Pilot Petits: Mini but Mighty

Pilot Petit pens

The Petit is a line of mini-pens that are small when capped, but reasonable in size when posted. They are made of lightweight plastic in fun colors, and they all use ink cartridges in similar fun colors.

There are three Petit writing points.

Pilot Petit tips

In the middle is the fountain pen, the Pilot Petit, sometimes called the Petit 1. The nib is a fine. Mine is pink and came with an ink cartridge in light pink. I bought these at a local store, where the fountain pen cost $3.95. They are also available online.

On top is the Petit 2, in blue. It’s labeled a “sign pen”; and I’d call it a broad felt-tip marker. Mine came with a cyan-blue ink cartridge. The Petit 2 cost $2.95.

On the bottom, in orange-red is the Petit 3. That’s the Fude Pen, a brush pen that lets you vary the width of the line using pressure. Mine came with a red ink cartridge, and cost $2.95.

Here is a quick writing sample. The Petit 2 Sign Pen, using blue ink, is first; then the fountain pen, using light pink ink; then the Petit 3 Fude Pen, with red ink. I didn’t use any pressure with the Petit 3, to convey its normal line width.

Pilot Petit writing samples

The Petit fountain pen writes a standard fine line. The Petit 2 Sign Pen is noticeably broader, which makes it more expressive than I’d expected.

The Petit 3 Fude Pen writes a juicy line, too. Mine isn’t particularly flexible, and doesn’t have a lot of variation, but it may loosen with time. It’s more a fun pen, in my opinion, than a serious fude pen. If you’re serious about lettering, you probably want a more technical fude pen. But the Petit 3 is fun to use, because it’s colorful and allows a little flair.

Pilot Petit 3 Fude writing sample

In terms of the size, I find the Petit pens very workable. Capped, they are portable: small enough to throw in a bag or clip to a notebook. But when you post the cap to write, the Petit becomes a standard-size pen.

Here are the three Petit pens posted, next to a Pelikan M400 and a Lamy Safari, unposted.

Pilot Petit size comparison

Looking at the Petit fountain pen in more depth, it seems to share a lot with one Pilot sibling, the Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pen. These two inexpensive Pilot fountain pens use the same section, feed and nib, though my Petit has a fine nib and my Varsity has a medium nib.

Pilot Petit Pilot Varsity size comparison

You’ll note that the sections of the Varsity and Petit fountain pens are fairly long. That makes both fairly comfortable. I would give the edge in writing comfort to the Varsity, because its pen body is thinner and sleeker; the Petit has two pronounced ridges, one where the cap posts, and one where the pen body steps down to the section. The Petit is perfectly comfortable for shorter writing sessions, but it wouldn’t be my first choice to write a novel.

But the Petit has the edge in allowing ink refills. All the Petit pens use ink cartridges, while the Varsity is designed as a one-use disposable pen.

Petit cartridges come in eight colors, and are sold in a package of three for around $2. Alternatively, you could refill the empty cartridge with any fountain pen ink, using a syringe. You could even use the Petit as an eye-dropper, I think.

When it comes to writing, the Petit fountain pen has the same smooth performance as the Varsity, but with a slightly finer nib.

Here’s a writing sample comparing the Pilot Varsity medium nib (with the Varsity’s darker pink ink), the Pilot Petit fine nib with light pink ink, a Lamy Safari fine with Pelikan Brilliant Black ink and a Pelikan M400 fine with J. Herbin Éclat de Saphir.

Pilot Petit 1 fountain pen writing samples

I love pink, but I’m not crazy about the light pink ink in the Petit. On the plus side, it performs well on poor paper: I see no feathering,  though there is some showthrough on very thin paper. But I don’t love the light pink color; I wish they’d used the Varsity pink.

No worries: I’ll use a different ink when the cartridge runs out. The blue and red inks in my other Petits are very nice; and I’ll try the other colors, too.

The stickers are removable, by the way. I’ve kept mine on for now because I like how they look.

I also like the Petit pens. They are fun way to spice up your writing without a big investment.

19 thoughts on “Pilot Petits: Mini but Mighty

  1. I’ve never tried the Petits, but kept looking at them because of the pretty colors, and the fact that they’re so cute! Plus, there’s my love for tiny pens, because of my small hands. I am working up an order for JetPens as we speak, for some decent paper, and I think I’ll add a couple of these to it, so I can try them out. I like the way that fude pen writes, too, so I think I’ll have to get one of those. You know you’re an enabler, don’t you! haha

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad to see you made it over to Mitsuwa!

    It’s also worth noting that these pens (like the Varsity) have the cheap-o wick feed system. It takes some force but you can pull the nib unit out of the body to clean. Once the nib is out, you can use something like a paper clip to punch out the wick. I’ve found an overnight soak in a bleach solution will bring out most of the color stuck in the wick when changing over colors.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. After disliking my Varsity pens, I never gave the Petits a second look. However, this review makes me want to “splurge” and grab a few different colors and different tips. They’re so cute and functional!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes they are! I really like them. I hope you can try them in person before you have to buy them, but I bet even if you didn’t like them, you could give them away. They are just that cute. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I didn’t like the Varsitys because they were my first-ish fountain pens, and they are SUPER wet writers. So of course they bled and feathered like mad on my crappy notebook paper. It just left a sour taste in my mouth, so I’ve never used them much since. But the Petits have a finer nib, so that would likely work much better for my uses 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh yes, we are alike in that! People who use cruddy paper, unite!

          I think your hunch will prove correct. There is good resistance to feathering with the pink ink — though unfortunately it isn’t my taste in pinks. The ability to syringe-fill the converters will help, too, because so many “regular” inks resist feathering well — i.e, Pelikan Brilliant Black and Waterman Serenity Blue.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. They are available online, at Jetpens dot com, and probably also at Amazon, but I got mine at Kinokuniya Bookstore at the Mitsuwa marketplace in Arlington Heights. They had all the pens, all the colors. 🙂 I could meet you there for lunch, too. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Yep, you are right, these a re great fun for children and adults alike.

    I always have a stock pile of these at hand to give away to my children’s friends’ birthdays. A fun li’l present, but also cheerful, functional, sort of “reasonable” too, as the children do use these at school, all three varieties. And I have one of these in each of my purses as they have two other awesome features: They never leak and they never dry out.

    Great pens, severely undervalued.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Great pens, severely undervalued” — exactly.

      Using them as giveaways is an excellent idea: I have been giving out Varsities to kids, but these look even more appealing. I’ve noticed that the Varsity never dries out, either. I have a feeling Pilot may add something to the ink for both these pens. 🙂


  5. After a venture into more expensive pens, I am returning to more reasonably priced ones. Like you say, the fun factor. And it’s nice to find a $3 pen that writes as well as one that costs $100.

    Liked by 1 person

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