all wrapped up in a pen that is not expensive.

Overall score 7/10

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Platinum Carbon Pen

Platinum Carbon Pen B

Details of pen & inks available:

  • Nib sizes: ExF
  • Colors of ink available: Carbon black
  • Disposable/refillable: Refillable
  • Cost of the pen: about £10
  • Cartridges: £3 for 4
  • Convertor: £6.95
  • Bottled ink: Carbon £17.45 (60cc) – pigment ink
  • Cost of ownership: £3 – £15 (cartridges vs convertor & ink)

This is a very stylish pen, it has an elegant elongated body and a very fine point – in fact, it feels rather decadent to write with it as it has a gold plated nib. It is also very light to hold, which surprised me when I wrote with it, I expected it to be heavier given the size. The pen does have a cap, but this doesn’t have a clip, I believe that the pen is designed to be used with the desk pen stand (about £14) but I comfortably used it with the cap as a less expensive alternative. But I can see that having the pen stand on your desk with this in would look very elegant.

The pen nib is very fine and the writing from it is thin and also elegant, everything about this pen screams elegance. The carbon ink that the pen is supplied with is a gorgeous deep black, it is also waterproof and lightfast. It can be bought in replacement cartridges or as bottled ink if you use a converter. If you do there are other colors of ink open to you. One thing to be aware of, as this is a pigment ink do make sure to flush out the feed if you don’t intend to use the pen for a while as it will clog it up.

The pen is a little difficult to get writing in the first place and the nib is a little scratchy. I personally like fine nibs, but this is a little too fine for me and just not quite what I would write with for an extended period of time. But it does produce lovely writing, and if you are looking for ink that is waterproof and lightfast this is your pen.

A super elegant pen that looks like it cost a lot more than it did, sporting a beautiful gold-plated nib and with waterproof ink.

Overall score 6/10

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Parker Jotter Stainless Steel Fountain Pen

Parker Jotter FP SS

Details of pen & inks available:

  • Nib sizes: M
  • Colors of ink available: various
  • Disposable/refillable: Refillable
  • Cost of the pen: about £15-20
  • Cartridges: £2.50 for 5 long/ £3.85 for 12 mini
  • Convertor: £4.49 – £5.65
  • Bottled ink: Carbon £5.49 (57ml) – various colors
  • Cost of ownership: £2.20 – £11 (cartridges vs convertor & ink)

This is the only manufacturer of pens, that I am aware of, with the Royal Warrant granted in 1962. This was granted by the Royal household marking Parker its sole supplier of pens, pencils, and inks. This is a very stylish pen with a brushed steel metal body, and a black plastic grip section. The pen looks very sophisticated with the chrome trim and a medium steel nib, the design of the pen flows from the nib through the body and to the cap/clip. The cap is nice and solid with a good strong clip on it that I could clip the pen to my notebook and not be afraid to lose it.

The pen came with blue and black cartridges, I chose to try the blue ink. The pen wrote very smoothly from the first and is certainly one that I can use for extended writing comfortably. The pen is comfortable in my hand and the inks flow very smoothly on the paper, there is no scratching from the nib or smudging of the ink.

I enjoy writing with this pen, it is certainly one of my go-to pens in my pencil case that I can comfortably use on a daily basis for work and in my diary. I like that the ink doesn’t go through the paper and that I can leave it for a while and the ink flows easily every time I write with it. It is comfortable in the hand and the writing is a nice size for a medium nib, I prefer fine nibs, but this isn’t too wide and I like the writing that it creates.

A chic, stylish pen that is comfortable to use and produces good clear writing, a good go-to pen.

