Whilst regular wood-cased pencils do the job, mechanical pencils are favored by many professionals. In fact, they come in handy for any writing, drawing or sketching task.
Whether you are a professional craftsman seeking a tool for your technical work, or a high school student preparing to sit for exams the next day, a mechanical pencil could be very helpful for you.
Using mechanical pencils retains the line width throughout without having to sharpen or adjust them, making your work more consistent and of good quality. And for tasks that require precision and neatness, the mechanical pencils triumph. These pencils are also available in a cross-section of styles, colors, and sizes to suit your needs.
Below, you will find the 20 best mechanical pencils in 2020. With the variety of styles available, you are definitely going to find your match. And if you are lost, the buying guide is ready to jump in and walk you through to find the right choice.
1. Pentel GraphGear 1000 Mechanical Pencil
With over 70 years of experience, the Pentel brand has proven its excellence. The GraphGear 1000 mechanical pencil is yet another product that proves the brand’s tenacity and sustained quality. This mechanical pencil is designed for all.
Whether you are a craftsman, an artist, a student or simply want to scribble notes in your journal, this mechanical pencil doesn’t disappoint. And the best part is that the pencil is available in up to 4 sizes.
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The Pentel GraphGear 1000 series is designed for all to use. The mechanical pencil is built for architects, craftsmen, artists, enthusiasts, and professionals. The mechanical pencil is constructed to be strong, reliable and extremely comfortable to use. The design of the mechanical pencil itself looks technical and it tends to attract many people.
Its thin writing style allows you to trace the best version of your handwriting on paper, even if this handwriting area is not your strongest suit. And for those that struggle with a hard writing hand, the strength of this pencil makes it the ideal choice to use. The 4mm tip design on the other end makes the pencil ideal for use with rulers and templates.
Additionally, the mechanical pencils are also color-coded and feature a built-in lead indicator to allow for easy lead size identification. The barrel accent colors on the mechanical pencils correspond with the lead diameters. A brown colored barrel corresponds with the size 0.3mm. The gray barrel corresponds with 0.5 mm whilst the blue barrel corresponds with 0.7mm. The yellow barrel on the other end corresponds with 0.9mm.
A dual-action retractor design is integrated into the mechanical pencil to allow the pencil tip to retract. This mechanism protects the lead from breaking. The finely chiseled metallic grip is also inlaid with soft and latex-free pads. A brushed metal barrel also helps to easily slide the HB lead and prevents it from breaking.
And for the environment-conscious users, the Pentel GraphGear mechanical pencil comes with good news. The pencil integrates the use of at least 50% recycled materials throughout its manufacture to retail. Not only just the pencils are made of recycled materials but also the packaging and printed labels.
A refill eraser is also included underneath the pencil’s silver cap. The silver cap features sturdy construction, so if you are used to chewing your rubber, you don’t have to worry about damaging the pencil. However, the eraser’s design is perhaps the only drawback to this pencil. This is because the eraser is a tad bit small.
- Built with high grip rubber handles for comfortable writing.
- The strong pencil build protects it from breaking even with hard writing.
- The anti-breakage retractable mechanism lets you safely store the pencil anywhere even in your pockets.
- Color coding allows you to easily identify each pencil size.
- The eraser is a tad bit small.
The Pentel GraphGear 1000 mechanical pencil proves to be a worthy purchase. It’s well thought out features make its design quite practical. The pencil is strong enough to withstand rough and hard writing and even storage. The HB lead itself further complements its strength and articulate writing, because you don’t even have to sharpen it. The use of recyclable materials makes anyone want to use this pencil as it is safe for the environment.
2. Uni Core Keeps Sharp Mechanical Pencil
Incorporating a Lead rotating technology, the Uni Core Keeps Sharp mechanical pencil delivers incredible writing power. The Uni Core Keep Sharp series maintains a sharp-pointed pencil for articulate writing and improved legibility.
The 0.5mm mechanical pencil also undoubtedly maintains accentuated strength to prevent breakage and smudging on your writing surface. Its black metallic body makes a great addition to any environment, be it a corporate office or a desk in a college dorm room.
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The Uni Core Keeps Sharp mechanical pencil is ideally designed for you if you are looking for a stylish, exclusive and high performing pencil. It is built with undisputed durability and versatility to make it the right match for anyone. The design of this pencil is quite unique as it differs from many standard mechanical pencils. It also boasts a silver metal base to complement its design.
Normally, when you are writing using a mechanical pencil, you will notice that the lead wears off on one side to form a slanted wedge-shaped tip. This means that as you are writing, you will notice different patterns in your writing. This is because due to the deterioration of the lead, its surface will experience different shapes as flat, thin or wide. However, with the Uni Core Keeps Sharp mechanical pencil, this problem is alleviated.
The mechanical pencil also boasts a metal and plastic blend body housing. The silver metal base complements the pencil’s look whilst also adding durability. The plastic coating also complements its look and overall grip. The pencil’s ergonomic design also makes it easy for most hands to handle comfortably. The design also makes most tasks easy to execute whether you are an architect or student.
