Due to the rise in technological advancements, Pencil — the age-old writing equipment has turned into an indispensable product in the form of a Mechanical pencil.
Whether you are a school or college student, a professional writer, an architect, a sketch artist, or an engineering student who solves math problems, our list has the best options that cater to various needs.
Mechanical pencils used these days are different from traditional stationery items as they come with a host of ultra-modern features that are suited for different purposes and which makes a lot of us wonder, “How is it possible to even make a pencil so advanced?“
Whether it is the autorotation mechanism that keeps the lead sharp even when you have been writing for a prolonged period of time or the shaker mechanism which advances the lead without you even changing your grip or different lead sizes, there is a lot to look forward to with these products.
But we also know that where there are a lot of options, that’s why there is so much confusion among potential buyers. With the wide range of products available in the market and an even wider range of features, it can be a daunting task to find a pencil that works the best for you. That’s where we step in.
- 11 Best Mechanical Pencils Reviewed for 2021
- 1. Best Overall: Pental GraphGear 1000
- 2. Best Runner Up: Uni Core Keeps Sharp
- 3. Best for Sketching: Rotring 600 Black Barrel
- 4. Best Knurled Metal Grip: Zebra M-701 Stainless Steel
- 5. Best Value for Money: Nicpro Art Pencils Set
- 6. Best for School & College: Pentel Sharp Kerry Mechanical Pencil
- 7. Best for Drawing: Uni Kurutoga Pipe Slide
- 8. Thick Mechanical Pencil: Rite in the Rain All-Weather
- 9. The Best Grip: Pilot Dr. Grip Limited
- 10. Best For Engineers: Staedtler Mars 780
- 11. Cheapest Mechanical Pencil: Zebra 54012 Stainless Steel
- The Buyer’s Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Which mechanical pencil from the above list is the best?
- What lead size is the best?
- Which is the best option for writing?
- What are the best quality mechanical pencils for drawing?
- Why are mechanical pencils better than regular pencils?
- Do mechanical pencils use real lead?
- Can I use a Mechanical pencil on IELTS?
- Which pencil lead is darker HB or 2b?
- What is the best lead for a mechanical pencil?
- What is the most expensive pencil?
- The Verdict
11 Best Mechanical Pencils Reviewed for 2021
|Pental GraphGear 1000|
|Uni Core Keeps Sharp|
|Rotring 600 Black Barrel|
|Nicpro Art Pencils Set|
|Pentel Sharp Kerry|
|Uni Kurutoga Pipe Slide|
|Rite in the Rain|
|Pilot Dr. Grip Limited|
|Staedtler Mars 780|
To help you with this quest, we have compiled this list of the 11 best mechanical pencils that are highly recommended by industry professionals. Not only have we listed them, but we have also added our experience, explained their features, pros, cons about each of them.
Also, a buyer’s guide includes important features/things to consider while getting one. It is followed by a FAQ section that answers many questions about mechanical pencils that you, as a potential buyer like you might have in mind. But before that, shall we finally begin with the list?
1. Best Overall: Pental GraphGear 1000
- The pencil has a Dual retraction tip.
- It comes with an Eraser cap and a built-in lead hardness indicator.
- Pentel Graph 1000 has a chiseled metallic grip with latex-free pads.
- The drip is also made of a metallic mesh.
- It can use 4 lead sizes – 0.3mm, 0.5mm, 0.7mm, 0.9mm.
- The pencil is color-coded for easy identification.
- It is loaded with Pentel Super Hi-Polymer HB lead.
The Pentel GraphGear 1000 is a value-for-money mechanical pencil that meets the needs of almost every kind of draftsman, architects, or designers. This outstanding pencil can meet demanding standards easily with its versatile features and superior looks. It is beneficial for people who draw diagrams and use illustrations more often than writing words.
The solid, cold, heavy metal feel of the pencil is perfect for those who prefer a traditional drafting pencil but with features of the mechanical one. This durable and sturdy product has a seamless clipping and clicking mechanism, and the knurled metal design certainly gives it a high-end look.
Whether you are an architect, artist, or simply a pencil enthusiast, this high-end executive pencil is perfect for you. The 4mm tip design in it ensures that it can be used very easily with rulers and templates. There’s a minimal eraser attached for mistakes.
It also comes with a dual-action retractor which is flexible enough to advance and retract the pencil tip as you write. With variable pressure, the retractor tip also flexes, thus ensuring the lead tip does not break when writing.
It also has a lead hardness indicator which will help you find out the type of lead inside the pencil, perfect for those of you who use multiple lead styles on a daily basis. The rotating window indicates the lead-style in a handy manner.
The pencil comes loaded with Super Hi-Polymer HB lead which does not need to be sharpened, further saving the time of the busy artists and architects. It also produces a crystal clear, dark line.
The pencil is available in a variety of sizes, which demonstrates the variety in design by the company. The grip of the pencil is made of chiseled metal and inlaid with soft pads for maximum comfort and a stronghold.
