Best Mechanical Pencil Reviews 2018

Shopping for a mechanical pencil is easy, but buying the right one for you or someone else may not be as easy as expected. To help you make the right choice from the numerous brands out there, we’ve narrowed the search down to five top products from some of the best mechanical pencil brands on the market. Although our featured brands have several mechanical pencil options, we’ve showcased just one per brand, but you should feel free to check out the other options from them.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Design
Lead
Size
Count
Colors
Our Top Choice
Pentel Graph Gear 1000 Drafting Pencil
Pentel is synonymous with excellence and reliability, delivering the best of its kind in writing tools. It’s an award-winning brand with over 70 years of consistent quality.
Contoured, metallic barrel. 0.9mm break-resistant lead. Lead hardness indicator. Soft pad, latex-free grip. Refillable. Yellow highlights on barrel.
Because it’s made of metal, this mechanical pencil may feel a little bit heavy at first.
Retractable, refillable
0.3, 0.5, 0.7 or 0.9mm
6 inches
1, 2, 3 or 4-pack
Brown, gray, blue, yellow
Best Value
BIC Xtra-Sparkle Mechanical Pencil
Speaking of writing tools, BIC is a universal and household name that requires no introduction. Its products are ever reliable, top-notch fun to use and quite affordable.
Fun, sparkly designs and colors. Smooth-operating push-click advance mechanism. 24-count pack. HB lead, great for standardized tests.
Its grip is not textured or contoured and as such, may not be too comfortable for long writing sessions.
Shimmery effect
0.7mm
7 inches
24 or 48-pack
8 colors
rOtring 600 Series Mechanical Pencil
The German company rOtring was established in 1928 and its hallmark is products characterized by simplistic and minimalist designs that speak volumes of their elegance and quality.
Shiny, metal black barrel. Knurled, textured grip. 0.35mm thin lead. Simple, push-click lead advance mechanism. Perfect for artwork and drawings.
The metal point that holds the tip is quite fragile, and may bend if dropped, so you’ll need to be extremely careful.
Hexagonal barrel
0.35, 0.5 or 0.7mm
5 inches
1-pack
Black, silver
Uni-ball Kurutoga Roulette Model Pencil
Uni-ball has, for 130 amazing years, remained at the cutting-edge of innovative and elegant design when it comes to pencils and other writing materials.
Top push-click lead advance mechanism. Jam-free and smooth operation. 0.5mm thick lead. Contoured barrel design. Textured grip. Pocket clip.
The sharp, non-retracting lead tip makes this pencil pocket unfriendly. You’d have to carry in a case.
Roulette model
0.5mm
6 inches
1-pack
Gun metal, silver
Paper Mate Clearpoint Mechanical Pencil
Paper Mate is all about revolutionizing writing tools by designing innovative and pace-setting products meant for long-lasting and reliable performance at affordable prices.
Translucent barrel. 0.7mm lead for clear markings. Jumbo-size, efficient eraser. Lead and eraser refills. Contoured barrel. Soft, textured grip.
The pocket clip tends to break off the pencils easily, so you’d have to be mindful of it.
Jumbo twist-up eraser
0.5 or 0.7mm
7 inches
1, 2, 4 or 12-pack
Blue/clear

(Updated )
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Watch Our Mechanical Pencil Review

How Do I Choose the Best Mechanical Pencil?

We all need a good pencil to write with at one point or another, whether as a child, student, writer, worker or artist. Wherever you find yourself, you’ll most likely need to jot down some lines on occasion. Pencils are one of the oldest writing tools, along with chalk, that have survived the years and still remain relevant in today’s world. Although wood-cased pencils are still widely used, there have been advancements in the design, which have led to the innovative mechanical pencils.

Mechanical pencils are characterized by the push mechanism that extrudes the lead tip as needed. They add style to the traditional pencil. You wouldn’t want to go to that high-powered conference wearing your power suit and then having a cheap, ordinary-looking wood-cased pencil poking out of your pocket. Mechanical pencils also eliminate the need for messy pencil sharpening, as the lead is thin already and has a mechanized feeder system.

With a wood-cased pencil, the wood and the lead are both used up irreversibly, but a mechanical pencil uses up only the lead, which is available in refills. That helps save the planet from deforestation. If you’re an artist, you’ll want a pencil that gives uniform and consistent line width all through, and this is one unique feature of the mechanical pencil – the lead rod is uniformly thin.

