Best Retractable Fountain Pens 2021: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

March 23, 2021-Kirk Hale

Our Top Picks

Waterman Expert Rollerball Pen
PILOT Vanishing Point
  • Refillable and retractable fountain pen
  • Matte blue barrel
  • Extra fine nib for detailed writing
  • Ink cartridge and CNT40 converter available
  • Comes in an elegant gift box 
uni-ball ONYX Rollerball Pen
Cross Classic
  • Stainless steel medium nib pen
  • Available in 36 colors
  • Modeled after a Formula 1 racing car
  • Comes in a branded gift box
INC R2 ROLLERBALL 0.7 MM Tip
PILOT Capless
  • Retractable pen made of brass
  • Nib made of special alloy
  • Available in silver 
  • Comes with an elegant gift box

The world is fast-moving and so are the people. In such a situation, retractable fountain pens offer a convenient solution to saving time and energy while writing. These are fountain pens without any caps and instead, they come with a barrel that can be clicked to start writing. 

Retractable fountain pens are a relative innovation that is based on the mechanism of any average click ballpoint pen. They are a combination of classic and modern designs. There are quite a few options available in the market and choosing the perfect pen can be taxing. This article serves to guide you with all the important information that is required to buy a retractable fountain pen

Top 5 Best Retractable Fountain Pens 2021

1. PILOT Vanishing Point

Top Pick

PILOT Vanishing Point Best Retractable Fountain Pens
  • Refillable and retractable fountain pen
  • Matte blue barrel
  • Extra fine nib for detailed writing
  • Ink cartridge and CNT40 converter available
  • Comes in an elegant gift box
Check Price on Amazon!

Pilot- is a reputed brand in the  pens segment, especially fountain pens. The Pilot Vanishing Point retractable fountain pen is available in 13 different colors for you to choose from. The one we are reviewing comes in a shade of beautiful and elegant matte blue. It boasts of a rhodium-plated 18K gold nib that easily retracts into the barrel when not used. This prevents the pen from leaking. 

You can travel with this pen as well since its retractable design is lightweight, portable, and airplane safe. The pen is available in a variety of sizes- extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad nibs. This one has an extra-fine nib that allows for precision and attention to detail.  

It is accompanied by an ink cartridge and a CNT40 converter that makes the process of refilling quite easy. Lastly, the pen comes in a gift box that makes this fountain pen an ideal gift for special occasions

Pros
  • Can be used for a long period since its refillable
  • Extra-fine nib makes for precise writing
  • Ink cartridge and converter available with the pen
  • Comes in a gift box
Cons
  • The color on the body tends to wear off easily

2. Cross Classic Century Collection

Budget Pick

Cross Classic Century Collection
  • Stainless steel medium nib pen
  • Available in 36 colors
  • Modeled after a Formula 1 racing car
  • Comes in a branded gift box
Check Price on Amazon!

The Cross Classic Century Collection retractable fountain pen has been designed for Scuderia Ferrari, which is the famous professional car racing team. The pen is available n 36 colors including red lacquer, black lacquer, gray satin, and many more. It boasts of a medium nib that can be used by those with small handwriting. 

The perforated clip of the pen has been designed to resemble the nose and cockpit of a Formula 1 racing car. It has an anti-counterfeit label on it that ensures the authenticity of the pen. Carry your pen to work to exhibit professionalism as well as style and the Cross Classic fountain pen is the best one for this.

Pros
  • Tonnes of colors to choose from
  • Thebox makes for the perfect gift
  • Elegant design
  • Medium nib pen for those with tiny handwriting
Cons
  • Slightly expensive
  • Not long-lasting or ideal for rough usage

3. PILOT Capless

PILOT Capless
  • Retractable pen made of brass
  • Nib made of special alloy
  • Available in silver 
  • Comes with an elegant gift box
Check Price on Amazon!

Here we have yet another retractable fountain pen from Pilot. This capless pen is available in an elegant shade of silver that gives it a royal touch. The fine nib of the pen is made of special alloy. The brass body of the pen gives it a moderate weight that makes the pen highly portable and easy to travel with. 

It has a round structure and is considered to be a tad bit wide, something that many do not like about the pen. However, this round structure of the pen provides friction that makes it easy and convenient to write for long periods. While fountain pens are not preferred for daily rough use, this one is different due to its sturdy build and overall performance. 

Pros
  • Sturdy build
  • Ideal for daily usage
  • The fine nib measures 0.4 mm to 0.5 mm
  • The nib is made of a special alloy that allows smooth writing
Cons
  • Users have complained about skipping
  • Expensive

4. PILOT Vanishing Point Decimo Refillable & Retractable Fountain Pen

PILOT Vanishing Point Decimo Refillable & Retractable Fountain Pen
  • Refillable fountain pen for repeated usage
  • Rhodium-plated 18K gold nib
  • Available in 4 sizes
  • Suitable pens for notetaking, writing in bullet journals, and so on
Check Price on Amazon!

Pilot- is a brand that has monopolized the market for fountain pens with their superior quality and high on performance writing instruments. The Pilot Vanishing Point Decimo is not only retractable but also refillable so that you can use it for many years at a stretch. Its build is quite sturdy so that the pen is able to tolerate wear and tear for a long time. 