Pentel pencils are famous for their durability and clever design. The perfectly designed pencil is convenient and a must-buy for everyone.
- The design is modern with a traditional twist
- The super High-Polymer lead is dark and durable
- 4 mm tip makes it easy to use with rulers, templates, etc
- The rotating window makes it easy to see lead size and hardness
- Chiseled metal grip dotted with latex-free pads offers a strong hold on the pencil
- The pocket clip gets caught on clothes and other things
- For some people, the metal design may be heavier than they are used to
2. Best Runner Up: Uni Core Keeps Sharp
- The pencil is made of a resin polymer.
- It has a metal tip with a 0.5 mm lead diameter.
- It comes in gunmetal color.
- The pencil is integrated with a lead rotating technology that has a patented twist and turn lead mechanism.
- It uses the HB type lead.
Uni mechanical pencils have long ago made their mark in the market, but the Kuru Toga offers some exceptional features that win over even its predecessors.
While using a conventional pencil, you might have noticed that as the lead of the pencil gets worn out, it gets shaped into a broad wedge which makes the writing look uneven. But the Uni Core Keeps Sharp comes integrated with the ratchet mechanism that rotates the lead inside the pencil slightly every time it is lifted off the page. As a result, you always have a sharp and consistent lead point.
This groundbreaking technology is one of the most innovative features to ever be introduced in the world of mechanical pencils. It allows fewer interruptions when working and lets the user write for extended periods of time without stopping for sharpening, as is required with regular pencils. For a busy individual, waving off those unwanted breaks may be the most important features of this pencil.
But that’s not all. The lead rotation mechanism is installed in a sleek, high-quality metal body that looks luxurious and clean. The grip section of the pencil is made of metal and is very comfortable to hold even when writing long papers. The grip also gives the pencil a center of gravity which makes it easy to control the pencil in the hand. The dotted metal surface provides extra surface area for holding as well as adds to the beautiful looks.
The pencil also has a retractable tip which prevents any accidental injury when you keep it in your pocket. It is also slightly heavier than a regular graphing pencil for people who prefer the feeling of a cold, heavy metal pencil while working.
- 0.5 mm diamond-infused lead produces crisp and sharp lines
- The pencil maintains a continuous sharp lead with rotating lead technology
- It is ideal for prolonged and detailed writing tasks
- Comfortable grip and sophisticated looks
- Revolutionary lead rotating technology available at a cheap price
- The leads can be hard to find as they are quite unique
- The eraser is minimal and gets easily worn out
3. Best for Sketching: Rotring 600 Black Barrel
Do you need a mechanical pencil that’s highly suitable for sketching? Then the Rotring 600 with a knurled grip should be one of your top picks. The hexagon-shaped equipment makes it easy to hold for purposes like sketching & drawing.
- The pencil comes with a fixed lead guidance sleeve made of brass.
- It is ergonomically designed with an enhanced metal body with a knurled grip.
- The pencil has an integrated lead hardness grade indicator.
- It comes with spare Rapid B Erasers.
- Rotring 600 has a hexagonal shape and is available in two colors – black and silver.
- It is available in two lead sizes – 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm.
The Rotring 600 Black Barrel Mechanical Pencil is the perfect tool for artists and writers. The pencil is durable and sturdy, ideal for lifetime use, and it manages to look stylish at the same time.
The pencil is designed for professional use, whether it is technical writing, drawing or sketching. It comes art and creativity with modern technological design and sleek looks. It features a full metal body with a knurled metal grip that ensures that the user can hold the pencil without slipping even for a prolonged period of time.
It has an ergonomic design that reduces any fatigue on the fingers and wrist, and the lightweight body paired with a uniquely crafted barrel ensure comfortable to use when writing. Enjoy the right balance of weight and feeling with rOtring 600’s full metal body. One of my favorite features of the pencil is that it has a hexagonal shape which prevents it from sliding anywhere when placed on a flat surface.
The guidance sleeve of the pencil also ensures that you have an unimpeded view of the page when using a ruler. The precision lead advancement technology also ensures that you always produce precise drawing and prevents the breakage of the lead. The pencil has a non-slipping knurled grip which has increased surface area to provide purchase points for your fingers. The pencil fits perfectly in the hand for writing for prolonged periods of time.
The pencil is integrated with a lead hardness indicator that helps the user identify what grade of lead they are working with so that there is no wastage of time. Also, if you make a mistake, don’t worry because the pencil comes with a collection of spare erasers that you can fit on it. The erasers are strong, durable, and do not create any dust.
Additionally, the Rapid B Erasers are perfect for erasing polymer and graphite pencil marks. They do not affect the ink lines and do not contain any abrasives, so you can rest assured that the surface you are working on will not be damaged.