It comes in different lead sizes, so you can choose according to your style. Lead ranges from extremely thin and calligraphic-sized lead to thick lead for heavy-handed individuals, or for drawing and shading.

As stated earlier, shopping for a mechanical pencil may not be as easy as it sounds, but having a clear-cut idea of what you’ll be using the pencil for is a good place to start. Other factors to consider are the lead thickness, mechanism, grip, and you’ll have to consider the price of the pencil as well.
Price
With the mechanical pencil, you get what you pay for – pay more and get more. Most mechanical pencils perform quite well, but those with high-end looks and features like metal barrel and texturized, latex-free grip tend to cost a bit more than plain-barreled ones. One might argue that there is no reason to spend more on a mere mechanical pencil when you can get the same job from a less expensive one. But, considering that this is one of those items you can use for several years, why not go for the most affordable best?

Mechanical pencil prices range from $5.00 to $29.00 or more, and our featured brands span the price range so you can choose according to your budget. Be assured of quality and durable value from our brands, unlike what is obtainable from some of the cheap mechanical pencils we came across. Those will likely have their lead-advance mechanism jamming up, thereby rendering them impossible to use, and a regrettable waste of money.
Features
If you’re using your mechanical pencil just for writing, you’ll need lead with break-resistant thickness, and if it’s for drawing, your choice will depend largely on your style – thick lead for bold lines and sketching and thin lead for details. So, the first factor to consider is the basic use of the mechanical pencil. Other factors to consider are:
  • Lead-advance Mechanism
  • Grip
  • Lead Thickness
  • Additional Features
Construction and Design
One major feature of the mechanical pencil is its lead-advance system, with the push button at one end being the most popular mechanism. Here, the button is pushed so the lead tip is advanced outward for writing. For faster lead-feeder mechanisms, the side-mount button, auto-feed and shaker mechanisms are recommended. With the side-mount and auto-feed systems, you don’t need to lift the pencil from the paper, while the shaker mechanism needs just a flick of the wrist to feed in the lead.

If you’re in a lecture or furiously scribbling down a dictation, going for a top push-button lead-advance mechanism may cause you to waste precious seconds and fall behind. To avoid that, it would be infinitely better to pick the time-saving auto-feeder or shaker-style mechanism.

There are different lead thicknesses available in mechanical pencils for different uses, and these range from 0.2mm to about 0.9mm, while some are even as thick as 4mm. The most popular and comfortable thickness for most people is 0.5mm, which can be considered as the all-purpose thickness. If you’re a heavy-handed person, you’d be better off with thick lead that won’t break off easily.

You might also consider hard versus soft lead, depending on what you’re using it for. Hard lead is more break-resistant but tougher to erase, while soft lead is prone to more frequent breakage if handled roughly, but they give fine, easy-to-erase marks.
Performance and Ease of Use
One of the main things to look out for when buying a mechanical pencil is the grip. This determines how easy it is to hold and write with the pencil, especially if you’re writing or drawing for extended periods. Mechanical pencils with metal barrels usually feature a knurled metal grip for better traction and ease of writing. Rubberized, non-slip grips and plastic, textured grips also make for comfortable writing sessions.

The grip should be such that it won’t cause blisters on your fingers, make the pencil slippery if you sweat, or even give you pains in your wrist if held for too long.

Retractable mechanical pencils are also in vogue. These types do not just extend; they also have the ability to retract the lead tip for safe storage. This way, the tips don’t break when stored or if you’re carrying it on your person, and won’t leave lead marks on your clothes or even poke a hole in your pocket.

Also, check to see if the mechanical pencil has a clip so you can clip it on and carry it safely about in your pocket. This way, you can easily reach it when the need arises without having to fumble through carry cases and the like.

Some mechanical pencils come with eraser caps. This feature may not be important, as you most likely have an eraser that you prefer to use. But, in case you’d like an eraser on your pencil, be sure to check that it’s a sizable chunk that will go a long way before running out. And if you care to know, some of these attached erasers are retractable and refillable.

What is the Best Mechanical Pencil?

