Pentel is a well-known name among writing instrument manufacturers. This means you can trust that decades of experience and thoughtful engineering go into the premium units offered throughout their line. This rings true with the GraphGear 1000, which is tailored to look and feel like an executive mechanical pencil. Yet it can also serve as an everyday writing instrument.
It only weighs in at .8 ounces and was designed with a soft textured metallic grip. This allows it to feel comfortable in your hand while allowing you to hold it securely. The Pentel GraphGear 1000 Mechanical Pencil’s eraser is discretely secured under a small metal cap. Pentel also makes it a point to offer inexpensive replacement erasers and .5 mm lead refills.
All this means that the GraphGear 1000 can live stylishly on an executive’s desk, while also being able to create the kind of .5 mm precise lines that drafting professionals often need.
There are some people who simply need a reliable writing instrument that spares them the need to carry or find a pencil sharpener. This type of mechanical pencil is good for students who need to take tests, and don’t want to waste time sharpening a traditional wood pencil.
Filling this very important niche is the Paper Mate 1952700 Clearpoint Mechanical Pencil. It comes in a conveniently priced four-pack. Each one is created from durable clear plastic which allows the user to see how much lead is left inside the mechanical shaft.
The soft grip makes the Clearpoint easy to hold while reducing hand fatigue. It was also designed with a slide system to advance the lead without having to change your hand position. There are also affordable lead refills and replacement erasers, which makes the Clearpoint a step ahead of what might otherwise be seen as a disposable mechanical pencil.
Kuru toga is another popular international writing instrument brand sold around the world in a variety of styles. Their Uniball mechanical pencil was carefully designed to appeal to the average consumer who needs a reliable daily writing instrument, while also having the .5 mm fine point functionality for professional use.
The Uniball mechanical pencil only weighs in at a very comfortable .8 ounces which helps minimize hand fatigue. This is a very appealing feature for professionals who often need to use their mechanical pencil for long periods of time.
This mechanical pencil was also engineered with a retractable tip as well as a smooth-operating internal guide pipe. This helps to save on wear and tear on your pocket. It also helps reduce the chances of lead breaking off while writing with the relatively thin, delicate .5 mm lead.
How We Picked
Mechanical pencils have many benefits that appeal to people throughout a range of niches. Drafting professionals, technical artists, and similar vocations appreciate the consistent line weight a mechanical pencil produces, as well as the ability to draw continuously without inconvenient breaks to find a pencil sharpener.
Overall weight is going to be more of a factor for professionals where long drawing or writing sessions can lead to hand fatigue. This can also affect things like penmanship or prohibitive hand cramps. As a general rule of thumb if you are going to be using the mechanical pencil for prolonged periods of time in a day you want to target a unit that weighs less than 1.2 ounces.
The grip can also contribute to hand cramping and penmanship issues. Ideally, we tried to look for terms like “Soft Grip” or “Textured Grip” which not only lets you keep a secure and accurate hold on the pencil body, but it also helps combat the hand fatigue that can occur from having to hold it too firmly.
The availability and reasonable price of things like replacement erasers and refillable lead was also an important factor when searching for a high-quality mechanical pencil with a low long-term cost of ownership. Ultimately, you want the pencil to last for many years to come, along the way you don’t want to end up spending an arm and a leg trying to buy replacement lead or trying to find it from a far-flung online vendor.
At the same time, the thickness of the lead it uses is also an important consideration. If you are simply looking for a quality writing utensil to serve as an executive pencil on your desk, then lead thickness might not be a major issue. If you need a high-quality mechanical pencil to deliver a thin, consistent, and accurate line for professional reasons, then lead thickness should be high on your list of priorities.
Very thin lead is more prone to bend or snap off while making a faint line. Too thick of lead may be clumsy or create a line that’s simply too thick for an accurate technical drawing. The sweet spot tends to be right around .7 mm lead thickness.
At the same time, we also tried to keep an eye out for well-known brands that have a reputation for providing quality writing instruments. A few have roots in the United States, though many are better represented on the international stage.