The pencil uses high-polymer, flexible leads that are available in multiple sizes. They are available in packs of 12 and are extremely strong. Draw, sketch and write without any hassle with these high-quality leads.
- It produces clear and precise lines
- Fixed guidance sleeve helps in preventing unnecessary lead breakage
- The ergonomic design ensures you have an unhindered view of the page, always.
- Does not have a retractable tip
- Difficult to work with on a single sheet
4. Best Knurled Metal Grip: Zebra M-701 Stainless Steel
- The pencil is made of stainless steel.
- Has a knurled metal grip.
- It also has a designer metal clip.
- Zebra M-701 is integrated with a silent retraction plunger.
- It is available in a 0.7mm lead point size.
- You can also buy it as a gift set with a ballpoint pen.
- Lead type: HB.
The Zebra M-701 Stainless Steel is a rugged and sturdy pencil that is remarkable in its own way. The brand has made its name by producing fine quality writing instruments that offer an upgrade from regular products. They are made of tough and durable steel that stands the test of time when it comes to longevity and looks good at the same time.
Zebra mechanical pencils meet tough standards set up in the industry and are one of the most long-lasting products you will ever use. The M-701 Stainless Steel Mechanical Pencil is no exception. It is made of stainless steel that can stand the test of time even after withstanding extremely rough conditions. The pencil is designed in such a way that it speaks for itself when used and embodies a sense of class and style.
The heavy-duty stainless steel barrel has a knurled metal grip design which increases purchase points for the fingers and the surface area for holding the pencil. This increases the stability of the product in the hand of the user. Additionally, the metal provides an elegant and firm clasp on the pencil.
The pencil is a true fusion of style, durability, and comfort when it comes to writing and drawing. It offers a premium experience to the user with its precise design and stable grip.
- The 100% stainless steel body is durable and sturdy
- The product has a beautiful and sophisticated design
- The knurled metal design offers a stable grip
- Easily available lead points are used
- No retractable tip
- Only comes in one lead size
- Does not have a lead hardness indicator
5. Best Value for Money: Nicpro Art Pencils Set
- Comes equipped with an anti-skidding tube
- Flaunts a metallic body
- Offers a fatigue-free experience
- Best suited for long writing hauls
- Pencil assumes a hexagonal shape for multi-faceted usage
- Doesn’t break easily
While we did come across high-end, standalone pencils during the course of our discussion, our drafting experts and sketch artists were most impressed with the pencil set from Nicpro, courtesy of the value for money it offers. Although there are quite a few pencil sets to consider in the retail space, the one from Nicpro strikes the perfect balance between affordability and functionality, owing to the availability of 6 pencils.
Coming to the segregation of the pencils, the first three are strictly meant for drafting, regular writing, and even sketching. Each of the three pencils flaunts a specific lead thickness that corresponds to the 0.5mm, 0.7mm, and 0.9mm, respectively. The best thing about these shallow and easy to use pencils is that you can efficiently include them for imparting light and superficial shading effects. Although we wouldn’t be recommending the same for light calligraphy, they are still good enough for students and writers.
Moreover, the pencil featuring 0.7mm lead is also a good enough resource for heavy mechanical tasks whereas the 0.9mm unit is best suitable for bold-font calligraphy. Regardless of the usage, these pencils are drop resistant and hard to break.
In addition to the 0.5-0.9HB units, the Nicpro set also introduces three pencils with the 2.0mm lead tip, which are best suited for dark sharing and lending thick effects. The 2mm lead hardness metric qualifies this mechanical pencil set as one of the more inclusive options for writers with a heavy hand. Followed by an exceptional collection of customizable pencils, each of the mentioned entities comes equipped with a durable metallic chassis followed by a non-slip grip and integrated pencil sharpener, precisely for the 2mm variant.
However, for writers, students, and sketch artists who prefer mushy grips and perfect balancing of weight, there are non-slip rubber grips to account for, especially on pencils flaunting 2mm lead extensions. Following the comfortable rubber grips, metallic encapsulations, and weight-balanced footprint, the Nicpro set also comes loaded with three erasers and two additional sharpeners for added functionality.
Besides, this is one of the few products in the market to offer additional refill tubes, with two each for the 0.5mm, 0.7mm, and 0.9mm pencil variants. Similarly, you also get access to 6 tubes for the 2mm lead variants, precisely as 2H, HB, and 2B refill tubes, provided as accessories. Each of these lead variants boasts of anti-skidding and anti-fading enhancement.
Therefore, the Nicpro pencil set is one of the better choices to consider, if you are a creative professional or even a student who is more inclined towards regular drafting, sketching, and writing.
- Exceptional value for money
- Comes with three erasers
- Refills are easy to replace
- 2mm pencils feature an integrated sharpener
- Weight-balanced chassis is good to work with
- Intrusive metallic clip
- The 0.5mm-0.9mm lead variants are prone to breakages
6. Best for School & College: Pentel Sharp Kerry Mechanical Pencil
- It comes with a cap.
