I can officially say I know more about fountain pens than I care to admit. In doing research for this article about the best fountain pens under $200, I was astonished to find out that one could buy a pen for as much as this!
My preference to use some pens over others (usually the 99 cent variety) stems from how certain pens feel in my hand, and how effortlessly the ink seems to flow onto the paper. Yes, people still do write with pen and ink!
So why all the pen talk?
Well, sometimes there is an unofficial gift exchange on the wedding day between the bride and groom. Although not necessary, it can be fun to give a keepsake token to your special someone on your big day. I am putting together a couple of articles to show different styles and top suggestions for gift worthy pens for such a formal occasion.
Let’s start off with the article below that gives you the top fountain pens within a budget of $100 – $200.
Fountain Pen Basics
Fact: The first fountain pen was introduced in the 1880s.
Benefit: Pleasure of expressing liquid ink and
flexible nib accentuates personal expression
Drawback: They do require a little skill and maintenance care.
5 Top Fountain Pens Under $200
1) Lamy 2000
The LAMY 2000 is an iconic German designed pen that was originally introduced in the 1960s and has seen very little change since then. It features a platinum-plated 14k gold hooded nib, a brushed stainless steel grip, a spring-loaded clip, a piston filling mechanism, and a brushed Makrolon Body. This pen is lightweight, sturdy and perfect for someone who likes a beautiful, minimally styled pen.
- Description: Classic German Bauhaus design, unchanged since the 1960’s
- Nib: 14k platinum-coated gold
- Material: Brushed stainless steel and Makrolon
- Filling Mechanism: Piston with nearly invisible tail knob
- Weight: 25 grams
- Measurements: 5.5″ closed, 6.0″ posted
- Ink Capactiy: 2 ml
- Nib Type: LAMY 2000, Fine, Medium
- Great weight and balance
- Large capacity piston filler
- Very smooth 14k gold nib
- Iconic German design
- Great pen for money spent
- The “ears” that hold the cap on are a bit intrusive.
- Some nib inconsistencies, which may need adjusting by a professional
Judging from comments on other review sites, Lamy 2000 nibs tend to have some inconsistency out of the box. Customers felt that the nib would stick to the page, which caused skipping in the line. This isn’t only a Lamy 2000 issue, it can happen to any fountain pen. It is a minor issue, in which a professional can easily adjust and smooth.
The Lamy 2000 is priced under two hundred, and according to online pen aficionados, the pen feels and writes as if it were double that amount. It is considered a great pen to write with, which is why I have included it in this gift guide.
2) Pilot Vanishing Point Collection
The Pilot Vanishing Point Collection retractable fountain pen is an engineering marvel that describes itself! You can retract the 18k-gold nib point by clicking the button on top of the pen. The beautifully designed metal body has a modern, sophisticated matte black finish and comes in an array of different colors. There are even more options if you count the silver or gold trims and the rhodium or gold nibs.
The pen has a metal body which gives it a nice weight making it comfortable to write with. Although some find the clip to be in a weird position (close to the nip), which may require some getting used to. Because the pen retracts, it doesn’t come with a cap. That makes it a great option if the user doesn’t want to fiddle with caps.
This pen is great for both quick notes because it is convenient, but also longer writing sessions because of the weight, balance, and smoothness.
- Nib: 18-karat gold rhodium-plated nib
- Material: Metal, multiple colors
- Filling Mechanism: Cartridge – Proprietary, Converter
- Weight: 3.2 oz – 12.8 oz
- Measurements: 6 x 0.5 x 0.5 inches – 7.4 x 7.3 x 1.5 inches
- Nib Type: Extra Fine, Fine, Medium or Broad
- Large, durable metal body
- Made to be used anywhere and everywhere
- Brilliant design & technology
- Convenient click to open
- Interchangeable nib units
- Smooth writer
- Poor flow in Fine Nib
- Finish wears easily on the matte black pen
- Not much warning when ink is about to run out — it will just stop
3) Pelikan M200 Fountain Pen
The Pelikan M200 fountain pen is a great gift for someone just starting out in the pen world. This pen has consistently been a best seller, and Pelikan brand have been making high quality fountain pens for many years.
