10 Best Mechanical Pencils In 2017

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While mechanical pencils have been around for more than 400 years the late 16th century versions weren’t exactly technical marvels. They were more like a crude clutch led pencil that simply held the graphite shaft in place while you 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.

Below we’re going to look at the 10 best mechanical pencils on the market today. Keep in mind that these results are based on the consensus opinion of our product review experts.

Our Top Piks for Best Mechanical Pencil:

It’s hard to beat a classic and the Skilcraft American .9mm 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.

  • The generous interior compartment 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 pencil.
  • Design won’t set the world on fire. It’s essentially unchanged for decades.
key features
  • Familiar to anyone who ever served in the US Armed Forces over the past 50 years.
  • Produced by the National Industries for the blind.
  • Ultra-dependable sliding metal sleeve gets the job done in any conditions.
  • Lead advances in a silky smooth manner every time.
  • The classic mechanical pencil with push action advancement.
  • 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.
key features
  • Outstanding design receives consistently high marks from both users and reviewers.
  • 0.7mm graphite shafts produce elegant high quality lines.
  • Hand-assembled to exacting tolerances for long life and durability.
  • Sophisticated metallic barrel with chrome trim accents.
  • Pleasing weight allows for a more natural feel and greater line quality.

It can be a pain searching for a pen when all you have is a pencil or searching for a pencil even though you have 2 or 3 pens in your pocket. The LAMY multi system is here to ensure you never have to ask “Do you have a pen/pencil I can borrow?”

  • This ultra-versatile combination writing instrument makes your job easier.
  • Hidden eraser is there when you need it. Just pop off the removable button.
  • The LAMY ballpoint pen is a high quality writing instrument as well.
  • The balance of the instrument is not everything we’d like it to be. Not bad, but not great.
  • You need to buy additional ink cartridges to get blue as the unit comes with black ink.
key features
  • Combination mechanical pencil and high quality ball point pen in a single writing instrument.
  • Sleek matte black finish goes with any outfit or work environment.
  • 0.5mm lead makes for fine, elegant lines perfect for everything from note taking to technical drawing.
  • Axle mounted spring clip lets you take the LAMY wherever you go.
  • Dual pen/pencil function means you’re never without the proper writing instrument for the job at hand.

One of the drawbacks of most mechanical pencils is the annoying habit of the lead to break. 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. That is the company’s exclusive rotating lead mechanism that maintains a sharp point while staving off those unwanted breaks.

  • 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.
key features
  • Exclusive lead is diamond infused to generate dark, satisfying lines every time.
  • The Kuru Toga features a rotating lead mechanism that keeps the writing point sharp while also helping to prevent breakage.
  • 2 extra erasers as well as 12 lead refills included.
  • A high degree of engineering excellence from tip to eraser.
  • Beautifully designed to fit the hand comfortably.

If you’re serious about drawing with a mechanical pencil the rOtring 600 .5mm Mechanical Pencil should be on your drawing table. 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.

key features
  • Highly precise lead advancement enabled by a solid brass mechanism.
  • Designed to stay in place even on angled drawing tables.
  • Beautifully balanced drawing pencil for long periods of fatigue free work.
  • Engineered to last a lifetime.
  • Built-in lead hardness grade indicator so you always know exactly what you’re working with.
  • Ergonomically ideal metal body for comfortable fit and optimal line quality.

Parker have teamed up their iconic Jotter pen with their equally iconic and dependable .5mm mechanical pencil to create the perfect gift 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 marks that will enhance your drawings or written correspondence.

  • 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 makes writing long letters a bit of a chore.
  • This is a minor quibble but it’s easy to confuse the two.
key features
  • High quality refillable Jotter pen and .5mm refillable mechanical pencil.
  • Iconic Jotter design is as sleek and attractive as it is comfortable.
  • The set makes a perfect graduation or promotion gift for family or friends.
  • Fabricated from durable high grade stainless steel to provide a lifetime of service.
  • Mechanical pencil is perfect for mechanical or architectural drawing or the graphic artist in your house.

The Rite in the Rain All-Weather Mechanical Pencil is ideal for those who work outdoors on construction sites or artists looking for a reliable mark making instrument for quick sketches. The bright yellow shell means that if you drop your mechanical pencil it won’t blend into the landscape and get lost while the wide 1.1mm lead provides you a full range of mark making possibilities.