- It has an elegant look and an ergonomic design.
- The pencil is 4.9” inches long without the cap and 5.2” inches with the cap.
- It comes loaded with Pentel Super Hi-Polymer HB Lead.
- The pencil is available in two sizes – 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm.
- It is pre-loaded with Pentel replaceable Z23-1 eraser refill.
The Pentel mechanical pencils are some of the most versatile and durable products when it comes to stationery. The automatic pencils are known all over the world for their unique design and innovative technology, and Pentel Sharp Kerry is no exception.
The product is designed with precision and care and is handcrafted with watchmaker’s tools. This produces a product that is beautiful, accurate, and fine. Innovation was certainly kept in mind when designing this product as it comes with a cap – one of the few pencils in the world to comes with this feature. The cap prevents lead breakage when keeping the pencil in pocket or purse. Besides, it also provides proper balance to the product when it is being used.
The pencil is also designed in such a way that it fits perfectly in pockets and purses. It has just the right weight and balance so that it can be used for writing for an extended period of time. The looks of the pencil define luxury and it is understandable why it is such a popular piece of stationery.
Want to gift it to someone? Don’t worry it also is provided with a clear plastic box for gifting purposes.
The high-end executive pencil has an attractive resin barrel which makes it look unique and sophisticated. The cap has an integrated button which extends the lead whether the cap is on or not. The eraser has a cap under it which can be replaced. Pre-loaded Pentel Super Hi-Polymer HB lead comes with the pencil. The lead does not need to be sharpened and is super strong. It also produces a clear dark line that can be scanned on all standardized tests.
- Can be put into pockets and purses with extra protection due to the cap
- The lead is scannable, so it can be used with standardized tests
- Produces crystal clear lines that are elegant and thick
- Expensive compared to regular mechanical pencils
- The cap is easy to lose
7. Best for Drawing: Uni Kurutoga Pipe Slide
- The pencil comes with a cross rotation mechanism that rotates the lead twice as fast as the original pencil.
- It integrated with a spring-loaded clutch twist.
- It is also equipped with a pipe slide system and a guide pipe.
- Tip Width – 0.5 mm and the lead of a similar diameter can be used.
- Lead Type: HB.
- The pencil comes with a retractable tip.
- The body of the pencil is made of metal.
The Uni Kurutoga Pipe Slide mechanical pencil is innovative and groundbreaking with its cross rotation mechanism and pipe slide system. The pencil works in such a way that the lead inside rotates inside the pencil every time it is lifted off from the page.
As a result, instead of getting a wedge-shaped tip that produces uneven writing, you get a tip that is sharp throughout the usage of the pencil. Whatever you will write or draw, it always comes out looking crystal clear and precise, instead of getting broader and faded.
The writing with Kuru Toga is crisp and consistent as a result and looks much better than regular pencils or even other mechanical pencils. The consistency of the writing and drawings produced, therefore, is unparalleled and unmatchable. The pencil also comes with a retractable tip with a unique pipe slide mechanism which makes it extremely safe for pockets and purses. No more getting stabbed by your own pencil!
The Kuru Toga Pipe Slide Pencil is also better than its predecessor, as it rotates twice as fast. This pencil turns the lead fully every 20 strokes, whereas the previous one did that with every 40 strokes. The rotation also prevents breakage of the lead.
It has a ridged clear-plastic grip which increases the purchase area to hold the pencil. It also has an eraser at the back and a standard metal pick.
- The rotating lead mechanism is groundbreaking and maintains sharpness
- The pencil is sophisticated looking and classy
- The lead has diamond infused which creates sharp lines
- The eraser is weak and squishy
- Replacement leads are difficult to find
- More clicks are needed to get the same amount of lead as compared to other mechanical pencils
8. Thick Mechanical Pencil: Rite in the Rain All-Weather
- Rite In The Rain Pencil barrel is made of polymeric resin.
- It is available in three colors – yellow, black, and red.
- Available leads – 1.1 mm black colored in HB and Red-colored ones in B No. 1.
- The Tip is integrated with Flex technology as well as a patented tight grip.
- It comes preloaded with 7 leads and 2 extra erasers.
- It has a pocket clip and an easy twist lead advancing mechanism.
Rite in the Rain Pencil is the perfect stationery item for people who work in rough environments like construction sites and for those who only need to make rough sketches. This all-weather pencil comes in a bright yellow color that is easily noticeable so you can rest assured that it will not get lost easily in such environments.
It has a 1.1 mm lead which offers a wide range of sketching and writing abilities. Whether you work outdoors, are a construction worker, or simply an artist – the pencil is designed in such a manner that it can meet all your demands. It was crafted especially for people who are tired of leads breaking every now and then, and it will help you stave off unnecessary breaks because of similar reasons.
