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Best Cheap Fountain Pens (Under $2 Us)


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#1 bob_hayden

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 16:41

Best Fountain Pen Under $2?

I seem to be the resident cheapskate here at FPN.  Earlier I posted extensive reviews of inexpensive writing tablets

http://www.fountainp...through-battle/

loose-leaf notebook filler paper

www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/315748-loose-leaf-notebook-filler-paper-bleed-through-battle/

and ink cartridges.

www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/314342-cheap-ink-cartridges/

Today I am offering a list of (mostly Chinese) fountain pens that can be found on eBay in the US of A for less than $2.  Such pens may be of interest even to those who prefer much more expensive pens.  They are great for trying out new inks while you keep your current favorite ink in your current favorite pen.  They are great to carry into an environment where a pen might get lost or damaged.  They are great to use while your expensive pen goes back to the factory for warranty work and does not return home for weeks;-)

I include here only pens I have owned or at least would consider owning.  You are invited to add to the list.  Some large classes of pens I have eliminated are those with a hooded nib, those that weigh around 40 grams or up, though that look tastelessly gaudy (to me), and those with a plastic pocket clip.  Do not hesitate to add such pens in posts to this thread if there are some you recommend.

This list was inspired by a query as to what is the best fountain pen under $100.  That is an impossible question to answer, but if you just want a pen that writes well there are many options for far less than $100.  About 20 are listed in the posts below.

Edited by bob_hayden, 23 December 2017 - 17:04.


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#2 bob_hayden

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 17:37

Hey, I really do have a list of pens, but I have been having an epic battle with the FPN site this morning. The first sign of trouble was that sometimes when I tried to enter a link the system would take my browser to the link instead of entering the link into my post. By itself that would not be a big deal, but then when I would go back to the page where I was entering my post I would find the entire post had been erased. Then when I finally did manage to get some links into my post I found that most were dead. Then I tried to just paste in the text of a URL but the system automatically replaced that with non-functioning links. What I thought would be a ten minute job pasting the review I've been working on for days into the FPN site has taken up my entire morning and all I have up is the introduction. I will continue to try to post bits and pieces as time allows. (I want to minimize the amount of work the system erases on me at one go.)

#3 langere

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 17:52

So, I hope there really are such pens!  Perhaps the FPN program just doesn't believe you   :)

 

Erick


Currently in Rotation: 

Lorelei 667 "F" nib running Diamine Autumn Oak

Opus 88 Fantasia "F" nib running J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite

Montegrappa Silver Mule "M" nib running PR Gray Flannel

 

 


#4 bob_hayden

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 18:14

Safari Clones

Hero 359
The original copy!-) In my opinion these are the best of the clones and their prices have now come under $2 (though many on eBay continue to try to sell them for much more). Mine take Parker, Lamy, and Hero 359 cartridges. Nibs are XF.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/288102-my-new-hero-359-summer-color-lamy-safari-copycat-review/

Jinhao 599
These are the only Safari clones I know of that take standard international cartridges. I have quite a few of them and have experienced issues with ink flow in some of them. Others owners have had plastic parts break. On about half of mine the trim ring at the waist falls off. Probably not recommended unless you need compatibility with international cartridges or like the flat clip style. Or the medium-fine nib.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/264404-the-jinhao-599-a-stylish-chinese-pen-with-strangely-familiar-germanic-leanings/

Pai Li 004
Excellent nib, really cheap, hard to find.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/325484-informal-review-pai-li-004-safari-clone-123/

Penton F17
Similar to the Yiren and Hero but the section does not have the usual Lamy-style sharp corners.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/330031-quick-review-of-penton-f17-safari-clone/

Yiren 566
This one is very similar to the Hero but with not enough clearance in the barrel for a Lamy cartridge and an F nib.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/314320-yiren-566-a-re-badged-hero-359/



#5 bob_hayden

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 18:17

78G Clones

Wing Sung 3001A
Very nice F to XF nibs at a very low price.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/325651-mini-review-wings-wing-sung-3001-clone-of-pilot-78g/

Yiren 358
Similar to the above but the color choices differ and the trim rings around the waist tend to fall off the Yiren.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/321330-yiren-358-with-ef-nib-for-those-who-like-it-smallest/



#6 bob_hayden

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 18:19

I seem to have found something workable.  You will need to copy the URLs into the address bar in your browser in order to follow the links.