And the ergonomic design is not only what captures an architect’s attention. Or any other person’s for that matter. Because of its diamond-infused lead, the pencil is extremely sturdy and difficult to break. So if you experience the lead breaking off with other mechanical pencils because of your hard writing or consistent use as an architect, you don’t have to worry about this issue with the Uni Core Keeps Sharp pencil.
This design also gives the lead longer-lasting durability so you don’t have to replace it sooner. The only disadvantage to this pencil is that the tip is not fully retractable. This means that you can still safely store the pencil anywhere as it the lead retracts. However, because the tip doesn’t retract, it can be a little uncomfortable and even cause the lead to wash out, especially if you clip it on your shirt pocket.
- Stylish and unique design.
- The unique lead rotation technology helps to preserve writing style and durability.
- The diamond-infused lead is almost impossible to break.
- Enhanced grip design makes it comfortable to use.
- The tip doesn’t fully retract.
The Uni Core Keeps Sharp mechanical pencil is definitely a steal especially if you are particular with details. Or a neat freak. The special lead technology ensures that your writings or drawings are consistent with no hints of the annoying smudges. The choice to use diamond-infused lead also complements the pencil’s strength and the special lead technology, ensuring that it doesn’t break mid writing or drawing to ruin your work.
3. Zebra M-701 Mechanical Pencil
If your main concern is comfort in writing, then, the Zebra M-701 mechanical pencil may just be your new pal. This mechanical pencil boasts an impressive knurled metal grip that gives you precision grip and handling.
At 0.7mm, the mechanical pencil is great for day to day writing, sketching and even some technical drawing. And with its sturdy and rugged stainless steel fabrication, this pencil can withstand consistent use and abuse without losing its quality or high performance.
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The Zebra M-701 mechanical pencil’s writing power and articulation will leave you impressed every day. This mechanical pencil is built with style, superior functionality, and long-lasting body. The premium Zebra 700 series prove to be the brand’s most prized design, incorporating a cross-section of high-quality pens and pencils.
Yet, the M-701 surely stands out, adopting key ballpoint pen designs into its construction. This gives it an overall heavy-duty and rugged finish. The pencil is also made of a stainless steel tip, barrel, and clip. The stainless steel barrel is also equipped with a knurled grip that helps to provide comfortable writing and handling ensuring your work is always on point.
The 0.7mm size makes it an ideal choice for both professional uses such as sketching and other technical uses as well as day to day writing. The included eraser is quite useful and doesn’t only represent itself as an add-on to the pencil. It is big enough to perform its function whilst its rubber and firm texture helps to preserve its durability without ruining your writing surface.
Yet, the pencils also come with its drawbacks. When you are storing the Zebra M-701 series, special care should be maintained. This is because the mechanical pencil is not designed with a retractable tip. It is also not a bad idea to layer your shirt or suit jacket pocket with a protector before clipping on the pencil.
Furthermore, the Zebra M-701 series also comes with limited variety and versatility. Although it boasts great strength and style, it is only available in a single size, i.e. 0.7mm. It also lacks a lead hardness indicator, meaning that it limits your ability to adapt the pencil to the task at hand.
- 100% stainless steel body for added durability and strength.
- Stylish and elegant clasp design.
- knurled metal grip zone design for added grip.
- Easy to identify lead points.
- The tip is not retractable.
Even with its simple design, the Zebra M-701 mechanical pencil still manages to maintain impressive functionality and style. With a focus on comfort and proper handling, the mechanical pencil guarantees high quality and consistency in your work. This is thanks to its fine knurled metal design. And although it is available in a single size, the 0.7mm is just right for a range of writing, sketching and drawing tasks.
4. Rotring 600 Mechanical Pencil
The Rotring 600 mechanical pencil reflects the undenied sophistication of German technology. This iconic pencil is ideally designed for long term use. The mechanical pencil features a unique fabrication that allows it to work anywhere from heavy duty technical writing to day to day journaling.
And with its reliable brass mechanism, the pencil guarantees to deliver articulate writing and sketching by preventing breakage, even during pressed writing. It is also available in size 0.5mm and 0.7mm so you can choose the right option for your intended task.
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When it comes to mechanical pencils, the Rotring brand is a household name. And there is a reason behind this fact. With over 90 years in the market, the Rotring brand proves to be a worthy contender. The Rotring pencils are designed with utter attention, quality, style, and functionality. Additionally, the Rotring mechanical pencils are also designed to perform any task from daily writing to artistic drawings and technical sketches.
And the integrated knurled metal design complements the full metal body for easier handling and added grip. To enhance its functionality, the mechanical pencil is also built with a brass mechanism. The brass mechanism allows you to perfectly set the lead to fit the requirements of the task at hand. It also prevents breakage by facilitating guided lead advancement.
The pencil is also built with a lead hardness grade indicator to complement the brass mechanism for easier identification. Hexagonal barrel shape is incorporated to prevent the mechanical pencil from sliding on drawing tables when you set it down. This ultimately prevents the lead from breaking upon impact, especially when it is not retracted.
