Best Fountain Pen Under $100 and $150: Mid-Priced Fountain Pens

You would never believe how much high-end fountain pen cost. For example, the Aurora Diamante is estimated at $1.47 million, which is, suffice to say, way too much for ordinary folk. Fountain pens come at different prices, and, while the Aurora stands on the higher end, the models in my review are in the opposite extreme – the “middle” or “medium” price point category.

Most people would feel puzzled by this – if there’s a pen that costs a million dollars, what piece of junk could I get for mere $100? Well, the truth is – pens are used for the same purposes, regarding of their cost, which basically translates to “each pen is used for writing, it’s the brand that’s expensive”.

Mid-priced fountain pens are equally good as high-end models, but you won’t get to boast about owning an Aurora,Caran d’Ache Diamonds, Heaven’s, or Montblanc fountain pen. That’s, perhaps, the only exception – the models I’ve prepared for you are reliable and well worth the money.

Best Fountain Pen Under $100 and $150 Comparison Table

NameQuality and reliabilityRatingPrice
Waterman ExpertImpeccable4.8/5
PARKER Sonnet Excellent4.7/5
Cross Classic CenturyExcellent4.7/5
Pilot Fountain PenExcellent4.7/5
Waterman HemisphereVery good4.6/5

Mid-Priced Fountain Pens Reviews

Waterman Expert Stainless Steel, Fountain Pen with Medium nib

Waterman-Expert-Stainless-Steel-Fountain-PenThe first fountain pen I’m recommending to you is Waterman’s stainless-steel fountain pen – it’s one of the plainest pens out there, but you’re free to choose the “fineness” of the nib, as well as the color, which is pretty nice, considering this is a budget model.

First of all, you’re free to choose between a plethora of colors – this particular model comes in black, black & gold, deep brown, Deluxe blue, Matte black, “precious”, stainless steel, stainless steel & gold, Taupe, Deluxe black, and Deluxe White color variations.

Simply put, this model excels in aesthetics, and you can choose the color which suits you best. Personally, I found all the black options as perfect, as they portray the elegance of owning a fountain pen without equal, although I can assure you that each model looks ravishing and exquisite, to say the least.

This particular model comes with a medium nib, even though you can pick the “fine nib” if you’re not well-versed with fountain pens.

Now, most people state that the “medium nib” edition isn’t so good – it tends to produce a wide script once used, and it’s more prone to blobbing and “fading”, so I recommend choosing the “fine nib” instead of this one.

Other than that, I can guarantee that there are no major flaws you should concern yourself with – this fountain pen is as good as it gets – it’s reliable, it delivers a steady and consistent flow of ink, and you will certainly be content with its value for the buck.

What we liked

  • Available in multiple color variations
  • You can choose between “medium” and “fine” nib
  • Excellent reliability and consistent ink delivery
  • Excels in aesthetics
  • Great value for the buck

What we didn’t like

  • You might find the writing as somewhat “scratchy”, as some people claim
  • You need to press the paper harder when writing

PARKER Sonnet Fountain Pen, Black Lacquer with Gold Trim

PARKER-Sonnet-Fountain-PenParker’s fountain pens are something to behold, truly. Even though I’ve had the pleasure of testing out only a handful of their models, I can assure you, you simply can’t go wrong if you go with this brand.

This particular model comes in numerous color variations, including the “black lacquer”, “black lacquer with gold trim”, “chiselled silver & black”, prestige brown rubber lacquer”, “prestige chiselled silver”, “metal & pearl”, and many more.

Needless to say, the brand wanted this fountain pen to excel in aesthetics, which it does without equal.

The lacquer cap is reinforced with the accented barrel with gold-finished trim, as well as gold-adorned clip. Simply put, if you’re searching for a good-looking fountain pen, this model is the one you’re searching for.

Even though the factory provided nib is “medium” in density, the manufacturer provides you with opportunity to choose between “fine” and “medium”. Personally, I recommend going with “fine” if you’re not accustomed to fountain pens.

This exquisite fountain pen is hand-crafted and it deserves the attention it gets – I’ve had the pleasure of testing out numerous pens, and this one is so well-built that I’m at a loss for words.

There are a couple of things I didn’t like so much, though. First of all, the instructions were gibberish, to say the least. The manual was so small that I had to invest hours into reading it carefully. Other than that, I want to accentuate the fact that I’m relatively new to fountain pens, so I really needed the now-how provided there.

