A Collection of The Best Mechanical Pencils On The Market – 2020

Despite all of the great modern technology we have at our fingertips, oftentimes, nothing beats the instant gratification and versatility of a pencil. Whether you’re a student, working professional, artist, or simply someone who prefers the personal touch of hand-written notes, having a solid pencil on hand is essential. Pencils have evolved quite a bit throughout history. One of the most notable changes to come out of the pencil industry was the advent of the mechanical pencil.

Mechanical pencils have been around since the 1500s. These small devices provide you with all of the benefits of traditional lead pencils without the hassles. Instead of whittling away to get a fine tip point, all you have to do is click. Mechanical pencils do away with messy shavings and constant purchases. They provide you with a consistent point, more control, and plenty of finesse to make your sketch or note looking great. A high-quality mechanical pencil can also last for many years to come with proper care.

There is a wide range of options on the market today. You can easily find a package of basic pencils for everyday use. Alternatively, you can invest in a feature-rich device that can take care of your every need. Here are some mechanical pencil options you should check out.

 

Kokuyo FitCurve Mechanical Pencil

This simple mechanical pencil from Kokuyo is a great option for those seeking an all-purpose product. It utilizes 0.5mm lead, striking a great balance between precision and strength. The lead loads in on the top of the click-button advancement mechanism. The eraser pops off to reveal and refill hole where the lead slides in. A long, rubberized grip provides comfort as you write.

Pros:

  • Uses 0.5mm lead
  • Simple click-button mechanism
  • Long rubber grip
  • Metal cone tip

Cons:

  • Lead may not be thin enough to produce super fine lines

 

 

Lamy Twin Multisystem Pen

This mechanical pencil from Lamy does double-duty. It can be used as either a ballpoint pen or a mechanical pencil. It comes with ink and lead to get you started. The stainless steel body produces a hefty weight and sleek look. It has a steel sprung clip and etched lines to prevent slipping as you write. The eraser is discreetly hidden under the click-button top for protection.

Pros:

  • Durable stainless steel body
  • Simple click-button mechanism
  • Can be used as pencil or pen
  • Slip-resistant grip
  • Hidden eraser

Cons:

  • No rubberized grip
  • May be too heavy for some users

 

 

Pentel Graph Gear 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil

Specifically designed for technical writing and drafting, this pencil from Pentel has a number of useful features. The body is made of durable metal. The grip features etched lines and small latex-free pads. It features a long automatic tip. The 0.5mm lead will automatically feed through as you write, so you can continue to write uninterrupted.

Pros:

  • Automatic lead system
  • Sleek metal body
  • Etched lines and rubberized dots on grip
  • Strong spring clip
  • Refillable eraser

Cons:

  • Long lead tube may puncture storage bag

 

 

RoTring 600 Series Mechanical Pencil

This mechanical pencil is ergonomically designed for more comfort as you write. The metal body takes on the iconic octagonal shape of standard pencils. However, the etched grip provides more stability. The overall weight is also balanced to reduce fatigue. It has refillable erasers and is available in a number of different colors.

Pros:

  • Engineered for more comfort
  • Knurl-etched grip
  • Available in 0.5mm and 0.7mm lead sizes
  • Sleek design
  • Refillable eraser

Cons:

  • No rubberized grip

 

 

 

 

Kaweco Special Mechanical Pencil

Simple, yet elegant, this mechanical pencil from Kaweco is beautifully designed. It has a octagonal shape and is covered in a matte black coating. The pencil is also a bit shorter than standard options, which can improve overall comfort. The pencil utilizes a click-button lead system. The top button can be twisted off to refill the pencil with 0.7mm lead

Pros:

  • Sleek matte black coating
  • Shorter design
  • Utilizes versatile 0.7mm lead

Cons:

  • No rubberized grip
  • No eraser

 

 

Pilot Mechanical Pencil

From Pilot is this ergonomic mechanical pencil. The body is made of molded plastic. It has contoured curves to fit into your hand comfortably. A rubberized grip on the barrel helps to reduce writing fatigue over time. Rather than a standard click-button top, this pencil has a shake lead mechanism. Simply knock or shake the pencil to get more lead for writing. It uses 0.5mm lead.

