The 10 Best Pens for Graduation Gifts (2024)

Graduation is one of the biggest accomplishments in a young person's life. It often marks the "coming of age" of a person moving up to the next step, whether that be college, graduate school, a job, and everything else that adult life has to offer. In short, graduation is a big deal, one that calls for an appropriate gift of something a grad can use. In this article, you'll find such a gift in the humble pen, specifically the best pen for graduation gift.

Why gift a pen as a graduation gift?

Giving graduation pens gifts is both a practical and symbolic graduation present. Although everything is digital these days, a pen is not to be overlooked. Instead of eliminating the need for pens, the digital age makes traditional writing instruments useful, appreciated tools for thinking.

A well-made pen can last a lifetime, if not longer. It doesn't require charging, software updates, or connection to the internet. A pen only needs some ink, paper, and a mind that is willing to open.

Graduation pens are symbolic of the graduate becoming the author of their own life. After years of school and learning (sometimes at the urging of others), the grad is ready to write the next chapter. A pen represents the ability to decide how they want to lead their lives and change the world.

A fine pen is also a distinguished graduation gift. Much like fashionable shoes, handbags, watches, and jewelry, writing instruments can tell a story about the person who uses them. When the grad uses their nice pen for graduation gift in college or at work, others will notice.

Which brands make the best pen for graduation gift?

When shopping around for a graduation pen gift, one can quickly get overwhelmed by all the options made by brands around the world. Which manufacturers make the best pens to give as gifts? Which brands are recognized as the gold standard in the fine writing industry? As purveyors of pens for over 20 years, we lean on our experience and customer feedback to offer our informed opinions on the perfect graduation pen, and similarly, the best pen gift for dad.

Undoubtedly, the first pen brand that comes to mind for most is the one with the white snowflake on the cap. Montblanc is easily the most well-known pen manufacturer in the world. With a history that reaches back over 130 years, Parker Pens are iconic, maintaining a prestigious position within the pantheon of pens. Founded in 1846 and headquartered in Rhode Island, the Cross Pen Company has been the official pen brand of US presidents since Ronald Reagan.

How to choose a graduation gift pen.

Even when you limit your browsing to three particular pen brands, there are still dozens of pen designs, scores of finishes, modes, and nib sizes to choose from. A brand like Pilot can have pens that sell for $5 to $5,000. To help narrow things down, the first filter we can apply is cost.

How much should I spend on a graduation pen gift?

Don't go into debt while purchasing a custom novelty graduation gift pens for your graduate. As you might have guessed, luxury pens can come with a high price tag. Thankfully, most pen brands have options in a wide range of price points to fit your budget and still be a perfect graduation present.

As you'll find in the pens we selected below, you don't need to drop hundreds of dollars on a gift pen. You can, but you don't need to. It's all up to how much you can afford to give and how close the graduate is to you.

10 Best Pen for Graduation Gift

Lamy Studio

The German-made Lamy Studio just looks and sounds smart. It has a Bauhaus-inspired, minimalist design that accentuates the modern, sleek lines of the pen's streamlined profile. A variety of lacquered finishes decorate the metal-bodied pens for a distinguished look and feel.

  • Great for college students and young professionals. Architecture and design graduates.
  • 10+ color styles and finishes are available
  • Starting at $62.95 for the ballpoint pen

Pilot Vanishing Point

The world's most renowned retractable fountain pen earned its reputation for over 70 years of excellent writing ability. The Pilot VP (as the kids call it) combines the convenience of a quick-draw retractable ballpoint pen with the fluid writing experience of a fountain pen. Personalize this heirloom quality pen with the graduate's name on the barrel.

  • Great for graduates going into the medical field.
  • 20+ styles and finishes are available
  • Starting at $160 for the Decimo pen

Retro 51 Tornado

Going to school can sometimes feel like you're being forced into learning a subject in which you have zero interest. When the graduate is finally free of general ed prerequisite courses, remind them of the subjects that still drive their quest for knowledge with a Retro 51 Tornado pen.

Over the years, Retro 51 produced hundreds of unique ballpoint pen designs dedicated to themes of science, art, culture, history, and space exploration. With so many options, there is bound to be a pen that connects with a grad's personality and interests.

  • Great for graduates in science, history, and astronomy fields
  • Over 100+ pens in various styles, finishes, and modes.
  • Starting at $24 for the classic lacquer rollerball pens

The Retro 51 Tornado also happens to be one of the most popular pens we regularly personalize by our in-house engraving department. The solid lacquer Tornado pens are an excellent canvas to engrave the grad's name, date of graduation, or simply "Congrats!"