The design, pattern and the size of metallic grip zone all complement the hexagonal shape to add grip and prevent slipping. The Rotring 600 mechanical pencil is also built with a fixed lead guidance sleeve. This sleeve helps to prevent breakage whilst also giving you a clear view so you don’t slant your drawings. The lead itself that comes with the pencil, is made of high polymer to give you the right sturdiness and sharpness to write or draw for hours uninterrupted.
Even with its strong markings, the lead is still easy to erase, thus, preserving the quality of your work in case you make any mistake. The top eraser on the other end bears a strong texture yet, it is smooth on your writing surfaces and leaves no mess behind. however, be careful with the nib as it can easily break.
- The pencil draws and writes with clear and precise lines.
- The guidance sleeves effectively prevent breakage.
- Ergonomic shape proves easily handling and clear view of work.
- Top eraser is very firm yet smooth on paper.
- The nib can be fragile.
For the ultimate sketching experience, you cannot go wrong with the ROtring 600 mechanical pencil. This mechanical pencil also proves that attention to detail is a key feature in its design. What more can you ask for to help maintain precision sketching or writing than a high grip knurled metal design and a complementing hexagonal shape? Well, actually, there’s more! The ergonomic shape and clear view of your work help to add more degree of precision and perfect writing and sketching.
5. Pentel Sharp Kerry Mechanical Pencil
The Pentel Sharp Kerry Mechanical Pencil is handcrafted to deliver pure style and precise functionality. The on-the-go mechanical pencil is fitted with a removable cap on the tip to allow for secure carrying in your purse or garment pockets.
It also boasts just the right size to make it compact enough for storage anywhere. And when it comes to its writing performance, this piece will not disappoint thanks to its impressive lead and body strength.
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The Pentel Sharp Kerry mechanical pencil features a subtle body look that exudes authority and class. This high-quality look reflects the mechanical pencil’s high performance and strength. Handcrafted like a Swiss watch, the Pentel Sharp Kerry mechanical pencil maintains precision, accuracy, and beauty. For added functionality, the mechanical pencil also features a removable cap on the tip side for safe clipping on your shirt pocket or storage in your bag.
The balance in its weight and exterior texture also complements its grip and non-slip design. And if you want to gift your architect or student friend, the Pentel Sharp Kerry mechanical pencil makes a decent gift. It comes housed in an attractive clear plastic box. The mechanical pencil is also fitted with a break free HB lead to allow all types of tasks, be it hard-pressed writing, sketching or drawing.
In addition to the HB lead, the mechanical pencil is also pre-loaded with a replaceable Z23-1 eraser refill. The included eraser is fabricated with enhanced firmness and rigidity. However, you don’t need any effort when using it to erase mistakes in your writing paper.
It is also designed with minimal to no crumbling at all, thus, giving it long-lasting durability. The mechanical pencil is also available in sizes 0.5 and 0.7mm so you can choose the right option for your impending tasks. With a simple, single push side click, you can easily replace the lead from the pencil.
- Comes with a removable cap to protect the lead and your clothing.
- Handcrafted for a classy look.
- A single side click button on the pencil removes the lead.
- Comes with a firm and smudge-free eraser.
- The mechanical pencil tends to be a little bulky.
The Pentel Sharp Kerry mechanical pencil is in fact designed for day to day writing as well as for students. This mechanical pencil has proven to deliver impressive and articulate writing. And it’s cool and classy style, makes you want to show it off on your shirt sleeve. And you can do so because the removable cap is always there to protect it and your shirt. However, due to its slightly bulky shape, it may not be the best option for long tasks or smaller hands. So for those shorter tasks such as journaling or test taking, it is an ideal choice.
6. Staedtler Mars 780 Mechanical Pencil
The Staedtler Mars 780 mechanical pencil is a technical writing gem. Fitted with 2mm #2 lead, you can use it for any kind of writing, drawing, and sketching. Its ingenious integrated push button mechanism makes it extremely easy to operate.
And its simple yet classic stainless steel and blue metal body gives it more style. The best part about this pencil is that it is reasonably priced.
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If you are looking for a mechanical pencil that can do it all, then, you can’t go wrong with the Staedtler Mars 780. This pencil is favored by all. Whether you are an engineer, architect, artist or student. It is designed for exceptional writing, sketching and drawing results.
The Staedtler Mars 780 mechanical pencil comes fitted with a push-button sharpener. This feature comes in quite handy as it helps to maintain the sharpness of your lead as you write, sketch or draw. Doing so helps to maintain the quality and consistency of your work.
On the exterior, the pencil is built with a plastic body. The plastic boy is complemented with a metal finger grip, metal push button zone, and metal clip. The knurled metal finger grip allows you to write, draw or sketch for prolonged periods without your hand hurting.
Its subtle texture also prevents the pencil from slipping. Furthermore, the pencil incorporates smart German engineering to give it an ergonomic shape. The shape is hexagonal and features perfect lines that complement the knurled metal grip for added comfort and to prevent slipping. The metal clip is also strong enough, allowing you to clip it on your shirt pocket for a long period without breaking. The blue plastic barrel and shiny metal details also help to complement the pencil’s look.
