Difference Between Fountain Pen Cartridge and Fountain Pen Converter

What is the difference between a fountain pen cartridge and a fountain pen converter?
Fountain pens can be filled with ink several ways. Two of the most common are with an ink cartridge or with an ink converter. Here we will explain both of these methods as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Fountain Pen Ink Cartridges

Fountain Pen Ink Cartridges

A fountain pen ink cartridge is a small disposable capsule filled with fountain pen ink. This ink cartridge attaches to the back of the fountain pen feed and supplies the pen with ink. When the ink cartridge runs out of ink you simply remove the empty cartridge, throw it away and insert a fresh one.

Advantages of Fountain Pen Ink Cartridges

  • Convenience Ink cartridges are convenient. They are easy to carry and easy to use.
  • Mess Free Fountain pen ink can be messy and ink cartridges are relatively mess free. Filling the pen does not require dipping the pen in an ink bottle.

Disadvantages of Fountain Pen Ink Cartridges

  • Selection Ink cartridges come in less colors and ink choices that bottled inks. Also fountain pens will only accept certain types of ink cartridges and so you are limited to specific brands that will fit your pen.
  • Ink Quantity Fountain pen ink cartridges are typically smaller and hold less ink than a converter or piston style fountain pen.

Fountain Pen Ink Cartridges

Fountain Pen Ink Converters

Fountain pen ink converters are detachable actuators that are used to hold the fountain pen ink. The converter attaches similar to the ink cartridge but has a small plunger or piston that runs inside and draws the ink into the fountain pen. To fill a cartridge fountain pen you dip the nib into a bottle of fountain pen ink and draw the ink through the nib and feed.

Advantages of Fountain Pen Ink Converters

  • Selection Unlike ink cartridges, converters allow you to use an almost endless supply of ink colors, types and brands. Because you are able to fill the fountain pen with ink from a bottle you are free to choose your favorite inks.

Disadvantages of Fountain Pen Ink Cartridges

  • Not as Travel Friendly Ink cartridges allow you to take replacement ink with you on the go. Carrying a bottle of ink is not as easy.
  • Can be Messy Using bottled inks requires dipping the nib of the pen in the ink and ink can get all over if you are not careful.
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