Uni Mechanical Pencil Kurutoga Pipe Slide Model 0.5mm With Blue Body
- Weighs .8 ounces
- .5 mm line size
- Pipe slide
- Retractable tip
Kuru toga is one of the more trusted and popular mechanical pencil brands, with units available on the international market.
Their Uniball mechanical pencil was designed to appeal to the average consumer as well as being functional enough for professional use.
It only weighs in at a very comfortable .8 ounces which fit well in the hand without causing any hand fatigue. It has a guide pipe to safely secure and the .5 mm lead. It also has a retractable tip to save wear and tear on your pocket, while reducing the chances of the breaking off while writing.
What We Liked
The guide pipe and retractable tip are hallmark signs of quality. They also reduce pocket wear as well as lead potentially breaking. It’s also a nice touch that this particular package comes with two lead replacement sleeves.
Overall the Kurutoga Uniball mechanical pencil is a quality unit. It has the precision you want when you invest in a professional writing utensil. If there’s a knock on this mechanical pencil it’s the small, moderate quality eraser.
Pentel GraphGear 1000 Mechanical Pencil
- .8 ounce weight
- Metallic textured grip
- Dual-action retractable tip
- Pentel Super Hi-Polymer lead refill
- Discrete eraser
Pentel is one of the most trusted names in the writing instrument industry. They offer high-quality units throughout multiple niches all the way from basic consumer models, to executive pens and high-quality mechanical pencils like the GraphGear 1000.
This mechanical pencil only weighs in at .8 ounces with a soft textured metallic grip. This makes it comfortable yet secure in your hand. The eraser is discretely secured under a small metal cap, which gives it a sleek look when you want it yet allows you to quickly erase mistakes. They also offer replacement erasers, to spare you having to keep an awkward secondary eraser close at hand.
It has a dual-action tip that both advances the lead and can also retract the tip to reduce pocket wear. You get the sense that Pentel specifically designed this mechanical pencil for professional drafters and technical drawings.
It is refillable with Pentel Super Hi-Polymer lead as well as their Z2-1 eraser.
What We Liked
The sleek look of the Graph Gear 1,000 helps it stand apart from many of its direct competitors. The metallic textured grip and light .8 ounce weight make it comfortable in the hand. The fact that the eraser is easily concealed, yet affordable to refill is also a nice touch, and not something you see in all of the competitors.
The Pentel GraphGear 1000 is a high-quality mechanical pencil that’s meant to appeal to professionals as well as the average consumer who appreciates a top of the line writing instrument. Just bear in mind that with a small percentage of these pencils the dual-action tip can sometimes cause a minor amount of wobble in the tip. Though this is a minor issue even in the worst of cases.
Aviation Aluminum Mechanical Pencil By WSD With Magnetic Lead Adjustment
- Made from aircraft-grade aluminum
- 6.4-ounce weight
- Magnetic adjustment for lead length
- 2 mm lead
- Miniature lead sharpener
The WSD Aviation Aluminum Mechanical Pencil doesn’t specifically have mechanical parts. There is no push-button control feature or adjustable tip to speak of.
Instead, the length of the lead is directly controlled by a precise relationship between the external magnetic ring and an internal magnet that seats the 2 mm lead core.
To alter the length of the lead, you lightly unscrew the tip. Then carefully slide the external magnet ring forward. This will drive the internal magnet forward which in turn pushes the 2 mm lead forward or pulls it back. This gives you a measure of control rarely seen in other “Mechanical Pencils” that rely on complex internal moving parts and mechanisms.
Made from aircraft-grade aluminum the WSD Aviation pencil only weighs in at a comfortable 6.4 ounces. This gives you superior control and nimbleness in your hand. There is also a small lead sharpener included in the purchase. You can use it to directly sharpen the point of the 2 mm lead core, or you could gently rub the lead on the second piece of paper to develop a custom-shaped point for whatever you happen to be drawing.
What We Liked
The sleek aluminum look with the innovative magnetic ring adjustment definitely makes this mechanical pencil interesting. Not only is it a writing instrument, but it the right social setting it could even be a conversation starter.
This is certainly an innovative writing instrument. Just bear in mind that there is no eraser included in the design. The 2 mm lead core is also a little on the thick side for drafting and technical drawings. This essentially means that the WSD Aviation mechanical pencil geared toward art applications and for basic writing.