This mechanical pencil is significantly larger without affecting its handling. It is made with a 2mm lead, which is four times larger than a standard 0.5mm mechanical pencil. This helps to enhance its versatility whilst also improving its shade and overall performance. The thickness also makes it quite stable and prevents breakage.
- Comes with a built-in push button sharpener to ensure sharpness at all times.
- The integrated metal clip also has a hardness grade indicator.
- Knurled metal grip enhances comfort and easy handling.
- Larger sized lead for added.
- It doesn’t come with an eraser.
The Staedtler Mars 780 mechanical pencil proves to be quite an innovative design. It makes a great tool for serious sketching and drawing work. And if you plan on spending considerable time on the task, it’s also an excellent pencil option. The integrated push button design is perhaps this pencil’s best feature. With it, you are guarantee consistency and quality on your work whilst the larger 2mm lead adds shade and precision to your work.
7. Pilot Dr. Grip Limited Mechanical Pencil
The Pilot Dr. Grip Limited mechanical pencil features a luxurious white painted metallic body that gives it a look of class. And it doesn’t end there, even its design is made to be luxurious.
The pencil is designed to be very easy to use, it is even endorsed by the Arthritis Foundation. And unlike the use of metal grips on standard mechanical pencils, it uses a soft, shock-absorbing gel grip that feels comfortable under your fingers.
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The Pilot Dr. Grip Limited mechanical pencil is built with a sophisticated look. You will definitely want to purchase it, once you see its painted metallic barrel and soft grip handle. It’s comfortable exterior and ergonomic shape also makes it a recommended option by the Arthritis Foundation.
In fact, this pencil is ideally designed for people who suffer from arthritis or those that work for longer hours thanks to its comfortable and cushioning grip. Instead of using a metal knurled grip, the mechanical pencil uses a more effective gel cushion grip to prevent hand fatigue.
It is this design that makes the pencil ideal for people who suffer from arthritis. This is because the shaker mechanism removes the need to adjust your grip by pressing a button at the back of the pencil to advance the lead. All you have to do is to shake the pencil and the lead will advance itself.
Additionally, the gel cushion grip is also designed with dual layers. The inner layer is soft whilst the outer is hard, giving your pencil a gel-like grip effect. Because of its hard exterior, it is much easier to grab and get a firm hold of the handle.
The pencil is also built with a 0.5mm lead that can retract. Its retractable mechanism makes it easy and safe to store anywhere. A firm yet smooth gliding eraser is also included to make your tasks easier. Its smooth gliding mechanism allows you to erase your work without ruining it. Its design also makes it easier to remove and refill the lead.
- The shaker mechanism makes it ideal for people with arthritis.
- The gel grip is highly cushioning and comfortable.
- The metallic painted exterior is attractive.
- Lead and tip retract for easy storage.
- It doesn’t come with a mechanism to maintain the lead’s sharpness.
The best part about the Pilot Dr. Grip mechanical pencil is its ingenious gel cushion grip design. And it is this design that helps to enhance the pencil’s mechanism. In fact, this is amongst the easiest mechanical pencils to use. And with extra features such as the shaker mechanism and the double layer grip design, your writing, drawing and sketching tasks have never been made easier. Because the pencil takes care of everything all you have to do now is focus on your task.
8. Rite In The Rain All-Weather Mechanical Pencil
The Rite In The Rain All-Weather mechanical pencil rocks a durable yellow-painted resin barrel and cool graphics on the outer body. This all-weather pencil lives up to its title, thanks to its long-lasting and weather resistant make up. Its generous and smart design also features up to 7 extra leads and 2 erasers that come with it, so you can use it longer.
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The Rite In The Rain mechanical pencil can be regarded with 5 key features. Thick leads. Tough in the field. Flexing tip. Effective eraser. And available free refills. The Rite In The Rain mechanical pencil is supported by a strong barrel. The barrel is made from durable resin, which helps to add an extra layer of protection to the lead. And if you want to explore more options, the pencil also comes in a red or black barrel.
In addition to its strong shade, the thick lead is also built to withstand pressure, thus, making it near impossible to break. The pencil is also built with a patented and exclusive tip design. The tip is built to grip tightly so the lead stays in place. With this design, you are guaranteed that the lead will not wobble, twist or fall out in the field especially when you are working.
At the top, the pencil is also fitted with smart storage space. It is here where you will find 7 extra leads for replacement in the future as well as two extra erasers. The eraser fits snuggly atop the barrel and underneath you will find the extra leads. The eraser measures 0.5-inches are long and 0.375-inches wide. Its unique texture and formula make it safe for any writing surface. It cleans extremely easily without leaving any marks.
The mechanical pencil is also fitted with a convenient metal clip to hang it anywhere. The Twist Lead Advancing Mechanism on the other end makes your life easier. However, the mechanical pencil also comes with drawbacks. Even with its thick build, the lead used is quite short and tends to be heavy. The lead advancement mechanism is also not as smooth. Thus, extra pressure is required to work it. This can especially be annoying after you have been working for quite some time.