This retractable fountain pen reeks of elegance and royalty, as its nib is made with 18k gold and plated with rhodium. It comes in a stylish gift box along with an ink cartridge as well as a Cnt40 converter. This incredible writing instrument can be used for various activities like writing in a journal, taking notes, or even using it as a gift for an anniversary, promotion, or a graduation ceremony. 

Pilot has been manufacturing pens for over 100 years now. They are trusted by people owing to  their experience and professionalism. Retractable fountain pens are a recent addition to their vast range of pens. It is the perfect example of when modern meets the classical. If you are an avid writer or merely wish to carry a pen as a mark of style, get yourself this beautiful burgundy fountain pen.

Pros
  • Travel-friendly
  • No leakage
  • Comes in a gift box
  • The nib is available in 4 different sizes for you to choose from, as per your comfort
Cons
  • The nib can be scratchy at the beginning

5. Monteverde USA One Touch Tool Pen

Monteverde USA One Touch Tool Pen
  • Unique one-touch tool pen with nine tools
  • Responsive stylus for quick action
  • Refillable pen 
  • Comes in a luxury gift box
Check Price on Amazon!

Monteverde brings to you this unique one-touch tool pen which can be used not just for writing but also as a scale for taking measurements, a screwdriver, a pencil, a stylus, and more. This retractable pen is available in charming yellow and is quite compact which makes it easy to be carried around. There are three rulers provided along with a flathead screwdriver. 

You can even convert this  into a pen whenever you wish to. The 6-sided barrel makes for a smooth writing experience, and the responsive stylus guarantees precision. The Monteverde pen comes with standard international G3 ink cartridges and the pencil fills come with 0.9 mm leads. The body of the pen allows you to write comfortably for a long time without any interruption or exhaustion. 

Lastly, this pen comes in an elegant and stylish gift box that makes it a great gift for such occasions as graduation ceremonies, anniversaries, promotions, birthdays, and so on. You can also register for the lifetime warranty on their website within 14 days of purchasing the pen.

Pros
  • Serves multiple functions- as a scale, a screwdriver, a stylus, etc.
  • Smooth writing with the 6-sided barrel
  • Ergonomic grip
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Ideal gift for loved ones
Cons
  • While achieving too many functions, the quality might have been compromised

Benefits Of Retractable Fountain Pens

While fountain pens have been present in society as a tool of writing for many decades now, retractable fountain pens are relatively new. These are pens that look like an average click ballpoint pen except for the nib, which  is of a fountain pen. 

The nib remains hidden in the barrel and comes out only when you click the end of the barrel. You can retract the nib as soon as you are done with writing. Therefore, in a retractable fountain pen, you come across the style and elegance of a quintessential fountain pen and the convenient mechanism of a modern pen. 

There are many benefits of the clever mechanism used by retractable fountain pens:

  • It is a good way to prevent the ink from drying easily. Earlier when people used to depend a lot on writing, the fear of the ink drying was lesser since it was only for a limited period. However,  this is no longer the case, when people leave pens uncapped for days, the ink dries up. With a simple click, you can cover the nib in retractable pens and save it from drying.
  • Leakages are far less in retractable fountain pens as the nib remains well-guarded inside the barrel. This allows you to travel with the pen wherever you go without worrying about creating a mess.
  • Many have given up the habit of writing, especially with fountain pens, since it is considered to be time-consuming. However, with this innovation that ensures no wastage of time, retractable fountains pens can encourage many to take up writing as a hobby and retrieve this lost art. 

While there are many benefits of retractable fountain pens, there are many who cannot use them on a daily basis, because of the high price. These pens are still produced at a limited rate and there are fewer models as compared to regular fountain pens or ballpoint pens. This automatically makes them expensive and not easy to access. 

Who Is It Suited For?

Retractable fountain pens are useful in so many ways that almost every individual will find them suitable for some writing task or the other. However, the target audience for these pens is usually students and corporate office-goers. Students are benefited from these pens because they can save time whereas other pens need to be constantly capped and uncapped for writing. Taking notes is one task for which students require smooth, efficient, and fast-paced pens. Retractable fountain pens are great for this purpose. 

The corporate office-goer segment is yet another group that is benefited by  these pens. These individuals always have to sign documents and the likes and retractable fountain pens serve  this purpose with just a click.  In addition, these fountain pens also make a fashion statement in the office. 

Those individuals willing to write more as a hobby can rely on retractable fountain pens. They preserve the beauty of fountain pens and t also deliver the convenience of click ballpoint pens.

Factors To Consider Before Buying The Best Retractable Fountain Pen

1. Nib Material

The material of the retractable fountain pen you purchase matters a great deal since it is the part that you use for writing. Nib materials are mainly of three kinds- solid gold, stainless steel, and iridium tip. You must choose either of these nibs based on your style of writing and which offers you maximum comfort. 

