Kaweco Perkeo vs Lamy Safari – battle of the best entry level fountain pens

Thanks to my new love of Hobonichi planners, I also have a new love of fountain pens.

The Tomoe River paper is perfect for fountain pens. There’s no feathering or bleeding and my writing looks so much nicer on it. When I ordered my Hobonichi I ordered a TWSBI Eco, a mid end pen that I knew I liked as I’d purchased one for Ed last year. Since then I’ve been building a little collection of fountain pens, but in the lower price range. You may have already seen my review of the Pilot Kakuno, something I consider a pretty perfect budget pen. My only complaint with the Kakuno is the lack of converter available for it. Therefore if you want a budget friendly pen that you can use with bottled ink you’ll need to look elsewhere. My two picks to fulfill that criteria were the Kaweco Perkeo and the Lamy Safari. But which one is better?

best entry level fountain pens

Kaweco Perkeo

I’d been looking at the Kaweco Sport pens and loved the colour of the mint one. I didn’t like the overall design too much as it’s a pocket pen, rather than a full size. At £17.99 it’s very reasonably priced. While browsing though, I also came across the Perkeo. I immediately loved the quirky two tone design of it. It was also a full size pen, and came in cheaper at £15.

I purchased the Perkeo a long time before I received the Safari as a birthday gift. Unfortunately I managed to lose it in one of my handbags for nearly two months so it’s only recently I’ve been using it again. The reason it ended up in my bag and my first issue with this pen is the lack of a clip. Unless you happen to have a perfectly sized pen loop, this is tricky to keep in your bag. While you can buy a pocket clip for the Sport there sadly doesn’t appear to be something similar for the Perkeo. Therefore if you need a pen to live in a pen loop, this isn’t the fountain pen for you.

This pen doesn’t arrive in any fancy packaging and feels quite light. The barrel moves ever so slightly and doesn’t fully lock into place. Ink collects around the bottom of the nib during use but it never leaks into the cap (unlike the Pilot Kakuno that I found after prolonged use). It’s a very light pen to use and has a triangular grip. While it’s broadly comfortable to use, I do find the Lamy nicer to write with. At the end of the triangular grip on the Perkeo it has a harsh corner, whereas the Safari is more smoothed out.

In terms of nib size, I always go for fine. I have large handwriting and a larger nib just makes it even bigger. Even though it’s a fine nib, it actually comes out a lot thicker than both my TWSBI Eco and my Pilot Kakuno. This is also the same for the Safari.

The ink flow on the Perkeo is.. strong? It definitely uses a lot more ink during use than any of my other pens. As a result, everything I write takes longer to dry.

Lamy Safari

I see the Lamy Safari as the most recommended fountain pen wherever I am. I wasn’t that bothered about trying one until I saw the beautiful matt versions they had. The petrol blue was the first one I saw and I spent a while debating between that and matt black. In the end I went for the blue and haven’t regretted it.

Unlike the Perkeo, this pen thankfully does have a clip. This can get attached to my planner and popped in my bag without issue. This feels as light as the Perkeo, if not lighter. It does however, feel more sturdy to hold and use. All the parts fit together perfectly and there’s no movement on the lid or barrel.

I wasn’t sure how I’d get on with triangular barrels but I was happy to discover I can write with them no problem. As mentioned above, I find this nicer to use as the grip is smoothed out.

The black steel nib is a lovely touch. Anything else would have looked totally out of place on this pen. As mentioned earlier, this is a fine nib although it does write a little thicker than my other fine nibbed pens. The ink flow is strong with this pen, but not as much as the Perkeo. You can see in the image above how different the same ink looks with this and TWSBI.

Which is the favourite?

I wish I could say it was a difficult choice but it really isn’t. I enjoy writing with the Lamy Safari so much more than the Kaweco Perkeo. The lines are slightly thinner with the Safari and my writing is slightly neater when I use it. Holding it and using it is much more comfortable than the Perkeo. Despite these pens being broadly the same price (you can pick up a non-limited edition for around £15.50) the Safari just feels better made. Adding in the fact that it also has a pen loop I’m completely sold on this pen. If you’re after a good cheap fountain pen, perhaps as an introduction to them, you really can’t go wrong with a Safari.

I don’t need any more fountain pens (obviously!) but when I do, I’ll no doubt be looking at another Lamy.

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