TWSBI Vac Mini Fountain Pen
- Description: A smaller vacuum filling fountain pen than the last one they made.
- Refills: Internal vacuum plunger fill, 2ml capacity
- Body: Plastic / Aluminum
- Measurements: 4.91″ long closed, 5.97″ posted
- Weight: 24g
- Color Options: Clear with silver aluminum accents
I’m still hunting for a TWSBI that works for me. The 540 cracked, the mini was just “ok”, the ECO was ugly, and my 580AL just doesn’t quite do it for me. Does the Vac Mini stay in my collection, or get sold off like the others? Read on to find out!
Thanks to my pals at Jetpens for sending the pen over, if you’d like to support the site consider picking one up from them.
Appearance and Packaging:
TWSBI packaging is cool. The plastic box nicely presents the pen. I’d be excited to get this pen / box as a gift. It’s definitely impressive, but if you’ve seen TWSBI packaging before, you’ll know what to expect here. Now the pen…It looks just as cool as the packaging it comes in. The faceted body, compact size, steel vacuum plunger rod running the length of the body, and metal accents results in a really nice looking pen. When capped, the pen is pretty small. It’s nice to tuck in a pocket or bag without taking up too much real estate. I’m still a little wary about TWSBI pens, as they have cracked on me before. I’d hate for this one to break in my pocket, releasing 2 ml of ink onto my pants.
The nib is stamped with the TWSBI logo, and is a bit narrower than those seen on the 5XX series. Even though it’s on the smaller size, it nicely compliments the size of the pen. Everything’s to scale here. There are few things that bother me about a pen more than an out of scale nib. Something about a giant pen with a small nib, or a small pen with a giant nib just throws the entire pen off aesthetically for me. Kudos to TWSBI for making a small pen that doesn’t come off as such!
Filling System / Nib Performance:
The steel fine nib on the Vac Mini is nice and smooth. Right out of the box, it lays down a consistent and smooth line. The flow is a little bit on the dry side of medium wetness, making for a great everyday nib. Keep in mind that the filling knob seals off the section. If your Mini is running a little dry, loosen up the filling knob on the back of the body to flood the section with ink. You’ll be writing again in no time.
Like its name suggests, the Vac Mini fills with a vacuum piston system. It’s easy to use, holds a ton of ink, and looks cool during the process. It’s definitely the main selling point of the pen, and it delivers. The filling system is by no means a gimmick to sell pens, as it’s quite efficient and easy to use.
TWSBI’s Vac Mini feels like a $65 pen should. At 24 grams, it’s got a nice bit of heft without being heavy. The faceted plastic body is smooth to the touch and pleasing to hold. W
hat’s new in the mini is the one piece body and section. This does two things – it cuts down on the amount of pieces that make up the pen (hopefully to prevent cracking) and it allows for the section to have less of a step down from the threads. The Vac Mini has a two-piece section, I was confusing this with the TWSBI ECO which has a one piece body and section. The step down from the barrel to grip is still comfortable, it’s just in two pieces.
While it’s totally possible to write with the pen cap unposted, it’s much more comfortable to do so with it secured onto the back of the pen. The end of the body is threaded so that the cap can screw on for easy posting. The pen is really nicely balanced and nicely weighted. It reminds me almost of the Sailor Professional Gear.
- Cool filling system
- Holds a lot of ink
- Good size / balance
- Fine nib is great for everyday writing
- None yet!
I think the Vac Mini is finally the TWSBI for me. It’s reliable, looks great, and performs well right out of the box. Pending nothing cracks or breaks, I can definitely recommend this pen to others. It’s a really compelling entry in the “mid tier” pen world, and dare I say it’s a steal for under $75. You can pick up a Vac Mini for yourself from Jetpens!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the TWSBI Vac Mini in the comments below!
7 thoughts on “TWSBI Vac Mini Fountain Pen Review”
Great review as always, I do has question though. I recall one reviewer has unsatisfied opinion about the knob. Specifically, when you threaded your cap onto it, and then you has to unscrew the knob (now include the cap) to let the ink flow normally; the whole part then become wobbly. That sounds to me as something definitely can happen. How would you feels about this bit ? Does it annoy you when you write?
I believe the body and the section are not one piece. At least my pen can be unscrewed. My only trouble with the mini is that the ink refuses to go down even with the seal open and I need to tap a few times to get it running again. I find the Vac20a the perfect companion to get a full fill.
Thnaks for your review,
Thanks for the heads up, I think I was confusing this one with the ECO!
Updating the review now.
The Vac Mini is actually one of the few TWSBI pens I don’t yet own, mostly because I’m still making nervous, shifty eye motions at the vacuum filling system. But I’ve tried one and it does write fantastic, and it looks fantastic as you fill the pen up too, so I might pick one up soon.
This is actually one of the TWSBI pens that I still own and have yet to sell off. The vac system is the whole reason I got the pen, it’s fun to use and sucks up a lot of ink. Id’ recommend it for sure.
I have the mini vac and the body cracked at the grip after using it once. I notified TWSBI and they replaced the body and grip free of charge and it’s been holding up so far. We shall see.
I’ve had the mini for about a year now.
Had a cracking issue and got a replacement barrel.
I’ve had ink flow issues but figured is due to surface tension. Even though the knob is pulled back, ink still has a problem with reaching the feed. It’s not a problem now that I know a few tabs on the barrel and having the knob pulled back more will solve it.
My biggest problem with the twsbi is that a lot of ink gets stuck in the cap. It dries where the inner cap contacts the outer cap and it’s a major annoyance because it ruins the aesthetics. It’s a major fuss to clean it out because I have to remove the inner cap and it will quickly build up again anyway.
Does other twsbi’s have the same issue?
This pen is best for longer writing sessions as the pen dries out quickly. For note taking, I find myself capping and uncapping, posting, unposting… reposting. ALL THE TIME.