Pencils have undergone an enormous high tech evolution since the time they were invented. Even the black-and-yellow wooden HB commonly used twenty years ago in school seem like an outdated simplicity. The era of mechanical pencils inspires manufacturers to create real masterpieces that are comfortable for use and delightful to our eyes. The best picks of the top 10 mechanical pencils listed below will help you to find a new favorite pocket companion.
Top 9 Mechanical Pencils Reviews
BIC Velocity Max: Best with Retractable Tip
It is not a surprise that BIC tools top this category, as it is one of the most famous manufacturers of writing materials. BIC Velocity Max disposable pencils are a good option for college students who do a lot of writing and need something cheap and easy to replace. They have a good balance of high quality (soft gel grip), convenient use (refillable with no sharpening), and affordable price.
The top lead advance mechanism is simple in use. With a lead thickness of 0.9 mm, we can hardly talk about fine lines, but they are easily erased. Compared to the BIC Velocity Original, this variant comes with a 75% wider eraser and darker writing. One set consists of two pencils of different colors.
- Retractable tip
- Easy-to-use mechanism
- Thicker lead points are more resilient
- Available in assorted attractive colors
- Perfect for student
- Tips break off easily
Staedtler Mars 780: Best for Sketching
This writing device is for graphing and technical drawings. This option suits people who like classic design and who are in love with lead holders. In fact, lead holders have gradually fallen out of favor with most people, even if they have German engineering behind them. The Staedtler Mars 780 has a 2 mm metal lead holder, which holds together pretty well.
For users with an unsteady hand, this pencil requires a lead pointer. In this model, it is integrated in a push button. The tool is designed with a push button advance and a metal clip.
- Quality construction
- Perfect lead holders
- Inexpensive for good lead holders
- Multifunctional use
- Lead pointers for free as a bonus
- Lead holders are hard to use
- No eraser
Best Choice for Students: Pentel Sharp
Pentel Sharp is a multi-purpose automatic pencil that can be used for sketching, writing, or designing. Due to its superior construction, it makes 0.7 mm lines. It is easy to refill and requires no sharpening. The pencil has a perfect size and sleek design. A metal clip makes it pocket-friendly. It is lightweight and has a refillable eraser. The 4 mm fixed sleeve is convenient for ruler-based technical drawings and template work.
- Multifunctional use
- Refillable high-polymer leads
- Meets the demands of professionals and students
- Easy-to-use construction
- Fixed tips reduce lead breakage
- Tip may unscrew while writing
- Grip gets slippery during continuous writing
- Has no lead indicators
Zebra DelGuard: Best of Plastic Pencils
A patented double-spring mechanism, which ensures a secure protection from lead breakage, is used in the Zebra DelGuard. No more frustration about broken lead! This unique system prevents breakage despite your writing style or the angle at which the writing instrument is used. The textured grip provides an enjoyable writing experience. 0.5 leads deliver fine and graceful lines.
- Lead break protection
- Comfortable texture grip
- Secure pocket clip
- Eraser is hidden under a push button
- Attractive design
- Slightly thick for small hands
- Plastic cover is easy to scratch, which leaves white lines
- Expensive leads
Cross Century: Good Pencil for Drawing
Pencils from the Cross Century series have an iconic slim silhouette. Shining brightly in their polished chrome-plated cover, they look fantastic. One set includes three pieces of lead and one eraser. They make 0.7 mm lines and have a patented twist-action mechanism. An engraved branding and streamlined tool shape make its owner a winner even before he starts writing. It is incredibly comfortable for users with small hands. It comes in a flat gift box, which makes it an excellent present.
- Elegant design for classic pencils lovers
- Lifetime mechanical guarantee
- Quality construction
- Good present option
- Choice of thickness
Paper Mate Clearpoint Elite: Best for School
A new technology used in the Paper Mate Clearpoint Elite, which prevents internal lead breakage if a pencil is dropped, makes this pencil indispensable for school. It makes fine 0.5 mm lines. A convenient click button on the side of the tool lets lead advance easily. A non-slip grip enhances user’s control and comfort. A clear barrel makes the lead supply visible, which allows users to know when they are low before the lead runs out. A twist-up eraser leaves no residue, and the complete set includes two eraser refills.