The thick mechanical pencil lead is what distinguishes it from ultra fine and fine 0.5 mm leads of other mechanical pencils. But it also has an affordable rate and replacement leads that can be found in the market easily. You can also insert red-colored leads in the pencil, besides the regular black ones. But do keep in mind that this is not meant for people who need ultra fine writing and drawing.
- 1.1 mm lead is durable and break resistant, and it creates crystal clear lines
- It is an extremely cheap pencil
- It is compatible with the lead of 2 colors – black and red
- The Lead size is very short
- Lead advancement is not smooth, requires a lot of pressure
9. The Best Grip: Pilot Dr. Grip Limited
- Sophisticated looking barrel made of stainless steel.
- Pilot Dr. Grip Pencil has an ergonomic cushion grip.
- The metallic barrel is made of platinum.
- Lead refills are sold separately.
- It can be used by people suffering from arthritis.
The Pilot Dr. Grip Pencil was crafted especially for people who suffer from arthritis or work long hours and need something that will relieve the pain of tired hands. The pencil has a wonderful grip designed in such a way that it ensures soft handling. It is an essential feature for people who are going to use the pencil for an extended period of time continuously.
The weight of the pencil is distributed evenly to create light pressure on the hands as possible. The pencil also has a shaker mechanism to release the lead from it. It is essentially helpful for people who have arthritis, as they do not need to adjust their grip to press the button at the back of the pencil to advance the lead. They just have to shake the pencil once or twice gently and it will advance the lead.
The grip of the pencil has a double layer design. The outer layer of the grip is hard and the inner one is soft. As a result, the pencil has a moderately soft grip design. The surface is extremely easy to hold and maintain a firm grasp on the pencil. The weight balance of the pencil, paired with this feature is what makes it the ideal choice for old people. The pencil has also earned an “Ease-of-Use” Commendation from the Arthritis Foundation.
The pencil comes in a wide range of colors and barrel styles. It also has support for lead sizes. The pencil is retractable and refillable, ensuring you get multiple uses from it.
- Specially designed grip ideal for people with arthritis
- Comes in a wide range of colors
- Reduces fatigue on hands
- A gentle shaking action advances the lead
- The tip is not retractable
10. Best For Engineers: Staedtler Mars 780
- The pencil comes with a special lead holder for sketching, drawing, and writing.
- The default lead hardness used is HB and it fits a 2 mm lead.
- The pencil comes integrated with a specialized metal clip that has a hardness grade indicator.
- It also has an integrated lead sharpener, a retractable tip, and a pocket clip.
- The pencil has a metal finger grip and the barrel is made of metal and plastic.
Staedtler Mechanical Pencil is perfect for all stationery uses like drawing, sketching, and writing.
One of the most innovative features of Staedtler Mars 780 pencil is that it comes installed a push-button sharpener which can be used to keep the lead points sharp. For people who spend a lot of time writing and sketching, like engineers, architects, and artists – this is the perfect mechanical pencil. With regular pencils, the lead point wears down with usage to a broad wedge shape. As a result, it can lead to uneven writing and sketching as the lead point gets less and less sharp.
With the lead sharpener, you can maintain a sharp and precise point even when you are writing for a prolonged period of time. The pencil also has a metal finger grip that has knurled metal which increases the surface area and provides purchase points for holding the pencil. The metal grip allows the user to write with the pencil for a prolonged period of time without any fatigue.
The lines produced by the Staedtler pencil are always precise and consistent. German engineering provides an ergonomic design that reduces the load on the fingers. Add to that its innovative looks, high-quality build, and groundbreaking technology, and you have got an unmatchable product.
Suggested Read: If you’re an engineer, you must be interested in the best engineering laptops.
- Comes with a lead sharpener to keep the lead tip precise and clear
- Sophisticated looks and innovative design
- The knurled metal grip that offers a strong grip
- Easily replaceable lead refills
- Does not have a retractable tip
11. Cheapest Mechanical Pencil: Zebra 54012 Stainless Steel
- The pencil has a durable stainless steel barrel.
- It has a small size that can fit into pockets easily.
- The pencil has an integrated metal clip.
- It also has an eraser that can be replaced.
- It uses standard lead sizes that are also refillable.
- Lead point sizes that can be used with the pencil – 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm.
Zebra Mechanical Pencils are known for their durable build and sturdy metal construction. The brand offers a wide range of products that appeal to everyone, from kids to artists and architects.
The brand produces all kinds of stationery items like ballpoint points, gel pens, mechanical pencils, highlighters, and even fountain pens. It has become a household name when it comes to such products as it offers stainless steel products that are durable and will stay with you for a lifetime. The Zebra 54012 pencil is truly something to brag about.
The Zebra 54012 is definitely an upgrade from regular pencils as it offers the benefits of a mechanical pencil for a cheap price of $1. It is made of the finest quality metal that increases the longevity of the pencil as it prevents any breakage even when you drop the product.
