About Pen Reviews And Reviewers


Pen reviews and reviewers is a hot topic at Fountain Pen Network. There are a daunting 111 posts so far, but since I write pen reviews from time to time, it seemed worthwhile to get a fresh perspective on what folks want to know about prospective pen purchases. Whoa, did I get an earful along with confirmation you can’t please everyone or even anyone some times. How can a post about using a pen be anything other than subjective? But some folks want specs down to the millimeter, objective comparisons to other pens and more.

For the record, I have never been paid for a review. (Wish I had!) Some pens have been given to me, but most were purchased with my own funds. Most of the inks and paper mentioned have been purchases or gifts from pen friends. (Lucky me!) There have been exceptions, but that is always noted.

Since the writing experience is what intrigues me most, my posts are slanted in that direction. However, the aesthetics of a pen are well-described by images whether mine or those of a manufacturer, retailer or another reviewer. Look to those for accuracy. I do.

One caveat. Even machine-made nibs can vary. Where I have been able to write with more than one pen from a single model, the nibs are different. They aren’t identical in terms of flow and smoothness. To be sure, ink and paper play a part in the way a pen writes. But apples to apples, nibs are different. My fab nib may be a stinker for you or vice versa. So be prepared.

I do expect a fountain pen to perform reasonably well out of the box. If a nib needs tuning or the flow needs adjustment just to be useful, the manufacturer has failed. Quality control may be a lost art, but that doesn’t make it acceptable to foist on consumers worthless products. Reviewing them is unrewarding, but on occasion necessary.

So there you have it. The FPN thread continues to gather comments though it has shifted to candy bars for some of them. Heh. Really!


  1. It’s a popcorn-worthy thread for sure! What I learned is to not call my pen thoughts a “review”. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good solution!


  2. Don’t give an iota of a thought to what people think. Write what you want, what you feel, and lay it out. And always be true to yourself.


  3. And don’t pay attention to the dilettantes and cranks in FPN, that’s the worst mistake you can make as a reviewer!


    • 😀 FPN does attract quite a variety of people. Ten years ago it felt like a small community with only the occasional foray into bashing people on religious or political grounds. It’s different now, but so is the Internet.

      To control the deluge of spam comments, I monitor every submission. Though it is rare, Inkophile has received a few rude and nasty ones mostly from rather self-important, know-best types. If people attack me or anyone else for that matter, those posts go in the trash. If the remarks are about products and are absent wanton condemnation, they get posted. Generating discussion is a good thing. A girl has to set some standards, you know?

      Thanks for the words of encouragement. They are much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

      • For what it’s worth, I enjoy your reviews and posts very much.


        • Thank you so much. I like yours, too.


  4. I enjoy reading your thoughts on pen options, whether they be official reviews or not. 😉

    Also, I completely agree that a pen should work right out of the box. Sure, I can understand needing to give it a rinse first. But nib tuning? That’s not what I paid for. (Especially since I’ve heard people saying they needed to tune their more expensive pens before use, and my inexpensive Metros work as soon as I unbox them.)


    • Thanks, Nicole. If Pilot can get the Metro so right, why shouldn’t we expect that of all pens?


      • Exactly! That’s one reason I love my Metros so much. And one (of the many) reasons why the Pilot Vanishing Point is on my wishlist. Gotta support companies who do things right.


        • Actually, I’ve had good low-end pens from Platinum as well. Three Metros and two Plaisirs with not a stinker in the bunch.


          • Platinum has good quality too? I’ll have to look at them. I’m also considering a Parker Urban, so I need to look into the reviews for those.


            • I’ve had no experience with the Urban so can’t comment on the quality. FPN would be a good resource for reviews.


  5. Now I gotta know the link to the FPN piece! Great post here.


Leave a Reply to inkophile Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: