Fountain pen vs Dip pen – Know Actual Difference Between Them

There has a typical misconception that fountain pen and dip pen are similar. But this is not true at all. Like others, I used to think the same. But later, to know the real fact, I read some blog posts and journals.

fountain pen vs dip pen

Surprisingly I found that their attire may look similar, but they’re different from each other. And their features are different too.

Fountain nibs and dip nibs are both used widely. Their using type has differences, but both are important. Some like fountain pens and someone likes dip pens.

In regular writing, fountain nib is perfect. But, calligraphy art lovers prefer dip nibs. We’ll let you know in our post every single detail about fountain pen vs dip pen. So stay with us to know something interesting.

Let’s first know about fountain pens and dip pens individually.

What is a fountain pen?

The fountain pen is not the very first pen in history. But fountain pens had made handwriting easier in the very first time. The Maghreb caliph, Ma’ād al-Mu’izz is probably the first person who felt the necessity of such a pen that will hold ink inside.

The fountain pen was invented to reduce the hand pressure of writers and to save time in writing. It is such an instrument that allows you smooth writing with the pen nib.

The pen accepts ink cartridge, converter, and bottle ink as it has an ink reservoir inside and gives a better writing experience. This pen is widely used among students, teachers, and writers as its saves time and more favorite then ballpoint pens or gel pen.

There are few well-known brands of fountain pens in the market like-Lamy safari, Moonman, etc.

What is dip pen?

From the very first time in history, people widely used dip pens. Because then there was no updated pen to write quickly. People find it sometimes irritating as it has to dip in the bottle repeatedly because it doesn’t save ink for later.

Just the dip nibs hold few inks while it is dipped. But the pen body looks quite similar to a fountain pen. Although dip pens have some limitations, still it is favorite to people. It is best for calligraphy, and there have no competition or options for it in this series.

Dip nibs are super flexible, which is why this is the first choice of calligraphy art lovers. This is widely used in art too.

Are fountain pens & dip pens similar as you think?

Are fountain pens and dip pens similar as you think

Although it is tough enough to find how they’re not the same, but they’re not really the same. Few issues have diversified them. The fountain pen is perfect for regular writing.

On the other hand, a dip pen is not ideal for that; rather, it is perfect for calligraphy. That is why dip pens are also called calligraphy pens. There have other dissimilarities too. Let’s figure it out.

What are the differences between fountain pens and dip pens?

This is the million-dollar question. It is time to know the fact that actually divides these two.

1. Dissimilarity in body

Dissimilarity of fountain pen and dip pen

Most people get confused here by observing their bodies. Maybe they look somehow similar but still have some dissimilarity.

Dip pens don’t have any reservoir in the body, and it doesn’t have any cap. As it has to dip repeatedly, there is no way for the cap.

On the other hand, fountain pens have an ink barrel in the body, and it has a cap.

2. Ink filling system

ink filling system

As a fountain pen holds ink inside, it needs ink filling. Fountain pens accept ink cartridges, converter, and bottle ink to save ink for later use. Fountain pen nibs do the job to feed inks if there has a piston inside the pen.

Even an eyedropper is used to fill ink in the ink holder. That means fountain pens have lots of advantages to feed ink inside. But dip pens do not have this opportunity.

The pen can not hold ink inside. There has a little reservoir in the nibs to save inks. One can just write few words or one or two lines with this ink, as the dip pens do not give long-lasting service. 

3. Fountain nibs vs dip nibs

fountain nib vs dip nib

This is the most essential part of this blog post. The real difference is in the nibs.

The fountain pen nib is wide and made of durable metal. Basically, the nib material is heavy like-stainless steel, gold, iridium, bronze, etc.

And the nibs can last even 100 years. But the nibs are not flexible and not easy to control as your own. So calligraphy is not quite possible with this nib. 

On the other hand, dip pens nib are made of weak material, and the size is not wide. So the difference in nib sizes really matters. The feature of dip nib is that it is very flexible and can bend easily.

The nib doesn’t last long; it can last just a few days. It works like a brush. As it bends easily and controlling it is easier, it gives calligraphy a perfect look. You can call dip nibs calligraphy nibs too.

