Draw, Write, Sketch: The Best Mechanical Pencils In 2022
While mechanical pencils have been around for centuries, the late 16th century versions weren’t exactly technical marvels they are today. Back then, they were more like crude clutch led pencils that simply held the graphite shaft in place while one wrote. It’s impossible to say exactly when the first true modern mechanical pencil was created – one with an internal mechanism for advancing the graphite in a controlled manner – but many credit it to Tokuji Hayakawa, whose “Ever Ready Sharp Pencil” became an enormous success and gave his budding company its name: Sharp.
Speaking of which, the best mechanical pencils should be very sharp in order to make precise and consistent lines, as well as sufficiently weighted so they feel comfortable to use even in lengthy writing sessions. Quality mechanical pencils typically boast a metal body that feels solid in hand, as well as a non-slip textured grip for writing control.
Below we’re going to look at the best mechanical pencils on the market today. Keep in mind that these results are based on the consensus opinion of our product review experts and that you may have to experiment a little in order to find the right one for your specific needs (sketching, drawing, writing…). Without further ado, here are some of the best mechanical pencils on the market for accurate, even, and precise lines.
- Best For Technical Drawing: Pentel GraphGear 1000 Mechanical Pencil
- Best For General Drawing: Uni-ball Kuru Toga Pipe Slide Mechanical Pencil
- Unique Design: WSD Aviation Aluminum Mechanical Pencil
- Best Budget Set: Paper Mate Clearpoint Mechanical Pencils
- Best For Writing: Uni-Ball Kuru Toga Roulette Mechanical Pencil
- Best For Standardized Tests: Pentel Sharp Kerry Mechanical Pencil
- Best For Bold, Solid Lines: AbilityOne American Classic Mechanical Pencil
- Most Versatile: LAMY Multi System Ballpoint Pen & Mechanical Pencil
- Best Hexagonal Shape: rOtring 600 0.5mm Black Barrel
- A True Classic Set: Parker JOTTER Ballpoint Pen & Mechanical Pencil Set
The Best Mechanical Pencil
The Pentel GraphGear 1000 Mechanical Pencil is a fantastic drafting pencil that will satisfy the needs of the most demanding mechanical draftsman, architect, or graphic designer. This (0.5 mm) is our number one mechanical pencil for accuracy and control. The chiseled metallic grip with soft pads provides writing comfort while at the same time dissipating heat and sweat to make your lengthy sessions even more comfortable. The retractable pencil tip will protect lead from breaking, plus help keep your shirt pocket clean.
A mechanical pencil that’s as evocative looking as it is functional, the Pentel GraphGear 1000 would be an outstanding value at twice the price. It’s comfortable, reliable, easy on the eye and easy on the bank account and best of all, it makes great-looking lines. Turn your mechanical drawings or graphics work into something truly special with the Pentel Graph Gear 1000 mechanical pencil. It’s available at various lead sizes, so choose the one that suits your needs and preferences best. This is also a perfect gift for architects in your life.
Dual-action retractor protects lead from breaking
Chiseled metallic grip with soft, non-latex pads
Eraser under the silver cap
Available in 0.3mm, 0.5mm, 0.7mm & 0.9mm sizes
- Weight0.8 Oz
Ideal mechanical pencil for precise, controlled, clear lines
Lightweight and very comfortable to use
Both the lead and eraser are refillable
The pocket clip while welcome is a bit overwrought and can get caught on things
The Kuru Toga mechanical pencil sports what may some consider to be the most important advance in mechanical pencil technology since the invention of plastic: the company’s exclusive rotating lead mechanism that maintains a sharp point while staving off those unwanted lead breaks.
We love innovative thinking and the Kuru Toga mechanical pencil is innovation incarnate (yes, it’s an exaggeration, but it really is that good!). The self-sharpening, rotating lead makes for far fewer interruptions while you’re trying to work and the whole pencil is just a joy to hold, even for extended periods of time. If you’re tired of your lead tips breaking on you every 10 minutes get the Kuru Toga and relax. Our guide to the best bolt action pens offers more great writing options so check it out.
Has a central rotational mechanism that allows the pencil to rotate continually
Uniform wear of pencil in the course of use to keep the pencil pointed all the time
Provides a highly efficient method of pencil use
A protective guide pipe to ensure that the entire length of the lead is shielded
- Weight0.32 Oz
Is there a more ground-breaking advance than the rotating self-sharpening point?