Secondly, this pen isn’t exactly “ideal” when it came to size. People with really large hands are sure to find it as valuable, but those with petite hands will struggle with it, or even find it as unbalanced, which will ultimately ruin their penmanship.

Overall, this is a great pen, despite the flaws it comes with. It doesn’t cost too much, it looks rather amazing, and it provides a level of reliability you would expect from a high-end model. I liked it a lot, and I recommend it to everyone who wants to own a good-quality pen (but doesn’t want to pay a fortune for it).

What we liked

  • Comes in a plethora of color variations
  • Choose between “medium” and “fine” nib
  • Exceptional reliability and ink delivery
  • Gold-finished trim & clip
  • Excels in aesthetics
  • Superb value for the money

What we didn’t like

  • The instructions are microscopic, thus hard to read
  • People with small hands might find it difficult to use this fountain pen

Cross Classic Century Black Lacquer Fountain Pen with Fine Nib

Cross-Classic-Century-Black-Lacquer-Fountain-PenNext up is Cross’ Classic Century fountain pen (otherwise labelled as “AT0086-77FFS). This remarkable pen is available in several color variations and multiple style options, which I found as pretty nice, as customization potential is one of my favourite qualities I look after.

First of all, this ravishingly beautiful pen comes in 10KT gold-filled, 14KT gold-filled, black lacquer, classic black, lustrous chrome, medallist, satin chrome, and sterling silver color options. Needless to say, each option is as beautiful as can be.

Personally, I liked the fact that the cap is threaded and the barrel securely closed – these features prevent “blobs” and “explosions”, so I was certain that this fountain pen is reliable from the moment I learnt this.

Other than that, I really liked the gift box that comes as a gratis feature – even though it’s pretty common, bonus features are one of the things that differentiate the “average” pens from the best pens under $100.

Some people state that this pen is not as “heavy” as the previous Cross’ fountain pen editions – this might be a flaw for people who’ve grown accustomed to the average height of this brand’s pens, but I didn’t find it as one.

Others complain about the twist mechanism – again, I need to accentuate the fact that I didn’t use Cross’s pens for so long that I can spot such a flaw, so it might be the real deal or simply a fraud.

Objectively, after using this fountain pen, I found it as valuable. It looks exquisitely good, it feels quite nice, and its performance is something I can label as “great” with no questions asked.

What we liked

  • Exquisitely beautiful
  • Outstanding performance
  • Very reliable
  • Steady ink delivery

What we didn’t like

  • Unbalanced twist mechanism
  • Somewhat lighter than other Cross’ pens

Pilot Fountain Pen Custom Heritage 91

Pilot-Fountain-Pen-Custom-Heritage-91Pilot’s fountain pens are said to be the best ones in this price point category, which urged me to try them out. This particular model is somewhat less expensive than the models I’ve used so far, but it proved to be as reliable and valuable as others.

First of all, I liked its customization potential – you can choose between medium, broad, “broad broad”, extra fine, fine, fine-medium, soft-fine, soft-fine medium, and soft-medium nib.

Basically, this remarkable pen boasts affordability before all else, but there are a couple of things that shouldn’t be neglected.

First of all, I think that all fountain pens should come in multiple color variations – not everyone likes the “elegant black” like me.

Other than that, there are certain Pilot models that are better build-wise. Apart from that, everything seems fine.

What we liked

  • Comes in plethora of style variations
  • Looks pretty simplistic
  • Very easy to use
  • Excellent reliability

What we didn’t like

  • Available in only one color
  • Some Pilot models are better altogether

Waterman Hemisphere Essential Stainless Steel Chrome Trim Fine Point Fountain Pen

Waterman Hemisphere-Essential-Stainless-Steel-Chrome-Trim-Fine-Point-Fountain-PenThe last fountain pen in this review is Waterman’s essential stainless-steel chrome-trim fountain pen.

This awesome pen comes with a “fine” and “medium” nib, but you can also choose the “starter bundle” if you feel like the basic package is insufficient.

The durability of this remarkable pen is impeccable, its consistent flow of ink is unmatched, and, personally, I found the price as more than fair.

The only problem with this fountain pen is that you might experience certain difficulties with getting accustomed to the nib. Even though it’s fine, it’s a bit different from the other nibs we’ve seen so far.

What we liked

  • Sleek design
  • Good for people with smaller hands
  • Lightweight construction
  • Gratis gift box

What we didn’t like

  • Potential problems with nib

How to write with a fountain pen?

