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Friday, May 4, 2012

Pen Review: Pilot Petit 1

The Pilot Petit is a pen that I never would've picked out myself. It's small size, cheap plastic look, and bright colors would've really put me off.

But looks can be deceiving! Read on to find out what kind of fountain pen you can get for less than $5.00.

So, hopefully you have all read the wonderful guest review of this pen from Wednesday. If not, then go read it now! I explain there what we're doing with this double review.

Yup, you're looking at a very strange review bar today folks. :) A double rating!

This pen is incredibly difficult to review with only one rating, so I've decided to use two. One for how it compares to other fountain pens in general, and the other, for what you get for the price.

Overall rating for the price: 82/100
Overall rating for the pen: 70/100

Overview: The Pilot Petit 1 is part of a series of pens made by Pilot Pen Company. There is also a Petit 2, and Petit 3. A fountain pen, marker, and brush pen are all in the series. Today we'll be focusing on the fountain pen.

Body Material: Translucent plastic
Color: Purple, Pink, White, or Green
Price: $3.30 from
Nib Material: Steel
Nib Size: F - no other sizes available
Cap Type: Click on/off, postable on body
Filling Mechanism: Cartridge
Overall Length Capped: 10.3cm
Overall Length Posted: 12.3cm
Body Diameter At Widest Point: 13mm

The Good:
  • Incredible value for dollar
  • Small and easy to carry
  • Inexpensive
  • Very inexpensive
  • Great out of the box nib
The Bad:
  • Plastic does not feel very durable
  • Thin plastic clip will not stand up to much
  • Only takes Pilot's proprietary cartridges
The Ugly:
  • Well, the pen, on the whole, is just sort of ugly :)
  • The colors are very... Not sophisticated, to say the least
Let's dive into the good stuff, shall we!?


Yeah, it's not going to win any design awards. It gets the job done, and it looks decent enough. The shape of the pen is actually quite nice. But large injection molding seams, and the transparency make the whole thing a tad jumbled. With the selection of bright colors, it's definitely an eye catcher.

Well, here it is. Not that bad actually, once you've gotten used to it. It sort of looks like a space-ship torpedo, colored purple. :)

The body is translucent, and looks really good with the bright ink cartridges that they sell next to the pen.

The imprint is tastefully done, and looks pretty decent. There is a large ugly sticker on the pen, but I'm sure it could be removed if you wanted it off.

One of my absolute favorite design features of the pen! You can see the ink running from the cartridge, through the section, all the way down to the tip of the nib. Now that is awesome. :)

Overall, I think it's a fine design. Ugly, in an odd sort of way that is almost pleasant to look at. Hard to describe really. :)

For the price: 20/25 in design
For the pen: 17/20 in design

Size and weight:

The pen is called the Pilot Petit for a reason. It is small! Let there be no mistake - this is a pocket pen. But it posts to a very comfortable size. Speaking of comfortable, allow me to express how much I love the grip section on this pen! It is thick, non-tapered, and very easy to hold on to. It's a little slick, and it has these annoying bumps on it, but overall I find it an extremely comfortable grip section. It is bigger than most of my other pens actually, which is refreshing. I do not like the standard sized thin grip section.

The weight of the pen is nice and light. Too light actually. It feels cheap because it's so darn light! Even my Kaweco Sport feels a little heavy, but this pen weighs nothing!

Without the cap posted, you won't be comfortable using this one. :)

Left to right: TWSBI 540 - Pilot Vanishing Point - Pilot Petit 1 - Edison Pearl.

Left to right: TWSBI 540 - Pilot Petit 1 - Edison Pearl
You can see in this picture what I mean about the nice thick grip section. Look at it - it's bigger than the 540 and the Pearl! I love it.

All in all, the size and weight are great for a pocket pen.  It's too light for my tastes, mostly because I just don't feel like I'm writing with a fountain pen. But that aside:

For the price: 23/25
For the pen: 20/25


Now we get to how the pen actually works. There's not a whole lot to say here though. It fills with cartridges... You all know how much I love cartridges (*sarcastic*). Not a huge ink capacity, but good enough for my purposes. Unfortunately this pen only takes Pilot's "special" ink cartridges. Standard ink carts do NOT fit. Luckily you can always refill cartridges with a syringe to get your favorite color into the pen.

I would guess this pen might be usable as an eyedropper, but honestly, I'm to scared to try! The threads are not tight, and are very short. 

Fills using Pilot's proprietary cartridges. As you can see here, the barrel threads are rather... Big! So turning this into an eyedropper would not be my recommendation.

Overall I think the pen functions just fine. It posts very well - quite securely. The cap snaps on nicely as well, and I never feel that is will accidentally uncap. I do however, feel that the knobs which hold the snap cap on may wear in time. We'll see I guess!

For the price: 15/25
For the pen: 12/25

I know it's a low score, but honestly, two things could really bring it up easily. Make the threads finer, so we can convert it to an eyedropper, and let us use standard cartridges! That would up my rating a lot in this area.

The nib:

The most important part of any pen. well, you can relax now, because the Pilot Petit does not disappoint!

Honestly, this nib out of the box beats my Kaweco Sport, Stipula Passporto, TWSBI 540, and a few others. It's really good! No skipping, good 6/10 flow, no drying out overnight. No nonsense! It was a pleasure to grab this pen, pop in a cartridge, and have it almost immediately start writing, with no problems.

Since then, it is still writing well, and has not once given me reason to complain.

It's not the smoothest nib in the world. It's a hard nail, and it's got some drag to it. But not necessarily tooth. Overall I'm very pleased with it.

My friend picked out a pink ink cartridge to go with it, which I never would've picked myself, but I find quite fun to use.

Anyone seen this nib before? It's on quite a few of Pilot's cheaper designs.
I never liked the fact that they stamp the breather hole, but don't punch it out. This is NOT a defect, it's just the way it is. Still bugs me though. :)

Writes a moderately smooth, extremely consistent fine line.

Compared from top to bottom:
Pilot Petit - F
Pilot Vanishing Point - F
Edison Pearl - M 
TWSBI Vac700 - B
Overall just a tad bigger than  a Vanishing Point F. I would call this nib a true standard F.

Overall I'm very happy with this nib. It's great! Okay, it looks pretty ugly and cheap, but it writes better than many of my other pens. Yes, I would guess that there are plenty of these out there that don't write well, but mine sure does, so that's what I have to review off of.

For the price: 24/25
For the pen: 21/25


All things considered, the Pilot Petit 1 is really a must buy. Why? Because it costs you less than $5.00, it writes well, and it's fun! This is not a pen that I intend to keep for years to come, but for the price, you should have a couple of these around to give away to new FP users. They are great for spreading the addiction! They're also the perfect pen to take along anywhere that you don't want to take an expensive pen. 

I am NOT affiliated with JetPens in any way, but they're a great company, and I recommend you buy from them:

Pilot Petit 1: Purple, Pink, White, Green.

That concludes this review! I hope you enjoyed it very much, and please leave me a comment below, and let me know what you think of the pen, and the review. Be sure to check out the guest review as well and leave a comment there too!

Lastly, don't forget to subscribe to the blog to be sure you don't miss out on more great reviews like this one. ;D

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