Best Mechanical Pencil 2021: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

January 29, 2021-Kirk Hale

Our Top Picks

Waterman Expert Rollerball Pen
Pentel GraphGear 1000
  • Built-in hardness indicator
  • Dual-action retractor to prevent the tip from breaking
  • Tip length is 4mm  
uni-ball ONYX Rollerball Pen
BIC Xtra Sparkle
  • Pack of 24 mechanical pencils 
  • Smudge-free lead that assists in neat and clean writing
  • Retractable design for ultimate convenience
  • Available in a variety of colors
INC R2 ROLLERBALL 0.7 MM Tip
MozArt Supplies
  • Set of 4 mechanical pencils of different sizes
  • Available in an elegant and minimalist pencil case
  • 30 HB lead refills provided 
  • Ideal for sketching, illustrations, drafting

Pencils are one of the most essential tools that are required in school, as well as at work. While we generally think of pencils to be cumbersome because they have to be sharpened frequently, mechanical pencils easily solve this problem. These pencils come with a lead that can be extended mechanically and also refilled; hence, do not need to be sharpened at any point. You can always refill it with your preferred lead.  


This highly efficient, durable, and easy-to-carry tool is extremely beneficial for any artwork, for taking notes, and other kinds of work. In this article, we have put together a list of the best mechanical pencils, along with certain important factors that need to be considered before buying one. This might be useful to you, because of the plethora of mechanical pencils available in the market today. 

Top 10 Best Mechanical Pencil 2021

1. Pentel GraphGear 1000

Top Pick

Pentel GraphGear 1000 Best Mechanical Pencil

 

  • Built-in hardness indicator
  • Dual-action retractor to prevent the tip from breaking
  • Tip length is 4mm 
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Pentel is a stationery brand, that brings to you the GraphGear 1000 automatic drafting pencil. It is ideal for professionals and enthusiasts alike. There is a built-in lead hardness indicator that can help you to identify the type of lead you prefer to work with. The mechanical pencils are color-coded, so that the lead type can be easily identified according to each color.   

It comes with a dual-action retractor that can be extended and retracted while using the pencil. This mechanism protects the lead and keeps it from breaking. You can use the pencil with rulers, as well as templates easily, due to the 4 mm tip length. The line size for this particular model is 0.3 mm, but you can also find various other sizes as well. 

The Pentel Super Hi-Polymer HB lead is pre-loaded in this mechanical pencil, and it never needs to be sharpened. The lead will not break easily as it is extremely strong, and can produce a clear dark line every time. 

Pros
  • Fine tip for thin lines - great for drawing and making designs
  • Strong lead
  • Comfortable writing
  • Ergonomic
  • Easy to carry around
  • Reasonable price
Cons
  • None

2. BIC Xtra-Sparkle Mechanical Pencil

Budget Pick

BIC Xtra-Sparkle Mechanical Pencil

 

  • Pack of 24 mechanical pencils
  • Smudge-free lead that assists in neat and clean writing
  • Retractable design for ultimate convenience
  • Available in a variety of colors
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BIC brings to you this Xtra-Sparkle mechanical pencil that is available in a set of 24. They are available in a range of colors, like blue, green, orange, purple, and red. Considered to be one of the best lead pencils, this mechanical pencil comes with sparkly barrels that are fun to use, especially for children. 

Ideal for standardized tests, you can write extremely well with the Xtra-Sparkle mechanical pencil. The lead is completely smudge-free, so that your handwriting is always neat and clean. A tiny eraser is provided at the rear end of the mechanical pencil that is very efficient and handy. 

It comes with a convenient, retractable design, and the lead is smooth as well as strong. You will never have to sharpen the pencil and it can be easily refilled once the lead finishes up. It leaves a dark and legible mark on paper every time you use it. 

Pros
  • Value for money, as you get 24 pencils at a reasonable price
  • Strong and smooth writing
  • Easy to use and does not require sharpening
  • Smudge-free
Cons
  • The lead is very thin and light
  • Eraser is too small

3. Mechanical Pencil Set With Case

Mechanical Pencil Set With Case

 

  • Set of 4 mechanical pencils of different sizes
  • Available in an elegant and minimalist pencil case
  • 30 HB lead refills provided 
  • Ideal for sketching, illustrations, drafting
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The third product on this list is special, because of its versatile nature and the wholesome package in which it is available. MozArt manufactures some of the best mechanical pencils in the world, and this statement has been made based on both the design, as well as the performance of these mechanical pencils. This particular pencil case contains 4 mechanical pencils of different sizes, accompanied by 30 HB lead refills for each. 

