A number of factors go into judging which are the best fountain pens, and what pen is best for each individual user. Not surprisingly, here at nibs.com we believe the nib is most important - we only sell pens by manufacturers who equip their pens with solid gold nibs, which provide the durability and exceptional writing qualities that make the purchase of a fountain pen a worthwhile investment.
Quality and design of the pen body itself is also of course extremely important. The pen manufacturers whose brands we carry--Aurora, Bexley, Danitrio, Montegrappa, Nakaya, Omas, Parker, Pelikan, Pilot-Namiki, Platinum, Sailor, Sheaffer, and Waterman--are known for distinctive aesthetics, excellent ergonomic design, and for consistently high standards in terms of quality control and support.
Here at nibs.com, we're able to provide the added value of the inspection, testing, and tuning process we conduct on each pen before it is shipped - see our nib set-up and optimization page for more details. We're also able to provide nib customizations that can address the special needs of artists, calligraphers, or just anyone who has very particular and personalized needs from their writing instrument.
As the end user, ask yourself whether you're looking for a pen that will write as smoothly as possible with a consistent, unvarying line, or whether you're willing to sacrifice some smoothness for a stock or customized nib that will provide line-width variation and a more distinctive, personalized result. There are also some customizations, such as a regrind to Stub, that can often provide a happy median between the two approaches.
Once you've decided what you want to end up with on the page, the next step in finding the best fountain pen for yourself will be deciding on which brand and model. At that point, the variables are aesthetics, feel, and pricing. Browse our new pen offerings to find the pen brands whose designs appeal to you most. Most pen bodies are made from resin, wood, celluloid, or ebonite - you may find that a particular material is most appealing to you. And you can view our pen measurements chart to find pens in the size range that is most comfortable for you.
Any pen we offer can be made to write superbly, but pricing will vary depending on the materials used and whether the pen is produced in an artisanal or more standardized process. Our sale prices for quality fountain pens can range from as low as $140 for pens produced using high quality resins (see Great Pens For Under $200 for some suggestions), to literally thousands or tens of thousand dollars for the most elaborate hand-painted Maki-e pens from companies such as Danitrio, Nakaya, and Pilot-Namiki.
Once you've decided on a pen manufacturer with a reputation for quality, and also on a retailer who will provide the testing, optimization, and after-sales support that will ensure you get the most productive usage out of your pen, the question of just what are the best fountain pens really becomes, what will be the best fountain pen for you? We're here to help - feel free to browse our pages, and if you have questions or would like to be guided through the process of choosing a pen, feel free to contact us by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (323) 655-2641.