When the team first spotted the Pilot Kakuno fountain pen online, it was the cheeky smile on the nib that made us WANT IT BADLY. The affordable price was pretty attractive too! Pilot's intention with this fountain pen is that it would be for a young writer — but we thought this review of the Pilot Kakuno fountain pen would be worthwhile to assess if it's a good starter fountain pen for anyone.
The Pilot Kakuno fountain pen has been launched with three colours on Milligram, with a few more still to come. The price point is only $24.95 — inexpensive for a refillable fountain pen, priced appropriately as a 'starter' pen originally aimed at children (Kakuno means 'to write' in Japanese). As it's not an expensive fountain pen, it's a great one for work or travel — no extreme tears if you lose it!
The pen comes in clear packaging, with a standard Pilot ink cartridge and some basic instructions on how to load the cartridge and start writing. The pen comes with a medium nib.
The plastic barrel and cap feature a hexagonal shape to help with your grip and to keep the pen from rolling off your desk. It is nice and 'chunky' in your hand while being lovely to hold.
Writing with the Pilot Kauno fountain pen
To truly judge this pen, we compared this to another 'starter' fountain pen — the LAMY abc fountain pen (priced at $34.95). We tried it out on the new Le Petite Papeterie Francaise notebook (uncoated paper) and on the Rhodia R Pad (coated).
It wrote cleanly and smoothly on both papers — but as you'd expect, was smoother and faster on the coated Rhodia pad. In fact, there was quite a bit of resistance with the uncoated stock, so if you prefer that sort of paper, you might not enjoy writing with the Pilot Kakuno. However, if you are partial to Rhodia or Clairefontaine paper (which many of us are!) then this pen is a lovely little writer.
In comparison to the LAMY abc, the performance was quite similar, as was the 'chunky' feel in your hand. The Pilot Kakuno actually performed better on the downstrokes than the LAMY — we've included some samples below. But the abc was perhaps a little smoother/faster when writing quickly.
In terms of the outer body, the finish on the LAMY abc looks a little more polished, with its wood barrel. But the abc also looks a bit more like a kid's pen, whereas the Kakuno simply looks like a nice little budget pen.
We also tried it out next to some other favourite fountain pens — the LAMY Al-star and the Kaweco Skyline — both priced more around the $50-$60 range.
The Pilot Kakuno's medium nib was actually finer than the Kaweco medium nib — and significantly finer than the broad LAMY nib. So in comparison, we'd say the Pilot medium nib is more like a fine nib for a LAMY Al-Star or Kaweco Skyline.
The Al-Star and Skyline, in comparison, did perform a little better in writing tests, in terms of speed and feel on the page... which you'd expect for more expensive pens. The 'fastest' pen when trying to write quickly was the Al-star with the broad nib — really just demonstrating that more ink on the page via a wider nib is faster.
- Affordable / you won't be fearful of losing
- Comfortable to write with
- Cute smile on the nib
- Refillable fountain pen — so you can experiment with colours
- A little 'scratchy' on uncoated stock
- The pen body is quite a shiny plastic, so looks like an everyday pen
The verdict: Review of Pilot Kakuno
This is a great entry-level fountain pen — and did we mention the awesome smile on the nib! Definitely worth adding to your everyday writing collection.