Pros:

  • Shake lead mechanism
  • Contoured body and grip
  • Utilizes versatile 0.7mm lead
  • Hidden eraser under cap

Cons:

  • No clip to attach to folder

 

 

Rapid Pro Mechanical Pencil

This mechanical pencil features an automatic lead step system. The lead extends as the current tips wear down. There are no buttons to press. The body is made out of machined metal. It’s coated in a chrome plating. On the top, there’s a cap that can be screwed off to refill the pencil with 0.7mm lead. To help prevent rolling, the cylindrical pencil features a gear-shaped metal ring. In addition to keeping the pencil stable, the ring can be turned to decompress during writing breaks.

Pros:

  • Machined metal body
  • Automatic lead system
  • Utilizes versatile 0.7mm lead
  • Screw-top cap
  • Stability ring to prevent rolling

Cons:

  • No eraser included
  • No clip

 

 

Jimmidda Mechanical Pencils

This option from Jimmidda includes two separate mechanical pencils. One uses 0.5mm lead while the other uses 0.7mm lead. Both pencils are made out of copper. The body is sleek and features an etched grip. A click-button system is used to feed the lead. Underneath the top caps, you’ll find small erasers.

Pros:

  • Copper construction
  • Click-button lead mechanism
  • Includes two pencils with different lead sizes
  • Environmentally friendly eraser under top cap
  • Etched grip

Cons:

  • May be too heavy for some users

 

 

Mechanical Pencil Buying Guide

Manufacturers have taken the basic principles of the mechanical pencil and added many great innovations that improve the overall user experience. As a result, you’re going to find a lot of great choices. It can be a bit overwhelming at first, so here are some things you should consider while you’re shopping to help you narrow down your options.

What Will the Pencil Be Used For?

The first thing you’ll want to consider is how the pencil will be used. While you could certainly find a way to use any pencil for any task, some options are better suited for specific applications. If you want an all-purpose mechanical pencil for standard notes, a basic option will do just fine. However, if you plan on writing long papers or spending hours jotting down notes, you may fair better with a pencil that has numerous comfort features.

Artists have even more factors to take into account. Pencils can come with a variety of lead sizes, all of which produce a specific stroke. Manufacturers also create pencils for specific mediums. For example, pencils made for marking wood are considerably thicker than those made for fine tracing paper. It’s a good idea to think about the main uses of your investment and look out for features that will make your job easier.

Types of Mechanical Penciles

To the uninformed, all mechanical pencils operate the same. That couldn’t be further from the truth. There are a number of different types of mechanical pencils out there. They’re all distinguishable by how they advance the lead. Every pencil contains thin pieces of lead that have to be pushed forward as you write. The manner in which the pencil does this can change the way you use it.

Push-Button Mechanical Pencils
Push-button pencils are, by far, the most prevalent on the market. They utilize a small button that releases a clamp around the lead piece. When you push the button, the lead moves towards the tip, allowing the clamp to grasp onto the lead a bit higher up. Buttons can be placed on top of the pencil or on the side. Either way, they operate the same.

Twisting Mechanical Pencils
These types of pencils tend to offer a bit more control in terms of lead length. Instead of a button, you twist a small barrel. Some pencil makers make use of the tip for the twisting mechanism. You can twist in both directions to make the lead go in or out as you please. The benefit of a twisting pencil is that there are no predetermined lead lengths. You can adjust it to meet your specific needs and preferences.