The nib of the Pelikan M200 is made from steel and gold plated. If you would prefer a gold nib, you can always upgrade to the Pelikan M400/M405. Pelikan also offer special limited edition colors like café crème or mellow cognac.
The M200’s clear window means you can view the ink inside your pen at any time. It is lighter in weight than other fountain pens, which allows the user to use it for a longer time. Unlike lower end pens, the M200 uses only bottled ink and fills with an internal piston. This gives the pen a more bountiful ink capacity than cartridge pens and you don’t have to refill it as much. Choose from a whole range of ink colors!
- Nib: Steel nib that is gold plated
- Material: Black acrylic resin finish barrel
- Filling Mechanism: Piston-filling mechanism
- Weight: 3-8 oz
- Measurements:1.3 x 1.3 x 3.1 inches to 6 x 0.2 x 0.2 inches
- Nib Type: Fine, Medium, Broad
- Smooth writing
- Endless ink color possibilities
- Great ink flow
- Refilling is a mess free, easy procedure
- Uses only bottled ink and fills with an internal piston
- Shorter than typical pens
- Fairly light weight, which some users may not prefer
- With resin finish the pen may look cheaper
4) Parker Sonnet Fountain Pen
The Parker Sonnet fountain pen is appealing to all users. It is a quality pen that can be used everyday. If the user is going to leave this pen in a drawer for a week or more, they would be better off with a different brand.
The Parker Sonnet pen has a cap which will actually stay put and not wiggle off as you write, unlike some other pens. At .90 ounces it is a comfortable weight and offers a balanced feel, perfect for extended writing periods. It is extremely easy to disassemble and clean. Loading the ink is just a matter of sticking the nib into the ink pot and pulling the back up like a syringe to pull ink into the tube.
With its great design for long-term use, this pen outperforms many other fountain pens in looks, feel and versatility on paper types.
- Nib: 18K solid gold plated with rhodium highlight
- Material: Stainless steel with gold trim
- Filling Mechanism: Cartridge/Converter
- Weight: 0.90 ounces
- Measurements: 5.8 x 0.6 x 0.6 inches to 6.9 x 3.3 x 1.6 inches
- Nib Type: Fine, Medium
- Beautiful, Timeless Design
- Durable Everyday Writer
- Writes Well With Cap Posted
- Flawless Writing Performance
- Easy to disassemble and clean
- If the pen is sitting for long period, the ink dries up in the nib
5) Sailor 1911S Fountain Pen
The Sailor 1911S fountain pen is a timeless design with a smooth solid 14K gold nib. It does offer some feedback allowing you to feel that the nib is touching the paper. With the weight distributed throughout the pen it is well-balanced and writes extremely well.
The Sailor 1911S comes with a converter and two black sailor cartridges. Although the converter doesn’t hold much ink compared to other brand converters. The user will need to refill this pen often if they like converters. Another option would be to buy the REALO version, which is piston-fill. One noteworthy point is that Sailor cartridges are constructed of flexible plastic, so that you can squeeze them once they are attached to the pen to force the ink down through the section, rather than waiting for gravity to feed the ink down.
You will get much enjoyment out of writing with this pen. It’s a versatile writer and timeless design, which performs in all situations and the ink flows easily every time – a great value for your investment.
- Nib: 1911S is 14K gold and the 1911L is 21K gold
- Material: Resin
- Filling Mechanism: Proprietary Cartridge/Converter System; A converter is included
- Weight: 20 grams
- Classic, Timeless Design of Fountain Pen
- Performs Well in All Writing Situations
- Line widths are true to size (Extra-fine is actually extremely fine)
- Great for people with small handwriting
- Beautify nib design
- Wet, but performs well on low-quality paper because of the nib size
- The nib and feed unit can be removed for intensive cleaning
- Great balance with cap on or off
- Cartridge/Converter with minuscule capacity (0.61 ml)
- Will be on the small side for those with larger hands
- Screw on/off cap
- Not as smooth as the more expensive 1911L
Phew! That is enough fountain pen talk for one day. I think I will take a break from the computer and go hand write a few Christmas cards 😉