- Comes with 7 extra leads and 2 eraser refills.
- The lead is thick and break-resistant.
- The pencil’s shade is clear and dark enough.
- Patented tip flex technology effectively holds the lead in place.
- The lead is somewhat heavy.
The Rite In The Rain All-Weather mechanical pencil introduces us to its incredible design from the start with its cool yellow barrel and graphics. Even the barrel itself is extremely durable, making a single purchase all you need. Unlike other mechanical pencils, you don’t need to invest in multiple pieces for long term use. Plus, the extra leads it comes with, helps to supplement its durable build and to make it a cost effective purchase.
9. Paper Mate Clearpoint Mechanical Pencil
With the Paper Mate Clearpoint Mechanical pencil, you can write, draw and sketch in the clear and fine lines you want, every time you use it. The 4-piece mechanical pencil kit also incorporates a lead loading mechanism to further help ease your working process.
All you have to do is load the lead on the sides without losing grip. The soft grip design also prevents your hands from being tired.
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The Paper Mate Clearpoint mechanical pencil is specially designed for day to day writing. It also makes a great tool for test-taking and notes writing. This pencil is also designed with a durable feel of a pen whilst delivering pencil performance.
It features a translucent barrel that also makes it easier for you to track your writing. The translucent barrel also helps you to track the lead to ensure your work is not interrupted. The mechanical pencil integrates a side click design which makes lead advancement easier.
The side click mechanism lets you load and extend your lead without losing grip on your pencil. This means that you can keep writing whilst extending the lead. Simply give the button a single click to begin this mechanism. This side click design also removes the need for any sharpener.
The mechanical pencil features an easy to hold textured grip. the colorful textured grip is made from highly cushioning gel that makes writing comfortable even for prolonged periods. So on your next test-taking session, you don’t have to be concerned with the high pressure from your pencil but rather, focus on getting the right answers to the questions in front of you.
And with its #2 0.7mm lead, you can still maintain the quality and look of your work. Each mechanical pencil is fitted with a jumbo twist-up refillable eraser. The eraser is large enough to be effective, cover large ground and to function with ease. The pencil eraser extends up with a simple twist and cleans swiftly with just one glide, without leaving any residue or markings behind.
For secure storage of the mechanical pencil, a removable cap is fitted to it. However, you may experience some trouble with the cap as it tends to fall off easily.
- Side click design makes lead loading easier with uninterrupted grip or writing.
- The textured grip is soft and comfortable on your hands.
- The twist-up eraser is large and smooth enough for effective corrections.
- #2 0.7mm leads are ideal for long periods of writing.
- The cap falls off easily.
As your loved one is headed for the senior finals, the Paper Mate Clearpoint mechanical pencils will make a meaningful gift. Plus, the fact that it comes in a 4-piece kit, means that they will have more than enough tools. Its comfortability is one thing that they will thank you for as tackle their tests for hours. And the side click mechanism, also means that they don’t have to spend too much tie fumbling with the pencil to add the lead. The Paper Mate Clearpoint is truly designed for meaningful writing tasks.
10. Pentel Twist-Erase III Mechanical Pencil
The Pentel Twist Erase III mechanical pencil combines comfort and performance to give you consistent high quality working results. With its 0.7m lead, the pencil creates fine and deep lines, making it great for anyone whether you are a professional seeking to do technical work or simply using it as a writing tool for your journaling at home. the pencil comes in a good value 2-piece package with pre-filled beak free lead and 2 highly effective refill erasers.
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The Pentel Twist-Erase III mechanical pencil features a protective tip design that helps to protect the lead and prevent breakage. In addition to the protective tip design, the mechanical pencil is also built with high-quality lead.
The mechanical pencil is also built with assorted barrel designs. You will receive a 2-piece package with a black/blue barrel or black/red barrel. the barrel is somewhat see-through to allow you to easily track the lead to prevent interruptions when you are performing your tasks.
The barrel design also incorporates a unique triangular shape. The triangular-shaped barrel prevents the pencil from slipping off your hands or rolling off the table. And for easier handling, the mechanical pencil features an extremely soft and latex-free grip which helps to alleviate hand fatigue.
The mechanical pencil is also built with sliding sleeve technology. The sliding sleeve technology means that you can keep writing whilst refilling your lead. A large twist-up eraser that is refillable comes with each pencil. In addition to its soft and cushioning grip, the eraser is perhaps another best part of the pencil.
The twist-up eraser is smooth and formulated to make corrections easy, fast and spotless. The pencil is also fitted with a metal pocket clip that is fairly strong and stiff to allow you to clip it on your shirt all day long. Extra attention should be paid on the clip as it tends to fall off at times.
The mechanical pencil even comes with good news for environmentally conscious consumers. The pencil is made from up to 60% recycled material, not only on its body but also it’s the packaging.
- The mechanical pencil is built with a protective lid design to prevent the lead from breaking.