Overall score 7.5/10

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Kaweco Classic Sport, Skyline Sport & Perkeo Fountain Pens

Kaweco Classic Sport FP Green
Kaweco Classic Sport Fountain Pen

Details of pen & inks available:

  • Nib sizes: ExF, F, M, B, BB – Sport & F, M – Perkeo
  • Colors of ink available: various
  • Disposable/refillable: Refillable
  • Cost of the pen: about £15-18
  • Cartridges: £1.75 for 6 mini
  • Convertor: £2.50 – £4.85
  • Bottled ink: Carbon £12.49 (30ml) – various colors
  • Cost of ownership: £1.75 – £15 (cartridges vs convertor & ink)

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The Kaweco pens are similar yet different, they all write wonderfully smoothly with a lovely nib and ink, they produce ink quickly without stuttering or scratching on the page and are great to write with for an extended period of time. They are smooth writing and great to hold, they feel sturdy and chunky yet manageable in the hand and the ink just flows so smoothly. They don’t produce and smudging and are a lovely pen to use.

Perkeo Bad Taste

The difference to me is mainly in appearance and size, the Perkeo is a more traditional shape with a long pen and pull off the cap, it has an ergonomically designed grip and very comfortable for writing. Personally, I really like the appearance of the darker polished stainless steel nib, the fact that it is engraved with the Kaweco logo makes it appear very smart and special. The only downfall is that there is no clip on the cap, but it does fit on the end so not too hard to lose, it also has the grey logo on the end of the cap.

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Kaweco Skyline FP Mint
Kaweco Skyline Sport Fountain Pen

The main difference between the Skyline and Classic Sport pens is that classic has a gold nib and gold logo on the end of the cap, whereas Skyline sport has a shiny stainless steel nib and silver logo on the end of the cap. Both pens are shorter than the average so they can fit in a pocket without being seen – once you pop the cap on the end you have a standard size pen. I do like the fact that the cap screws onto the pen when closed – this feels very secure and sturdy, much less likely to leak and ruin a good shirt!

Great pens – appearance and size are the main deciding factors you would need to choose. I really like writing with both of these as they are so smooth and comfortable.

Overall score 8.5/10

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Platinum Plaisir Fountain Pen

Platinum Plaisir FP Nova Orange

Details of pen & inks available:

  • Nib sizes: 0.3mm, 0.5mm
  • Colors of ink available: various
  • Disposable/refillable: Refillable
  • Cost of the pen: about £13
  • Cartridges: £1.75 for 2 in 8 different colours/ £4.95 for 10 blue-black/black only
  • Convertor: £6.75
  • Bottled ink: £4.55 (30ml), £13.65 (60ml), mix free ink £12.95 (60ml)– various colors
  • Cost of ownership: £1.75 – £11.50 (cartridges vs convertor & ink)

This pen feels great when you hold it, solid yet light and easy to write with. The main part of the pen is made of anodized aluminum so it is really hard-wearing a tough yet at the same time has a lovely luster to it, the other positive is so far. no scratches and that is in my very full pencil case! It has a good solid cap in the same color as the body of the pen with a silver clip and engraved band – which I personally like.

The pen is easy to write with and the ink flowed from new very quickly, I really like the clear ink feed on the pen so I can see the ink moving down to the nib. The nib is smooth and easy to write with there is no scratching or stuttering at all and I can write for ages with this pen – it really is a dream to use. In fact, Platinum claim that the specially designed cap on this pen will protect the ink for a whole year – but I don’t see my pen not being used for that amount of time.

This really is my go-to, work-a-day pen I use it all the time and it has not let me down. It is comfortable to hold, it gives a great smooth ink flow and the Platinum ink is a really black color, not too dark and not too light. The ink has a consistent flow and doesn’t create any splotches or blotches in what I am writing, even when I write at speed.

I have to say that from the pens under £20 this is my number one choice. It also is recommended as a good pen for lefties.

Overall score 9.5/10

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Do you have any fountain pens which are not on this list that cost less than £20.00? if you do we would love to hear about them. These pen s may be inexpensive but you will need somewhere to store them so take a look at the 10 best fountain pen cases + buying guide.

5 thoughts on “The 10 Best Fountain Pens Costing Less than £20.00”

  1. Those “disposable” pens can be refilled. You can find videos on the internet on how. I’ve refilled my Pilots dozens of times and my Bics a few times.

    Reply
    • Not to sure what to make of a Pen Boss? I see you are a pen blogger do you have any favourite pens you would like to recommend?

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