The rugged steel body also gives it a sophisticated and sleek look. The pencil combines style with strength and sturdiness. It also comes in a size smaller than regular pencils so it can be fitted inside the pocket easily. It also has an eraser at the back to allow a convenient usage when you make mistakes.
You can also replace the eraser when you run out of it. The pencil uses standard lead size which can be easily replaced. Furthermore, the metal clip that comes integrated with the pencil is extremely easy to use and convenient.
- Comes at an extremely cheap price
- Can be refilled with standard lead
- The eraser at the back is replaceable
- The stainless steel barrel is quite sturdy
- The metal clip is convenient
- Does not have a retractable tip
- The small size leads to frequent lead replacement as it runs out too quickly
The Buyer’s Guide
As different people have different needs, it is obvious that you need to your own requirements before you buy a mechanical pencil. Also, with the host of products available in the market, it can be difficult to make a choice.
We have endeavored to bring you the best of all the mechanical pencils in the market. But before you press that order button, there are several things you should know about them.
With the wide array of features integrated into these stationery items today, you need to know what the purpose of these features is and whether you need them or not. Otherwise, you might end up paying extra money for something you do not require at all.
We have compiled this buyer’s guide to help you guide through these features and understand what they mean. After knowing their purpose in detail, you can decide for yourself what you want and make an informed decision. Here are the most important factors you need to consider before getting one.
1. Purpose of Use
Choose the mechanical pencil lead size according to your requirement. For example, an artist may have different requirements from their pencil than a writer.
One of the biggest advantages of a mechanical pencil is that they have a fine lead point which is extremely thin and does not need to be sharpened.
For sketch artists who need an ultra-fine point and precise lines, there is nothing that can compete with the lead point of a 0.2 mm pencil. Such a stationery item would help them produce very fine details like the pupil of an eye or leaves on a tree. So if you are a sketch artist or somebody who is going to use the it for drawing, it is essential that you find a mechanical pencil that can meet all these demands.
Writers who use pencils for several hours a day should also consider the grip of the product. You should find the one that has a comfortable grip & better weight balance. It’ll protect tiring of fingers and wrist after prolonged hours of using. It can be achieved by specialized pencils like Doctor Grip or something that has a knurled metal grip that offers extra purchase points for the fingers. This will help you hold the pencil in a much tighter grasp due to the extra surface area available.
Most of the mechanical pencils are easy to control and produce consistent fine lines are also perfect for people who document fine details on a regular basis. If you are someone who writes for prolonged periods of time with a pencil and you need the writing to be consistent, you should consider the one that produces lines with the same width at the same pressure.
2. Grade & Lead Thickness
Just like traditional pencils, the lead of mechanical pencils varies in thickness as well as hardness. The hardest pencils are marked with the grade of 9H and the softest pencils are marked as 9B. Standard HB pencil is usually in the middle of the scale, that is it is neither too hard not too soft.
It should also be noted that mechanical pencils that have to be used for writing sometimes use a different scale from 1 to 4. Higher numbers indicate that the lead is harder and lower numbers indicate a software lead. It should also be noted that the hardness of the lead of the pencil may vary according to the brand.
Different lead sizes are meant for different functions and to get the most out of your pencil, it is necessary that you consider your requirements and expectations before buying one.
- 0.2 mm to 0.4 mm lead pencil size is ideal for people who want to extra fine writing like calligraphy or detailed drawings. People who work on compact math equations should also consider a pencil that uses this lead size.
- 0.5 mm lead pencil is perfect for people who write and draw on a regular basis or write fine math equations.
- When it comes to heavy-handed writing and a variable variety of tasks, it is preferable to use a mechanical pencil that uses a 0.7 mm lead. It is a strong lead type that can also be used for regular writing and drawing purposes. Heavy-handed writers also prefer this type.
- 0.9 mm lead thickness pencils or ones that use even wider diameter leads should be preferred by calligraphy writers who prefer a bold font. It is also used by artists who sketch on a regular basis or people who exert a lot of pressure on the pencil while writing. In such cases, the thick lead prevents any breakage.
Also note that thin lead points are definitely fine, but they also break much more easily. Wider lead points are resistant to breakage but they may not pretend so well in producing clear and precise lines.
Most of the lead pencils have a range of 0.5 mm to 0.7 mm which will help you find the right blend between precision and resistance to breakage. They also have the advantage of offering a wide range of lead grades to choose from, as these are the most commonly available grade points.
3. Lead advancement
Mechanical pencils also use a variety of mechanisms for advancing the lead point. Depending on your needs, pick the pencil that serves your requirements the best.
The most common method of lead advancement is a push button that is located at the back of the pencil. However, it can also be located at the side of the pencil or even integrated with the clip. Since advancing the lead is something you will be doing regularly, it is essential that you consider if this sort of mechanism will be right for you.
