Pen Review: Jinhao X450

I’m a guy who likes expensive things.  I always have.  It used to drive my parents crazy.  We’d go out to a restaurant, and without even bothering to look at the prices, I would somehow end up picking the most expensive thing on the menu.  As I have matured, I wish I could say that I have grown out of this deep desire to have expensive things, but that would be a lie.  So, when I come across a budget pen, I tend to approach with a little bit of skepticism.  In the case of the Jinhao X450, however, I have to say that I am completely floored by the quality to value ratio.

I have had as many as 5 of these Jinhao X450s in my collection at one time, and not a single one of them has cost me more than $7–a price that includes shipping from China.  The pen hefty and solid, and feels well made.  I have many far more expensive pens that don’t feel as well made as these do.  They come in a whole plethora of colors.  The Jinhao-branded nibs give a surprising amount of line variation, but they aren’t particularly flexible.  They can also be a bit inconsistent.

However: by switching out the Jinhao nib for another standard #6 nib (such as nibs from Goulet Pen Company, as I have done), this pen can become pretty stellar, pretty quickly.  A $6 pen combined with a $15 nib will give you a pen that writes like a pen orders of magnitude more expensive.  My red Jinhao X450 has skyrocketed up into the top 5 pens in my collection, and in my estimation, far outstrips pens in the same price range like the Pilot Metropolitan or the Lamy Safari. This feels like a nice, expensive pen.  And I love that.

  • AceJ

    I can appreciate the awe with the Jinhao pen. On first try I was wondering myself just how nervous the big pen boys must be feeling when the scrip from a $6 pen is indistinguishable from their $X00 offering. But pens are about performance and this is where I’d appreciate your thoughts. I have found that these pens have nibs that are easy to bend, occasionally drop a blob of ink from the feed onto my paper, and while they look good isn’t there something lacking in their fit and finish? Nevertheless – just think if they doubled their effort – a $12 pen with all those issues resolved – now that is a scary thought.

  • alc3261

    I agree the X450 + Goulet nib is an amazing pen. The X750 posts rather better if you like to post and is more or less the same otherwise.

  • sue

    I’d love to purchase a Nakaya nib for my X450, but i don’t know if it is interchangeable with it. Can this be done? Thank you.

    • admin

      Sue, the nib for the Nakaya (which is hundreds of dollars by itself) would not fit on a Jinhao X450. You’ll want to use the #6 nibs from Goulet, Nemosine, Franklin-Christoph, Edison, or Monteverde instead.

    • No. The Nakaya nib (which they will not sell loose, and will only put on the pen for you) will not fit on a Jinhao X450. You’re better off looking at #6-sized nibs from any of the following companies:, Franklin-Christoph, TWSBI, Monteverde, Edison, Knox, Nemosine. Of those, my personal favorites are the Franklin-Christoph or Goulet nibs.

      • Michel

        Hello Matt, do you know of any European companies where I could order these nibs? Or brands?

      • Vijay

        Hello Matt, could you please suggest which Goulet nib (EF/F/M) would be better off with Jinhao X450? Thank you.

        • That depends entirely on personal preference for the kind of nib you like. I personally would stick with a fine or medium nib, because I like to be able to see the characteristics of the ink, which is sometimes difficult on an EF. I also like a smoother writing experience, which is why I lean toward medium nibs. But if you’re going to be taking a lot of notes or doing a lot of figures (I read your email as well), then the EF might not be a bad choice as well. It’ll just feel a bit toothier than the fine or medium.

  • sue

    Do you have an email in which we can ask you questions?

    • I can be reached at penhabit (at) gmail

      • Gene

        Just thought I’d drop you a line, Matt and let you know that I think you’re the best!!

        Thank you for all your hard work and untiring devotion.

  • Suzanne Raschke

    I have 3 Jinhao X450 pens and love the look, feel, weight, etc. However, they have all leaked into the lid -even the one with a Goulet nib. I really want these to work. How do I fix the leaking? I use cartridges for convenience. Any suggestions?

    • You probably can’t. If you’re talking about spatters inside the nib, that happens even on the top-end pens. It’s not something you can get away from in most fountain pens. If you’re talking about full-blown leaks (e.g., it’s emptying your cartridge), it’s probably a manufacturing flaw, and there won’t be any tricks you can use to make it work.

      I don’t know your specifics, but fountain pens do get ink on the inside of the cap. That’s just part of the experience, for better or for worse.

      • Suzanne Raschke

        Thank you for your speedy reply! Unfortunately it is not just typical splatters, but it is the emptying of the ink cartridge. It usually happens when the cartridge has 1/3 remaining ink………bummer, I really love these pens. I have one more that hasn’t been opened – I can hope for one good one!

        • SteveD

          If you’re using theJinhao converter, and not a “cartridge”per se, you may want to try tightening down on the plunger of the converter to eliminate the extra air in the reservoir. Most converters have plungers which will descend as the ink level drops, but we get what we pay for, and I’ve found this to be quite effective both with my cheap Jinhao as well as my Rotring Artpen with a Rotring Converter.

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  • Achim

    I only have the X750 yet, I’m not a reverse writer and I don’t like nibs broader than F, so I write reverse with my X750 all the time, I am amazed how good such a cheap pen is, I still don’t know if I’ll get the X450.

  • Bexta

    I love your reviews, Matt. Thanks for the insight.

  • PecosPeet

    I just received two Jinhao X450s. Got then from an Easy store that did not provide any branding info, so it was only after receiving them I discovered what they are. That’s rather unfortunate because the store sells them at $20 US!! Plus shipping.

    I was expecting nothing useful but a lesson to not take chances with short descriptions and unbranded pens. Like Matt, I am amazed at the writing quality of this pen – I am currently using the standard nib, but will likely upgrade to a Goulet nib based on Matt’s comments.

    Only failing in my mind is that the pen basically does not post. Not my first non-posting pen, but I am so used to posting I expect that I will be reminded every time I use this that I should no (cannot) post it. Oh well, for a $6-8 pen, that’s really not a deal breaker.