Retractable fountain pens with solid gold nibs like the ones  reviewed in this article are luxury pens. These take some time to get used to as they might seem uncomfortable at first. The stainless steel nibs are ideal for children as they are strong, sturdy, and can be replaced easily. These tend to be more affordable compared to the gold nibs. The iridium nibs are similar to the stainless steel ones but they are not commonly found. 

2. Nib Width

Yet another essential factor that you must consider before buying the best retractable fountain pen is the width of the nib. Fountain pens are available in 4 different sizes- extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad. The extra-fine nibs are best suited for those aiming for precise,clear, and legible handwriting. Individuals with small handwriting tend to rely on the fine nibs for neat and clear handwriting. These nibs are also great for drawing or sketching with fountain pens.

Now, we come to the medium-sized nibs which are the most popular kind. These nibs can be used by anybody and for any task. Hence, they are more readily available in the market. Lastly, we come to the broad nibs that are perfect for those with relatively larger handwriting. These nibs also consume lesser ink and hence, are more economic to use. 

3. Grip

The grip that a pen provides is probably the single most crucial factor that determines an individual’s liking to it. Rubber, metal, or plastic are the commonly used materials to make the grip of a retractable fountain pen. Many choose pens with rubber grip over others because they provide better friction and hold. 

Along with the material of the grip, its shape is something that you must look into. Ridged or shaped grip sections make for the most ergonomic grip for a comfortable writing experience. Grips are helpful for children or the aged who often find it difficult to hold a pen. 

4. Refilling System

Refillable fountain pens tend to be the best ones since they can be used for many years without purchasing a new one. All you have to do is purchase the ink which is a lot more affordable than a fountain pen. Refills of three types are available in the market- cartridge, converter, and reservoir refills. 

If you want to go for a quick and easy refill, then the cartridge is the ideal choice. However, its drawback is that it is  quite expensive. Converter refills are the most dynamic kind as you can use bottled ink and you also get to choose from a variety of colors. The one limitation is that it is not portable. 

Lastly, the reservoir refill is what was conventionally used in fountain pens but they are not popular anymore. These have a larger capacity and last for a long time. While this is an advantage, this refill tends to get messy and costs a lot. 

5. Fountain Pen Barrel

The last factor on this list is the barrel of the retractable fountain pen. This part of the pen is  made of a variety of materials like base metal, plastic, sterling silver, and resin/celluloid. If you are looking for customized engravings on the pen, then a base metal barrel is the best choice as it can easily be engraved on. The most commonly used material is plastic as it tends to be lightweight and less expensive. 

The sterling silver barrels are also readily available, and they are quite efficient, but people dislike them because of their heavyweight. Lastly, the resin/celluloid barrels are preferred by those looking for more color options to choose from as well as various patterns. In retractable fountain pens, it is the barrel in which the nib remains hidden while not in use  and thus, this part needs to be sturdy for this purpose.

FAQs on Retractable Fountain Pens

Q1. Why Do Fountain Pens Stop Working At Times?

Fountain pens might stop at times while you are in the middle of an important writing task. This is possible even with brand-new pens that have hardly been used. The main reason for this is clogging, which is quite frequent. The feed system can get clogged over a long period of use and a new feed system might come with sediment thereby leading to clogging. In order to avoid this, you must clean the fountain pen when not used.

Q2. How Long Do Fountain Pens Last?

Refillable fountain pens tend to last for many years if they are bought from trustworthy companies like Pilot, and others. If you are a frequent user, the cartridge will last for about a week and then you shall have to refill, to resume writing.

Q3. Are Retractable Fountain Pens Good For Daily Use?

The popular notion is that fountain pens are not convenient for daily use as ballpoint pens or for that matter even gel pens. However, if you are able to find the right pen that writes smoothly and has an ergonomic grip, you have hit the jackpot. Such pens can be used on a  daily basis. Retractable pens are even easier to use with the click mechanism. 

Q4. Why Are Fountain Pens Expensive?

Manufacturing fountain pens demand a great deal of financial investment on the material as well as the process of production. The nib of the pen decides whether a fountain pen will be cheap or expensive. Pens with steel nibs cost a lot less than luxury pens with gold nibs. This clearly suggests that all fountain pens are not expensive and you can  choose a less expensive one.

Q5. Which Is Better- A Ballpoint Pen Or Fountain Pen?

There is no clear  answer to this because choosing a pen solely depends on the unique writing style and comfort level of the user. The thick ink used by ballpoint pens tends to last longer but can also be scratchy. On the other hand, fountain pens use liquid-based ink which does not dry quickly. Another difference is that a ballpoint pen can be used to write on a variety of surfaces whereas fountain pens are suitable only for a specific type of paper.

Conclusion

Man is always engaged in innovations of material goods no matter how small or large it is. The technology of a retractable fountain pen is one such innovation that has benefited all modern writers. It has adapted the classical fountain pen to suit modern demands. Even though the production of such pens is still limited, it is gradually happening. We have tried to help you with all the crucial information that you might require while  buying a retractable fountain pen.

Kirk Hale


Kirk developed a passion for writing since the age of 8, since then, he has been collecting pens and then extended the hobby to collect stationery and art supplies. An extension of that hobby resulted in this blog about pens, pencils and everything in between.
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