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Last updated: October 30, 2022
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Thanks to technological advancements, the age-old writing equipment, the pencil, has been transformed into an indispensable mechanical product. There’s so much to love about mechanical pencils, including their unparalleled engineer-like precision and whimsical artistry. The best mechanical pencils for drawing will offer you top-tier convenience with their sharp and erasable nature; plus, they have ergonomic handles that offer superior comfort.
If you think you know what to look for in a mechanical pencil, you are in for the rudest shock. The market is saturated by multiple brands and models, that choosing the best can be a tad confusing. Lucky for you, we came up with a list of the best mechanical pencils to help you make the right choice. We also included some of the aspects you need to consider before buying one, like dimensions, weight, lead diameter, and mechanism. They largely determine the pencil’s functionality and overall convenience. The mechanism and the lead diameter will determine the quality of what you will be drawing or using the pencil for.
Other features: lead rotation mechanism, pipe slide, fine point
This tops our list for a myriad of reasons. It sets itself apart from the rest with its lead rotation mechanism and other top-notch features. It is a famous go-to for many artists because of the unrivaled convenience and efficiency it offers.
The pencil utilizes an innovative mechanism that ensures that its lead wears out uniformly to remain sharp and always pointed. The core rotation mechanism continually rotates the pencil’s lead as you draw or write, and a spring-loaded clutch increasingly twists it every time you lift it from the paper.
The result is an impressive thin line that any artist will appreciate. You will find that you only get to use 50% of the lead area you have been using with other regular pencils.
Even more, the pencil’s lead will hardly break as you write or draw, thanks to its pipe slide system. It works to ensure that the pipe gets shorter at the same time; the core is reduced. Moreover, the guide pipe protects the whole length of the lead.
What makes it special? The fact that you don’t get to experience any lead breakage with this pencil is a huge bonus as you won’ struggle with any smudges on your papers or projects. The pencil is also lightweight and easy to handle owing to its comfortable grip.
What cons did we find? The pencil has a teeny tiny eraser that isn’t ideal for people who make mistakes.
This is the ultimate tool for artists and writers that value superior functionality and style. The pencil holds a top position among the premium choices with its durable build and professional-grade quality.
The Rotring 600 comes in 2 colors in a hexagonal shape. The hexagonal shape prevents it from rolling away when placed on a flat surface. It boasts an ergonomic design and an enhanced metal body with a knurled grip that offers you premium comfort when holding it. Together with the pencil’s lightweight build, the design reduces fatigue on the wrist and fingers.
You can choose to get a pencil with either 0.5mm or 0.7mm lead diameter. The leads are high-polymer and highly flexible. Plus, they have a lead hardness indicator to help you identify the type of lead you are working with to avoid time wastage and increase your work accuracy.
Unlike many other pencils, the rOtring 600 sure is made for the artist or writer who isn’t afraid of making mistakes. It comes with a collection of spare erasers that are robust and durable and can easily fit the pencil.
Additionally, the erasers are the ultimate choice for erasing polymer and graphite pencil marks. They hardly affect ink lines and don’t have any abrasives, thus leave your work surface clean and undamaged.
What are our favorite features? The pencil has a high-quality build and is packed with features that make it produce precise and clear lines. It also offers options when it comes to lead sizes and color.
What could be better? the pencil doesn’t feature a retractable tip, and it can be hard to work with on a single sheet.
Other features: 6 Super Hi-Polymer HB lead refills, replaceable eraser
Any architect, artist, or drafter knows the essence of having a pencil in different thicknesses. The Pentel P200 series is a solid pencil set choice with pencils that are expertly engineered for drafting, drawing, and writing.
The set contains 4 pencils with 0.3mm, 0.7mm, 0.5mm and 0.9mm lead diameter. The 0.3mm pencil stands out with its clearing pin attached to the eraser.
All the 4 pencils come with 6 super Hi-polymer HB lead refills that are stronger and more long-lasting than standard leads. Also included for each of the pencils is a replaceable eraser.
What makes it special? the pencils are made to last with high-grade polymer lead and metal tips. They are also incredibly lightweight and easy to handle. Plus, you don’t have to decimate your bank balance to own the set.
What cons did we find? The packaging of the pencils is not quite up to scratch.