Sailor 1911

While I did mention earlier that Montblanc was one of the most recognizable brands in the world, Goldspot Pens doesn't currently carry Montblanc (we're always open to it, but they don't sell to online-only stores). However, there's another long-time brand that makes a pen also known for its prestige and status.

Since 1911, the Sailor Pen Company built a legendary reputation for world-class writing nibs on pens that have a traditional, timeless style. The Sailor 1911 has a rounded, cigar-shaped profile that looks similar to the legendary Montblanc Meisterstuck. Where the Sailor 1911 excels is the vast selection of various color resins and the expansive nib sizes options, making it an excellent pen for gift under 50. Japanese nibs are known to produce finer lines than German nibs, and Sailor is no exception.

A Sailor fountain pen provides the same classic, sophisticated appeal as a Montblanc (albeit without the white snowflake on top) plus an exceptional writing performance at a fraction of the cost.

  • Ideal for writers who prefer a traditional pen design with a finer nib. For people who like the tactile feel of a nib on paper (like a sharpened graphite pencil tip).
  • Dozens of colors are available in two fountain pen sizes (the 1911 S or 1911 L)
  • Starting at $220 for the 14kt gold 1911S model pen.



When he had an epiphany to become a novelist, Haruki Murakami took a train to a bookstore in Shin-juku and purchased a Sailor pen and a sheaf of paper. When he got home, he wrote his first award-winning novel at his kitchen table.


Cross Classic Century

Gift the future leaders of the free world with a pen worthy of a presidential signature. The Cross Classic Century has a slim, streamlined profile that has elegant, nostalgic appeal. Originally introduced in 1946, the Classic Century continues to stay true to its original design.

As a fashionable accessory for newly-minted professionals, the Cross Classic Century is a tastefully simple writing instrument that matches well with business formal attire. There are plenty of styles to best suit the grad. From bold, contemporary colors to the traditionally luxurious, the Century Collection has it all.

  • Ideal for grads who will work in a formal business office.
  • Many styles available in ballpoint, rollerball, and fountain pen.
  • Starting at $29.95

Fisher Space Pen Cap-O-Matic

The Cap-O-Matic is at the top of our list for the most affordable and utility-driven grad gift pen. Sure, it's simple, and it doesn't come in a fancy box. But, it gets the job done. At the heart of this pen is the ballpoint refill made to write in zero gravity.

The Fisher Space Pens pressurized refill technology enables writers to use the Cap-O-Matic in places where other pens would fail. Write upside down, underwater (or in the rain), in extreme temperatures, or in outer space - the Fisher Pen can do it all! A simple press of the Cap-O-Matic and you're ready to jot notes wherever, whenever.

  • Great for the professions that work outdoors or in extreme weather conditions. Bonus if you're an astronaut or in a space-related field.
  • Many colorful designs are available, including specialty pens made for astronauts, law enforcement, and firefighters.
  • Starting at $10.20

Debuting on the Apollo 7 mission in 1968, Fisher Space Pen has been on every NASA crewed space flight since.


Waldmann Tuscany

While Waldmann might not be as recognizable as Montblanc, the brand deserves to be recognized for its jewelry-quality writing instruments. Waldmann's artistry with metal is outstanding. Most of their pens are made from solid 925 sterling silver with delicate finishes that are stylish yet timeless.

The Waldmann Tuscany, in particular, is a pen we want to highlight as a luxurious upgrade to the slim pen designs offered by A.T. Cross. The Tuscany has a narrow, tapered profile that looks sleek, elegant, and substantial. The variety of finishes has a classic appeal with a modern edge.

  • Best-suited for grads matriculating into prestigious universities or who are planning to work for the best of the best.
  • Several luxury finishes are available in ballpoint, rollerball, and fountain pen modes.
  • Starting at $240

Faber-Castell Ambition

Fuel your grad's ambition with the Faber-Castell Ambition! This pen succeeds in combining unique textures and materials to create an experience that you have to feel for yourself. The German Bauhaus-inspired cylindrical design is streamlined with minimal flair. Yet, there is plenty of luxury in the details, from the engraving of Faber-Castell's jousting knights emblem to the meticulous care of assembly.

Faber-Castell has an outstanding reputation for producing quality writing instruments over its 250+ year history. Whether you select a mechanical pencil, ballpoint pen, rollerball pen, or fountain pen for your graduate, you'll rest assured knowing they are set up for success with a dependable writing instrument.

  • A great fit for unconventional thinkers and unique spirits.
  • Over a dozen finishes including resin, lacquer, and wood.
  • Starting at $65

Lamy 2000

For a pen that always seems ahead of its time, the Lamy 2000 continues to delight pen enthusiasts around the world for over 50 years. It's a writer's dream - a pen with exceptional balance and lightweight that feels comfortable and writes with grace and glassy smoothness.