- Lead breakage prevention system
- Comfortable grip
- Clear barrel to control lead levels
- Suitable for light and professional work
- Cleaner corrections with a non-residue retractable eraser
- Clip breaks off easily
LAMY 2000: Best EDC Mechanical Pencil
The LAMY 2000 has a classic and timeless design and high-quality German mechanism. A long and replaceable eraser is hidden under the top of the push button, and beneath it, there is a thin needle to clean lead jams. The conical tip of the pencil is pocket-safe. The Makrolon resin barrel provides a smooth and warm touch. A lead size indicator is written on the cap.
- Light and well-balanced
- Classic design
- Smooth and effortless writing
- Comfortable grip
- Attached handy tool for cleaning lead jams
- More expensive than average brands
- Can be confused with a pen
rOtring 800: Most Ergonomic Pencil
An elder brother of the rOtring 600 is a must-have instrument for those who like drawing, writing, or sketching. This is an excellent variant for convenient work. The retractable design of the rOtring 800 hides the lead point completely for pocket-safety and durability. Its hexagonal barrel enhances gripping and prevents it from sliding off smooth surfaces. Its metal body provides a flawless weight balance and ensures fatigue-free writing during long sessions.
This model comes with a lead guidance sleeve that gives a better page view for ruler-based drawing. The set includes a refillable eraser. A precise lead advance system provides the exact lead amount with no need to push it inside.
- Durable metal barrel for lifetime usage
- Retractable sleeve
- Ideal weight distribution for comfort work
- Brass mechanism for accurate lead advancement that prevents lead breakage
- Ergonomic metal grip zone
- Higher price compared to standard mechanical pencils
- No lead indicators
Most Modern Pencil: Parker Jotter
This brand has remained a style icon for more than 60 years. Parker includes the features of a Jotter pen in a similar iconic mechanical pencil to make a writing set. It comes in a gift box and could be an ideal gift for a graphic artist or an architect. Made of stainless steel, this pencil has an attractive design and ensures high-quality writing that makes one’s work look better. This model with up-to-date accents and fine 0.5 mm lines provides an unforgettable writing experience.
- Stylish design as a good complement to a modern office environment
- Comfortable grip
- High-polymer leads
- More expensive than other Parker representatives
- Can be easily confused with a pen
|Pilot G2 Mini||0.7 mm|
Most Compact for Writing: Pilot G2 Mini
The Pilot G2 Mini is actually a smaller and more compact version of its original G2 version. Due to its size, it is good for a portable carry. It makes a nice matching set with the G2 ink pen. The pencil has a retractable tip, which protects pocket insides and prevents it from being broken.
- Mini size fits your pocket
- Rubberized contoured grip
- Low cost for good quality
- 0.7 mm lead lines are dark and smooth
- Refillable eraser
- Rubber grip is thick, so it deforms
- Eraser may get stuck in its holder
It is easy to buy a mechanical pencil, but it is difficult to buy the right one. What is more difficult is to buy it for someone else, because the choice is very personalized. When looking for a mechanical pencil, consider the following parameters that may help in specifying your requirements and making the right decision.
Before buying a mechanical pencil, specify the criteria you need and focus on them during the purchase. Study its technical descriptions. Remember that a properly chosen writing instrument can inspire you for fruitful and long-lasting work.
For newbies who are searching for a good mechanical pencil and for people who are simply curious in something related with pencils, here are some facts to share that can be interesting and helpful for everyone.
What Are Mechanical Pencils and How Does It Work?
Most people prefer using mechanical pencils due to a number of reasons, including that they:
- last longer than wood case ones;
- provide sharper writing;
- contain extra lead for refilling;
- come with an inserted eraser.
After all, some people cannot simply resist the temptation to possess a branded masterpiece. Mechanical pencils work by advancing lead either through a push mechanism located at the end of the eraser or through a screw-based system. Pencils with a lead advancement structure require no sharpening and are perfectly suited for uninterrupted work.
How to Use a Mechanical Pencil?