#7 bob_hayden

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 18:23

Other Hero Pens

7022
The new 7022 has nothing to do with the old version.  The new one costs less than $2 and is a nice pen that only likes Hero and long international cartridges -- and may or may not post.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/322439-the-other-hero-7022/

7023
A very nice looking and functioning pen with bottled ink, but only Hero 0028 cartridges seem to fit.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/329870-hero-7023-brief-review-classy-pen-for-under-2/

7031
The 70xx Heros are all variations on a theme.  This one is not as classy looking as the one above but it does take standard international cartridges.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/330032-quick-review-of-hero-7031/

7036
Functionally similar to the 7036 but with different styling.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/330785-mini-review-hero-7036-pen/

7037
This is the outlier in the 70xx series, with a different nib and section.  Similar performance.  Uses Hero 359 cartridges and possibly Parker and/or Lamy.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/330558-mini-review-of-hero-7037/


Edited by bob_hayden, 23 December 2017 - 18:25.


#8 bob_hayden

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 19:06

Other Jinhao Pens

886
Short, fat cigar-shaped pen, great for pants pocket or purse.  Functionally similar to 991 and 992 but metal rather than plastic.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/293517-jinhao-886-red-ruthless-review/

990
This looks like a clear plastic Parker Vector demonstrator.  Functionally I prefer the other Jinhaos here but if clear demonstrators are your bag this is worth a look.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/330787-mini-review-jinhao-990-sic-pen/

991
Styling is copied from a disposable rollerball, but if you can handle that this is a great pen -- my favorite of the Jinhaos.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/323979-jinhao-991-review/

992
Classic cigar-shaped pen with an ugly (to me) fat band around the waist.  There have been issues with cracks at the closed end of the barrel. Nonetheless, this has been a big hit at FPN.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/321583-jinhao-992-informal-review/



#9 bob_hayden

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 19:08

Other Pens

Baoer 801
Looks like a Parker Vector (or 88 or Rialto) but the body and cap are mostly metal and I like the nib better.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/311776-baoer-801-better-than-a-parker-vector/

Dollar 717i
A cheap piston filler from Pakistan.  The nib on mine was fairly scratchy.  I would recommend this only if you really want a piston-filler.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/294554-dollar-717i-demonstrator/

Lion King
A great nib but I owned several of these and the plastic parts cracked, then broke.  Use as disposables or as a source of great nibs.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/305379-domain-lion-fountain-pen/

Yiren 312
A bright and cheery school pen that writes very well.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/329580-review-of-a-colorful-yiren-school-pen-312/

Wing Sung 3003
A rather plain looking pen available in opaque or clear plastic.  The link is not to a review but to a rambling discussion but you can find quite a bit of information if you dig through it.
www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/326825-wing-sun-3003-demonstrator/



#10 bob_hayden

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 19:13

OK, folks, that's my contribution.  Now it's your turn to add any favorites I overlooked.  Sorry about most of the links being manual.  If that is a problem, you can just Google something like

 

Wing Sung 3003 fountain pen review

 

to get reviews at FPN and elsewhere. 



#11 bugsydog55

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Posted 24 December 2017 - 03:17

I also have a thing for these inexpensive writers.  Basically having no pen budget but tons of desire will inevitably lead one to these jewels.  You have to admit, some of them can be real stinkers and some can be grand slam homeruns.  I would add to the 78G clones the Hero 1202.  The Yiren and Wings versions are less expensive and slightly better writers with the slight nod going to the Wing Sung.  For your other pens list, I would add the Wing Sung 3008-one of the most outstanding writers of the bunch and bargain priced with a little searching on Ebay.  And I agree also with the Jinhao pens with a real nod to the 991 and 992.



#12 bob_hayden

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Posted 24 December 2017 - 03:30

Thanks.  I did not know about the 1202.  Right now it looks like that and the 3008 are above my $2 cutoff, but the Wing Sung is dropping.  Beware of sites that quote a range of prices only to have the low price be for an empty box for the pen or a single ink cartridge. 



#13 hariharan

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Posted 24 December 2017 - 03:48

There is a range of Indian pens that cost less than 2$. Some of the good and reliable pens are

1) Camlin models  like Trinity, Elegante etc.

2) Kanwrite pens

3) Bril

4) Wality

and many anonymous brands 

 

Camlin Elegante is 3$ but is exceptionally a good one and can compete easily with some of the high end pens. 