Having gone through our buying guide, we hope you’re in a better position to choose a mechanical pencil. We already selected some top-notch mechanical pencils for your consideration; please check them out in our individual product review section. We’re sure you will find the perfect one for you.
Our Top Choice
The metallic Pentel Graph Gear 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil features a 0.9mm thick break-resistant lead for bold lines, and a lead hardness indicator that tells you exactly the type of lead you have in your pencil. For a mechanical pencil pack with two eraser refills and 0.7mm lead capacity, see the Pentel Twist-Erase III Automatic Pencil, 2 Pack.
Pentel Graph Gear 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil, Yellow Accents – Available in Multiple Styles, Sizes & Pack Sizes

Pentel Mechanical Pencil PG1019G – 0.9mm, 1 Pack


Features
Pentel is committed to excellence and reliability and, for more than 70 years, it’s been delivering the best of its kind in writing tools. As a mark of its top-quality ranking, it’s the only writing material company decorated with the Deming award for consistent excellence. Its products include mechanical pencils, pens, erasers, correction fluids and lead and each is produced with care and attention to detail to ensure it meets the strict quality standards of the brand, thus maintaining the legacy. It’s associated with the sponsorship of several educational programs and product donation to schools, libraries and organizations.

The Pentel Graph Gear 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil is a refillable, mechanical pencil with attractive, yellow highlights on its smooth, metallic barrel. This mechanical pencil is designed for extended writing sessions with the grip fashioned from a non-slip, latex-free soft pad to guard against writing fatigue and possible blisters on the fingers. Its 0.9mm thick, break-resistant lead is for bold lines, with a lead hardness indicator so you know exactly the type of lead you’re using without having to test-run the pencil first.

Here are more mechanical pencil options from Pentel that you may like:
  • Pentel Graphlet Mechanical Pencil, 0.9mm (PG509-GD) – With a non-slip, firm roulette grip and lead hardness indicator window
  • Pentel Super Hi-Polymer Lead Refill for 0.7mm Lead Mechanical Pencils – Comes in a pack of 3 tubes with 30 break-resistant lead refills per tube.
  • Pentel Twist-Erase Click Contains (6) 0.7mm Automatic Pencils – Featuring 6 extra-long refill erasers and 3 packs of 12 count lead refill
  • A 0.9mm Lead Pentel Twist Erase CLICK Automatic Pencil – With 2 extra erasers, latex-free soft and comfortable grip and manufactured from recycled plastic
  • The Dozen Pack Sky Blue Pentel e-Sharp Mechanical Pencil – With 0.5mm thick lead for fine lines and a patented Lead Maximizer system
Best Value
The BIC Xtra-Sparkle Mechanical Pencil features fun, sparkly designs guaranteed to rack up your “geek cred” whether in school or at work. It’s the best choice for standardized tests, with HB lead that erases completely. For a mechanical pencil with an extra shine and holographic barrel, check out the BIC Xtra Shine Mechanical Pencils, Silver Holographic Barrel, 0.7mm, #2 Medium Lead.
BIC Xtra-Sparkle Mechanical Pencil - Available in 3 Sizes & in a 24 or 48-Pack

BIC Mechanical Pencil MPLP241 – 0.7mm, 24 Pack


Features
BIC is arguably one of the most popular, if not actually the most popular, writing tool companies in the world. Its popularity is due to the excellent quality of its products. Its combined workforce in the US and the Puerto Rico alone is 2,100, which is almost a quarter of its total workforce. This workforce infuses ingenuity and craftsmanship into millions of items churned out on a daily basis, thus ensuring that its customers get the best out of their writing tools. It has been in the business of manufacturing top-class writing tools for 55 years and is still going as strong as ever.

Rack up your “geek cred” with these sparkly BIC Xtra-Sparkle Mechanical Pencils in fun designs and exciting barrel colors. These mechanical pencils put the “fun” in functionality with a medium 0.7mm thick lead that gives clear marks that erase easily without smearing. This pencil is one of your best choices for standardized school tests, with its smooth-flowing HB#2 lead type that gives you the best writing experience.

Its lead advance mechanism is a simple, jam-free top-click push that advances the lead one click at a time, thus eliminating the need for a sharpener and all the hassles that come with it.
With 24 different colored mechanized pencils in the pack, you’re set to have fun and be the coolest kid in school or on the block.