Shaker-Style Mechanical Pencils
As the name implies, to advance the lead forward with this type of pencil, all you have to do is give it a good shake. An internal weight inside the pencil holds the lead in place. When you shake it, the weight initiates a mechanical function inside to drive the lead forward. The great thing about these pencils is that you don’t have to change your writing position. You can keep your grip, shake the pencil, and get more lead.

Automatic Mechanical Pencils
An automatic mechanical pencil takes the thought out of getting more lead. It contains a small ratcheting mechanism inside the barrel. As you wear the current tip down, your writing pressure will change. The pencil will detect when the lead reaches a certain point and automatically feed some more lead through. While it can be great for many writers and artists, the fact that the process is automatic does take away some control.

Comfort

If you have ever spent any significant amount of time writing a paper, you know how uncomfortable it can be. Hand cramps are a very real concern when you write on a regular basis. Luckily, you can reduce those issues with a mechanical pencil that has a great grip.

Many pencils have grips located near the tip. They’re designed to make the writing experience more comfortable. Grips come in a variety of shapes and materials. When it comes to material, rubber and silicone are the most common. You can also find metal grips with etching that reduces slipping. As for shape, most grips are contoured in some way. Ergonomic grips are designed to follow the shape of your fingers and hand so that the pencil feels natural to hold.

Another thing you’ll want to consider is the pencil’s weight. Lighter pencils tend to feel more comfortable in the hand. However, some people prefer heftier options because of the control they offer. Pencils can weigh as light as 6 or 7 grams all the way up to 120 or more.

Lead Size

While most mechanical pencils come with a few pieces of lead already in the barrel, there’s going to be a time when you need a refill. Mechanical pencils are designed to house only one size of lead, so it’s an important consideration. The differences between the lead sizes are minute, but these tiny discrepancies can make a drastic difference in use.

Small lead sizes, such as 0.2mm or 0.4mm, are great if you need precise lines. The small diameter provides you with a fine point each and every time. With that being said, fine tips tend to break more often. Medium-sized leads, like 0.5mm to 0.7mm, offer a bit more strength for heavy-handed writers. Though, they aren’t as fine. Finally, thick leads that measure 0.9mm and up offer the most strength. They can be used on thicker mediums. The downside is that your lines can appear bolder and muddier when used for standard handwriting.

Eraser

No pencil is complete without an eraser! Most mechanical pencils have a standard-sized eraser that can be removed to refill the lead. Many manufacturer’s offer replacement eraser tips. Some also offer retractable erasers that can extend with a simple twist. Either way, you may need to invest in a large separate eraser or replacements at some point.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Which lead size is best?
A: That all depends on the particular project you’re working on. If you’re writing notes or need precise lines, smaller lead sizes are best. However, if you’re looking to write on rough surfaces, a thicker lead size of 0.9mm or higher is preferred. As a standard, many mechanical pencils utilize 0.5mm or 0.7mm leads. They offer a healthy combination of precision and strength.

Q: How is lead refilled?
A: The manner in which lead is refilled will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Most feature a top-loading design. The eraser or top cap can be removed to reveal a small hole on the top of the pencil. Simply place the lead into this hole so that it can slide down into the pencil reservoir.

Q: Why does the lead keep sliding back into the pencil when I write?
A: When this happens, it usually means that you’re at the end of the lead piece. Most mechanical pencils aren’t capable of holding onto the lead once it reaches the end, so it’s free to slide in and out with pressure. To get rid of this issue, pull the current tip out and start a new piece of lead.

Q: Can mechanical pencils be erased?
A: Your writing or sketches made by a mechanical pencil can be erased just like a traditional pencil. Many products feature a rubber eraser underneath the top cap. If not, you can use any standard eraser to wipe away pencil marks.

Q: How many lead pieces can a mechanical pencil hold?
A: Mechanical pencils can hold between three and five lead pieces. The exact number will depend on the lead thickness. If your pencil uses thin lead pieces, it can often accommodate more pieces at one time. However, you should never try to fit more than five pieces. This could clog the advancement mechanism.

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