#14 FountainPenGuru

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Posted 24 December 2017 - 03:57

There is a range of Indian pens that cost less than 2$. Some of the good and reliable pens are
1) Camlin models  like Trinity, Elegante etc.
2) Kanwrite pens
3) Bril
4) Wality
and many anonymous brands 
 
Camlin Elegante is 3$ but is exceptionally a good one and can compete easily with some of the high end pens. 


I just checked eBay and the cheapest price that I found is $9.39 for the Camlin Elegante. A lot of them sell for between $10 to $35.

#15 Chmara

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Posted 24 December 2017 - 09:32

At the low unit price I acquired 5 Jinhao X750s on he big A. Then friends got me more of them for a holiday gift.   Smooth writing medium nibs that print more like a very smooth fat medium or small broad. Noodler's Heart of Darkness on legal pad and Rhodia.  My needs demand I narrow the nibs to a fine or XF, but cannot afford a nibmeister, and grinding the cheap pens seems affordable since I have not yet screwed any up.

 

I am trying toi Frankenpen one or two of them with Zebra G nibs with little to no success as the flow railroads almost immediately.

 

For paper so far, I am not happy with the price of Rhodia but cannot stand the bleed through of cheap American Notebooks.  I MUST hit Dollar General here to see if some of the Indonesian paper is available.  I live in Tucson, AZ, USA where ink dries fast.

 

I have acquired some pens from India in the under $15 vein -- but leaking and burping problems with two of the three have me sensitive.



#16 bob_hayden

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Posted 24 December 2017 - 16:31

What I did in creating my list was to go to the US of A eBay site, search for "fountain pen", and then sort the results by price, including shipping, lowest first.  Then I manually waded through many, many pages until I reached pens selling for $2US. I just did not see much of anything from India.   In another search I did find some Camlins (with a "22" on the barrel) that cost less than $2 each if you bought ten, but for this post I was interested in quantities of one. These Camlins looked like eye droppers which would not interest me.

 

I can confirm that the Elegante is $10 and up in the USA, though I think the prices in the $25-35 range get you two pens.  I think China and the US negotiated a postal agreement that makes it very inexpensive for Chinese dealers to ship pens to the US.  I suspect this is one reason why pens from India are not very price competitive here, and why dealers in India charge quite a bit for shipping, while the Chinese sellers charge nothing. 

 

The Jinhao X450 was on my draft list but I dropped it because my experience with it dated from many years ago.  The one I got was too heavy, too broad, and too wet.  But the real deal breaker came when I soaked the nib and section with some others and the Jinhao reacted chemically and discolored and damaged both itself and other pens with which it came in contact.  However, others at FPN have rated it highly in the under $2 class.  I have no experience with the X750.



#17 David_Anderson

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Posted 24 December 2017 - 18:22

A cheap pen that I like a lot is the Baoer 051. I think it just sneaks under the $2 limit. Quite a smooth writer and the build quality is good, in my opinion.

#18 bugsydog55

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Posted 24 December 2017 - 19:18

Also have the Baoer 051 and agree.  And the 388's are great too if somewhat spotty in quality.  These are sneaking in sometimes under Bob's $2.00 range.  Problem with them is that you don't know if you will get a great writer or a really nice looking dart.  With the Indian pens, the prices that were quoted would be in India prices changed into dollars.  I have many of them and find them thoroughly enjoyable but they can also be quite temperamental.  I would love to find a Camlin Elegante for 2 dollars.  I have several of the Camlin 22's.  I like them but they are eyedroppers (which I don't mind at all) and not the smoothest things to write with  The price limit won't touch an Airmail, Fellowship, Click, Glare, Doctor or Oliver.



#19 amk

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Posted 24 December 2017 - 20:36

I like the dollar demonstrator piston pen a lot. Mine have great nibs, no problem at all; maybe I was just lucky. At the low price you can buy several and load up with different coloured inks, great fun,


Too many pens, too little time!

http://fountainpenlove.blogspot.fr/


#20 bob_hayden

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Posted 24 December 2017 - 21:31

Thanks for the mention of the Baoer 051.  I am seeing it for $2 even so my search would not have found it as I stopped at $1.99.  While you do have to work to find pens at such low prices, one reason I did this was to make it clear that such pens can be found.  And one could make my list at least twice as long by including hooded nibs, plastic clips, heavy pens like the X450, etc.

 

Maybe I should try another Dollar pen.  I like burgundy ink and I bought one in burgundy, but it was pretty scratchy, and burped as the ink level  dropped.They probably should not have been included here, but only because you have to buy ten to get the price under $2 each.


Edited by bob_hayden, 24 December 2017 - 21:33.







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