Paper Mate Clearpoint Mechanical Pencil
- Clear plastic body
- Soft grip design
- Slide system for easy operation while writing
- Jumbo twist eraser
- Standard #2 .7 mm lead
In the world of mechanical pencils, there is a niche in between cheap “Disposable” mechanical pencils and truly high-end writing instruments. As a well-known name in the industry, Paper Mate was quick to inject a middle of the road option to fit the needs of people who want to reliable pencil, without having to resort to old-fashioned wood.
The Paper Mate 1952700 Clearpoint Mechanical Pencil comes in a conveniently priced four-pack. Each unit is made from durable clear plastic which allows you to see the mechanical action inside as well as letting you know when the pencil is running low on lead.
It has a soft grip which makes it easy to hold the 4.8-ounce mechanical without having to worry about hand fatigue. There is also a slide system that allows you to advance more lead without having to hold your hand position.
At the back, there is a jumbo twist eraser. Replacement erasers and lead are also very affordable, which allows you to realize a full return on your investment.
What We Liked
The soft grip and slide system for advancing the lead is certainly a nice touch that adds convenience to what would be an otherwise utilitarian mechanical pencil. The fact that the lead and eraser can be easy refilled is also a nice touch. Not to mention the cost of a four-pack is still a little bit less than a single unit of a more high-end competitor.
If you are looking for a standalone high-end mechanical pencil, this four-pack of plastic units probably isn’t on your radar. If you are just looking for a utilitarian writing instrument that feels like it belongs in the 21st century, then it’s probably worth your money to keep a four-pack of Paper Mate Clearpoints in your desk drawer.
Pentel Sharp Kerry Mechanical Pencil
- Precision manufacturing
- .8 ounce weight
- .7 mm lead thickness
- Removable cap
- Pentel replacement lead and erasers
As a well-established manufacturer of high-quality writing instruments, Pentel has several mechanical pencil models. Each one is geared to a broad market as well as specific niche interests.
With the P1037A Sharp Kerry, they attempt to appeal to the average consumer, as well as those who need an executive pencil that looks sleek on their desk and writes with precise lines. This includes a meticulous precision manufacturing process to ensure quality in every Sharp Kerry.
Weighing in at a comfortable .8 ounces, this mechanical pencil won’t cause hand cramping or long-term hand fatigue. It also has a removable cap, which gives it the look and general feel of an executive pen.
The Sharp Kerry uses .7 mm lead for producing fine lines. Pentel also offers to refill Pentel Super Hi-Polymer HB lead and Z23-1 eraser replacement erasers.
What We Liked
While this pencil certainly has the quality craftsmanship that you look for when investing in a writing instrument, it’s a sleek look that mimics an executive pen that helps it to stand apart from the rest of the field. The removable cap is also a nice touch.
The Pentel Sharp Kerry isn’t necessarily the first thing you want to reach for if you are a professional crafter or artist. If you are looking for an executive pencil for your desk, then it certainly belongs near the top of your list.
Nicpro Mechanical Pencils Graph Set
- Metallic construction
- Anti-skid textured grip
- Hexagonal body
- .7 mm lead
- 4B soft erasers
The Nicpro Mechanical pencils come as a set. They are precision-crafted from aluminum and other metallic alloys to minimize hand fatigue. They also back it with a satisfaction guarantee.
These pencils have an aesthetically pleasing hexagonal body that tapers nicely into the round comfort grip.
The grip area is also textured to help you hold it securely in your hand. The Nicpro mechanical pencil uses .7 mm lead with 4B soft erasers.
What We Liked
The textured anti-skid grip and sleek metallic look certainly harken this mechanical pencil to be used for professional drafting. The fact that it comes in a set with a carrying case, as well as lead refills and replacement erasers is also a nice touch.
This mechanical pencil set is geared toward professional drafters and those who need to produce fine lines with accuracy. Though it also can serve as an executive pencil for business professionals who want to keep a visually interesting conversation piece on their desktop.
