Showdown With a Budget Fountain Pen: Lamy Safari Vs Pilot Metropolitan

There is nothing better than writing with a fountain pen, and while they can be expensive, you don’t need to spend a ton of money to own one. For less than $ 25, you can have a reusable pen perfect for drawing, journaling, or classy notes. Let’s take a look at two of the best and most affordable budget options you can buy.


Of course, $ 25 cannot be considered a “budget” if you can go buy a pack of pens at the grocery store for two dollars, but considering that expensive pens, both fountain and gel pens, can quickly rise above this price mark, they pretty good for the price. Here are our rivals:

  • Lamy Safari : One of your favorite budget pens , the Lamy Safari is loved, respected and for many a gateway to high quality, fashionable pens that are fun to write with. Solid color, ABS plastic body and metal clip look timeless and modern, but haven’t changed over the years. Safari uses refillable ink cartridges by default, but you can buy a converter to use bottled ink if you like. Likewise, the nibs in Safari are changeable and customizable, so you can choose thicker or thinner depending on your preference or in case of wear and tear. Plus, they are available in different rainbow colors, so you can choose the one that suits your style. In case you’re wondering, they cost around $ 23 on Amazon , and the colors are a little cheaper .
  • Pilot Metropolitan : If you want to master fountain pens but are probably looking for the best price for your money, the Pilot Metropolitan is the place for you. By default, Metropolitan (or MR, as it is called in Europe, is available in both the Metropolitan collection and the Animal collection, the latter of which has animal prints or textures on the body) offers thinner and thinner Japanese feathers. than many other fountain pens that can be useful for beginners looking for something more similar to what they are used to. If you need a wider tip, you can replace them with other Pilot fountains, and the Metropolitan comes with a converter to use bottled ink instead of the supplied cartridges. Best of all, they’ll only set you back around $ 17 on Amazon depending on the type you want , although they can be found a little cheaper elsewhere . For reference, I’ve seen these pens go down to about $ 13.

Whether you are the type of person who likes to take notes by hand, keep a diary in your own words, or just work with paper and paper notes, a good fountain pen looks elegant and adds personality to handwritten letters, birthdays, etc. holiday cards or whatever. – whatever else you write. If you are the type of person who “got a free pen at work,” well, obviously this autopsy is not for you.

Comfort and ink quality

One of the biggest advantages of the Lamy Safari is that its contoured grip may feel awkward at first, but once you get used to it, it actually encourages you to hold the pen so your hand is in the correct writing position. fountain feather. I am left-handed, and even I found it to be true. It can be awkward at times, but you get used to it pretty quickly and the results are worth it. Ink flows smoothly and there is an ink window so you can see how much ink is left before you need to refill or insert a new cartridge. If you still want to use Safari with bottled ink, you will need to buy a converter for it, which costs only a few bucks but adds value, although it is the more expensive pen available here.

In contrast, the Pilot Metropolitan is a slightly more standard “knob” and the knobs are similar to it. It’s not flashy or stylized, which is both a plus and a minus in my book. It doesn’t look pretty or anything, but it also means that you don’t have an obviously expensive fountain pen to “borrow” and never give away (I see you pen thieves). You also don’t pay a dime. a ton of money for that, so at one level, you get what you pay for. On the other hand, it is still well built and I don’t want to stress otherwise. Metropolitan uses proprietary PIlot cartridges, but comes with a converter that allows bottled ink to be used right out of the box – no additional purchases required.

However, aside from the differences in grip and design, Safari and Metropolitan slide across the page and are a lot of fun to write with. The Japanese nibs on the Metropolitan will appeal to people who like thinner and more precise lettering compared to the mid-nibs included in the Safari package, in which case the Metropolitan will probably be a little easier to work with and learn if you’re not familiar with the fountain pen. I personally prefer the heavier Safari, but this is a decision you have to make. If you have a nib with a heavy writing weight, say 0.5mm or higher, and you are thinking, “Yeah, this is how I write,” you would prefer the Metropolitan out of the box. If you prefer thinner and thinner lines like 0.7mm or less, you will probably prefer Safari. However, it is not difficult to replace feathers on both feathers, and there are feathers with different weights. However, from now on, it is very easy to replace nibs and cartridges on any nib.

Refueling and refueling prices

If you want to change your writing experience, both the Pilot Metropolitan and the Lamy Safari can be filled with different types of ink and nibs with degree precision. The Metropolitan can be refilled with Pilot’s own ink, or, after using the converter, can be refilled with any set of bottled inks, giving you more flexibility in choosing the type, color and style of ink you use with your pen. Likewise, Metropolitan is compatible with nibs for some of the other Pilot pens, such as the Pilot Penmanship and Pilot Plumix, but you can check out all compatible ink and nibs on JetPens here . Refilling cartridges will typically cost you about $ 4 for a 12-pack for the Pilot Namiki series and $ 3 for a 5-pack for the original Pilot line .

On the other hand, with Lamy Safari, if you buy a converter, you have the same ink and refill flexibility. However, when it comes to nibs, you have a lot more options, including nibs in different weights designed specifically for Safari. Here you can see the full line of Jetpens nibs , including calligraphy nibs and wide and thin writing nibs. When it comes to gas stations, you can buy a pack of five Safari gas stations for about $ 4 , and you can find third-party gas stations if you look closely.

All in all, you’ll spend the same amount of money to top up those pens, although we’re starting to see a slight trend. Safari offers more flexibility and customization, but it costs more. Metropolitan, on the other hand, offers fewer customization options in terms of nibs, but ink refills are cheaper, and since a refill converter is included, bottled ink can simply be bought and saved you money in the long run. pre-packaged cartridges – which is especially useful considering the patented Pilot cartridges.

Verdict: The pilot is cheaper, but you will fall in love with Lami

After all, if you’ve never owned a fountain pen, or have one that you adore, you can’t go wrong with any of them. Metropolitan is a great and inexpensive travel companion, and you might get a little upset if you fail, but it won’t be the end of the world. Safari is fun to use, looks great and opens the door to a world of unique and interesting writing instruments, so if you’re ready to fall in love with a world of special, trendy and beautiful pens, Safari is your way.

However, there is no doubt that Metropolitan is likely to help you in the long run. The inclusion of a refill converter means that even if you feel like you have “switched” to more expensive, more enthusiast-friendly pens, you can still refill them with your favorite ink or ink of a different color and get some good out of them without spending a ton of money. cartridges or buying a bunch of ink refills that you don’t really like. However, when it comes to moving to other, more enthusiast-friendly writing instruments, Safari is an option with a variety of nibs, ink options, colors, and third-party settings. If you want your pen to be a better investment, or if you want to try it out and be able to customize the pen to suit your writing style, Safari couldn’t be better.

For the layman just getting started with all of this, both pens are fairly affordable, and the cartridges and nibs out of the box are probably fine for you. Choose the one you like best. Personally, I would choose Lamy Safari – I feel like it has more customization options and that it grew with me as I learned more about fountain pens and got into the world of writing instruments, beyond that blister pack of department store rollers (which I still I still keep it just in case someone needs a pen.) That doesn’t mean I don’t take the Metropolitan with me when I leave the house – in case I forget it somewhere in my hotel room.


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