There is nothing sophisticated about how to use mechanical pencils. They are employed in the same way as standard ones with the only difference being that you don’t need to sharpen them. New lead is advanced instead.
Depending on the type of mechanism, just screw the pencil or click until new lead comes out. When one lead piece is used up, click again until the next one appears. When all of them are out, add more lead of the appropriate size through a hole under the button, which is hidden under the eraser. How long does one piece of lead last? It depends on its length and your work intensity.
What Are the Types of Mechanical Pencils?
All mechanical pencils are not the same. There are different types of them where different systems for the lead dispensing are applied.
- Twist-click. You twist the top of the barrel, and lead is pushed forward. Twist the barrel again and hold it, so you can push the lead back. This mechanism is similar to a clicky one, but twisting is used instead of pushing. These are pencils that look like pens. They even have a similar design to match your ball pen.
- Shaker. You give the pencil a good shake, and the weight inside pushes lead forward. Such tools are also equipped with a button, but shaking takes less time.
- Auto-feed. The lead is usually inserted inside a plastic cone. When the lead wears down, this cone contacts the paper and it is pushed back. An inner spring moves it back and feeds lead with it. The pencil doesn’t sound scratchy in writing, because the cone is round and smooth.
Other types of mechanical pencils differ by lead thickness, because thin and thick leads are used for different purposes. They can be developed either for school (bright and scented) or for business people (vintage and expensive), can be covered in plastic or in metal, etc.
Can You Use It on the ACT/SAT?
The ACT and the SAT are different tests that are governed by different institutions. However, both disallow using mechanical pencils, as stated in their official rules. They report that the test will not be scored in the proper way if it is written with a pen 🖊 or mechanical pencil. Test instructions suggest bringing regular No. 2 pencils ✏.
Does Mechanical Pencil Work on Scantrons?
To answer the previous question, several theories can be put forward as to why mechanical pencils cannot be used during these tests. One of the most popular theories is that scantron machines are not able to scan the text if it written with a mechanical pencil. The thing is that older types of scantrons work by blasting paper with light, so the answer can be checked if the light is entirely blocked from coming through the paper. The graphite in No. 2 pencils ✏ is good at blocking the light. Graphites of lighter weights and pen ink don’t block enough light and lead to “false positives.”
Where to Buy High-Quality Mechanical Pencils Online?
Internet orders have really become the easiest and quickest way of getting goods without leaving your home and wasting your time. It just takes a couple of clicks and the purchase is done.
Mechanical pencils are always available for sale in big online stores, like Amazon or other professional e-stores that sell stationery items. Operating with a huge amount of customers, they always grant discounts for wholesale purchases. Famous companies that specialize in pencils are a perfect variant to buy a professional writing device. Everyone can choose a supplier appropriate for one’s needs and budget.
How to Fill a Mechanical Pencil?
Check the side of the pencil to find out what graphite size is used in it. Remove the cap (eraser end) and insert lead for replacement, then place the cap back.
What Are the Most Famous Brands of Mechanical Pencil?
Thousands of various pencil brands are currently available on the market. All companies that manufacture mechanical pencils have an amazing variety of items used for writing, drawing, or drafting. Greatly ranging from $1 to $100 💸 and sometimes more, they are all interesting because even the cheapest one is able to give several years of non-stop service.
Here is a short brands list of tried-and-trusted manufacturers whose pencils are best-selling and have an acknowledged reputation: rOtring, LAMY, OHTO, Pilot, Faber-Castell, Pentel, Zebra, Caran d’Ache, Parker, Uni, Cross, Staedtler, Platinum.
Japanese pencils are considered the most interesting specimens: check out their latest development – the self-sharpening pencil, Uni Kuru Toga. Surprisingly, they are immensely popular in this super-developed country.
How to Fix a Mechanical Pencil?
You cannot fix a broken pencil unless it can be replaced under warranty (for luxury class tools). A lead jam is the most common issue, which may happen in mechanical pencils. Little bits of lead (or grease) get stuck in the mechanism and prevent it from working. In this case, lead is not advanced or it may click forward but get pushed back in again after you start using the tool.
