Fountain Pen Reviews – How I Review Them

Fountain Pen Reviews are tests done in practical ways that simulate how most people will use the pens to help you determine the overall value for the money of the pen you’re considering.

When I test a pen at BestFountainPen.com, I’m trying to find out if it performs well and answer the most common questions people have about fountain pens before they buy them. I want to take the guesswork out of your decision making and help you find the perfect pen for you.

I put each pen through tests to explain where it does well and where it doesn’t. I’ve always hated reviews which don’t explain WHY a certain pen is a great buy or how well it writes. Sometimes you haven’t learned any more about a pen after reading a review than how much it costs and what color it is. My reviews are different.

I explain exactly what size it is, color, nib size, and you’ll also learn exactly how well it performs with different papers. You’ll know which pens guzzle the most ink, what the line variation is like, whether it’s a wet or dry writer and if it’s tends to bleed through paperwork or smudge easily.

Yes, you can have any nib ground, the tines adjusted, or switch ink brands to regulate ink delivery, but most people don’t want to buy a fountain pen to ship it off for adjustments. From reading my fountain pen reviews, you’ll know how it will perform right out of the box with stock ink from the manufacturer and without shipping it off to a pen store to pay more for specialty work. I give you the tools to discover exactly how a pen will perform and what value you’ll get out of it.

Now let’s take a look at how I evaluate each pen:

How My Fountain Pen Reviews Are Done:

  • Performance
  • Maintenance
  • Design
  • Overall Value
  • Who Each Pen Is Best For

Performance

Different Types of Paper

How the pen performs on different types of paper is the first area of testing. First, I want to see how consistently the pen writes on normal notebook paper. To show how a pen performs, I write out a full page of notes on paper.

I’m looking for a few things in how the pen performs here. First, did it bleed through to the other side of the paper? Did it skip or start-and-stop as I wrote? Did it glide across the paper easily or scratch across it?

Appearance

Did it feather on the page?  By that I mean did the ink bleed out into the fibers of the paper slightly creating a feathered look to the writing? Is there any line variation – are the lines a consistent width or is there some character and variation between horizontal and vertical strokes? (Some of this has to do with the position of the nib, or size of nib – fine, extra fine, medium, broad, italic etc. but how the nib performs out of the box is what my fountain pen reviews evaluate for you.)

I check each of these things on notebook paper and thick, heavily fibered paper. A pen that writes well on notebook paper but bleeds through on lightweight paper wouldn’t be a bad investment if you’re just using it on notebook paper. Also, a pen that writes on heavily-fibered paper without excessive skipping would be good for someone who wants to use it primarily for writing in handcrafted journals.

Hand Fatigue

While performing the writing tests I check for hand fatigue after extended writing. Does the pen wear out your hand pushing it across the paper? Does it give you a cramp? Yes, this is subjective because I may get a cramp and it may take you longer, but it’s still a good measurement of how comfortable a pen is to write with in general over extended periods.

Cap Fit

One of the earmarks of a quality, well-balanced pen is that it writes well when the cap is posted and the cap doesn’t fall off regularly as you write.  Does it fit snugly in place when posted and feel secure or do you slide it as far as you think you can and hope for the best? Does it get loose and start jiggling atop the pen until it falls off, making writing more frustrating than it needs to be? The best fountain pen reviews will answer these questions.

Smudging

All inks will smudge if you drag your hand across the page right after you write. “Wet writers” (pens that lay down more ink with a thicker line) tend to smudge easier because more ink results in a longer dry-time.  But, you’re interested in how long it will take before your note is ready to fold or before you can close your book without it imprints on the page in front of it. I’ll let you know if it’s an unusually long dry time or anything out of the ordinary.

Maintenance

Are the cartridges easy to replace? Does it come with a converter? (A converter is a tool that plugs in where the cartridge goes and allows you to fill your fountain pen with ink; they are generally cheaper than cartridges in the long run as well as allowing you to choose fun ink colors not available in cartridges.) The best fountain reviews also evaluate which replacement cartridges fit and what nibs are available if you decide to purchase replacement parts.

Design

This is definitely the subjective part of my review. Is this pen a sophisticated piece of writing jewelry or does form follow function? You’ll discover what colors and nib sizes are most readily available.

You will learn what the casing or body is made of, what makes it different than other models in the same brand, and the overall size of the fountain pen.

I’ll discuss branding on the pen, its weight, and whether the cap screws on or snaps on as well as if there’s a clip affixed.

The weight and size of a pen is important to the best fountain pen reviews because it affects your comfort writing with it. Similar to silverware, some people prefer heft and some prefer lighter utensils.

Your hand size does have some sway with how large of a pen you’ll want. Obviously if you have small hands, a larger pen may not feel as great as a smaller barrel will. If you have large hands, a dainty diameter may feel awkward.

Who Is This Fountain Pen Best For?

Size and Weight are two qualities that are important in fountain pen reviews and when choosing a pen. You have to pick one that feels comfortable to you.

The most common factors outside of size and heft are brand, color and the pen nib. There are even pens that come with a variety of nibs when you buy them so you can experiment and choose the one you want!

Overall Value

The best fountain pen reviews consider the price of the pen when determining overall value because many people are searching for the best fountain pen within a price range. A lot of people are in love with the Mont Blanc brand but many will never own one simply because the price is too high.

At the end of each fountain pen review, I sum up who the pen would be good for. Occasionally a pen is heavy and does well on thick paper but bleeds through on lightweight paper. That pen would be good for someone who doesn’t plan to use it to sign checks and doesn’t plan to carry it in a front pocket where it may weigh down their shirt.

The flip side applies to someone that wants to carry it in an expandable pen loop in a leather journal with a heavy legal pad for occasional note taking at meetings but it’s not a daily writer.

Because everyone has a different budget, and different situations they want to use the pen in, I review many brands and price points so you can find the best fountain pen for your situation.

Thank you for visiting BestFountainPen.com, your readership is a constant gift and I hope you start your pen collection today; you’ll love them as much as I do! (Don’t forget to check out my pages on Journals & Inks.)
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