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Favorite Sub-$30 Pens

low cost cheap inexpensive fountain pens

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74 replies to this topic

#1 jabberwock11

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 18:55

Looking over the pens on my desk I realize that very few of them are expensive pens.  Most of the pens that I use on a regular basis are actually pretty inexpensive (even with the price of an after market stub or italic nib factored in).  This got me to thinking about why we so frequently equate price with quality.  Is a $200 pen really worth ten times more than a $20 pen?  When I look at how well my inexpensive pens perform, I have to admit that I have a hard time seeing the value in more expensive pens.

 

So, let's see some love for those low cost pens!  The ever-ready pens that fill out your pen cups, the workhorse pens that rattle around in your briefcases, the knock-around pens that you shove into your backpacks or pockets.  What are your favorite pens under $30?

 

The pens that inspired this post:

 

--Jinhao X750 (frosted black with a Knox 1.1 nib) total cost: $15

 

--Pilot Metropolitan (silver zigzag with medium italic nib from a Pilot Plumix) total cost: $19.45

 

--TWSBI Eco (white with 1.1 nib) total cost: $28.99



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#2 sirtoti

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 19:07

Most of the inexpensive pens I keep with me are out of production. Omas DS, Rotring Core, Inoxcrom Wall Street, Parker Frontier.

 

But I can assure you there are few of my "expensive" pens that I think aren't worth the money I paid.



#3 dogpoet

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 19:11

Several Jinhaos, a lot of Pilots, Schneider, Pelikan and Kaweco.

When did Parker pull the plug on the Frontier?



#4 Manalto

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 19:33

When I look at how well my inexpensive pens perform, I have to admit that I have a hard time seeing the value in more expensive pens.

 

 

Performance is important of course, but with function comes form - you're forgetting about the art and craftsmanship of fine pens.

 

Jinhaos have served me well, too. I also like the Baoer 388.


James


#5 OCArt

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 19:44

Kaigelu 316, a wonderful pen made perfect if you can replace the metal finial with a light weight plastic one.  But even in stock condition a very, very nice pen. ( it takes number 5 nibs if you want to change to something other than the medium-ish nib it comes with.)


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"Pens a'plenty in 2020" Chuck Montano from The Nib Section podcast


#6 dogpoet

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 19:59

If we're talking about inexpensive pens, I suppose I should mention the Platinum Preppy?



#7 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 20:00

Looking over the pens on my desk I realize that very few of them are expensive pens.  Most of the pens that I use on a regular basis are actually pretty inexpensive (even with the price of an after market stub or italic nib factored in).  This got me to thinking about why we so frequently equate price with quality.  Is a $200 pen really worth ten times more than a $20 pen?  When I look at how well my inexpensive pens perform, I have to admit that I have a hard time seeing the value in more expensive pens.
 
So, let's see some love for those low cost pens!  The ever-ready pens that fill out your pen cups, the workhorse pens that rattle around in your briefcases, the knock-around pens that you shove into your backpacks or pockets.  What are your favorite pens under $30?
 
The pens that inspired this post:
 
--Jinhao X750 (frosted black with a Knox 1.1 nib) total cost: $15
 
--Pilot Metropolitan (silver zigzag with medium italic nib from a Pilot Plumix) total cost: $19.45
 
--TWSBI Eco (white with 1.1 nib) total cost: $28.99



Sub-$30? Yup. Have lots. My particular favorites:

Vintage Hero 616
Vintage Sheaffer School pens
Nemosine Singularity
Pilot Metropolitan
Lamy Safari and Nexx
Platinum Preppy and Plaisir

I may have left out a few...

#8 joshua.andrews59

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 20:24

A few of my sub $30 pens that serve me well: 

 

Jinhaox750    $5  

Pilot Metro      $15

Nemosine Fission   $25

Hero 5066     $8

Jinhao 159   $10

Lamy Safari $25

 

 

In my experience there is a cut off point where you start paying for quality of the pens material rather than performance. 

For me and my everyday writing needs bringing a +$100 would set me on edge that I might break it, so I leave them at home. That being said I do find a better writing experience with some of those high end pens.

 

 

 


VICTRIX FORTUNA SAPIENTIA


#9 Icywolfe

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 21:53

Pilot Crystal ~ 11 USD

Pilot Dipper ~ 15 USD

Pilot Metro ~ 15 USD

Pilot Metro EU ~ 20 USD

Pilot 18k Elite ~ 6 USD to 20 USD*

Pilot Birdie ~ 15 USD

Pilot Parallel ~ 15 USD

Pilot Knight ~ 25 USD

Pilot Varsity ~ 3 USD

Platinum Preppy ~ 3 USD

Sailor 55 Fude ~ 15 USD

 

*Yes, its a 18k gold nib. For 6 bucks!

 

Those are my liked ones, but my most favorite is the Smooth 18k Pilot Elite.