Jimmidda Mechanical Pencil Set
- Designed to use .5 mm and .7 mm
- Threaded grip
- Anti-skid texture
- Eraser cover
- 1.2-ounce body weight
The Jimmidda Mechanical Pencils are designed to give you the option to use a .5 mm or a .7 mm thick lead. This makes it an interesting option for times when you need a basic writing instrument, yet you can also dial in a finer point for technical drawings or drafting.
These mechanical pencils don’t use proprietary lead, which makes them versatile for replacements. Though this package includes replacement lead and erasers which helps maximize the return on investment as well as the long-term cost of use.
The metal body is heavy-duty, though it does add to the overall weight of each pencil. Weighing in at 1.2 ounces there is a little bit of risk of experiencing hand fatigue. Though the grip is threaded and textured which makes it easy to maintain a firm grip.
Just bear in mind that .5 mm lead can be prone to inaccurate bending or breaking. If you want to use the .5 mm it’s best to keep the lead as short as possible.
What We Liked
The textured grip is an important characteristic with these pencils, as it allows you to maintain a firm grip for accurate drawing. It’s especially important when you consider that the 1.2-ounce weight can potentially lead to hand fatigue.
This is a well regarded international mechanical pencil company offering two versatile pencils as part of a set. You get the feeling these writing instruments are meant for utilitarian drafting. The .5 mm option is a little bit of a double-edged sword as it allows you to make a very fine line, yet it can be prone to snapping off and breaking.
While the Jimmidda mechanical pencil is geared for professional drafting purposes, it is a little on the simple side. It’s perhaps best for students who need an affordable, versatile drafting pencil. It doesn’t really have the look or feel of an executive mechanical pencil.
Rite in the Rain All-Weather Mechanical Pencil
- .8 ounce weight
- Designed to write in all weather conditions
- Proprietary 1.1 mm lead
- Resin barrel
Rite in the rain is part of an umbrella company line of products developed to work in the chronically wet conditions of Washington state.
This mechanical pencil is ultimately part of a broad line of other products including pens, stationery, note pads, and portfolios that are all designed to work in all weather conditions.
This also means that their Rite in the Rain mechanical pencil uses proprietary lead and erasers available through the manufacturer or an affiliated online vendor. They do include 7 lead core refills in the initial purchase.
The proprietary lead and eraser refills do cost more than standard lead or other replacement erasers. This essentially makes the Rite in the Rain mechanical pencil a niche writing utensil for individuals who need a reliable writing instrument while they are in the field.
What We Liked
The ability to write in all weather conditions is what truly sets this mechanical pencil apart from the competition. To really make the most out of this quality writing instrument, you also need to invest in their related products like their notebooks and waterproof rated portfolios, hardcover notebooks, and CORDURA Fabric Notebook Covers.
If you just need a quality mechanical pencil for technical drawing and drafting, then this probably isn’t the right product for you. If you need to be able to write in a field journal in the rain, or you are an athletic coach who needs to take accurate notes despite the weather conditions, then chances are this is the writing instrument, and product line you have been looking for.
Uni Core Keeps Sharp Mechanical Pencil by Kurutoga
- Gunmetal color resin body
- Uses .5 mm lead
- Comfort grip
- Rotating feed mechanism
- .48 ounce weight
The Uni Core Keeps Sharp Mechanical Pencil by Kurutoga is another in a broad line of high-quality writing instruments.
It uses a narrow .5 mm lead, which makes it appealing to technical drawing, and professional drafting needs.
It features a lightweight resin body in a stylish gunmetal black. The grip was designed for comfort, while also allowing you to advance the lead via a rotating feed mechanism.
What We Liked
The fine point .5 mm lead is the most appealing factor with this mechanical pencil. Very few other quality writing instruments can produce such a fine line. The fact that the replacement lead is also relatively affordable is also a nice feather in this mechanical pencil’s cap.
This mechanical pencil is specifically geared to professional drafters who need to make incredibly fine lines. If you simply need a quality writing instrument for everyday use, you might find the propensity for lead breaks to be a little bit annoying.
rOtring 600 0.5mm Black Barrel Mechanical Pencil
- Hexagonal metallic body
- .64 ounce weight
- Fixed guidance sleeve
- .5 mm lead
- Can also use .7 mm lead
- Backed by a 2-year limited warranty
The rOtring 600 mechanical pencils were designed to be a professional-grade writing instrument that is as much at home in the office as it is on the drafting table.