Basically, writing with a fountain pen is pretty similar to writing with a regular pen or a pencil. You should firstly balance your pen – which depends on your hand’s size, the pen’s weight, the cap, and your experience with fountain pens in general.

Secondly, you should take your fountain pen in the dominant hand. Pinch it lightly with your thumb or your index finger, after which you should slide it down the end (from the perspective of your index finger). It’s important to note that you should never press too hard (neither the pen or the paper).

Also, you should never grab your fountain pen from the bottom, as you might experience certain difficulties with the writing angle.

Lastly, you should rest your fountain pen’s barrel on your knuckle for additional precision. Most people do it while using a regular pen or pencil, as this is a simple trick to improve your writing accuracy, but if you’re not accustomed to it, you might feel slightly uncomfortable at the beginning. Don’t worry, as this will pass with time.

How to pick the best fountain pen under 100 bucks?

There are a couple of things that we can use to differentiate “bad” fountain pens from “good” models, but, ultimately, mid-priced fountain pens lack in all departments when compared to higher end models.

This shouldn’t dissuade you, though, as only a handful of people can afford the most expensive fountain pens, such as Montblanc’s or Heaven’s. All things considered, you shouldn’t expect to compare these models, but I can assure you that your experience will be exquisite, even though you won’t pay top dollar.

Price

The price is always the key factor with fountain pens. As I’ve mentioned before, the ultimate “high-end” category begins at several thousands of dollars while the “budget” price range begins at mere twenty bucks.

Suffice to say, both the most expensive and budget models are used for the same thing – you’ll use your pen to write and feel a little better when compared to using a regular blue pen.

Now, the difference between $50 fountain pens and $100 fountain pens is quite small, although it’s definitely real. Budget fountain pens are less reliable, they’re often inferior in terms of durability, and, most importantly, they can’t even begin to compare reliability-wise.

That’s the reason why I’m recommending fountain pens that are below $100 but above $50. Don’t be afraid to invest a couple bucks more, you’ll thank me afterwards.

Reliability & Ink delivery

Reliability is another key factor that can’t be neglected when we evaluate the performance of a fountain pen. We all know that ink pens, just like regular pens are prone to fading – the event where the ink starts to dry out and get slimmer on paper.

A reliable pen is the one which won’t explode on you – the ink “explosion” is characterized as frequent ink blobbing which can seriously damage any set of clothing, not to mention the paper. Imagine the situation where you will have to fill out an important form (e.g. legal form of mortgage). If the ink “explodes” on it, you’ll have a ruined paper which will be totally unusable later on.

Owning a reliable fountain pen will ensure that such events can be countered and avoided altogether.

Now, the “ink delivery” is a similar thing – a pen which consistently delivers ink is the one which won’t fail you or fade on you when you need it the most. While only a handful of budget fountain pens can guarantee such a quality, most fountain pens under $100 have a consistent ink delivery to boast.

Durability

Durability is very important if you don’t feel like buying several pens – some pens tend to break after a while, others can survive quite a punishment, and it’s safe to say that you’re interested in the latter.

If you want to make sure that your pen is a durable one, all you can do is inquire about the specifics of the model in question with the brand you want to buy your pen from. Most fountain pens are made of durable materials, and it falls down to you how you handle them – however, certain models are capable of withstanding misuse and abuse better than others.

Comfortability

We all know that writing with fountain pens isn’t as easy as writing with regular pens or pencils, which is one of the reasons why comfortability is the issue here.

A comfortable fountain pen is the one which you won’t be a cumbrance to you. Basically, we’re talking about your preferred position – with a suitable pen, you’ll be able to find it more easily ,while certain models might make it a chore.

Aesthetics

Let’s face it, we all considered owning a fountain pen because we wanted to look cooler while using it. There are absolutely no benefits a fountain pen can offer you apart from the sense of “elegancy and exquisiteness”.

In essence, I want to accentuate the importance of aesthetics as a vital import of a fountain’ pen’s performance. You don’t want it if it looks “ok”. Find the one that looks “perfect”, as it’s not as hard as it seems – simply browse through my top picks, and you’re sure to find one.

Conclusion

Finding the best fountain pen under 100 dollars will benefit you greatly, especially if you know that most models cost at least ten times more.

Check the reviews I’ve prepared for you, and feel free to browse through my selection – the “comparison table” should give you a quick insight regarding the best models.

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