Because of all those differences in nibs, one can not convert fountain pens to dip pens or dip pens to fountain pens.

4. Fountain ink vs dip ink

fountain ink vs dip ink

What are fountain pen inks? Well, for fountain pen ink, you can use bottled ink, cartridges. The cartridges are easy to put inside the pen. When one is finished, you can easily put another.

In the market, you will find the various color of cartridges. And bottle inks are for those who want economic writing. There has waterproof bottle ink too.

Whoever wants a variety of colors for writing, use bottle ink. People get confused about good bottle ink. I’ll give the example of Waterman ink, which is really good bottle ink.

But one thing we need to know that dip pens do not use the same inks, and there have no ways of using cartridges.

Dip pens can use waterproof and pigmented inks like-bottle ink, India ink and drawing ink. But all those inks don’t work for fountain pens. If you try using those inks, your fountain pen can get nasty.

5. Writing variations | Fountain pen vs Dip pen

writing variation of fountain pen and dip pen

Why both pens provide writing or line variations? The answer is, in fountain nibs, there has no possibility of spreading the tines a bit. But in the case of dip pens, the tines spread so nicely.

Thus writing with dip pens gives something up and downstroke results. And this flexibility provides line width writing, which is required for calligraphy. One who loves calligraphy must love dip pens.

But fountain pen is popular among people because of its smooth gradient writing. It maybe not give you a calligraphy effect line or line variation, but it gives a nice writing contrast.

Even some expensive brands can give a little bit of stroke variations. In short, the fountain pen is best for your regular work. One can easily handle this pen. So we can say that both pens provide different writing options.

6. Use

The uses of fountain pen and dip pen are not the same. If you want to use a dip pen for your daily life or office work, then this will be a foolish decision.

Always remember that a dip pen is not good at all for regular writing. Suppose you’re writing a note and you’re choosing a dip pen for that.

Now tell me to do note what is important? Calligraphy writing or quick writing? Will you feel comfortable dipping regularly in the bottle because your ink is getting finished so early? Of course not.

A fountain pen makes your writing much easier and smooth. Although few brands say their pen can give calligraphy writing, but fountain pens can never be calligraphy pens. If calligraphy is your passion, then dip pen is your best choice.

People Also Asked About Fountain pen and Dip Pen

fountain pen vs dip pen faqs

#1. What is the difference between a fountain pen and a dip pen?

Well, although it seems like there has no difference, but difference actually exists between the models of these two pen. But the most important difference is in the nib’s models.

Fountain pens nib do not spread, but dip pens nib do spread. And fountain pen is pretty good for regular writing, but a dip pen is not.

#2. Can a fountain pen be used as a dip pen?

No, a fountain pen can not be used as a dip pen. Dip pens need to dip in inks, but fountain pens have ink holder inside.

If you ever feel like using dip inks inside a fountain pen, your expensive fountain pen will definitely get ruined. And dip pens are also known as calligraphy pens. The fountain pens are not appropriate for calligraphy.

#3. When did people stop using dip pens?

The answer to the question is that people stopped using dip pen when they found that fountain pen is giving comfortable writing.

But the use of dip pens has not stopped yet because they are prevalent to calligraphy lovers as it is a kind of calligraphy pens.

#4. Is writing with a fountain pen better?

If writing is your regular work, then a fountain pen is undoubtedly better. Because for regular writing, you must require a good nib that will not be flexible. As its holds ink inside, it saves time.

Bottom Line

My dear friends! Now I am at the end of my blog. In my post, I have tried including everything in detail. I won’t say I know everything about fountain pen vs dip pen. Like everyone, I have knowledge limitations too.

But I have presented to you what I learned from the various journal and blog posts. I hope my blog post will help you figure out the differences between these two popular pens.

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Expertise: Content writer

My goal in life is to always be learning. I've spent 25+ years working with my hands and have found the art of building something new to be an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience. Through my writing I aim to share some of what I've stumbled upon with the world in hopes others can benefit from my own experiences!