The four sizes are 0.3mm, 0.5mm, 0.7mm, and 0.9mm, and these can be used depending on the nature of your work. The lead thickness is consistent, resulting in beautiful handwriting and drawings. The pencil is quite compact, lightweight, and portable; you can simply carry it around in your pocket wherever you go. 

These pencils have an ergonomic body that is comfortable to hold and convenient to write with. The additional clip on the pen makes it even easier to carry with you. The four different sizes have been provided so that artists, architects, teachers, and engineers can all use them alike. The elegant pencil case is an added advantage that makes these mechanical pencils so appealing.

Pros
  • 4 differently sized mechanical pencils in 1 set
  • Ergonomic
  • Comes in a minimalist case, that makes this a perfect gift for various occasions
  • High-quality material
  • Serves multiple purposes
Cons
  • No replacement erasers provided

4. Pentel Twist-Erase III Mechanical Pencil

Pentel Twist-Erase III Mechanical Pencil

 

  • Available with a 0.5mm lead
  • Reduced lead breakage, with the help of the protective tip design
  • Latex-free, for a strong grip
  • Pentel Super Hi-Polymer HB lead inside the mechanical pencil
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Pentel brings to you, yet another one of its excellent quality mechanical pencils, that make for extra smooth and neat handwriting. The pencil is available in black, and there is an extra-soft, latex-free grip that allows you to write comfortably and with ease. Lead breakage is minimized with the protective tip design, that makes the lead stable and sturdy. 

This one ranks as the best mechanical pencil for writing, as it comes pre-loaded with the Pentel Super Hi-Polymer HB lead - that does not require any amount of sharpening. The lead is strong and able to produce clear, dark lines on every usage. Even if you make mistakes, the eraser at the tip of the pencil can easily get rid of the unwanted lines. 

The twist-erase mechanical pencil has the most sturdy and well-balanced barrel. Pentel is reputed for manufacturing mechanical pencils that rank high on performance, and it always keeps the writer or artists’ comfort and convenience in mind. To top it all, the price at which you get the mechanical pencil is quite reasonable and affordable. 

Pros
  • Reduced lead breakage
  • Ergonomic, with a latex-free grip that makes writing a less exhausting task
  • No smudges
  • Lead is super strong and makes dark lines
  • Eraser provided at the tip
  • Durable
Cons
  • None found

5. Paper Mate Mechanical Pencils

Paper Mate Mechanical Pencils

 

  • Mechanical pencil with comfort grip
  • 40% more lead than other pencils
  • Smudge-resistant eraser
  • Pack of 12 colorful mechanical pencils
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Paper Mate is an Indian brand that produces the best mechanical pencils ever, at the most affordable price for people across the world. The mechanical pencils come with 40% more lead that makes them last longer. They are available in a variety of colors like blue, green, yellow, orange, and so on. 

Long writing tasks are powered by the comfort grip, that helps you write for a long time without any pain in your fingers. The smudge-resistant eraser works to clean the marks when needed. The 0.7 mm lead makes medium-sized lines, and the pencil can be used for school, office as well as home use. 

There are 12 mechanical pencils available in the pack. If you are a regular user, then this package is a great offer, as it lasts for a very long time and is durable. Write your exams or take notes with these strong and sturdy mechanical pencils.

Pros
  • Comfort grip that allows for longer writing
  • Smudge-resistant eraser
  • Multi-purpose mechanical pencil
  • 40% more lead that makes the pencil long-lasting
Cons
  • Lead might break easily
  • The eraser is extremely small and tends to press in while using

6. Uni Mechanical Pencil

Uni Mechanical Pencil

 

  • Roulette model ensures that the lead remains sharp and pointed at all times
  • Lead rotating technology
  • 0.5 mm lead size
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The Uni Mechanical Pencil Kuru Toga Roulette model is a pioneer when it comes to the lead rotating technology. This technology has revolutionized mechanical pencils, by ensuring that the lead remains sharp and pointed at all times. Every time you lift the pencil off the page, the lead rotates slightly, allowing it to take a conical shape gradually. 

Ranked as the best metal mechanical pencil, this roulette model has a 0.5 mm lead and is accompanied by two lead sets that you can use to refill the pencil. Constant thinness is maintained, so that there is consistency in your writing. The core of the pen is quite slim and compact, so that it can be kept inside a pen case easily. 