- The grip texture is extremely soft and cushioning.
- Lead produces crisp, fine and dark lines.
- The pencil comes in a 2-piece package with free erasers.
- The pocket clip can be a little flimsy.
The Pentel Twist-Erase III mechanical pencil is designed for all. Whether you are an architect, engineer, student or looking for a day to day journaling tool, it is a great option. This mechanical pencil combines comfort, sturdiness, and protective working mechanisms to give you high quality and consistent work. The special lead design even means that you don’t have to sharpen the pencil yet, your works remain with good quality. The pencil is nearly perfect that its only flaw is the clip that tends to be somewhat flimsy.
Mechanical Pencils – Buyer’s Guide
What Is A Mechanical Pencil?
A mechanical pencil is built with a replaceable core that operates mechanically. This core is otherwise known as lead and is what is used to write with. The lead is made of graphite and is not permanently fitted on the inside of the pencil, allowing you to replace it once it is depleted. As you keep writing, drawing or sketching, it wears off. As it wears off, you can mechanically extend it to keep writing until it is fully depleted.
Who Needs A Mechanical Pencil?
Mechanical pencils are designed to be used by anyone. They are built for writing., sketching or drawing. Because of their design, they provide a consistent line width and color shade when writing, drawing or sketching, even without being sharpened.
Thus, they are normally sought after by professionals such as engineers, architects or sketch artists who need them for technical work or professional sketches. They are also great for test-taking as well as notes taking.
Benefits Of Using A Mechanical Pencil?
Mechanical pencils come with numerous benefits. Some of the common benefits include;
No sharpening required
Their lead is thin enough and maintains the thinness, which means that you don’t have to sharpen the lead. Thus, using a mechanical pencil saves considerably more time. Some mechanical pencils even incorporate built-in mechanisms that help to maintain the lead’s sharpness and shape.
Consistent Line Width
A wooden-cased and non-mechanical pencil normally boasts different line widths depending on its condition at the time. When freshly sharpened, its lines are very thin. And over time, the lines become thicker and even smudge right before they need to be sharpened. This is not the case with mechanical pencils. If you go for 0.5m lead, for example, you will get the same line width throughout.
Unlike non-mechanical pencils, you don’t have to replace or get rid of your mechanical pencil once the lead is depleted. Instead, all you have to do is refill the pencil. This makes them quite cost and time effective.
Available In A Cross Section Of Styles
Mechanical pencils are also favored for their versatility. You can choose the size, color and even casings based on your preference. Commonly available mechanical pencils come in sizes ranging from 0.2 mm to 5.6mm, depending on your task. You can also choose the writing color, whether you want classic graphite or something colorful.
Twist Click Mechanism
Your mechanical pencil also incorporates a different mechanism to make it easy to function and use. The Twist click mechanism, for example, is a common type. With the twist click mechanism, you simply twist the barrel’s top part to let the lead click forward.
And when you release the barrel, the springs push back whilst the lead stays in place. When you twist and hold, the lead returns back into its former position. this mechanism is ideal for when you want to use a pencil and when you are done and want to store it. It also works for when you want to refill the lead.
Continuous Twist Mechanism
You will notice that many older versions of mechanical pencils have this mechanism. It is also used to refill the pencil. This mechanism mimics a screw-in design. Normally, as you use the pencil, the lead keeps wearing off. So you keep winding it down by clicking the top.
When the lead is deteriorated, you will remove the small remaining lead bit by simply pulling it out. Then, refill the pencil by pushing a new lead into the slot all the way up. When it reaches the end, it will not back up – when you remove your fingers, the lead will not slide back. So, you can keep working on your tasks with the same mechanism.
Many mechanical pencils that are designed with the continuous twist mechanism, always come with spare leads to refill the pencil. But you can always purchase more when you have used them all. All you need to know is the size.
The shaker mechanism is a more innovative and newer way to use your pencil. It also requires less effort. many pencils that use this mechanism are even favored by people who suffer from arthritis. The best part about the shaker mechanism is you don’t have to struggle with twisting, clicking or pulling. Additionally, the shaker mechanism prevents clicking out more lead than is required.
Simply shake the pencil up and down as its eve weight distribution helps to hit the interior button for you. And you don’t have to stop performing your task, shake the pencil and continue writing with the extended lead, as the mechanism has already done the job for you.
What Is Kuru Toga?
The kuru toga mechanism is fairly new and quite innovative as well. This mechanism ultimately helps to maintain the consistency and quality of your work. As you use a mechanical pencil that integrates the kuru toga mechanism, the up and down movement rotates the lead. this rotation will lightly sharpen each side of the lead to maintain an even out shape.
Generally, with mechanical pencils or any other pencil for that matter, you will write with it held at a certain angle so if you write for a certain period, the lead will be inclined to adapt its shape to that angle. This can either give you a widen flat shape, chiseled tip or other uneven shapes. You must have experienced this too.