The pen is as physically attractive and comfortable as it is innovative
Diamond-infused lead creates beautiful lines for a mechanical pencil
The eraser is perhaps the only weak point in an otherwise excellent design
It can be something of a pain to find replacement lead
The multifunctional WSD Aviation Aluminum Mechanical Magnetic Control Pencil is a unique piece of equipment with a revolutionary design. It features a magnetic ring that controls the entire length by sliding. In the process of writing, the magnetic ring stays firmly on top of the pencil to ensure smooth and uninterrupted work. Bonus: it doubles as a decompression device when you slide the magnetic ring up and down or rotate it. This can help keep you focused and eliminate any hyperactivity, anxiety, and stress associated with working over long periods of time.
It is compatible with color refills and all refills are easy to come by. Aside from enabling you to draw and write smoothly in comfort, it also has a very fashionable outlook to inspire the hard-working and thoughtful user with a discerning taste. It is lightweight, convenient to carry with you and fun to use. What’s more, a 2 mm pencil core and sharpener come with it as accessories.
Magnetic controlled pencil
Universal 2.0mm size
Acts as a nice decompression device during work
Compatible with color refills
- Weight0.64 Ounces
Possibly the coolest looking mechanical pencil
Simple design, simple to use
Very lightweight and convenient to carry
Awkward to hold when you get to the tip
The Paper Mate Clearpoint Mechanical Pencils feature a slide click lead advance that enables you to extend the pencil lead without relinquishing your hold on the pencil itself. This enables you to keep focus and get an uninterrupted flow of thought. This set of pencils does not require sharpening since the needed precise tip is obtained by simply clicking the advance. For easy handling and comfort during those long writing projects, the Clearpoint mechanical pencil sports a soft textured grip.
Corrections can be made easily by means of a large eraser that extends with just a little twist. This eraser cleans and removes unwanted marks and specks pretty well from the page to achieve smooth and easy writing. However, sometimes (depending on paper), it doesn’t remove them completely, but for this price, we’re not complaining. The actual lead writes nice and dark, and should not break. You can also never be taken by surprise since the barrel is transparent to enable you to see how much lead remains in the pencil at any time. For more cool products like this, check out our selection of the top coloring pencils.
4 pack of 0.7mm mechanical pencils
A slide click lead advance enables you to extend the lead without leaving the pencil
Textured barrel for comfort and firm grip
Large eraser to ensure completeness of every work
Transparent barrel allows you to see how much lead remains anytime
- BrandPaper Mate
- Weight1.92 Ounces
Great value pack
Very comfortable to write with even during lengthy sessions
The eraser does its job but not always cleanly
The Uni-Ball Kuru Toga is heavy enough to aid in the production of high-quality mark-making yet light enough and designed well enough that you’ll never suffer from writer’s fatigue when using it. On top of that, the Kuru Toga boasts a revolutionary lead rotation system that keeps the point sharp and staves off annoying lead breaks.
With many other mechanical pencils, the circular lead wears down on one side creating a situation where the quality of your lines suddenly becomes inconsistent. The Uni-Ball Kuru Toga solves that problem by using the motion of the mechanical pencil itself to rotate the lead constantly. This produces uniform wear around the circumference of the lead and consistent line quality.
Lead rotation system
Compatible with all 0.5mm leads
Produces consistent lines
All metal body
- Weight0.48 Oz
Beautifully sculpted and balanced design for hours of fatigue-free use
Proprietary rotating lead system produces consistent line quality
Tapered end means you always see the marks you’re making as you make them
May be a bit too light to easily produce the type of line quality some graphic artists require
Refilling can be a bit confusing for the uninitiated
Looking to switch from a traditional pencil to a mechanical one? We recommend checking the Pentel Sharp Kerry Mechanical Pencil out as it looks fantastic, is easy to use, and produces precise, beautiful lines. With the profile and feel of an expensive pen, it’s just as at home in the boardroom as it is at the drawing table. The cap is a nice feature that provides balance while the pencil is in use.
The Pentel is an ideal writing instrument for students and professionals alike. The capped pen is built to last, produces a consistently high-quality line and the HB lead is perfect for standardized tests. Pentel has copious experience producing high-quality writing instruments and this is the latest example. Make sure you also check our guide to the top-rated fountain pens for more great products like this.