The metal grip section allows you to hold the mechanical pencil with ease, and write for a long time without feeling any kind of discomfort. This model is stylish, elegant, and makes for a perfect tool for writing, drawing, and illustrating. The pencil feels extremely light in the hand. An additional eraser is provided at the end of the pencil.

Pros
  • Constant sharpness of lead is maintained, and the pencil is never blunt
  • Sleek, stylish, and high-quality body
  • Nimble and lightweight
  • Comfortable to write with
Cons
  • Fixed lead sleeve
  • Slightly expensive

7. Mr. Pen- Mechanical Pencils

Mr. Pen- Mechanical Pencils

 

  • Pack of 2 mechanical pens with two sets of extra leads, and 3 sets of erasers
  • Drafting and drawing pencil 
  • Metal body with minimalist design
  • A simple click advances the lead
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Mr. Pen is yet another brand that is known for manufacturing some of the best mechanical pencils that are available in the market. The pack contains a set of 2 mechanical pencils, 2 sets of lead with 12 leads each, and 3 additional erasers that you can use as a replacement, once the pre-installed eraser wears out. The pencils are available in a compact and beautiful package. 

The metallic silver body of the pencil is glossy and has a shiny finish. This sleek and slim design of the mechanical pencil gives it a stylish look, that is ideal for any corporate or executive occasion. However, the pencil is equally useful for taking notes, writing memos, technical drawings, and so on. 

For general and technical writing, you can rely on this mechanical pencil from Mr. Pen to be by your side at all times. The lead easily advances and retracts back by pressing the clip at the rear end. It results in smooth and consistently good handwriting. This is an excellent drafting pencil that never requires any sharpening. The eraser does a great job and even when it gets over, 3 more erasers are provided to replace them. 

Pros
  • Sturdy metal body with minimalist design
  • Comfortable grip for long-lasting usage
  • Spare erasers and lead provided
  • Ideal for art, professional work, but also daily use
  • Reasonable price
Cons
  • It is not as hefty as one would expect

8. Pentel Smash Drafting Mechanical Pencil

Pentel Smash Drafting Mechanical Pencil

 

  • 4 mm long, thin metal lead sleeve
  • Drafting mechanical pencil
  • Lead hardness indicator available, that helps you to adjust the lead grade as per requirement
  • Emergency use eraser at the end
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Pentel has a reputation for producing some of the best mechanical pencils, along with various other stationery items as well. The Pentel Smash Drafting mechanical pencil accommodates a 0.5 mm lead, that is quite thin and perfect for producing fine lines on paper. This particular model is available in a beautiful shade of orange, and the overall design of the pencil is simple and gorgeous. 

A special Smash Katakana pencil tube is included in the mechanical pencil, that assists in beautiful handwriting. If you are an architect, this pencil is perfect for drawing fine thin lines - resulting in neat and well-illustrated designs. The barrel of the pen is quite durable and sturdy. The retractable pencil comes with the smash plunger. 

The pencil provides a strong grip to its users, so that you are comfortable as you write, and can continue using the pencil without any pain in the fingers. Another factor that draws people to this particular mechanical pencil, is the case in which it comes. It has a cylindrical shape that can stand upright with the pen inside. This case makes the pencil ideal to be given as a gift for various occasions. 

Pros
  • 4 mm long, thin metal lead sleeve
  • Drafting mechanical pencil
  • Lead hardness indicator available, that helps you to adjust the lead grade as per requirement
  • Emergency use eraser at the end
Cons
  • End is stabby
  • Lead gets used up fast when the pencil is used for writing

9. Nicpro 6PCS Art Mechanical Pencils Set

Nicpro 6PCS Art Mechanical Pencils Set

 

  • 3 mechanical pencils for drafting
  • 3 mechanical pencils for drawing, sketching, and writing
  • 12 tubes of lead refills
  • Non-slip comfort grip for easy writing
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Nicpro brings to you this amazing set of 6 mechanical pencils; each designed to serve a specific purpose. 3 of these mechanical pencils can be used for drafting, while the other 3 can be used for writing, drawing, and sketching. The lead size differs in every pencil, depending on the purpose it serves. 

