Every so often, you come across a new product that looks like it will solve a problem that you've been trying to remedy for quite a while. For me, the problem was Kaweco Sport pens and the lack of any converters. Before now, my only option was to reuse old cartridges by filling them with a syringe. The Kaweco Squeeze Converter looked like a perfect solution, so I ordered a couple. After all, the squeeze converters I've used from Pilot have been great, so this should be a great new addition for my Kaweco Sports.
The premise of the squeeze converter is great, but it doesn't quite live up my idealistic hopes. First off, these converters aren't pricey. When I bought them, they were $3 a piece. For converters, that's cheap. So, take the cost into consideration when I say that this is the worst converter I've ever used, and I probably won't bother using them again after the pens run out of ink.
Every now and then, you land on a dud. The Kaweco Squeeze converter is that dud for me, but it was worth the shot to try them out. The idea is still great — and the product would be great if a couple of major design flaws were corrected.
In practice, the squeeze converter is extremely simple to operate. Simply pop it into a pen that uses international short cartridges (two different Kaweco Sports in my case), dunk the nib in ink, and squeeze the bulb to expel the air and soak up the ink. The Kaweco converter does this, but not very well.
Basically, the problems boil down to:
- I could only ever achieve a 1/3 full converter no matter how hard I tried to expel all the air from the bulb. 1/3 of a converter is not much ink at all.
- The floppy design (which is necessary to expel air and creation suction) means that you must be careful when handling it. If you're planning to use a syringe to fill the converter 100%, I'll be astonished if you can fit the full converter to your pen without making a mess. I sure couldn't.
- The pens I used were never "leakers" — meaning, they never had any nib creep while the cap was on. With these converters installed, a good amount of ink ends up on the nib while the pen is being transported. For example, if I put the cap on the pen and set it down on the table, there will be spots of ink on the nib when I re-open it. I tested this several times and my only conclusion is that the floppy nature of the converter means that it bounces slightly when the pen is jarred, which causes some ink to leak out of the nib. Really uncool.
- They're annoying to clean properly.
These converters are usable, but I wouldn't recommend them to anyone. They're messy, inefficient, and don't hold much ink at all.
That doesn't mean that all bulb converters are bad. Take the Pilot CON-20 or the converter that ships with the Pilot Metropolitan for example. Same concept, but pilot has put a metal cage around the bulb to protect it, along with a window that allows you to pump the bulb. The Pilot CON-20 costs a mere $0.30 more than the Kaweco converter, so I have a hard time believing that this design choice was related to cost on Kaweco's part.
Overall, this is a product that has potential with some design changes, but not worth your time as it stands today. Spend your $3 on some silicone grease to turn your Kaweco Sport into an eyedropper, or reuse old cartridges by filling them with a syringe instead!
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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