Handcrafted with watchmakers tools for precision
Pre-loaded with HB lead that doesn’t require sharpening
One of the rare mechanical pencils with a cap
Available in 0. 5mm and 0. 7mm lead sizes
- Weight2.4 Pounds
Perfect size to fit pocket or purse
Heavy enough to be comfortable and produce an elegant line but not so heavy it’s a problem
Lead is guaranteed scannable, which makes it ideal for standardized tests
So good-looking you’ll have to keep an eye on it to prevent people ‘borrowing’ it forever
More expensive than your standard mechanical pencil
It’s hard to beat a classic and the AbilityOne’s American Classic .9mm mechanical pencil is just that. Long touted by members of the Armed Forces for its dependability and the clarity of its line, this pencil continues to deliver today for military and civilian users by the millions.
When you need a graphite pencil that’s going to perform in the field or in the office without having to make endless trips to the sharpener, the Skilcraft American Classic is the pencil for you. Nothing flashy about this product; just years of reliable performance for anyone who purchases it. Push action lead, oversized 1 1/4 inch eraser, and rubber grip complete the list of features. This also makes a perfect gift for gift for law students.
Push-action pencil with thick 0.9mm lead
Sliding metal sleeve at the point prevents lead breakage and movement
Interior compartment stores lead refills
Comes with a replaceable eraser
- Weight4 Ounces
The generous interior compartment neatly stores plenty of backup lead refills
Convenient spring pocket clip so you can always have it at the ready
Shock-absorbing tip protects the exposed graphite from breaking
A bit more expensive than some other brands of mechanical pencils
The eraser is not the greatest as it doesn’t fit very tight
Who hasn’t had to scrounge around looking for a pencil when they had a pen or vice versa? Well, those days are over with the LAMY Multi-System. With this pen/pencil combo in your pocket, you never have to ask “Do you have a pen/pencil I can borrow?” again because this is a versatile two-in-one mechanical pencil and ballpoint pen.
You’re likely to find yourself using both options far more than you ever imagined; which is a testament to the common-sense utility of the device. Both mechanical pencil and ballpoint pen are well-engineered and produce high-quality marks on a consistent basis and the whole thing clips into your pocket for easy retrieval.
Ballpoint pen and mechanical pen in one
M21 Black ink and 0.5mm pencil lead
Cylindrical, smooth body with a matte finish
With system identification ring and eraser
- Weight1.06 Ounces
This ultra-versatile pencil will make your job/studies easier
Hidden eraser is there when you need it; just pop off the removable button
When it comes to quality writing utensils, Lamy is the way to go
The balance of the instrument is not everything we’d like it to be -n definitely not bad, but not the greatest either
You need to buy additional ink cartridges to get blue as the unit comes with black ink
If you’re serious about writing and drawing with a mechanical pencil, the rOtring 600 .5mm Mechanical Pencil should be on your desk. The rOtring is designed for a lifetime of dependable high-quality mark-making that will ensure your graphic work is always the best it can be. Everything about the rOtring is intended to enhance the quality of your output.
If you need a high-quality mechanical pen for your architectural renderings or graphic art you’ll want to make sure you have the rOtring in your arsenal. The thoughtfully designed grip and precise line quality make this mechanical pencil a cut above the ordinary. Its hexagonal shape, meanwhile, ensures it won’t roll off your desk easily. Excellent for use in conjunction with rulers as the tapered drawing end keeps the pencil out of the way of the product. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the most reliable tactical pens.
Full metal body with a knurled metal grip
Brass mechanism allows for guided lead
Comes with an eraser
Available in .5mm and .7mm lead size
- Weight0.64 Ounces
A thoughtfully designed classic mechanical pencil that produces precise high-quality marks
Fixed guidance sleeve prevents annoying lead breakages
Hexagonal shape ensures the pencil stays in place
Not always great at writing on a single sheet of paper with a hard surface underneath
Nonretractable tip can be a bit of a nuisance
Parker have teamed up their iconic Jotter pen with their equally iconic and dependable .5mm mechanical pencil to create the perfect gift set for the executive, architect, or graphic artist on your list. Both pen and pencil exude Parker’s trademark build quality and both create high-quality lines that will enhance your drawings or written correspondence.
Everyone on our review panel stated they’d love to have this set sitting on their desk and for good reason. Both the mechanical pencil and ballpoint pen are well built, attractively designed, and produce beautiful high-quality marks that make all your work look better. It may not be a fountain pen, but this set is a true classic in the world of mechanical pencils – great for all kinds of work, ideal for long writing sessions. You can use it as a writing pen for work as well.
