For many writers, asking what the best nib size is for their fountain pen is inevitable. This is especially true for beginners and intermediate-level fountain pen users who may be exploring different fountain pen nibs. Some will contest that extra fine nibs are superior to medium or broad nibs for various reasons. And yet, others will say that nib sizes that produce line variation are better than standard round-tip nibs.
However, what the “best” nib size looks like will vary greatly depending on a number of things. Here, we’ll cover the best nib sizes for different types of writers based on their particular needs.
Best nib size for beginners
Writers who are just starting out may benefit from trying a medium-sized nib. This is typically the default size for many fountain pens, and in some models, it is the only size available. This is because medium nibs hit a sweet spot with their width. They are not so small that the lines will be too thin on the page, but they also aren’t too thick to cause bleedthrough and smearing. Medium nibs also allow beginners to experience the smoothness of a fountain pen (smaller nibs tend to have more feedback), especially when compared to ballpoint pens.
Best nib size for left-handed writers
Left-handed writers often struggle with smearing when writing with pens and ink that take some time to dry, like fountain pens. Fortunately, using a smaller nib can help. This is because less ink is laid down on the paper. As a result, lines are thinner, and drying times are much faster. Fine nibs will typically give you a line that is 0.5mm to 0.7mm wide, depending on the brand. If you want a smooth writing experience that can be comfortable to use on most papers without worrying about making a mess, then a fine nib will work well for you.
Best nib size for those with small handwriting
Similar to lefties, those with small handwriting may enjoy fine or extra fine nib sizes. Writing with an extra-fine nib may take some getting used to as it has a lower ink flow and more feedback. If you are a deliberate writer who likes to take your time, then this nib size will work well for you. However, speedier writers may benefit more from the fine nib size, which provides more ink flow while still maintaining a level of precision.
Best nib size for those with large handwriting
Fountain pen users with larger handwriting will appreciate the broad nib the most. This is especially true if you have quick, gestural handwriting or the occasional flair to your writing movements. Writers who enjoy using sheening or shimmering inks will benefit from the generous ink flow of a broad-nibbed fountain pen. This nib size also writes more smoothly, with less feedback compared to its finer counterparts. However, be aware of the increased dry time for this nib size as well as the need for fountain pen-friendly paper.
Best nib size for calligraphy writers
Those who write with plenty of flair require nibs with specific shapes. Here, we recommend the stub or calligraphy nib, which has a rectangular edge instead of a rounded tip. These nibs range from narrow to wider sizes that create beautiful line variation that is an essential characteristic of calligraphic writing. These nibs are different from using standard fountain pens, but they are an easy way to make your writing look much more elegant. If you are interested in calligraphy or lettering, then you can start with these types of nibs.
Best nib size for artists
The extra fine nib is the smallest and most delicate nib size of them all. Since artists often require very precise and clean lines when they sketch, the extra fine nib is usually the favored option. Artists who are used to pencils may also appreciate the feedback that extra fine nibs have. However, the fine nib may also be more useful for artists that use long sweeping strokes to draw. Since extra fine nibs have a limited ink flow due to their size, they may not be able to keep up with quicker writing movements. Both nib sizes are great for precision and small details; which one you choose will simply be a matter of preference.
The Bottom Line
So, what is the best nib size?
The truth is, there is no right answer to this question!
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to fountain pen nibs. How you determine what nib size is perfect for you can be vastly different from how another person decides what is best for their needs. We talk about choosing the right nib for you in much more detail on one of our previous blog entries.
That said, it helps to do plenty of research. For instance, you will find out that nib sizes between western brands like Pelikan and eastern brands like Pilot may differ — generally, eastern nibs are narrower than their western counterparts.
A little bit of self-reflection may help, too. This can help you narrow down your priorities and preferences when it comes to your writing needs. No matter which nib size you choose, the important thing is that it is the best for you.
Written by EndlessPens Blogger Ramona Kabigting