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Favorite Sub-$30 Pens

low cost cheap inexpensive fountain pens

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74 replies to this topic

#41 Maurizio

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Posted 01 January 2016 - 14:05

Pilot Metropolitan, medium nib; I put a con-50 converter in mine and it works nicely. The step down doesn't bother me at all and I like the substantial feel the metal gives to the body. This pen would be a good pen at 2 & 3 times its price. Currently part of my experiment with scented ink

Platinum Preppie, again fitted with a Platinum converter. The converter at $9.00 cost me almost three times the cost of the pen for which I paid &3.95. Was worth it for me because I use it as my Bay State Blue pen.

Pilot 78g also currently part of my scented ink experiment.

Kaweco Sport - used as an eye dropper.

It's more then $30., about $45. on Amazon but the Pilot Lucina is a great pen and writes, in my experience, much smoother than a Prera.

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#42 wastelanded

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Posted 01 January 2016 - 14:34

Pilot 78G, B nib ~ best ten bucks I ever spent

Baoer 519 ~ well built and solid, with a cracker of a medium nib for $7

Dollar 717i, Arabic nib ~ remarkably smooth write

Lamy Safari, charcoal, OM nib ~ nothing can kill it, nothing

 

That's it for the pens currently for sale. I have quite a few vintage pens that were sub-$30 sumgais, but that doesn't count here.


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#43 REDEYEDROP

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Posted 01 January 2016 - 14:40

Ummm in respect to fountain pens:

Waterman Hemisphere.
Twsbi Eco.
Lamy safari.
Parker IM / Vector.

#44 Manalto

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Posted 01 January 2016 - 14:46

Ummm?


James


#45 arcadeflow

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Posted 01 January 2016 - 17:31

There is always a possibility for someone to buy a more expensive for less than $30 in a deal. But considering "buy it now" prices, a Lamy Safari from Europe (maybe even an AL-star if you get it from a fair price dealer) and a Pilot Prera from Japan are my keepers. For the Safari I would recommend the fine nib for daily writing, medium nib if you use your own paper, and broad if you use your own paper and you like thick lines. For the Prera I would only recommend the fine nib for general daily writing (or drawing). I dislike the medium nib used in this model, I always had trouble with the 6 I tried in different pens, doesn't fit my style or had flow issues. The Prera fine nibs usually work great for me, and I recommend the use of alkaline Japanese inks in them. I also don't recommend the extra fine Safari nib, if the fine nib is not working well with the paper you use, try a drier ink. The extra fine nib won't fix your problem unless it is adjusted for a dry flow, and then it will be less smooth than the fine nib and will use almost the same amount of ink as the fine nib adjusted the same way. I don't see a purpose for this unless one prefer more feedback. For a first buy, I recommend the other nibs I mentioned.

 

If you want to go vintage, I had a good experience with an Esterbrook LJ (I recommend the J model, thicker and better for medium/large hands) and a Parker 21. If they are with a sac in nice shape, they never skip, feeds never go dry after you write a page, they write until the last drop of ink is used. But I don't like using them outside because they have aged plastic, you never know what may happen to them in daily carry.



#46 psfred

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 01:06

Preppies are good, but the real sleepers in low cost pens are Chinese.

 

The nibs are often really good, even in the bottom of the line Hero 616 and 329s.  Very light, often brittle, so it pays to move up in the line a bit (Hero 100s are great so long as you treat them like  Parker 61 -- it's easy to split the barrel tightening it!).

 

I like those cheap Chinese nibs so much I have put them in Parker "51"s -- the old 329 nib fits, not the newer ones -- because they are fine, very smooth, and have good flow.  Most fine and extra fine Parker "51" nibs are worn out when I get them. 

 

You might have to try two or three before you get a good nib, but at $5 each, that's hardly a great problem for me.

 

And they have PVC sacs so you don't have to deal with melting latex, something that seems to be getting worse rather than better.

 

Peter



#47 Barkingpig

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 05:35

I don't want to EVER count the price I paid for pens within the last 2 years; after getting most pens I wanted, I finally decided to try the "Chinese" (not all Mainland but various brands reviewed here) & for probably less than $50.00 have been very pleased with the 5 pens I have purchased.  I have not switched a nib & while they might not be my "nib of choice" most are better "out of the box (after a good flush & dry) than many higher priced pens.  Some have quite nice materials used & some are purely plastic BUT they have all pleasantly surprised me.  I doubt they will be competitive 50 years from now in a way the Parker 51 is BUT it was not such an "inexpensive" pen in it's day.  

 

They are "fun" pens & have a "role to play; I am only sorry I waited so long to "give them a try!"  I am most pleased with the Kaigelu & Regal but the Jinhaos & Hero are perfectly respectable. It would seem odd that I just "happened to find 5 pens with acceptable nibs on my first try," perhaps more of them are acceptable & we only hear the horror stories about the failures.  But a $5.00 failure would certainly be better than a $50.00-$100.00 disappointment.  

 

I appreciate the posts here that have shared their knowledge of these pens & believe they could offer many users great experience for very little investment.



#48 Ink Stained Wretch

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 06:24

Dollar 717i, Arabic nib ~ remarkably smooth write

 

I carry a Dollar 717i in my shirt pocket as my second "outdoor" pen. What's an "Arabic nib?" :huh:


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#49 jabberwock11

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 12:24

An Arabic nib is a nib ground for Arabic calligraphy.  The line variation comes from thin vertical strokes and thick horizontal strokes, rather than the typical italic grind, which is the opposite.



#50 pkotrcka

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 12:26

Franklin Covey Freemont in dark red.


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#51 ScienceChick

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 12:28

They're often listed as Dollar 717i Calligraphy pens.

Edited by ScienceChick, 11 January 2016 - 12:29.

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


#52 jay.is.here

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 12:49

well. If want for daily writing in school or college or in office then nothing beats safari.. awesome pen with great durability and nice nib.


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#53 Raem99

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 16:18

Here in Canada things are a little bit more expensive than the U.S.

Pilot Metropolitan - $25.00

Pilot Varsity - $6.00



#54 Raem99

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 16:19

A Safari is around $50.00



#55 Highbinder

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 19:31

I love my Jinhao 159 but there is one major caveat - I have bought six but only one wrote well. The remainder either had misaligned tines which caused poor ink flow or scratchiness, or a problem with the converter, or in one pen had all three problems. 

 

Similar experience with the Hero Parker 51 copies - bought a pack of 10 and not one wrote well. 


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#56 dogpoet

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 19:37

That's a terrible shame. I've had rather good experiences with Jinhao nibs myself, several being buttery smooth. It's a bit worrying to realise that's just me being lucky rather than the baseline being any good.

 

(I'm with you on the Heroes, though. Dreadful things. Bleah.)



#57 Manalto

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 20:16

I've bought a few Jinhaos and all have been fine, beyond expectations in fact. They tend to be quite smooth, slightly-wet writers in my experience.


James


#58 Old Salt

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 16:15

Jin Hao X450 and 159
Hero 616
Wing sung 233 with conical nib @ $3.
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#59 Manalto

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 17:21

Wing sung 233 with conical nib @ $3.
 

 

For variety, I like this pen in taupe, a color rarely seen in pens today and reminiscent of the 1950s.


James


#60 J_MM

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 02:32

Mine are:

 

Jinhao 599, X450, X750, 159

Duke Carbon Fiber, D2

Gama Popular

Range Model 3







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