What's the best Parker fountain pen?
The answer is going to vary somewhat between different pen users, and that's okay! However, we're just going to give you our own top 7, some of which you can find in our collection of Parker pens, others you can find on Amazon and with other online vendors and local pen shops.
With us, you can get your Parker fountain pen shipped with a free personalized engraving, making it a great gift for anniversaries, graduation, and Christmas. Consequently, we think personalized pens make the best gifts for any occasion.
Parker pens are preferred the gift pens of thousands of pen users all over the world. Indeed, even the Queen of England uses a Parker 51 fountain pen, and we're happy to offer a fairly wide selection of engraved pens to our customers.
Parker offers pens in both the affordable and luxury pen ranges, all of which are crowned with a distinct clip design which is etched to resemble an arrow. I think the arrow clip is the most unique brand signature among high-end pen companies.
In this list, I’ll simply say which ones I prefer and why, but they’re all worth considering. One of the big questions you’ll probably have is how much Parker pens cost, so I’ve added the price range to each listing.
All that said, enjoy the list and good luck with your search!
My List of the Best Parker Fountain Pens
Here's the shortlist:
Let's take an in-depth look at each one!
7.) Vector Fountain Pens ($12-$30)
The Parker Vector fountain pen is one of Parker Pens’ economical fountain pen lines. A slim, plastic body available in multiple color options makes the Vector an easy sort of “easy choice eggs and bacon” for cheap fountain pens or an addition to an otherwise stacked collection of daily writer fountain pens.
The last thing this pen is going to do is give you an undue serving of buyer’s remorse—it’s too cheap for that. But that’s kind of what I love about the Vector: it doesn’t pretend to be for the purist pen enthusiast. It’s democratic and honest.
You get a solid nib on a colorful barrel of your preference for cheap—that’s it.
However, if you’re looking for a more “outstanding” cheap fountain pen you could look at the Pilot Metropolitan or our very own Arizona fountain pen which features a Jinhao nib. If, however, you need a reliable and super cheap back-up, be sure to grab one of these.
6.) Duofold Fountain Pens ($800-$3,000)
The Parker Duofold Fountain Pen is at the apex of the high-end pens in the Parker Pen collections, ranking up there with their most expensive pens. On the other hand, the Duofold Big Red Vintage Fountain Pen is very popular.
The Duofold was long the staple of Parker excellence in fountain pens. Originally made in 1921, the Duofold is a little piece of Parker history, brought back as a great fountain pen. Although its a child of the Roaring Twenties, the Duofold doesn't just capture the essence of the influential decade, it is the design of the decade.
The attraction here really is luxury. It’s a solid, conspicuous writing instrument that brings a piece of the past into the present.
5.) Sonnet Fountain Pens ($100-$405)
The Parker Sonnet fountain pen spans Parker’s middle-range and high-end luxury pen styles. It’s cleaner, slimmer design makes it one of Parker’s gold standard with rounded lines and a shiny black resin section.
The etchings on the nib give it just the slightest bit of flash.
An unforgettable pen, really—the Sonnet is worth every penny.
Fortunately, our friends at Goldspot pens offer a wide collection of the Sonnet fountain pens.
4.) Urban Fountain Pens ($40-$116)
The Parker Urban fountain pen features a slightly undulating cigar-shaped barrel and subtly minimal nib.
The unique design is more prominent in its ballpoint counterpart; the fountain pen is a little more straight-laced, but subtle flourishes in design (for example, the cross-hatching on the nib) mean this pen is not getting left in the mug with all pens you swiped from the bank.
In comparison to a roughly comparable pen (say, the Cross Bailey fountain pen), I prefer the Urban. The simple reason is that the nib is just that much smoother.
As far as I’m concerned, a Parker medium nib fountain pen is almost always going to outperform a Cross fountain pen.
As far as what’s more worth the price, the Urban soars above the Bailey.
Breaking it down a bit: the Urban is a professional’s pen, but it’s not shouty. That’s why I love it.
3.) Jotter Fountain Pens ($22.50-$30)
The reason I love the Jotter fountain pen so much is because of its economic price, its reliable construction, and its streamlined design.
The Jotter is the most affordable Parker fountain pen after the Vector, but it marks a significant step up in quality.
The design emphasis nods to the Bauhaus, I think, with a minimization of the number of materials (stainless steel, chrome, resin in some models, and plastic only really in the cartridge), but a maximization on the function of those materials.
That is to say, there’s not a whole lot of waste with this pen; everything is cut down and simplified without making the pen feel super cheap, shaky, or plastic-y.
I also love the candle-flame nib design; it’s not winged like a lot of other fountain pen nibs.
The Jotter pen is perhaps more popular in its click gel ink version, but the fountain pen really holds its own.
2.) IM Fountain Pens ($20-$50)
The Parker IM fountain pen is Parker’s flagship economy pen.
It’s a fantastic all-around fountain pen, mixing daily writer reliability with a nod to the glamor and glitz of its higher-end counterparts.
I put it in the #2 placement because it’s the most accessible pen for the quality; it’s just worth the price because you get a higher quality pen for so much less.
The black and gold trim engravable fountain pens are definitely, some of our best sellers here at Dayspring Pens.
1.) 51 Fountain Pens ($80-$260)
The Parker 51 fountain pen is the height of Parker ingenuity.
The Parker 51 features a kind of “hood” over the stainless steel nib, making it look more arrow-like than any of the other Parker pens. I love that about the 51.
Plus, it’s a surprisingly affordable pen for such a unique design. While there’s the black and gold 51 that runs for around $250, the resin barrel models run for around $90.
It doesn’t pretend, even though it seemingly has a lot it could be pretending about. Maybe that’s why it’s been the Queen of England’s preferred pen for a number of years now.
That’s all for our list of the best Parker fountain pens. Whatever pen you choose, ensure you accompany it with the best ink for fountain pens to enjoy your writing experience.
Check out our collection of other great Parker pens and fountain pens shipped with free personalized engraving.
But if you have other questions...
People Also Ask…
Where Can I Buy Parker Pens?
Where Can I buy pen refills and pen ink?
Check out our selection of parker pen refills!
What’s the difference between ballpoint, rollerball, and fountain pens?
Ballpoints have a tiny spinning ball mechanism that uses oil-based, quick-drying ink.
Rollerballs have the same mechanism as ballpoints, but they tend to use water-based ink or gel ink.
Fountain Pens are the fancy pens with the wing-like nib for a tip.
There’s also mechanical pencils to consider.
Check out my guide to the different pen writing styles for more on the differences.
What size of nib should I get?
I always recommend going for a medium point nib; luckily, most any standard fountain pen will be a medium nib.
Some people recommend getting a nib that benefits your own handwriting: ie. if your lettering is tightly packed, then go with a fine point, etc.
But I recommend going with the medium because it’s usually going to be the smoothest without emptying out your ink reservoir in a single writing session.
Fine point nibs can often be a little scratchy at first, and I just don’t enjoy that. So, if you’re like me, the medium nib is the way to go.
This has been our article on the best Parker fountain pens.
For more on the best luxury pens, brands, and gifting tips, review our other articles on The Jotted Line.
But now, it’s your turn!
Let us know which Parker pen you prefer, or if there’s a better pen than the Parker 51, in the comments below!
Daniel Whitehouse is the President and CEO of Dayspring Pens. He uses his expertise with premium writing utensils to create exceptional, intentional products and craft easy-to-understand articles that help both new and experienced users learn more about their writing tools. He lives in Virginia where he and his wife are raising their four children.
To learn more about him and his insights about custom engraved gift pens, follow Daniel on LinkedIn.