How to Choose your Fountain Pen

One of the most common questions we are asked is how to choose a fountain pen - specifically how to choose a fountain pen for everyday writing. It may seem like a challenging task but if this is to be your everyday pen, it’s important to think of a few things before jumping in.

How to choose a fountain pen in Ottawa ON


There are so many choices when it comes to fountain pens, including your budget. No matter what it is you’re sure to find a fountain pen that suits you. For as little as $46 you can be the proud owner of a new Lamy Safari Fountain pen. We have a whole range to suit your budget!

Decide your budget for your fountain pen.

Choosing the Nib


After you’re comfortable with your budget, the next step should be the right nib. The thickness and even material has an impact on your writing. While a standard for nib size within the world of fountain pens doesn’t exist, you’ll notice that the most common size for a fountain pen is medium. Happily, for most people, this is ideal. If you are looking for something thinner or prefer the look and feel of a more broad nib, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding it.

Choosing the nib width for your fountain pen. Found in Ottawa's Byward Market.


You’ll find that most fountain pens have either a steel or gold nib. Steel is not surprisingly, more affordable. Don’t think this means that it’s necessarily lower quality. Steel nibbed pens can offer you an excellent writing experience. 

How to pick the best fountain pen for you

Gold is a good choice when you’re thinking luxury and are focused on style. Nibs made of gold have a tendency to be of a higher quality when it comes to writing. The feeling when using a gold nibbed fountain pen is definitely more comfortable - softer and more responsive.


Ink System

 If you’re a prolific writer, your fountain pen ink is going to be a more important factor in choosing your pen than you may be aware of. Write enough and you’ll easily use up an entire cartridge or converter in a few hours. If you’re going to be writing a lot, a large converter that holds more ink may be just what you’re looking for. A cartridge would be recommended to you if you are planning on using your pen every day but aren’t writing more than about 12-15 pages. 

Fountain pen ink available for purchase at Paper Papier in Ottawa's Byward Market

Diamine ink is a water-based ink perfect for any brand of fountain pen. It is completely non-toxic and by adding a secret ingredient to de-stress the surface, Diamine achieves vibrant colour with free flow that glides on the paper surface.

Fountain pen ink available for purchase at Paper Papier in Ottawa's Byward Market

Did you know? If you buy a bottle of one of the Jacques Herbin Encre Essentielles colours, once the bottle is empty you can bring it back to our refill station for a top up!

We have all kinds of inks and cartridges available in the store and online. If you live locally, you can even come by and see our ink bar as we encourage zero waste!

Balance and Weight

Now that you’ve crossed off a few options including budget, nib size and ink system, the next consideration is the weight and balance of your pen. If you are indeed looking for an everyday pen, this will prove to be an even more essential part of your pen-selecting experience. Using your pen must be something you enjoy and find truly comfortable.


Depending upon the material of your pen - metal, for example, you may want to write with it for only a short time as your hand may tire and cramp. 


While related to weight, you will find that the way the weight of the pen is distributed in your hand will have a great influence on how you write. In general, a good choice is to have a pen that has more weight no the front than the back. This encourages the nib to stay on the paper and therefore for your writing to be smoother.

We hope these tips help you in your search for a fountain pen!