Here are other fast-selling mechanical pencils and related products from BIC:
  • The New BIC 30 Piece Set Extra Comfort Soft Grip Mechanical Pencils – With extra-soft rubber grip that allows you to use the pencil comfortably for extended writing sessions
  • Bic Mphp51 .7 Mm Bicmatic® Grip Mechanical Pencil – With its shiny, light-reflecting design and a special, textured grip that is comfortable and dependable
  • BIC Velocity Max Mechanical Pencil – With an ultra-soft, contoured grip and extra-large eraser cap. Best of all, it features a retractable tip to keep the lead safe when not in use.
  • The Bic Mechanical Pencils, 40 count, Black – Barrel with multi-color clips has all you need for a smooth writing session and easy erasing without smudging.
  • BIC Round Stic Grip Xtra Comfort Ball Pen, Medium Point – If by chance you’re looking for a pen with blue/black ink and 1.2mm thick tip
The sleek rOtring 600 Series Mechanical Pencil features a 0.35mm thin lead tip that gives extremely fine line markings desirable for finer-point details in artwork, and erases extremely well with no smudge left behind. If you need a retracting lead mechanical pencil with push-and-click lead advancement, see the rOtring 800 0.7mm Mechanical Pencil in Black.
rOtring 600 Series Mechanical Pencil – Available in 2 Colors and 3 Sizes

rOtring Mechanical Pencil 502603 – Black Body, 0.35mm


Features
rOtring was established in 1928 in Germany, and has since risen to the top of the ladder in the writing materials and related products industry. Its products are characterized by simplistic and minimalist designs that speak volumes of their elegance and quality, and have become the hallmark of the brand. This, coupled with consistent durability, have ensured that its products always have an edge over other products in the same category on the market. The experience garnered over the years since its inception have been invaluable in molding it into the trustworthy brand that it is today.

The rOtring 600 Series Mechanical Pencil is an elegant, understated masterpiece as far as mechanical pencils go. Its thin, 0.35mm thick lead gives an extremely fine line marking, great for adding details into any artwork, and the markings erase so well, you’d be forgiven for wondering if they were there in the first place!

It has a classic, black metallic barrel with a knurled, textured grip for better traction and non-slip hold on the pencil, which is necessary for extended periods of writing. The push button at the top of the pencil extends the lead one simple click at a time for a smooth, consistent writing or drawing session. With its safe clip, you can carry this mechanical pencil in your pocket safely without fear of losing it.

Other products from this brand include:
  • rOtring Rapid PRO Mechanical Pencil, 2 mm, Matte Black – The precise, long-lasting and smooth retractable with an evenly balanced barrel, great for drawing and sketching
  • The rOtring 600 Black Knurled Grip 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil – With a lead hardness and type indicator so you don’t need to test-drive the pencil before knowing the hardness of the lead
  • An iconic, silver-barreled, lifetime use rOtring 600 Mechanical Pencil, 0.7 mm – With a hexagonal shape that keeps it from rolling on a table, patterned grip for long writing and brass lead advance mechanism
  • A 2 piece, Rotring Tikky Mechanical Pencil Lead 0.7mm Hb – 12-Lead pack of rOtring mechanical pencil refills for lead pencils of 0.7mm diameter
  • rOtring Multi-Function Pen, Four-In-One, 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil – Combination with a ballpoint pen with blue/black/red ink options
The metallic-barreled Uni-ball Mechanical Pencil Kurutoga Roulette Model has a simple, top push-click lead advance mechanism that makes for a smooth, jam-free lead tip advancement, eliminating the messy hassles of sharpeners. For a mechanical pencil with knock lock mechanism and tip storage, see the Uni-ball M71010.26 Shift Pipe Lock Drafting 0.7mm Pencil, Silver Body with Orange Accent.
Uni-ball Mechanical Pencil Kurutoga Roulette Model, 0.5mm – Available in 2 Colors

Uni-ball Mechanical Pencil M510171P.43 – Gun Metal


Features
Established in 1887, Uni-ball is one of the oldest pencil manufacturing companies in the world and has an amazing distribution network, with subsidiaries in more than 100 countries. Its products are unique, elegant, top-performing and reliable. Despite the large volume of products manufactured in its factories on a daily basis, each product undergoes stringent quality checks to ensure that it meets with its tradition of uncompromised quality. It leverages on the latest technology to design its products and remains at the cutting-edge of design in the industry, while setting the pace with innovative products.

The Uni-ball Mechanical Pencil Kurutoga Roulette Model has a metallic barrel with textured grip designed for a non-slip and firm hold with no room for writing fatigue while using it. Its 0.5mm thick lead is perfect for both writing and drawing and erases neatly in case you need to change a marking. Its lead advance system is a top push-button mechanism that is easy and jam-free, giving a uniform lead for a consistent line width.

The barrel has a contoured design that adds to your comfort while writing with it, and the safe clip makes it possible to carry the mechanical pencil in your pocket, safely clipped in place.
It has a butter-smooth writing capability that will greatly improve your writing skills and make you want to write some more or just doodle away.