Think about your experience using a mechanical pencil. Did the shape of the lead tip change over time? And when this happened, did you manually rotate your pencil to balance out the tip shape? This is normal because you want to maintain the consistency of your work.
With mechanical pencils that adopt the kuru toga mechanism, you don’t have to worry about this because the kuru toga mechanism takes care of the issue. This, in turn, gives you finer and consistent lines as well as it prevents the lead from breaking.
Even with high-quality mechanical pencils, you may come across lead jams. This problem arises when your lead gets stuck within the pencil’s mechanism and blocks it from working. The result normally is that the lead cannot click forward or it may click forward but it won’t stay in place and it retracts back.
With many high-quality mechanical pencils, this problem can be solved. typically, the tip unscrews and lets you manually fix the mechanism. Simply push the mechanism down against something that can release back pressure such as your table.
Doing so will cause the clutch mechanism to push back. A ring around the clutch should then be held shut and pushed down to release the clutch jaws. This will then remove the jammed lead bits.
How A Mechanical Pencil Works
A mechanical pencil generally works in two distinct mechanisms. The lead is inserted through the tiny tube that’s known as the tip. This tiny diameter of the tip is what holds the lead in place even when pressure is released. The second mechanism incorporates claws.
These claws are what the lead is attached to inside the tube or casing. Inside the casing, the claws are squeezed tight to the lead and hold it firmly when the springs pull the lead back. When you push the tube, the claws open and slide outside the casing to push the lead out.
The tip holds in place and prevents it from retracting when you release pressure on the button. The claws hold on tight to the lead, pulling it back slightly to give just the right amount of exposure needed. If you want to extend the lead, you apply more pressure and follow the same steps. This allows you to write, draw or sketch.
How To Refill A Mechanical Pencil?
To refill a mechanical pencil, simply press and hold the button whilst also positioning the pencil upright. this allows the excess lead bits to fall out. Then whilst still maintaining a hold on the button, insert a new lead refill through the tip to the top of the casing. You will feel the lead stop once it hits the end. Release the button and the lead will not fall out. Then, start clicking the button repeatedly in short spans to ensure you get the right lead leveling for your task.
What Is Mechanical Pencil Made Of?
Your mechanical pencil features a casing and the lead. The lead is normally made of solid pigment. Commonly, graphite is used. The casing on the other end is normally made of plastic, metal or a blend of both. The mechanical parts inside are normally molded from extremely thin metal parts.
Inside the mechanical pencil, it gets a little messy. This is because the casing incorporates different bits that form the mechanisms. Typically, a complete mechanical pencil features not only the lead and casing. But as part of the casing, it incorporates lead guides, O-rings, inserts, tubes, and clip.
Different Widths of Lead
Different mechanical pencils come in a range of different sizes. Typically, there are 10+ mechanical pencil sizes. The size normally denotes the lead width and ranges anywhere from 0.2mm to 5.6mm. The lower the size, the finer the lines it creates. One thing to keep in mind is that a single mechanical pencil will only accommodate one lead size.
In general, you will come across mechanical pencils with sizes ranging from 0.3mm to 0.9mm. However, with some, they can go up to 2mm. Larger pencil sizes are normally designed for technical and professional work.
0.2 To 0.4mm Size
Mechanical pencils that use lead widths of between 0.2 to 0.4 mm provide extremely fine lines as the leads tend to be extra fine pointed. These pencils are especially ideal for detailed drawings, fine writing, and compact math equations. However, the thinner the lead, the more likely it is to break. Thus, using these pencils requires you to regulate the pressure you apply to them. This also means that the shading may appear to be faint at times, depending on the lead quality.
0.5 To 0.7mm Size
Whilst 0.5 to 0.7mm leads also provide fine liners, their shade tends to be a little darker and easily legible. You can still use these lead sizes for fine and detailed work although their lines will not be as fine as those produced by 0.2 to 0.4mm mechanical pencils. 0.5 to 0.7mm mechanical pencils can also be used for other regular tasks such as day to day journaling or test-taking.
0.9mm And Up
Mechanical pencils this size tend to produce less fine lines. They are much thicker and more likely to smudge. However, their size also comes with benefits. Because of their thicker build, they tend to be firmer and sturdier, thus, making them less likely to break. If you are a rough and heavy writer, then, these sizes are ideal for you. Mechanical pencils with sizes 0.9mm and above are also favored for sketches and bold writing.
Features We Should Look Out For
You don’t want a pencil that feels hard to hold that after a few hours of using it, you feel like it’s tearing through your flesh. There are two common ways you can determine whether or not your pencil grip is ideal. These include the pencil diameter and material.
The material also matters. The softer the grip is the better. yet, you must also keep other factors in mind. Grip material for mechanical pencils ranges from plastic to metal, rubber, and silicone. Silicone and rubber tend to be soft and highly cushioning like a gel consistency.
Plastic and metal on the other end are excellent for preventing the pencil from slipping from your hands. Knurled metal grips are ideal for maintaining a grip on your pencil however, they make them slightly elevate the overall weight of the pencil.