A sharpener is provided with the 2.0 mm mechanical pencils that can be used to sharpen the lead refills before using them. With the non-slip comfort grip, it becomes increasingly easy and comfortable to use these mechanical pencils - by children and adults alike. The pencils have a balanced weight, so that you can continue writing for a long time without feeling tired. 

Teachers, artists, architects, professionals, and even students can make effective use of these pencils. While the three 2.0mm pencils have a slightly thick body, the other three are sleek and thin. Along with the lead refills for each of the pencils, 3 additional erasers are also provided for your benefit. 

Pros
  • Multiple varieties of mechanical pencils to suit every task
  • Balanced weight for comfortable writing
  • Non-slip comfort grip
  • An efficient storage case provided
Cons
  • None

10. rOtring 600 Series Mechanical Pencil

rOtring 600 Series Mechanical Pencil

 

  • 0.35 mm lead for ultra-fine lines
  • Metal design with knurled grip
  • Grade indicator for lead hardness
  • The brass mechanism used for improved lead advancement
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The Rotring 600 series mechanical pencil is an iconic one, and this is a mechanical pencil best for writing as well as sketching. It is the most durable mechanical pencil that you will come across, as it promises to stand by your side throughout your lifetime. With a 0.35 mm lead, the mechanical pencil ensures ultimate precision in every task you undertake. 

Different kinds of tasks like writing, sketching and drawing, demand a different intensity from the pencil. You can adjust the hardness of the lead with the lead hardness grade indicator. The breakage of the lead is prevented by the brass mechanism, that allows for an improved lead advancement. 

This mechanical pencil has a full metal body and a knurled grip that does not let your fingers slip while writing. With these features in place, you can write or draw for hours without feeling discomfort or any inconvenience. The pencil has also been shaped in such a way that when you lay it on a flat surface, it does not roll down. 

Pros
  • Well-balanced metal body for comfortable usage
  • Ergonomic metal barrel
  • Lead hardness grade indicator
  • Firm grip
Cons
  • A delicate tip that can break if not carried around carefully

Factors To Consider Before Buying The Best Mechanical Pencil

In this article, we have curated a list of some of the important factors that need to be considered before buying the best mechanical pencil.

1. Lead Advancement Mechanism

While using a mechanical pencil, the most prominent feature is its lead advancement mechanism, and different pencils use different mechanisms. If you are an avid user of such pencils, you must have some knowledge about the variety of lead advancement mechanisms. 

  • Push Button- The push button mechanism is the most prevalent type of lead advancement mechanism that is used in most mechanical pencils. A push-button is provided at the rear end of the pencil, which when clicked advances a certain amount of lead. This button is sometimes present on the side of the pencil as well. The best mechanical pencil for school that students prefer using has this mechanism, since it is quick. 
  • Shaker- This is a new mechanism, that has only been recently adopted by mechanical pencils being manufactured around the world. All you have to do is shake the pencil once, and an internal mechanism advances the lead. You can maintain your grip as you advance the lead while writing or sketching.

People are of different opinions when it comes to which mechanism is better - the push button or the shaker? Since the push button has been traditionally used for a long time, people are used to its mechanism, and hence, they find it more comfortable. On the other hand, few people prefer the shaker to the push-button mechanism.

  • Twist- Mechanical pencils with the twist mechanism usually have a knob on the top or in the middle of the pencil. Turning this knob advances and retracts the lead easily, and in no time at all. With the knob, you can decide how much lead you want to use and turn it in accordingly. 

Conventional mechanical pencils use this mechanism to advance lead. However, this mechanism comes with its share of limitations or drawbacks. One is that it can only be found in pencils that accommodate more than 0.7 mm lead size, and another limitation is that only pencils that can hold one piece of lead come with this mechanism. 

  • Bend or Body Knock- Here is yet another recent innovation in the stationery industry, and it's called the bend or body knock that is used in mechanical pencils today. There is a special joint in the grip section that can be squeezed to advance the lead. You can operate this mechanism from any side of the pen, and that is what makes this worth purchasing. 
  • Automatic- The last lead mechanism that we will briefly discuss is the automatic mechanism, which demands no intervention from you to advance the lead. All you have to do is continue writing, and as the pressure of the paper falls on the lead sleeve of the mechanical pencil, the lead automatically comes out. 

This is based on a ratchet mechanism that advances the lead as you write. What bothers a lot of people is that with this type of mechanical pencil, the lead sleeve is always hanging on the paper.

