An affordable piston filler fountain pen is hard to find, especially ones that write well and are of good quality. Does the TWSBI Eco make a great beginner fountain pen for those looking to expand their pen collection?
I will first off say that TWSBI wins the award for the best packaging. I usually don’t care much about packaging but TWSBI’s is functional and practical. I also love the extras that come with the pen as they are super useful, as well as the plastic box it comes in. Great stuff!
Technical Details and Specifications
Price: Around $40-50 AUD or around $30 USD
Where to buy: Most major fountain pen retailers (I bought mine from Overjoyed)
Available Nib Sizes: EF, F, M, B, 1.1 stub (mine is EF)
Available colours/finishes: Black, White and clear
Nib Type: Steel
Filling System: Piston-filler
Pen Material: Plastic with some metal details
Grip Material: Plastic
Pen Build and Design
The nib size that I went for was the EF, mostly because at the time of purchse, the F nib was out of stock and I didn’t want to wait. This was a great decision because combined with the large ink capacity due to the piston, this pen lasts for ages before i have to think about re-inking it. The plastic, lightweight build and affordability, made this fountain pen my go-to during my university days. Would definitely recommend it to many students and to those who would appreciate a good throw-around pen that can write for long periods. I love demonstrators so this design is right up my alley.
The pen is fairly lightweight due to the plastic body, but it still feels comfortable and solid in the hand. The plastic doesn’t feel flimsy or fragile and has withstood being thrown in the bottom of my backpack. It is great for long periods of writing and the grip is quite comfortable for me. It is plastic and starts off round but slowly forms into a subtle triangle shape at the end towards the nib. I find this shape to be very comfortable and I think people who grip pens differently would find this similarly comfortable.
The threads are smooth and the piston works very well. The small jar of silicone grease and wrench that TWSBI provides with the pen (pictured above) also allows you to service your own pen to make sure its working perfectly. There are O rings around the threads on the body, as well as on the back where the cap latches on. This ensures that no cracks form in the plastic. After having this pen for more than half a year, it’s only got a few scuffs and micro-scratches on the cap and around the metal band.
The clip is fairly standard with a bit of spring. It works well but nothing particularly note-worthy. The feed and the nib are also fairly easy to pull out from the pen as they are friction fit. This makes cleaning easier, especially considering that this is a piston-filler.
The only thing that I don’t like about the design of the pen is how the cap posts. The posting is very shallow which results in a very long and unbalanced pen. My hands might be on the larger side for a female but you can still see how much the back of the pen sticks out when I post it. As a result, I never use this pen posted. It doesn’t post on the piston which is good, as there is no risk of expelling any ink.
The pen is very similar in length to the Lamy Al-star both capped and uncapped.
How does the Pen Write?
To sum it up shortly, the pen writes well but not amazingly so. My nib is an EF so you would expect a bit more feedback, but there was a bit more than I am used to. I’m used to using Japanese Fine and Extra Fine nibs so maybe I’m a bit spoilt, but they are smoother than this nib on my TWSBI Eco. The nib is not scratchy though so it can be easily smoothed out. I have also found that with wetter, smoother inks, the writing experience was smoother compared to drier inks.
The pen lays down a good line for an EF. I would say it is slightly above average for wetness? but then again, that is highly dependent on the ink you are using. In the writing sample, I used Lamy Black which is about average, maybe a touch dry.
I have not encountered any issues such as hard-starting or ink starvation (though with an EF nib it’s kinda hard to tell) and as mentioned previously, this pen will write forever. Surprisingly, reverse writing is pretty good, but there isn’t much reason to use it that way since the line width is very similar.
– piston filler that is easy to clean
– can be easily disassembled
– large ink capacity
– not the smoothest nib in the world
– the way the pen posts is not ideal
Overall, this is a pen I would strongly recommend to students looking to write pages and pages or people seeking a pen that they can throw around in their bag and not worry about the ink running out. If these features sound appealing then I would definitely recommend you pick one up and try it. I personally liked this pen so much that I bought 2 more of the ECO-T variations, which are very similar pens.
TLDR: If you are looking for a affordable piston filler pen to use everyday, try this one.