The hexagonal metal body gives it rigid durability, while also preventing the annoying habit of rolling away as round pencils do. This is nice for times when you want to remove the pen clip.
Everything about this mechanical pencil speaks to its precision manufacturing and material quality. It has a precisely machined internal brass mechanism system for advancing the lead. The fixed guidance sleeve also reduces breakage. This is a very important feature for the times when you might want to use .5 mm lead for drawing precise lines.
It only weighs in at a very lightweight .64 ounces. It also has a textured metallic grip. These two features translate into superior accuracy without having to compromise hand comfort. This makes it widely appealing to just about every type of niche user.
What We Liked
The rOtring 600’s ability to use .5 mm and .7 mm lead makes it more versatile than many of its competitors. You could, for example, load it with .7 mm lead for the times when you just want a quality writing instrument. Should you need to make more precise lines for a fine art sketch or drafting a technical diagram, you can easily switch over to the .5 mm lead.
The fact that the rOtring 600 is backed by a 2-year limited warranty is also an added feather in its cap. This isn’t something you necessarily see in the competitors at this price range.
The rOtring 600 is a great technical pencil that can also handle double duty as an everyday writing instrument. The internal workings were specifically designed to precisely handle .5mm lead with minimal breakage.
Depending on your personal preferences, the one knock on this item is that it doesn’t really have the aesthetics to look like a true executive mechanical pencil.
Mechanical pencils are the next step in the evolution of writing tools. While most people over the age of 40 might remember their popularity in the 1980s, they actually have a history extending all the way back to the middle of the 19th century. It’s only today’s modern manufacturing efficiency that has made them conveniently affordable to the average consumer.
This also means that there are some interesting twists of engineering is something that is meant to replace such a simple writing device. While there are some manufacturer’s who believe they have “Built a Better Mousetrap” there are still some basic things you want to look for when shopping for a quality mechanical pencil.
The Weight And Overall Feel
Just like any writing instrument you want the mechanical pencil to feel comfortable when you hold and grip it. An overly heavy pencil can be cumbersome in the hand affecting your penmanship and possibly contributing the hand fatigue.
The same might also be true for the exterior texture or grip. While a sleek metallic exterior might look nice on your desk or in your pocket, it can also become slippery with the build-up of your skin’s natural oils or times when you might have sweaty hands. This too could affect the clarity of your writing as well as lead to hand fatigue.
While the ideal weight can vary from one person to the next a comfortable average seems to sit between .6 of an ounce to 1.2 ounces. Any lighter than that and the pencil might feel overly loose in the hand. Any heavier than that and the pencil could gradually start to cause hand fatigue.
The Type Of Lead
If you are just looking for a utilitarian mechanical pencil, then lead quality might not matter much beyond simple breakability. However, individuals who work in a field that involves a lot of drafting, and drawings, such as art and architecture, the line quality and thickness can certainly be an important factor. This includes the availability of the lead through affordable retail outlets or through online vendors.
The pricing structure for mechanical pencils can sometimes feel a little obscure. You have to weigh the overall quality of materials and the cost of lead replacement, with longevity. A cheap plastic mechanical pencil might not cost very much, but chances are it’s going to jam up or suffer other points of failure. Whereas a high-end mechanical pencil engineered from special metallic alloys might seem to be priced prohibitively.
If you are an average consumer, who simply appreciated a quality writing instrument, then you might be entirely satisfied with a mechanical pencil priced in the middle of the road. If you plan to use your mechanical pencil for professional reasons as part of your career, then chances are you are willing to spend a little more to see a true return on your investment.
The Cost Of Lead And Eraser Refills
With most quality mechanical pencils, the initial lead and eraser will wear out long before the pen body and mechanical components fade. While the cost of replacement is often very low, there are some refills that cost more than others, which can add to the overall cost of use in the long term.
Mechanical pencils are often inexpensive to mass-produce, which can encourage some newer companies to inject mediocre quality writing instruments into this market segment. Whenever possible, try to look for a more well-known brand. Even if it isn’t a common US brand, an international manufacturer with at least a decade of experience is more likely to offer you a quality writing instrument than a fly-by-night startup.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who Uses Mechanical Pencils The Most?