The pen's design is simple, graceful, and austere. Yet, it looks like an item someone brought back from the future. For those who are serious about their fountain pens, a Lamy 2000 is a must to have in their collection. It checks all the boxes to qualify as one of the greatest of all time (GOAT) pens.

If you're not sure that grad will appreciate a piston-fill fountain pen, you could always opt for the mechanical pencil, ballpoint pen, rollerball, or 4-color multi-pen versions.

Tip: it is possible to engrave the L2K on the clip!

  • A pen for the mind that is always at the forefront of change.
  • Styles include the black Makrolon and a heavier, stainless steel version
  • Starting at $55.20 for the ballpoint pen, and $223.20 for the fountain pen.

Parker Jotter

Last, but not least, is the venerable Parker Jotter. This pen has been a staple of the office supply world since the 1950s. While it won't be the most luxurious pen on this list, it certainly is one of the most iconic and well-respected. The distinctive arrow clip signifies Parker's dedication to making a quality writing instrument for the masses.

The Parker Jotter is a pen that we engrave most often. A personalized Parker Jotter ballpoint pen is a reasonably affordable, sentimental graduation gift. Since we have our engraving department on the premises, we can usually ship your engraved pen within 1-2 days of placing the order to ensure it gets there in time for the big day.

Since the Parker Jotter is such a ubiquitous pen, refills are easy to find in almost any office supply store (even supermarkets will have them in the stationery aisle). The Parker-style type ballpoint cartridge is made by many pen manufacturers in a variety of point sizes and colors, including a smoother gel ink refill.

  • An affordable, easy-to-personalize gift for all grads. And, a token of appreciation for teachers, coaches, and mentors.
  • Dozens of colorful styles to choose from in ballpoint and fountain pen modes.
  • Starting at $8.95

In addition, to set your grad up for success, you may want to bundle a few other related writing items into your pen purchase.

If you're contemplating purchasing a fountain pen for your graduate and they've never written with a fountain pen before, you should put together a care package that includes extra ink and a quality notebook.

Most cartridge converter fountain pens, like the Pilot Vanishing Point mentioned above, only come with one ink cartridge to start. (The Lamy 2000 doesn't include any ink at all!) To make sure they continue enjoying writing with their new fountain pen, include either compatible ink cartridges or a bottle of ink with means to draw it up into the pen. Some pens, like the VP, already include a converter. Other fountain pens might not. So, pay attention to the product descriptions and product images to see if a converter is already included before adding another one to your shopping cart.

Gifting Fountain Pen Ink

As for choosing a bottled ink color, consider how they will be using their fountain pen in the future. Will they be writing in an environment where only business appropriate black or blue will do? Does the ink need to be waterproof when it dries? Or, will they be using their pen toward their creative pursuits where anything goes?

For a basic, waterproof black ink, we suggest Platinum Carbon Black. It's great for a business setting or for artists who overlay washes of color on black-line art. For a bulletproof blue that resists feathering on absorbent copy paper, get a bottle of Noodler's Anti-Feather Blue.

Gifting a notebook

To complete the trio of pen, ink, and, paper, we suggest complementing your writing instrument gift with a notebook to record the next chapter. The "Recorder" by Endless is a traditional journal that can handle fountain pen ink. It has a hard, leatherette cover and elastic band closure to protect the pages within.

The Recorder is available in several page formats, including dotted, lined, blank, and grid. Whether your grad wants to use it as a Bullet Journal planner, a diary for morning pages, a sketchbook, or a class notebook, the Endless Recorder is capable to go along with anything that the future brings.

How to personalize a graduation pen gift

Turn an off-the-shelf writing instrument into a one-of-a-kind, memorable keepsake with engraved personalization. Most people opt to put the graduate's full name on the pen of their choice. However, you could celebrate the milestone in other, creative ways. You could request "Class of 202X" or a simple "Congrats, Grad!", or, you could send us the logo file of the college they are going to in the fall.

Whichever way you'd like to personalize your pen, please make sure you choose a pen that allows for engraving. Although we have plenty of experience engraving 10,000s of pens over the years and high-tech engraving equipment, there are certain materials and designs that just cannot be engraved. So, we recommend shopping our engraved pens collection to find a pen you'd like to have engraved as a graduation gift (or for any occasion, or no occasion at all!)


Now, you should be well-versed in your pen knowledge to determine the best graduation gifts for the graduates in your life. Taking into account all the suggestions we made and the reasons why a pen makes a graduation gift, the choice is now in your hands. To make the gift thoughtful, you have to put a little bit of thought into it. Consider the hopes, dreams, likes, dislikes, and style of the graduate. Go find a pen that will celebrate their achievements and inspire them to do more.

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