Battle of the Budget Fountain Pens

This is an epic battle. I’ve been asked SO MANY times to review budget fountain pens, the cheapest I can find, so people that aren’t ready to commit to a more expensive pen can try a disposable or one comparably priced. So I set out on my mission…

My mission: Buy 10 fountain pens priced at $10 or less each and compare them and offer up the best fountain pens for less than Chinese take-out. I’ve had some surprisingly great experiences at such a dismal price point. I sincerely didn’t expect to have the Platinum or the V pen perform as well as they did!

Just like a brand new Chevy Spark doesn’t compare to a new Porsche 911, neither do these budget fountain pens compare to pens costing more than $100. But… that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun beating around town in a cute Spark… Just don’t expect that Spark to give you the same pride of ownership as a 911 and you’ll be happy. Want to see my test drives of expensive pens? Live on the wild, sexy side here. 🙂

Back to the reality of a budget, carry on with the Battle of the Budget Fountain Pens…

1. Platinum Preppy

Platinum Preppy is smooth as glass, no flow issues, a pleasure to write with and you can easily score 2-3 in multiple colors for under $10. This was my go-to pen the whole time I was reviewing Battle of the Budget Pens! Just a great pen.


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2. Pilot V Pen

Man, this was tough! The Platinum Preppy and Pilot V Pen are BOTH wonderful budget fountain pens! I ultimately gave the nod for first place to Platinum only because V pen is disposable and not easily refillable. But if you’re not concerned with refilling, you can buy a pack of these for cheap as well.

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3. Jinhao 500

The Jinhao 500 Mother of Pearl is a smooth writer, classy look and no issues. I enjoy the finish, the engraved lines in the body and the overall look and feel. What more could you ask for?


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4. Pilot Penmanship

The Pilot Penmanship is weird looking, but super comfortable. It’s small bulbous cap will get some second glances and start conversations. It’s little red winged sides on the cap are designed for children to be able to uncap it easily. Great pen.

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5. Hero 616 Extra Light

Hero 616 Extra Light is hooded nib fountain pen. That means just a little of the nib pokes out at the end of the body. It’s inspired by the Parker 51 because it looks like a knockoff. It is good for someone looking for a pencil-thin fountain pen that’s also lightweight.

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6. Baoer Chinese

Baoer Chinese has a pretty design stamped into the metal body. It’s golden look against black accents makes it a unique pen that will definitely say that you care about what you write with. Smooth.

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7. Hero 9296

Here’s where the tide really starts to turn for me. Not fond of the 9296. It’s the thinnest fountain pen in the line-up and it is metal so it will be durable. But this pen just didn’t have an “it-factor” for me. Not terribly skippy, but definitely not the smoothest or most reliable of the bunch either. I’d rather use a ballpoint. HORROR!

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 8. Jinhao 159

This is a knockoff Montblanc 149. It’s designed to look like one and for the uninitiated, it may look like the more expensive counterpart at about one-tenth of the cost. But performance, NOT ON YOUR LIFE. The cap and body threads are plastic against metal which equals eventual stripping after heavy use (at least for me.) Writes okay, but not my dream pen.

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9. Hero Clover 7028

This one was promising. The Hero Clover 7028 is cute, a woman’s pen by design with it’s cute blue and pink clovers on the body. But it skips and spits and has flow issues. Not a good buy.

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10. Jinhao Chinese Dragon

Okay, you have to read this review or watch my YT video on this pen. It’s so bad it’s hysterical. I mean, this thing… there are [almost] no words.

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