Other features: handcrafted, replaceable Z23-1 eraser refill, fine point
Pentel is a world-famous brand known for some of the most durable and versatile stationery with unique designs and advanced technology, and the Sharp Kerry is no exception.
The pencil has been painstakingly designed hence its fine, precise look. It features a resin barrel that gives it a unique, sophisticated touch. It further distinguishes itself with a cap that effectively prevents unnecessary lead breakage when keeping it in your pocket or purse. This makes it the best carry-around option. What’s more, the cap gives the pencil proper balance when it’s being used.
The handcrafted pencil has an impressive lightweight build that makes it super easy and comfortable to use for extended periods.
Essentially, the pencil features the super Hi-Polymer HB lead that is pretty robust and doesn’t need any sharpening. It produces an elegant and crystal clear dark line that you can scan and use with any standardized test.
What do we love it for? The most outstanding feature of this pencil is its cap, which is a rare thing among other mechanical pencils. Its scannable lead also makes it a rarity, which somewhat explains its hefty price point.
What were we disappointed with? the pencil’s cap can easily get lost, plus it is much pricier than other regular models.
Other features: push action, bold point, replaceable eraser
This is hands-down the best push-action mechanical pencil that money can buy. It is durably built and well-designed to offer you a convenient and longer-lasting performance.
The pencil is made of high-grade plastic that is remarkably lightweight. Its manageable weight adds to the push-action convenience making it a favorite among artists that don’t take ease-of-use for granted.
The pencil has a sliding metal sleeve at its bold point to reduce lead movement and prevent unnecessary breakages. It has a convenient interior compartment that neatly stores the lead refills. This leaves your pocket or purse clean and guarantees you durable performance.
Further, the pencil comes with four 0.9mm bold point leads that are strong and thick. Also featured are a spring pocket clip and a replaceable eraser.
Why are we impressed? The push action is not only convenient in terms of ease of use but also protects the pencil’s lead from breakages or damages.
What negatives must you be aware of? The pencil’s eraser doesn’t fit perfectly, thus falls out easily and can be annoying, especially if you are prone to making mistakes. The pencil’s lead also tends to wobble a little on the tip.
Other features: magnetic ring, CNC machined, soft touching
You don’t have to spend a fortune on a mechanical pencil. The WSD is a fantastic choice for anyone who loves to shop for quality at reasonable prices. The pencil is a favorite among artists and architects highly preferred for sketching. This is because it holds a larger lead compared to other pencils allowing for a more free-flowing and sketching style of drawing.
The pencil has a subtle and minimalist design with a soft-touch feel that is easy to carry and hold for longer periods. It is also built to last with aluminum and a metal tip.
The pencil sets itself apart with its innovative construction that uses a magnet to control its lead’s length. This eliminates the need for clicking. Additionally, the pencil’s magnetic ring can act as a decompression tool that does well at alleviating stress and anxiety, helping you to remain focused on your work.
Another huge plus for this pencil is its anti-roll mechanism that ensures the 2mm lead maintains consistency with its lines regardless of the angle of your table or working surface.
What are our favorite features? This is the ultimate mechanical pencil for the money. It is also a prime choice for anyone who struggles with finishing tasks and meeting their deadlines on time owing to its decompression tool. It is soft to the touch and easy to handle, plus it offers clear and consistent lines perfect for sketching or shading.
What could be better? The pencil has a cute enclosed sharpener that is very impractical to use. It will take you longer to sharpen the pencil than draw or sketch up something.
Things to Consider
A lot goes into choosing the best mechanical pencil for drawing. Without the right information, you will regret your buy. This section has all the pro tips you need to gain buyer’s confidence. You will get to know the pros that come with owning a mechanical pencil and the essential features that a good one should have.
Benefits of mechanical pencils for drawing
There’s so much to gain from a mechanical pencil as an artist, architect, or any kind of drafter. Here are some of the pros that come with owning one:
When a mechanical pencil runs out of lead. You simply insert a new one saving you the hassle and mess involved in sharpening a regular pencil. They also come with replaceable erasers that you can easily use to correct your mistakes.
Mechanical pencils provide the most consistent lines, allowing you to create more accurate and neater drawings or handwritten notes. They are perfect for imaginative or expressive work because their size and weight remain constant, unlike wood pencils that become finer when sharpened.