A. Mechanical pencils are essentially an answer to the age-old problem of needing to sharpen old fashioned wooden pencils. For more than a century, executives, scientists, and of course students have enjoyed mechanical pencils for their convenience.
Today drafting professionals like architects and technical graphic designers gravitate toward mechanical pencils not only for their convenience but also for their ability to produce a consistent line size. There are even some fine artists who prefer the nearly razor-sharp point, which allows them to illustrate finite details in roughs, proofs and final designs.
Q: What Is Pipe Slide?
A. A pipe slide is a mechanical sleeve of sorts that delivers the lead to the tip section of the mechanical pencil. Not only does it help maintain the overall integrity of the lead inside the pencil during an accidental drop but it also helps reduce lead breaking off. It can also reduce the number of short-stop pieces of lead that essentially break inside the pencil body and are too short for the mechanism to hold properly when delivered to the tip.
Q: Is A Retractable Tip Important?
A. Retractable tips serve two important purposes. First, they reduce lead breaking off while also helping some units to draw more smoothly. Second, they reduce the long-term wear and tear that can occur in your pocket. With a retractable tip, you don’t need to worry about things like a traditional “Pocket Protector.”
Q: Do I Need A Pocket Clip?
A. While there is a certain amount of personal preference for this, many people appreciate a mechanical pencil with a pocket clip. It allows you to take it with you everywhere you go. Still, you shouldn’t consider it a deal-breaker if a particularly interesting unit doesn’t have one. Chances are you can find a tablet, portfolio, case, or pencil holder that will suit your needs.
Q: Does The Body Material Matter?
A. The body of the pencil matters both in appearance as well as the overall weight. Most mechanical pencils weigh around 1 ounce or less. This reduces long-term hand fatigue which can be an issue for some drafting professionals.
Q: Do I Need To Buy A Secondary Eraser?
A. This is a common question posed by many mechanical pencil owners. With any mechanical pencil worth its price tag the eraser will wear out early in the mechanical pencils. Some mechanical pencil manufacturers specifically design their units to work with relatively inexpensive replacement erasers, which should earn them an extra point toward your consideration.
Still, many mechanical pencil users will buy high-end block erasers that live on the desktop right next to the writing instruments. This could be a simple matter of personal preference depending on your needs.
Q: Do All Mechanical Pencils Work In The Rain?
A. The lead inside most pencils is technically made from a form of graphite. Microscopic surface amounts essentially deposit when they experience traction with paper or other viable writing surfaces. The thinner a lead core is, the less overall physical contact there will be with the paper. In the case of typically narrow mechanical pencil lead, this could be an issue when writing on damp paper.
If you need to write in a field journal or simply take notes in adversely wet and humid conditions, you might want to prioritize a mechanical pencil that uses .7 to 1 mm or more thick lead. Keeping the paper in some type of protected portfolio will also help maximize the traction. It’s also worth noting that there are some manufacturers who produce mechanical pencil lead which is specifically designed to write in wet conditions.
With mechanical pencils, the temptation is to think of them as being cheap, if not even disposable. Yet when you take a closer look and give them a little more consideration, you’ll find they can be the same kind of quality writing instrument as an executive pen.
Take a moment to think about why you need a mechanical pencil and how you will likely use it the most. This will help you prioritize the features and characteristics that are “Needs” and which ones are “Wants.”
If you are looking for an executive pencil that looks good on your desk and writes comfortably in your hand, then overall esthetics may be a higher priority. Relatively inexpensive lead refills and replacement erasers might also be high on your list.
If you are a drafting professional or a student taking drafting classes, you might prioritize function over form. Looking for a lightweight pencil that produces a thin, consistent line, might be preferable. Yet an artist or a student taking a test might prefer a thicker lead, which can make a bold line.
Once you have defined the characteristics that are most important for how you will use the mechanical pencil, you will better be able to pick out the one you want from what can be a niche that leaves you feeling spoiled for choice.
Product Boxes: Last updated on 2019-12-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API