June 17, 2013

Pilot 78G Fountain Pen

The Pilot 78G is generally considered to be one of the better fountain pens in the "budget" category. Although I may be mistaken, the 78G may technically be discontinued or otherwise unavailable in the United States. Even if that is true, there is an abundance of overstock on the market, and it's pretty easy and financially painless to acquire a 78G.

I got the teal colored pen, with a medium sized nib. It came with a black ink cartridge (one that only fits Pilot pens), a CON-20 squeeze-type ink converter [edit: that is similar to a CON-20 converter], and an extra large bag of awesome. Is the nib as smooth and consistent as, say, my Pelikan M205 or my Pilot Custom Heritage 91? No. Is the pen body cheap, lightweight, and plasticky? Yup. Is the faux gold trim cheesy and tacky looking? I think so. So what? The 78G costs less than a couple of Happy Meals at McDonald's. At that price point you could almost treat it as a disposable pen!

The pen writes well enough, doesn't skip, and isn't too scratchy. It comes in different colors and different nib sizes. It is cheap enough to buy on a whim, and you won't lose any sleep if your kid happens to bend the nib, use it as a dart, or trade it for a not-so-rare Pokemon card.

I was going to describe the pen in more detail, but then I found a much better review with great pictures, all of the specs, and even a video. I hope the folks at Gourmet Pens don't mind the reference: Pilot 78G Review. Oh, and here's another good review at Ink of Me Fondly: Another Pilot 78G Review. The pen in the first linked review has a broad nib, and the pen in the second linked review has a fine nib, in contrast to my medium nib.

The above picture shows the 78G in a disassembled state, with the ink cartridge installed. No surprises there. I'll finish this post with some writing samples on different types of paper.

The first sample also includes short blurbs written with other fountain pens that are described elsewhere on this blog, just for the sake of comparison.

The bottom line with me and the 78G: it's well worth the price and is a decent pen, but I'd rather use my Pilot Custom Heritage 91. In fact, I gave the 78G to my son for use as a school pen. I would recommend the 78G as a "first real fountain pen" (rather than, say, a Pilot Varsity, a Platinum Preppy, or a Lamy Safari).


  1. Lovely review. I was quite curious about the teal. It seems a little more fun than the green one that I have.

    I agree - a great first real fountain pen :) And thank you so much for the mention!

    1. Don't mention the mention; your review is awesome. Thanks for commenting.

  2. The converter that comes with this pen is not the CON-20. It's similar in that it's a squeeze type converter, but the body is different (very apparent if you compare them side by side). It's just a generic converter that they include with many of their pens (including the Metropolitan and it's twin the MR).

    As far as I know the pen is still in production but no longer being imported into North America. In Asia it's still available from retailers (Stationery Art for example).

    I also found it preferable to the Varsity, Preppy or Safari - even though those three seem to be perennially popular choices.

    1. Hey, you are 100% correct! I stand corrected. The converter that came with the pen is noticeably different than the CON-20. It doesn't say "PRESS HERE" on it, and you can see a lot of the inner bladder (which remains mostly hidden in the CON-20). I wonder if one is better than the other?

  3. The 78G certainly offers a lot of nib for the money. have you checked out the Pilot Penmanship? If you are ever curious about EF japanese nibs its definitely a great introduction!

    Great review!