#Nope


#10 inkstainedruth

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 22:27

Parker Vector (yes, I know -- but I love all of mine)

Pilot Metropolitan (surprisingly good -- at least the medium nib ones -- for the money

Noodler's Flex Piston Creaper (Noodler's pens have their detractors, but ALL of mine have been pretty good straight out of the box)

Parker 45

Noodler's Charlie (not sure what these would retail for, but given that they're given out free with ink -- as a replacement in some cases for a Platinum Preppy, it would probably be in the neighborhood of $4US)

Esterbrook J series (depending on the nib -- but I did find an SJ in the wild with a 9128 [flexible EF] nib for twenty bucks)

Guanleming 978 Accountant (it's a metal barreled squeeze filler with a hooded nib, and feels much more substantial the the $5 price tag)

 

From *my* stash, I could also add a few vintage pens that would normally cost quite a bit more, except that they're ones I lucked Into (if I can find them, bargains are still out there to be found):

no name with a 14K English made music nib

Parker 41 (yes, it's the estate sale find pen -- got it for a whopping 50¢....  B))

Sheaffer Snorkel with what looks like a Palladium silver Triumph OBB nib on it

I kid you not -- the tag said $42 which I figured was a great deal, just for the nib, and the guy in the store knocked it down to $20 because the tag looked faded and he thought it had been sitting in the case for a while....  :huh:; I guess that he thought that it wasn't worth as much as the green Snorkel with the 14K F nib on it because the nib wasn't gold....  Bwahahahahahaha (score me!)  :lticaptd:

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth 


"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#11 georgeb

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 00:38

Sheaffer No Nonsense

Duke 209



#12 ScienceChick

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 01:00

My favorite under $30:

Nemosine Singularity
Platinum Balance/Cool
Pilot 78G
Pelikan Twist & Pelikano
TWSBI Eco
A no-name FP from Daiso, about $1.10
Online Academy

 photo 9a3c4b09-5684-4070-874c-d3e7313947e7.pngLife is too short to use crappy pens.  -carlos.q


#13 Runnin_Ute

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 02:16

Among mine:

 

Parker 45 desk set

Parker 45 Flighter

Parker 45

Pilot Metropolitan

Jinhao 599

Esterbrook LJ (this was a PIF)

Cross Aventura (also a PIF)

Noodler's Konrad (when I count the Goulet nib it is slightly over $30)

Parker IM - 2 of them. Don't get much use.

couple of Sheaffer Flighter style ballpoints, Parker 45 BP/MP SET (PIF)

 

From $35-$50

Pelikan M200 blue marbled old style (ebay find)

Waterman Phileas

Lamy Al Star

Esterbrook J (9550)

Parker 51 Special

 

$50-$100

Pelikan M200 Cognac

TWSBI 580 with Tomahawk B nib from ArtsNibs

True Writer Silver Anniversary

 

Among some that were lost this past summer:

 

Under $50

Parker 51 Special SET (FP/MP)

Pelikan M150

 

$50-$75

2 Pelikan M205's and a Pelikan 120 that was NOS when I bought it.

 

There were also 2 P45's - one a Flighter - under $30

 

What does it mean?

To me it means if you are in the right place at the right time you can get some terrific pens for not a lot of money.


Brad
 
"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling
"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain
 


#14 Icywolfe

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 02:32


 

What does it mean?

To me it means if you are in the right place at the right time you can get some terrific pens for not a lot of money.

That is true. As if you keep looking you can get a 18k nibbed pen for 6 USD.

 

------

Op said the fav pens for under 30 USD.


#Nope


#15 gweimer1

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 02:38

I suppose if we're talking what was actually paid...

Duke 209 (I got one, and I like it)
Esterbrook J
Waterman Lady Patricia (seriously...one of my best pens at $19)
Esterbrook Dollar 9461
Waterman 32V
Levenger True Writer
Sheaffer Sovereign II

#16 Tancred

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 02:42

Lamy Safari. 



#17 migo984

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 02:59

Long term favourites:

Pilot Elite 18k SF (vintage for £12)
Platinum Cool/Crystal ( a surprisingly responsive steel nib)
Parker 45s (multiple pens, multiple gold nibs, all great)


A new favourite:

TWSBI Eco (pretty good factory fine on this one).

Verba volant, scripta manent


#18 richila

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 03:44

I love my Jinhao x450 and 15o.

#19 erpe

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 04:26

just a short list really but some of them are still in rotation:

Pilot Metropolitan with a 78G GP nib

KaWeCo Sport

Kaigelu 316

Hero 7122

Hero 7132

Parker IM

Pilot Prera

Several Preppy's



#20 Shaggy

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 04:28

Pilot Kakuno - get one without fins and enjoy the capacity of the con 70 converter.

Pilot Prera - I got a Vivid pink one for $20. Light, fun, smooth.





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: low cost, cheap, inexpensive, fountain pens



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