Another important advancing mechanism is the shaker. It is not that common in mechanical pencils but there are certainly several models which come installed with that. When you shake the pencil there is an internal sliding weight mechanism that gets activated and forces the internal click to advance the lead. That way you don’t have to change the grip on the pencil for lead advancement.
This kind of pencil is ideal for people who have arthritis or write for a prolonged period of time every day. This helps them stave off any kind of unnecessary breaks while using the pencil and it saves a lot of time. This pencil is, therefore, ideal for people who are very busy.
Some people do tend to find the shaker mechanism more comfortable than a push button. But if that’s not your cup of tea, you will be glad to know that shaker pencils also come with a conventional push button for lead advancement.
The third type of lead advance mechanism is twisting the pencil to advance or retract the lead. There is a knob located generally at the back of the pencil which can be rotated to advance just the right amount of lead that you want. It is a continuous mechanism so you can choose the exact length you want to advance. Twist mechanisms are not that common and found only in pencils that have wide lead points, which is over 0.7 mm.
Bend mechanisms are also available which allow you to advance the lead by pressing the pencil at a specific point. The point is usually located somewhere near the grip.
Automatic mechanical pencils advance the lid on their own without any actions by the user. This is done by a mechanism which gets activated when the lead sleeve feels the pressure from the paper.
However, these kinds of pencils are extremely bothersome because the lead point can become very small before the sleeve actually touches the paper. This results in even writing and scratching feeling on the paper. If you are considering buying an automatic pencil, keep this in mind.
4. Grip of Pencil
You can achieve an optimum writing experience only if the pencil you are using has a comfortable grip. The grip of the pencil may range in diameter as well as the material it is made of. Your requirements and the purpose you are using the pencil will ultimately determine what type of grip will be ideal for you.
The diameter of the pencil is, of course, is an important factor. For people who have arthritis or have weak hands due to muscular dystrophy, a thicker gripped pencil may work best. Such pencils reduce the risk of an injury due to any kind of strain.
Thinner pencil grips are ideal for people who have small hands or want to work with a narrow grip as a matter of preference.
The grip of the pencil can also have a variety of material choices. Usually, manufacturers tend to use metal, plastic, rubber, or silicone. Plastic grip pencil is ideal for people who prefer a warm and firm grasp. Rubber and silicone grips are more firm yet squishy and soft in feel. Metal grips, on the other hand, are colder and feel weighty.
5. Material & Design
The material quality of the pencil is extremely important as you would want to buy a product that is durable and does not break for a long time. This can be done by looking for a pencil that is made of 100% stainless steel or any other metal. It will also determine how the pencil feels in your hands. Metal pencils usually feel more premium and the weight is perfectly balanced for writing for a prolonged period of time.
On the other hand, a pencil that is made of plastic material may feel cheap. It may also look inexpensive. For people who care about the feeling of the pencil when writing for sketching may not find them weighty enough for a pleasant writing experience.
When considering the design, you should also consider some features. For example, some pencils come with a retractable tip which prevents accidental stabbing when the pencil is kept in a pocket or purse. This also prevents the item from poking holes in your clothes.
If a pencil does not have a retractable tip, it may also result in the tip getting bent which ultimately makes the pencil useless. So it is definitely worth considering buying a pencil that has this feature.
Retractable tip style pencil may come in a wide variety of styles. The most common is holding the pencil down with the top push button pressed so that the lead sleeve gets retracted. When you want to extend it, you can simply press the button on the top.
Another feature worth considering is lead protection. Everybody hates the situations when you are writing and the lead breaks without any warning. To prevent this, pencil manufacturers have come up with a brilliant design of sliding lead sleeve.
With this mechanism, the pencil protects the lead part that is still inside the sleeve. When it is pressed against the paper, the lead automatically gets retracted inside the pencil. As a result, almost the entire length of it is protected.
Some pencils like Uni Kuru Toga come with lead rotation feature which keeps the lead point sharp even as you write. This is done by a ratchet mechanism which rotates the lead every time it is lifted off from the paper. As a result, the point is worn out consistently from all sides and produces a sharp writing instead of uneven writing that is usual with other mechanical pencils.
It is one of the most innovative features when it comes to mechanical pencils. However, it may not be something you like because every time the lead is pressed against the paper you feel a squishy sensation. But if you are someone who writes for a long period of time and prefers your writing to look consistent, look for a product that comes with this feature.
Most mechanical pencils come with a built-in eraser. but it is no surprise that these erasers are often quite small. If you are someone who tends to make a lot of mistakes, buy a pencil that has a large-sized eraser which can also be replaced easily.
Mechanical pencils are not expensive items that cannot be afforded. You can get a stunning stationery item with a host of innovative features for less than $10 so there’s no need to overthink from the price point of view.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which mechanical pencil from the above list is the best?
Depending on your requirements, the answer may differ. The Uni Kuru Toga mechanical pencil is the best for all purposes. For writing, we’ve given a vote to the Pentel Graph Gear 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil. For drawing, the Uni Kuru Toga Pipe Slide is our choice!