Uni-ball has other products that may interest you and they include:
  • The Uni Posca Paint Marker FULL RANGE Bundle Set – Includes 21 marking pens with extra-fine points, in 21 assorted colors and hues for your drawing session.
  • The Uni Mechanical Pencil Kurutoga Standard – In blue plastic barrel with a lead rotation advancement mechanism, a 0.7mm thick lead and a fine, firm grip
  • Uni Alpha-Gel Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil – With a 0.5mm thick lead and core rotation mechanism that rotates the lead incrementally as you write, ensuring a uniform, pointed tip for the lead
  • 2 pack, top quality Uni Kuru Toga High Quality Pencil Lead – Refills of 0.5mm thick, break-resistant lead, total count of 20 lead rods
  • The Uni Kuru Toga Roulette Model Auto Lead Rotation Mechanical Pencil 0.5mm – Lead set that comes with 20-count spare lead refills, 5 extra eraser pencils and a twist-and-turn lead rotator
The Paper Mate Clearpoint 0.7mm Mechanical Pencil has a translucent barrel that lets you monitor the progress of the lead and also comes with jumbo-size, efficient erasers that eliminate the need for separate eraser use. If you need a sassy-looking mechanical pencil pack with mix and match colors, see the Paper Mate Clearpoint Mix & Match 0.9mm Mechanical Pencil Starter Kit.
Paper Mate Clearpoint Mechanical Pencil – Available in Multiple Styles, Sizes & Pack Sizes

Paper Mate Mechanical Pencil 1733159 – 0.7mm, 1-Pack Starter Kit


Features
The Paper Mate Company was founded in the early 1940s by Patrick J. Frawley, a seasoned entrepreneur with a keen eye for opportunities. It started off with a bang, with the manufacture of a revolutionary ballpoint pen that used a fast-drying, leak-proof ink, and thus began its journey in the writing materials industry. Since then, it’s continued to be at the forefront of revolutionizing writing tools by designing innovative and pace-setting products meant for long-lasting and reliable performance at unbelievably cost-effective prices that are hard to resist. It’s the go-to brand for American parents, teachers, students, artists and anyone else who loves writing and drawing.

The Paper Mate Clearpoint 0.7mm Mechanical Pencil comes in a set with two extra-long erasers and a pack of 12 extra HB lead refills for a durable, cost-effective writing experience. It features a jumbo-size, no-mess, twist-up, efficient eraser so you don’t need to carry or use a separate eraser stick, and a clear-barrel, contoured design guaranteed to be an eye-catcher.

The easy push-click lead advance system is smooth-rolling and jam-free, advancing the lead tip quite efficiently when needed without letting go of the pen.

For added control, the non-slip, contoured comfort grip is there to ensure your fingers don’t get easily fatigued or blistered from extended writing sessions. And the clear barrel lets you monitor the downward progress of the lead so you can refill on time without being caught unawares with an empty pencil barrel.

Some additional products from Paper Mate for you include:
  • The hourglass-shaped Paper Mate Comfort Mate Ultra Mechanical Pencil Set – With oversized comfort grip designed for extended writing exercises, complete with extra erasers and lead refills
  • Paper Mate Clearpoint Mechanical Pencils with Refills, 0.9mm – Come with 2 HB lead refills and a jumbo eraser with great lead lifting capacity.
  • Double pack Paper Mate Mirado Black Warrior Woodcase Pencil – In black matte with HB lead hardness and smear-resistant eraser attachment
  • Paper Mate Clear Tip 0.7mm Mechanical Pencil Starter Set – Featuring an eraser and a lead refill, jumbo twist-up eraser and comfortable, soft grip for better hold
  • The Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens, Medium Point, Limited Edition Tropical & Assorted Colors – With fast-dry and smear-proof ink that won’t bleed through paper, an assortment of tropical colors to go with your looks in a pack of 12 and 0.7mm medium felt tip

Get the Best Mechanical Pencil of 2018!

Thank you for reading our review. We hope you’ve finally chosen one mechanical pencil. Now, just go on, place your order and start scribbling away!

Our Top Choice
Pentel Graph Gear 1000 Drafting Pencil
Best Value
BIC Xtra-Sparkle Mechanical Pencil
rOtring 600 Series Mechanical Pencil
Uni-ball Kurutoga Roulette Model Pencil
Paper Mate Clearpoint Mechanical Pencil