A Review of Pilot Varsity Pens


As a writer, there are certain things I love; libraries, the smell of books, old typewriters, stationery, leather-bound journals, and pens.

God, I love me some nice ass pens.

Admittedly, I do almost all my writing on my computer, like most writers these days, but I still leap at any chance to use pens and stationery. Hell, I still write snail mail, just because it’s more fun and personal than email. It’s so exciting to get a REAL letter in the mail, instead of the usual credit card offers, bills, and retail flyers. (I hate that crap).

Because of my love for office supplies, I am what is known as a pen snob. And of all the many, many different types and brands of pens, I’ve tried. I would have to say Pilot’s Varsity pens are my absolute favorite.

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Those are disposable fountain pens, in seven different colors.

I like em bold, thick, and smooth…and yes, I’m still talking about pens.

I used to work with office supplies, and I spent a lot of time testing out all the different pens. I like a nice bold ink color with a thick line that writes smooth. That’s a personal taste. I suppose if you like standard black or regular ink-pen blue, and super thin lines with a felt tip edge, then, no, these are not the pens for you.

I first discovered these, not when I was working with office supplies, but on a day trip to the beach. Seaside cities tend to have a lot of specialty shops and artistic communities, and while walking around, I happened upon an art supply store and decided to browse their merchandise when I saw they had a huge selection of pens. As a pen snob, I was on that shit!

I have experimented with many fountain pens. The most common are the ones with the fancy casing and replaceable cartridges, and if you really want to be pretentious, or if you like calligraphy, there are the fountain pens that you have to dip in ink.

I like the idea of having a super nice and fancy fountain pen, but how nice? The most common problem I’ve had with fountain pens in the past is the nib is very delicate. If it gets just the tiniest bit bent or warped, it’s ruined. The ink just splotches all over and leaks, and you have a damn mess on your hands. Literally. Some of the nicer high-end fountain pens have replaceable nibs, but those replacements can be very expensive, and then the replacement cartridges are expensive too. I may be a pen snob, but I’m also cheap. I don’t feel comfortable spending hundreds of dollars (and yes, there are people that will pay that much for a pen) for something I can lose, have stolen, break, or to replace parts, it costs an arm and a leg. I’m a struggling writer here. I can’t afford that shit. And most lower-end fountain pens don’t have replaceable nibs, so once you damage your nib, you have to toss a pen that averages $15-50. That’s still a bit too wasteful for my tastes.

But, then I found Pilot’s Varsity pens. And for me, a pen snob on a budget, they’re perfect. If the nib becomes damaged, you just toss it and get a new pen. You can get a 6 or 7 pack for an average of $13 on Amazon, maybe more from a box store or office supply retailer (though in my experience most office supply chains only sell the blue and black). So around $2 a pen. Blue and Black are the easiest to find, and the blue is amazing, but my favorite is the 7-pack with assorted colors.

As you can see from my Instagram video above, they write beautifully.

To be fair, they also have a downside. They must be stored either on their sides or nib down for the ink to flow properly. If you store them nib up, it will take a while for the ink to flow, but that is a flaw with ALL fountain pens. You also might need to take a few practice strokes to ensure the ink is flowing at the right consistency before you begin writing in earnest. Again, this is a common flaw of almost all fountain pens. One flaw that I’ve discovered that is unique to the Varsity fountain pens is what I call the disappearing ink trick. I like to carry a couple of colors of these pens in my purse with me wherever I go. If I have to fill out a form or sign something somewhere, I prefer to use my own pen. (That’s the snobby life of a snobby ass pen snob). But, it would seem that with the prolonged carrying of these pens, the ink has a tendency to evaporate. And, yes, I checked to make sure it hadn’t just all leaked out in my purse. The ink will sometimes just entirely evaporate and disappear so that when you go to use your pen, you’ll discover that it’s empty. Thankfully, this does not occur when I leave my pens on my desk at home, no matter how long I store them. It’s just a strange occurrence that I’ve noticed from carrying these pens with me, and to be fair, it took over two years of carrying one pen around for all the ink to evaporate, and for a $2 pen, again, that’s not that bad.

None of the downsides to owning these disposable fountain pens are enough to make me NOT love them. They are still my favorite pens. They’re beautiful, they’re fun, and they’re inexpensive. I get the best feeling in the world when I sign novels with these babies!

I highly recommend them, so check them out.

FTC Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were bought and paid for with my own money. I am in no way affiliated with or sponsored by Pilot or any other pen manufacturers. All opinions expressed in this review are the honest and fair impressions of myself, the consumer.

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2 Replies to “A Review of Pilot Varsity Pens”

  1. Varsity pens are good and easy to refill:
    1. Pull nib and feed out as one piece.
    2. Inject ink into barrel with 20 gauge syringe needle and syringe
    3. Replace nib and feed as one unit

  2. Agree with Russelldog’s comments. I have a half dozen Pilot Varsity pens that I have owned AND USED DAILY for more then 15 years. Refill them as described and back into use.

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