When is a knock off worth the fun? Jinhao 82

Ana and I met up this past Saturday to exchange holiday gifts, sip coffee, chat stationery and knit. She presented me with a beautifully wrapped package and the first thing I opened was a fountain pen. For a second I gasped, but then she assured me it wasn’t what I thought it was. Ana had bought me a Jinhao 82 ($8.98 on Amazon). If you don’t know anything about fountain pens, Jinhao is a series of pens from China, often made to look like other pens; i.e. knockoffs.

So I decided that today I would take the Jinhao 82 out and test it side by side with its “inspiration”: a Sailor ProGear Slim. (the Spring Rain, full review here.)

I don’t know which order I was supposed to start in, but I chose the Spring Rain first. Spring Rain was part of the Sounds of Rain series released in 2021. The body on this pen is acrylic, but don’t let it fool you – it’s full of extra details. The nib is a two-tone 21K gold nib. All the trim is in gold and the edition has special finials.

So I loaded it up with a purple ink (Diamine 150th Anniversary Purple Dream), and away we went. This one is an exquisite writer. It’s smooth and luscious against the page, it just flows. The ProGear Slim is my Sailor model of choice, fitting my small hands perfectly. And their nibs are really perfection – without compare. This one is an MF.

Next, I picked up the Jinhao 82. The body is similar though not exactly the same (a few mm difference here and there). The trim on my model is silver, although “gold” is available – I assume this is a color rather than the precious metal at an $9 price point. The trim is similar – the cap ring isn’t as hefty and the clip doesn’t contain the same striations, but they definitely look somewhat alike.

I can’t diss the writing on the Jinhao 82. The nib is a steel one in Medium (although other sizes are available) and so it isn’t nearly as light as the gold one. It’s stiffer with less variation. But it’s still pretty darn smooth across the page. Really it gives a much better performance than I would expect of an $9 pen (and it exceeds the Jinhao Shark pen!). Ana and I had a good chuckle that the very cheap knockoff comes with an ink converter, whereas in the original you have to buy the converter separately.

Are the two pens the same? Heck no. There is definitely a big difference in quality between the two. But there’s also a HUGE price difference. For someone getting into the hobby, or even someone who loves collecting pens, Sailor ProGear Slims are a $3-400 minimum investment, and that’s before you upgrade nibs. Conversely, I don’t think the Jinhao 82 really takes anything away from Sailor. Although it’s a “knockoff,” the logo on the cap ring and nib is Jinhao – they’re not trying to pass themselves off as Sailors. I think they write pretty well and I’d totally recommend them to someone who loves the look, but not the price, of Sailors.

What do you think?

DISCLAIMER: Some of the items included in this review were provided to us free of charge for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Well in terms of the Jinhao 82.. I have 14 of them at this point. I have swapped out barrels, caps and finials so I now have a very cool collection interesting colors.i also have extra fine, fine and fude nibs. So at $8 each ( I found them for $4) I could buy 45 or one sailor.. hard to beat that. And I campared the writing experience at the SF Pen show and pretty subtle difference… I dont necessarily agree with Chinese companies “copying” more expensive designs, but in this case I am very happy to have 14 Jin Hao 82s. They draw great and I have many different inks in so many of them. Thanks for the review..

    1. I suppose I’m one of the unreasonably angry people, but I don’t really care for knockoffs. Then again I also dislike quantity over quality and the more materialistic approach to hobbies in general.

        1. Absolutely, enjoy your 14 82s!

          I meant to post a general reply and not specifically total your post, but I guess I somehow hit the wrong reply button.

  2. Thanks for the nice duet of reviews! I use a demonstrator Jinhao 82 with Noodler’s Massachusetts 54th and a demonstrator Jinhao 992 with Noodler’s Heart of Darkness as my walk-the-dog primary and back-up, and a random 3rd for a back-up to my back-up. I enjoy writing with the 82. The 82 mini not so much, but I’ve put thousands of words downrange with both. Thanks again!

  3. I know it’s an unpopular choice, and goodness knows there are many people out there who get unreasonably angry about inexpensive Chinese or Indian pens, especially if they are made to look like some other famous brand that costs more. I’ve seen these posts on r/fountainpens and I never add my two cents because I don’t want to get downvoted to oblivion. I own a lot of fountain pens and some of them are look-alikes, including many colors of this very Jinhao model. I also have a lot of vintage pens, but again, the affordable ones. I have a habit of acquiring a lot of whatever I’m into (stationery being a big one) and to not spend a ton on individual items gives me more leeway.

  4. I have several Jinhao 82s, and I really like them! For such cheap pens they’re amazing writers, and as someone who is still fairly new to fountain pens they are great starter pens!

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