  • The thick 1.1mm lead shaft is tough, break resistant and creates beautiful lines.
  • The affordable nature of the RitR mechanical pencil is a boon for everyone.
  • The feel of this pencil is comfortable and lends itself to various holds.
  • At 1 1/4 inches the leads are shorter than you may be used to.
  • It typically takes 2 hands to advance the lead.
key features
  • The Rite in the Rain mechanical pencil sports a patented tip design that discourages breakage and wobble and prevents graphite shafts from falling out under duress.ape and get lost while the wide 1.1mm lead provides you a full range of mark making possibilities.
  • The 1.1mm lead can produce bold marks or be finessed to generate a slew of marks of varying quality making it an excellent sketch tool.
  • Bright yellow exterior means you’ll always be able to find your RitR mechanical pencil if you drop it.
  • That bright yellow exterior is a resin shell of high durability.

999flowers are known for their ‘cute’ writing instruments so this one flies against the grain a bit. Instead of cuddly creatures and blossoms you get a total throwback look that emulates the classic #2 pencil. It’s a good look and plenty in keeping with the product in the sense that what you get here is a dependable, high quality mechanical pencil without a lot of frills, just like that good old #2.

  • The faux wood grain is well done and at first glance you’d never know the difference.
  • Can be bought as a package of 8 or as individual items as each has its own barcode.
  • The quality of the line is first rate.
  • Can be a bit of a chore replacing the lead although nothing too major.
  • If your child asked for 999flowers and you give them this they might be disappointed.
key features
  • Realistic wood grain finish accurately mimics the appearance of the classic #2 pencil of hallowed memory.
  • 0.5mm lead allows for ultra-fine mark making perfect for graphic designers and architecture students.
  • Available in 3 colors; classic, redwood and tope.
  • Each box contains 8 pencils so you’ll have enough to share with family and friends.

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 the revolutionary lead rotation system that keeps the point sharp and staves off annoying breaks.

  • 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.
key features
  • Revolutionary automatic lead rotation produces a dependably sharper line and fewer breaks.
  • Reliable lead advancing system.
  • Ergonomically designed grip varies in diameter from 9.7 to 9.8mm.
  • Protective tip sleeve length 2.7mm.
  • Sleek, thoroughly modern look in tasteful charcoal black.
  • Outstanding overall quality at an extremely attractive price.
  • Total weight of this mechanical pencil 28 grams (1 oz).
  • Design harkens back to the modernist heyday but with a postmodern sense of utility.
  • Super High-Polymer lead refills always create a beautifully concise but confident line.
  • The tapered 4mm tip means it’s ideal to use with rulers, templates and straight edges.
  • The tapered 4mm tip means it’s ideal to use with rulers, templates and straight edges.
  • It can be easy to forget which width of graphite you have inside.
key features
  • Premium mechanical pencil for drafting and other forms of graphic art and technical drawing.
  • Thoughtfully designed grip features metallic shell with acrylic inlays for superior comfort.
  • Retractable tip means no more incidental breaks from it simply lying about and no more pencil marks on your shirt pocket.
  • Uses Super High-Polymer Pentel lead for consistently pure marks.

Buyer Questions:

How Much Does a Mechanical Pencil Weigh?

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.

How Much is a Mechanical Pencil?

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 had for less than $20. 

How Does a Mechanical Pencil Work?

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.

How to Refill a Mechanical Pencil?

Each manufacturer engineers their own method for refilling their pencil 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.

How to Use a Mechanical Pencil?

For writing or drawing purposes you use a mechanical pencil the same way you use as 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. 

What Mechanical Pencil is Best for Drawing?

If you’re making mechanical or architectural drawings you’ll want a drawing pencil with a fine point, say, .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.

Things to Consider When Buying a Mechanical Pencil

Build Quality The way a mechanical pencil feels in your hand as well as the type and quality of the lead are of paramount importance. As such you’ll want a pencil that is well balanced and is extremely comfortable to hold. If you want to keep your pencil for some time look into one made of stainless steel or some comparably durable material.

Lead Quality If you’re a graphic artist or architect you want clear, crisp lines and the best way to get them is to use a high quality replacement lead like Uni NanoDia or Pentel Ain Stein. The quality of your line will also be a function of the width of the lead with finer leads preferred for technical drawing and thicker leads for artwork.

Price We touched on price above but it bears repeating because many people believe a mechanical pencil is a prohibitively expensive item. It’s not. You can purchase a beautiful mechanical pencil that will help you create stunning work and which will last a lifetime for about the cost of a pizza.


The mechanical pencil hasn’t completely usurped the traditional wooden #2 but it’s come pretty close. Today’s mechanical pencil is tiny marvel of engineering that is every bit as much precision instrument as the tactical flashlight or Swiss Army knife.

We hope you found the above information on the best mechanical pencil to be useful and be sure to check back soon for more product reviews and comparisons.