Regardless of what you intend to use the pencil for, whether it’s drawing or writing, you will only need to replace the lead when it runs out and not the entire pencil.
Features to consider when choosing the best mechanical pencil for drawing
Here are some of the essential parameters you must consider before buying a mechanical pencil to make the best choice out of the endless options on the market.
Lead diameter and degree
This should be your top consideration as it determines the type of lines you will be achieving with your pencil.
For very fine lines, be sure to go for a pencil with a 0.3mm lead, and for drawing and writing, go for the 0.5mm lead.
For sketching and drawing that are not detailed, you can use a thicker lead of about 0.7mm.
Mechanical pencils employ different mechanisms for lead point advancement. You should pick one that serves your needs best. The most common mechanisms include; push-button, shaker, twist, bend, and automatic. The push-button is normally located at the back of the pencil, on its side, or integrated with the clip. It is the most common mechanism.
The shaker mechanism requires you to shake the pencil so that the internal sliding weight system can get activated to force the internal click to advance the lead.
As for the twist mechanism, you have to twist the pencil when you want to advance or retract the lead. The knob that you should twist is located at the back of the pencil.
The bend mechanism allows you to advance the lead by pressing the pencil at a particular point near the pencil’s grip.
Last is the automatic mechanism, which is the most advanced and easiest mechanism. It advances the lead automatically by getting activated immediately the lead sleeve feels pressure from the paper.
The materials used to make the pencil is an equally critical consideration as they determine its quality and durability. Choose a pencil built with rugged materials like stainless steel or any other metal like the rOtring 1900181 800+ Mechanical Pencil and Touchscreen Stylus. They are not only long-lasting but also feel premium with a perfect weight balance that wouldn’t cause fatigue or discomfort with prolonged use.
Plastic may feel cheap if you value the feel of a pencil when sketching, writing, or drawing. You may also not find it weighty enough for a great writing or drawing experience.
Weight and grip
Weight and grip play a major role in determining your writing or drawing experience. That’s why it is important to go for a pencil with an ergonomic design. It should be lightweight enough with a comfortable grip. Some pencils have special features like a bumpy texture to improve your user experience.
Sooner or later, you will use up all the lead in your pencil, and you will need a refill. You must check to see that you get lead refills similar to the one your pencil came with. Most pencils have the lead size printed on them to avoid any inconveniences. A lead refill narrower than the original lead will fall out the pencil tip when you advance it, while a wider one will get jammed inside the pencil.
Just like traditional wood pencils, mechanical pencils also vary in their hardness. If you want the hardest pencil, pick one with the 9H mark. The softest pencil is usually marked with the 9B mark. As for the in-between, not too soft, not too hard, you can go with the standard HB.
This depends on what the pencil will be used for. For instance, Uni Nanodia is a perfect choice for all purposes, while for sketching and writing, the Pilot Neox Lead leads. The Pilot Color Eno Neox are the best multi-colored leads, and the Pentel Ain Stein are a fantastic choice for maths equations.
The market may be saturated with too many options, but there is something for everyone, and with the right information, getting what fulfills your needs and wants shouldn’t be difficult. Our guide contains the best-rated options on the market that will offer you the best convenience and unrivaled durability. If you are particular about long-lasting performance, you can choose to go with our top choice, the Uni Kurutoga M54521P.24 Mechanical Pencil. Its auto lead rotation system ensures you get a consistently even and accurate writing or drawing experience even if the pencil is used for long.
The rOtring 1900181 800+ Mechanical Pencil and Touchscreen Stylus is our second best recommendation. If you are ready to spend a pretty penny on a mechanical pencil, this should be your prime pick. Its superior and versatile functionality set it apart from the rest. Its outstanding hexagonal design sets it apart from its peers as it can’t roll on when placed on a flat surface.
Out third choice, the Pentel P200 Series Auto Mechanical Pencil Set, is the best mechanical pencil set that money can buy. The pencils offer solid longevity with their Hi-polymer HB lead refills. They also offer unparalleled versatility with their varying lead sizes. The set’s reasonable price point places it high among the best mechanical pencils for drawing on the market.
How to Choose Mechanical Pencil Lead: 9 Steps (with Pictures)
Being intentional with your choice of lead hardness and size will help you use your mechanical pencil more effectively.