2. Lead Size

If you are looking to buy the best led pencils, the lead size is something you will have to take into consideration. There are different lead sizes available in the market, ranging from 0.2 mm to 0.9 mm - and all of them are ideal for different purposes. The thin leads result in lines that are fine and sharp, but these also tend to be prone to breaking easily. 

On the other hand, the wide leads offer darker and smoother lines, but they cannot be used for any task that requires close attention to details. Most of the mechanical pencils available in the market, and that people use have 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm leads, which are break-resistant and sturdy. 0.2 mm leads are applauded for their precision. Thus, before buying a mechanical pencil ensure that you know what you will use it for.

3. Grip Section

For a comfortable and enjoyable writing experience, you need the best grip section, and to understand which pencil will provide this, you must have some knowledge about the different diameters and materials that the grips are available in. Individual preference plays an important role in this as well. 

  • Diameter- The diameter of the grips in mechanical pencils can vary to a great extent. If you suffer from hand issues like repetitive strain injury and arthritis, or simply have bigger hands, it is best to go for pencils with wider grips. Narrow grip sections tend to be more comfortable for people with smaller hands. 
  • Material- The different materials that are used to make the grips for mechanical pencils are rubber, silicone, metal, and plastic. While these are the most common materials used in some of the best mechanical pencils ever, you will occasionally come across grips made with more exotic materials. Plastic grips tend to be firm, and they warm up rapidly when touched. 

Rubber and silicone grips are similar, in that they can either be firm or be soft and squishy. Metal grips on the other hand are quite similar to plastic grips when it comes to firmness but heavier and cool to touch. 

4. Eraser

Pencils and erasers go hand in hand, as any mistake made by the pencil are taken care of by an eraser. Most mechanical pencils come with a tiny eraser fixed at the tip that proves to be quite handy and efficient. However, if you plan on using a mechanical pencil regularly, it is best to pick a model with a generously sized eraser that will last longer. 

5. Advanced Features

This section consists of all the new and innovative features that mechanical pencil designers keep coming up with all the time. These advanced features make the pencils even more useful and effective to use. 

  • Retractable Tip- Sharp metal lead sleeves can cause an end number of problems like making holes in your pocket, poking and scratching other pens or pencils, and so on. To avoid this, there are mechanical pencils available that come with retractable tips. These are pocket-safe tips that tend to be blunt, and not at all edgy and hence, perfectly safe for your pockets. 
  • Lead Protection- Pencil leads are prone to breakage, especially if they are extremely thin. Hence, mechanical pencils have sliding lead sleeves as the most common type of lead protection found in mechanical pencils. Other types of lead protection techniques are the dynamic sleeve and the spring cushion.
  • Dual Clutch- This feature ensures that no amount of lead is wasted, as it allows you to use the lead up to the very last bit left advanced outside. This feature allows you to use up all of the lead, without the 15% that is wasted in most mechanical pencils without this feature. 
  • Auto Lead Rotation- The last one on this list of advanced features to be found in the best mechanical pencil, is the auto lead rotation. This ensures that the lead is sharpened at all times and never turns blunt. In most mechanical pencils, the lead wears down after some time, and is no longer able to produce fine lines. Pencils with the auto lead rotation ensure that every time the lead is pressed against the paper slightly, it rotates to result in a sharp lead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How Long Can A Mechanical Pencil Last?

Good quality and efficient mechanical pencils can last as long as a decade. However, this is only possible if the pencil is used with care and not abused. Pencils with simpler mechanisms tend to last for a longer time, as the chances of any malfunction or damage is less. 

Q2. Which Lead Size Is Better- 0.5 Or 0.7 Mm?

The bigger the lead size, the stronger it is and it tends to produce darker lines. Hence, the 0.7 mm lead is more sturdy and resistant to breakage, but since it produces darker lines, it is also prone to smudges. 0.5 mm leads produce fine lines that are ideal for tasks that require special attention to details, but they can break more easily. 

Conclusion

From this article, it is quite evident that the options and varieties of mechanical pencils are endless. However, the article mainly aims to guide you to choose one that is ideal for you and meets all your requirements. The best mechanical pencil will be by your side for a lifetime, and this can only be ensured if you can pick the right one amongst the thousands available. 

Kirk Hale


Kirk developed a passion for writing since the age of 8, since then, he has been collecting pens and then extended the hobby to collect stationery and art supplies. An extension of that hobby resulted in this blog about pens, pencils and everything in between.
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