What lead size is the best?
Mechanical pencil lead sizes are variable and again it depends on your requirements that will suit you best.
0.3 mm lead point is the finest available (Ideal for architects and engineers as it produces accurate, clean, and straight lines. The pencil works for anyone who wants to use a mechanical pencil for professional drafting.)
A 0.5 mm lead size is the most common and most mechanical pencils use this size. (Ideal for anyone who is into writing and technical drawing.)
If you are into sketches and shading, you should get a pencil that has a lead point of 3 mm to 5.6 mm. These lead points are soft and have a chunky lead which produces dark lines. They produce the best results for sketch artists and illustrators.
Which is the best option for writing?
The best-rated pencils for writing are Rotring Rapid Pro & Tombow Mono Graph Zero. The Rotring Rapid Pro Mechanical Pencil is ideal for students because it has the perfect weight for writing for an extended period of time. It also comes with a built-in sharpener right under the cap. Tombow Mono Graph Zero Mechanical Pencil has an innovative shaking mechanism for lead advancement as well as for the eraser. For people who work in an environment where they need to do a lot of erasing, this is the ideal pencil as it comes with an extra-long eraser.
What are the best quality mechanical pencils for drawing?
The best mechanical pencil for drawing is Uni Kuru Toga Pipe Slide Mechanical Pencil. It comes with an auto-rotating mechanism that keeps the lead point sharp even when the pencil is being used for a long period of time. Pentel 2000 is also famous among artists for its all-round performance and low price. rOtring 800, and Pentel Graphgear 500 are other options worth considering when it comes to drafting pencils.
Why are mechanical pencils better than regular pencils?
Mechanical pencils have several advantages over regular pencils. The most important of them is that they do not need to be sharpened over and over again. They tend to stave off any unnecessary breaks taken due to sharpening and therefore save a lot of time.You will also achieve a more consistent and precise writing and sketching experience with these pencils as they have a fine and precise lead point trip throughout. With a regular pencil, the tip gets worn down over time and produces uneven results that do not look consistent. You will not have this problem with mechanical pencils. Moreover, they come with a wide variety of features like a retractable tip that prevents any holes in clothes. The refillable lead points also make them usable for a long period of time whereas you have to buy wooden pencils again and again.
Do mechanical pencils use real lead?
Lead is a misnomer term, that provides false information. Mechanical pencils, as well as traditional pencils, use graphite as the material for writing instead of lead.
Can I use a Mechanical pencil on IELTS?
No, IELTS centers do not allow students to carry a mechanical pencil. You must carry a traditional pencil with you when going for the test.
Which pencil lead is darker HB or 2b?
Pencil lead hardness ranges from 9H to 9B where the former is the lightest and the latter is the darkest. HB pencils tend to fall in the middle of the scale. Therefore a 2b lead point would be darker than an HB lead.
What is the best lead for a mechanical pencil?
Depending on the purpose for which it will be used, the best leads are as follows: Uni NanoDia (for all purposes), Pilot Neox Lead (for writing and sketching), Pentel Ain Stein (best for math equations), Pilot Color Eno Neox (best multi-colored leads)
What is the most expensive pencil?
The most expensive pencil in the world is Graf von Faber Castell Perfect Pencil priced at $12,800. It has been created with olive wood that is 240 years old and 18-carat white gold.
There may be too many types of mechanical pencils in the market but there is certainly something for everyone. Whether you want to use a pencil for making sketches and plan buildings’ architecture, or simply want to use it for writing, there is something for you.
Mechanical pencils are certainly a gift from science — no need to waste your time sharpening a traditional pencil every few minutes. You can simply buy the one that will stay sharp throughout its usage.
- If you are extremely particular about this, you can get a Uni Kurutoga Pipe Slide pencil that comes with an auto lead rotation system. This mechanism produces consistently precise and even writing, no matter if the pencil is used for an extended period of time.
- Pentel GraphGear 1000 automatic drafting pencil is one of the most popular mechanical pencils for writing in the market. Its outstanding design, superior looks, and versatile features make it the highest-rated pencil. You can also check out rOtring 6000 Black Barrel pencil if sketching is your major activity. It has an ergonomic design with a specialized lead hardness indicator.
- Zebra M-701 and Zebra 54012 are both made of durable stainless steel and come with standard lead sizes that are easily available in the market. The products are not just durable and sturdy, but they also come at an extremely low price. Zebra is famous for its standardized stationery items, and these pencils are no exception.
- The Pilot Dr. Grip pencil is perfect for people who have arthritis or write for long hours and need a pencil that will relieve the pain and fatigue in their fingers. They have a specialized grip and a shaker mechanism to advance the lid. This is especially helpful for arthritic elderly individuals as well as people who have muscular dystrophy.
In conclusion, there are plenty of excellent products in the above-mentioned list that you can trust and buy without any hesitation.