To clear a jam, the pencil should be dismantled. Unscrew the part near the tip, so you can see the inner mechanism. If you push the button down against your table, the clutch system pushes up. You will see a ring around the clutch jaws that holds them closed. Push the ring down, and it will release the jaws. In this open state, a tiny bit of lead will displace. If you cannot open the mechanism, insert a thin pin or wire through the tip to remove a stuck lead piece. Don’t force anything too wide inside. This job needs a steady hand to be performed without snapping it.
What Is a Mechanical Drafting Pencil?
Architectural and mechanical drawing or sketching have different demands than a mere writing process. It requires experimenting to find out what feels right for your style. Lead thickness is of paramount importance here. Rough sketching will benefit from fat lines provided by thick lead types. Consider using dual clutch pencils, as more of them are adjusted for thicker leads. 0.5 mm is the classic size for most technical styles. In fact, 0.5 mm pencils are so versatile that they are used by many people in all sorts of styles. More detailed art drawing will probably require the finest lines delivered by 0.3 mm leads.
This article has probably teamed up real fans of mechanical pencils, who are interested in everything associated with these devices. Below are a few interesting facts with some entertaining history. Before we start, do you know what mechanical pencils can be called? Propelling, automatic, drafting (if used for drawing), technical and clicky ones, pen pencils and lead pencils (as they are called in India) are different definitions of the same thing.
Who Invented Mechanical Pencils?
The pencil history dates back to early 1882 when English engineers and inventors John Hawkins and Sampson Mordan invented and patented the first mechanical pencil. Eleven years later, James Bogardus patented it in the United States. Only in 1879 in New York City, was the first true mechanical pencil with a push button clutch made by Joseph Hoffman, although it did have certain drawbacks.
In 1915 in Japan, this problem was fixed by Tokuji Hayakawa, who created the “Ever-Ready Sharp Pencil.” As it had huge success, his company was named after the pencil (“Sharp”) and started a manufacturing process. Now we know it as a large electronics corporation.
What Was the First Mechanical Pencil?
We know who patented the first mechanical pencils and gave them a modern appearance. However, the question “who invented them first?” stays open, because in fact, this writing tool has existed in variable forms for more than five centuries. The first pencil image resembles a modern mechanical pencil even more than a wooden one. The first picture, dated 1567, shows a wooden stick with replaceable graphite. Of course, that antique device didn’t have all up-to-date clicking mechanisms as a lead pencil, but still they share a lot of common features. The first propelling pencil that used a spring was found aboard the wreckage of the HMS Pandora, a ship that sank in 1791.
Mechanical Pencil Fonts
Nothing can beat handwritten fonts, because they add a touch of personality to any graphic project or text and bring a sense of artistry. Both digital and print platforms favor a handwritten style more than traditional fonts. Here are some well-known modern fonts:
- Ambarella (design includes alternates, swashes, and Western European characters);
- Kristi (quirky and elegant font, which resembles fountain pen writing);
- Something wild (used for flyer designs and posters);
- Claire hand (represents creative spontaneity, as something written on a napkin);
- Mightype (a cute style for packaging designs);
- Bellaboo (for eye-catching headlines);
- Tragic marker (looks as scribbled by a real marker);
- Calligraffiti (nice and simple style close to calligraphy);
- Futuracha (mixture of Greek and Latin images);
- Beer money (includes funny features and correction signs, the coolest style for posters).
Most of these fonts are really cool and available online for a free download, if someone is inspired to do so by some special one.
Most Expensive Mechanical Pencils in the World
The Graf von Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil is rated by connoisseurs as one of the most expensive pencils in the world. This unique thing is crafted with 18-carat white gold and 240 year-old olive wood. It includes three beautiful diamonds and a handy built-in eraser. Just fancy that its cost estimates at $12,800!
If you are the kind of person who makes regular notes or likes to draw, you definitely need a reliable mechanical pencil. Pens can hardly be referred to the EDC (every day carry) category, because ink is heartless and leaves no room for mistakes. People are prone to errors: it is a natural thing for any human to change our mind, to rewrite text, or to erase. A pencil is a perfect life companion. By picking up your best mechanical pencil take a bit more thought and you will be rewarded.