Every pencil will also come with extra features to help enhance its functionality. Some of the common ones include;
This feature is especially important to look for if you are a rough writer. Lead cushioning prevents the lead from breaking easily. You can also look for designs such as protective tips which also help to protect the lead and hold it in place.
Whilst some mechanical pencils are built with retractable mechanisms to pull your lead when you are done using the pencils, others come with removable caps. Other than protecting the lead, removable caps also help to protect storage space such as fabric pencil cases or shirt pockets by preventing the lead from leaking or smudging on to their surfaces.
Especially for artists and designers, these features come in handy. You want to go for a pencil that comes with many options, be it color or design. Other pencils even incorporate fun graphics on their barrels just for the fun of it and to add more aesthetics to your working area.
There are obviously thousands and thousands of mechanical pencil types you can find online. So, knowing your budget helps to narrow down the options. typically, a mechanical pencil will cost anywhere from $1 to $50. The pricing affected by the size, quality, and package.
Lead Advancement Mechanism
The lead advancement system is the mechanism to extend the lead towards the tip as it is being used up. Typically, your mechanical pencil will come with one of the mechanisms. The common mechanism includes the twist, shaker, push-button, bend or automatic. The first two mechanisms have been outlined above.
Push Button Mechanism
The push-button mechanism is quite simple. You simply push the button located at the top of the pencil. A clamp fitted on the lead is released making the lead move downwards towards the tip. You can use this to push the lead remnants up and load a new lead refill. Or simply push it to the ideal position as it wears off and continue writing.
The bending mechanism lets you press an area at the grip zone and release the lead. This mechanism mimics that of the push-button lead advancement.
The automatic lead advancement mechanism is newer. This mechanism anticipates when it is necessary to activate it. As you write down and the lead wears off, the pressure on your writing surface will eventually activate the mechanism and allow it to extend the lead. However, depending on the quality of your pencil, this mechanism will not be that efficient on all.
FAQ’s Related To Mechanical Pencils
Can you shade with a mechanical pencil?
Yes, you can shade with a mechanical pencil. Smooth shading works best with a mechanical pencil especially one that is built with a flattened lead tip. The flat area can be used to apply the layers of shading on the paper. The more the layers, the darker the shading and vice versa for fewer and lighter layers.
How Do You Unjam A Pencil Lead?
There two ways to unjam your pencil lead. First, turn your pencil with the tip facing downwards, press the button continuously and give it a good shake, the trapped lead bits should fall off. If this doesn’t happen, theta the lead has probably been trapped in the mechanism. So, push the mechanism down against your table to push back the clutch mechanism. Hold the ring around the clutch shut and push it down to release the clutch jaws to remove the jammed lead bits. Some pencils come with a cleaning rod to make the task easier.
What Mechanical Pencil Is Best For Sketching?
The Pentel Graph Gear and Pentel Twist Erase III mechanical pencils are favored for sketching. These pencils boast just the right lead size to create bold lines and shading for sketching. They are also quite comfortable and easy to handle when sketching.
What Is A Graphing Pencil?
A graphing pencil is used to hold much larger leads They can even hold leads that are large like a normal wood-cased pencil would. These pencils are sometimes known as crafting pencils. They are normally used by designers, architects, craftsmen, and artists for technical drawing, writing, and sketching.
Is 0.7 0r 0.9 Lead Better?
It all depends on what you are looking for. Both 0.7mm and 0.9mm lead is thick, however, 0.9mm lead is thicker. The 0.7mm is normally used in place of a 0.5mm if you are looking for a slightly thicker variation. Compared to 0.9mm lead, it tends to cheaper and ideal for sketching and non-detailed work.
Can You Use 0.5 Lead In A 0.7 Pencil?
No. Although it may fit some 0.7mm mechanical pencils, the fit will not be perfect. As a result, the lead will keep dangling loosely. And as you try to write or sketch, the lead will break each time because of its improper fit. Mechanical pencils are normally designed to fit only one size lead. So a 0.7mm pencil will only perfectly fit a 0.7mm lead.
What Type Of Plastic Is A Mechanical Pencil?
Many mechanical pencils built from plastic incorporate different plastic materials. However, the majority of mechanical pencils, especially low-cost ones, are normally molded from polystyrene.
Is A Mechanical Pencil A #2 Pencil?
Not all mechanical pencils are #2, especially small sized ones. This is because they are prone to break and may not be as dark and thick. However, some mechanical pencils can be classified as #2 and are normally considered to be equivalent to #2 pencils. Typically, an HB pencil on its middle scale is considered a #2 pencil.
How Long Is A Mechanical Pencil?
Typically, a mechanical pencil is anywhere between 5.5 to 6-inches long, depending on the brand. This range is long enough for your hands to handle without the pencil being too long or short.
Why Mechanical Pencils Are Better?
Mechanical pencils are favored for their efficiency. With these pencils, your workload is cut down, you don't have to sharpen them. A single good quality pencil will also do because all you need to do is to refill the lead once it is depleted, making the pencils cost-effective as well. Their versatility also makes them better as you can choose different sizes, colors, and styles.