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Buying a fountain pen that’s perfect for you and your writing needs may seem like a challenging task. Fountain pens are an elegant and timeless writing tool that can last a lifetime, so it’s important to understand how to choose a fountain pen that ticks all of your boxes.

Fountain Pen Basics: What You Should Know

If you’ve decided a fountain pen is for you, there are a few basic things you should know. Fountain pens comes with a variety of nib types. Their shape and style differs and you should opt for a nib that matches with your handwriting style. You should also consider comfort when choosing a fountain pen. Different materials can make fountain pens more pleasant to hold and retractable/capped fountain pen options allow you to distribute the weight of the pen more evenly to make writing fluent. You should also bear in mind the different ink capabilities. While ink cartridges are a more convenient ink choice, filling systems and converters provide you with access to a wider range of ink colours. 

Choosing Your Nib

One of the first things you need to consider when buying a fountain pen is the pen nib. You need to decide what nib thickness and nib material you want.

In terms of pen nib thickness, there is no industry set standard meaning that the difference between brands can vary. However, most fountain pens come fitted with a medium grade nib from the manufacturer, and to most, this is an ideal thickness. If you find a slightly thinner nib more pleasing to the eye or a broad nib fits your style better, these fountain pen models are largely easy to come by.

Fountain Pen Size & Weight

When it comes to how to choose a fountain pen, you should also consider what pen size and weight are optimal for you.

If you have large hands, you may find a smaller fountain pen model uncomfortable to hold. Likewise, if your hands are more petite, you may find a larger fountain pen model difficult to work with. We suggest experimenting with different pen sizes that you already own to discover what size feels most comfortable.

In a similar vein, when buying a fountain pen, you need to think about the weight of the pen. A fountain pen that is too weighty may feel uncomfortable, especially if you tend to write for long, uninterrupted periods. However, a fountain pen that is too light may not feel right in your hand and for your style of writing.


Most commonly fountain pens come with a detachable cap that fits on the grip and protects the pen nib. You can also however buy fountain pens that are retractable. You push a button on the end of the barrel for your nib to appear. This, again, is down to personal preference. Some people don’t like having the cap on the end of their pen when writing so they may be better opting for a detractable cap fountain pen.

Fit For Purpose

You should also consider your writing purpose when choosing a pen. As hinted at earlier when discussing the different nib options, we mentioned certain nib sizes and shapes will create larger or sharper pen strokes. Stub pens have a wider surface tip and they create less refined pen strokes. These and oblique nibs are perhaps more suited to faster handwriting tasks such as notetaking. Business documentation and signatures may require a sharper character definition when writing and for these scenarios you may be better opting for a fountain pen with an italic nib.

The Aesthetics

Lastly – the aesthetics. Do not base your purchase entirely on this but do make sure you actually like the design of your pen – you don’t want to be frequently writing with a pen you can’t stand the sight of! Using a fountain pen should be a pleasurable, perhaps luxurious experience, so ensure your choice of pen fulfils that feeling for you.

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