Ballpoint pen and mechanical pencil set
Refillable 0.5 mm lead
Sturdy, stainless steel design
- Weight5.1 Ounces
Excellent grip on both pencil and pen
Iconic stainless steel design is the perfect complement to the office environment
The high polymer lead used in the mechanical pencil staves off broken tips
The pen might be a tad light which might make writing long letters a bit of a chore
This is a minor quibble but it’s easy to confuse the two
Why Trust Us
To give you the very best mechanical pencils, our research team has spent three days researching the topic and trawling the web for the best models. We've read dozens and dozens of verified customer reviews so we could present you with a clear picture of each pencil's pros and cons. Special attention was paid to lead advancement and eraser performance.
Who This Is For
This guide is for anyone looking for a quality mechanical pencil. Whether you're looking for a thinner lead for your detailed and intricate projects, or a thicker lead for bolder and smoother marks, we've got you covered.
How We Picked
Curating the list of the best mechanical pencils was no easy task as the market is literally packed with all kinds of mechanical pencils (for writing, drawing, taking notes, with clutch mechanism, with a pencil case and without it... you name it, it probably exists), plus what's a great pencil to one may be a poor pencil to another depending on a person's preferences. So, we focused on including a wide variety of mechanical pencils for all needs and budgets. While we didn't test mechanical pencils for this guide, rest assured we've done our research.
Features To Look For In Mechanical Pencils
Pencil material - If you want a pencil that will last you a long time, possibly a lifetime, we highly recommend full metal body mechanical pencils as they're very durable and long-lasting. If you're not ready to invest in a mechanical pencil yet, there are many quality plastic pencils to choose from. But what's most important is how the pencil feels in your hand and how comfortable it is to write with it for long periods of time. Some people like a knurled grip while others prefer a rubber grip.
Graphite or lead size - The width of the lead determines what kind of marks and lines your pencil will produce: thin and precise or bold and smooth. Most people like 0.5mm and 0.7mm graphite sizes as they're great for a variety of projects. Having said this, there are thicker and thinner leads available, and which one will be the best for you depends on your needs. For example, if your work is intricate and you need to capture a lot of details, you'll probably want a 0.3mm or 0.5mm lead size. If you want something hardy that can take a lot of pressure without breaking, go for a 0.7mm or 0.9mm lead size.
Graphite hardness - Most common grades of graphite or lead hardness are 2B, B, HB, H, and 2H, in that order. This means that the 2H produces the lightest imprint, while the 2B produces the darkest of the five. HB is right in the middle and is used in most schools.
Other features - Mechanical pencils are pretty straightforward writing utensils - when good, they produce consistent lines, are comfortable to hold, easy to use, and pocket friendly. But some are more advanced and practical than others and it's a good idea to pay attention to the details when shopping for your mechanical pencil. For example, do you want a pencil with an eraser or do you not mind using a separate eraser and always having it on hand? Do you prefer a hefty luxury pencil or a lightweight, all-weather everyday carry pencil for your work?
Mechanical Pencil FAQ
Q: How much does a mechanical pencil weigh?
A: While the weight of a mechanical pencil will depend on the materials and the manufacturer, most tend to hover around 28 to 30 grams or about 1 oz. Any more and you risk hand fatigue, any less and the line quality would likely suffer.
Q: How much is a mechanical pencil?
A: We’re talking about pencils here so even the most extraordinary example on our list isn’t going to cost you much more than an entre at a decent restaurant. In fact, almost every pencil on our top 10 list can be purchased for less than $20.
Q: How does a mechanical pencil work?
A: Each mechanical pencil on our list advances the lead either by way of a screw-based mechanism or by way of a push mechanism located at the eraser end. In either case, the lead shaft is advanced incrementally downward and out of the tip. This mechanism essentially replaces the need for the pencil sharpener.
Q: How to refill a mechanical pencil?
A: Each manufacturer engineers their own method for refilling their pencil or 3d pen/fountain pen but the most popular method begins with checking the side of the pencil to find out what size graphite shaft it uses. Then removing the cap (eraser end) from the mechanical pencil, inserting replacement lead, and returning the cap to its position.
Q: How to use a mechanical pencil?
A: For writing or drawing purposes you use a mechanical pencil the same way you use a standard pencil. What’s different is that there’s no need to sharpen the point in order to expose new lead. With the mechanical pencil, you screw or click until new lead appears instead.
Q: What mechanical pencil is best for drawing?
A: If you’re making mechanical or architectural drawings you’ll want a drawing pencil with a fine point, say, 0.5mm. If you want to use your mechanical pencil for art sketches you’ll want something like the Rite in the Rain pencil profiled above with its 1.1mm thick lead that can create a greater variety of marks.