I have come to regret purchasing my quasi-disposable cheap fountain pens. The ones that cost less than $10. I thought apart from the ink filling mechanism (cartridge converters and syringe cartridge refills being less expensive compared to piston or vacuum fill), they would all be the same, especially carrying the Pilot name. Not so. At least by my experience. My cheapies leak more. They run dry. They’re scratchy. The caps crack. From now on, I will be staying away from the “toy” fountain pens (under $10, and look almost disposable). One of the reasons for using fountain pens is to be able to use and reuse them for many years as opposed to tossing one plastic disposable pen after another. If cheapies can’t last but a couple of years before they start falling apart, that defeats that purpose. And if they’re a chore to use, I don’t want to be stuck with it for years either!
I’m talking about my Pilot Petit1 and Kakuno. The Petit is not pleasant to use but otherwise has no issues. I still use (put up with) it. It’s scratchy and rather short, too small for my hand. The Kakuno runs dry. I’ve swapped the nib and feed with the medium nib from my Metropolitan and it’s improved. The cap cracked just a few months after use. Fountain pens should be pleasant to use, not a never ending chore to drag about. On the plus side, the Kakuno fine nib swapped on the Metropolitan is a pleasure to use.
Also, one detail I’ve noticed about my nicer pens versus my junky ones is if I pause to think about what I’m going to write, the nib doesn’t dry out immediately. For example, with the junky ones, I can’t do a crossword puzzle without constantly uncapping and recapping the pen. With my Pelikan, it can withstand a pause for a little while longer. Minor detail but it’s a significant improvement to my pen writing experience!