To the uninitiated, mechanical pencils might all seem the same. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are dozens of options available for every use you could possibly think of, and at every imaginable price-point.
Whether you’re looking for your first mechanical pencil or another one to add to your collection, we’re sharing our top ten mechanical pencils available on the market right now.
10. Kokuyo FitCurve
Students and artists love this Kokuyo FitCurve mechanical pencil for its great price and comfort-factor.
- The wide, firm rubber grip is comfortable to use
- Sliding lead sleeve helps to avoid lead breakages
- Great price for such high-quality
Kokuyo dates back to 1905 and is a master of stationery, and their FitCurve pencil demonstrates years of know-how.
This is a pencil designed for lengthy note-taking or sketching sessions. The 0.64 oz. weight combines with a generous thickness to feel great when in use, and the rubber grip will help avoid hand fatigue during long days at school or work.
The sliding lead sleeve is designed to prevent breakages and means that you can write for longer without having to click for more lead. And, the inch-long eraser is high-quality and can be replaced when it runs out.
The FitCurve is also pretty cheap at way under $10, making it a bargain for all that it offers.
Lamy pencils aren’t cheap, but the convenient and stylish design of the Multisystem makes it worth the investment.
- Pen and pencil combination gives you the best of both worlds
- The slim design is comfortable to use for long time periods
- Comes in a presentation box making it a great gift
The main selling point of this option is that it doubles as a refillable ballpoint pen. This is a handy addition if you like to use both pen and pencil for your work or studies, and switching between the two functions couldn’t be simpler.
This pencil operates with a twist mechanism, and writing is comfortable with the slim and well-weighted design.
This pricy bit of stationery comes in a presentation box, so would make a great gift to anybody who’s in the market for a high-end mechanical pencil.
This Rite in the Rain all-weather mechanical pencil is the best option on the market for outdoor sketching and note-taking.
- Durable design is robust enough to work in any weather
- Lead is smooth yet bold, making it a pleasure to use
- Comes with extra leads and erasers for long-term usage
The obvious selling point of this pencil is that it functions in the rain. This is a great feature of artists who like working with landscapes, or engineers and anyone else that work in unpredictable conditions. The patented tip is built to expand so the lead won’t break, and the strong barrel is as durable as they come.
The light 0.8 oz. build if effortless to use. The thick 1.1 mm lead feels smooth to use and is bold enough to take clear and easy-to-read notes or measurements. Each pencil comes with seven extra leads and two extra erasers, which, for the price, is pretty impressive.
Design is at the heart of the Kaeco Special, and you won’t find a better-looking pencil on the market.
- The striking all-metal design looks and feels professional
- Available in various lead-sizes for different uses
- Fixed metal lead pipes are great for using with a ruler or template
The Special is easily the most elegant mechanical pencil on our list. The golden metal design screams “high-end”, and the octagonal construction is minimalist perfection. The untreated brass will get better with age as it tarnishes, and it’s deceptively light at just 0.7 oz. Available in four different lead-sizes from 0.5 mm to 2.0 mm there’s a perfect version available for delicate sketches, clear note-taking, and bold design-work.
Each version uses a click mechanism to reveal the lead, and all but the 2.0 mm version includes an eraser under the cap. The smaller sizes also have fixed metal lead pipes, which make them usable with a ruler or template while letting you see exactly what you’re drawing or marking out.
My personal favorite. Marketed as an unbreakable pencil, the DelGuard system from Zebra could last you a lifetime however you choose to use it.
- DelGuard design is built to be unbreakable
- The textured grip gives greater comfort
- Great weight for a thin pencil
Made in Japan, the cleverly engineered patent-pending system is designed to avoid annoying lead-breakages. The double spring mechanism ensures that the lead is secure which helps to stop it snapping in vertical and angled positions.
The textured grip feels good in the hand and protects against hand-stress during long exams or note-taking sessions, and the durable design makes it equally as useful in for marking up wood and other rugged materials.
This reasonably-priced pencil also has a well-balanced weight to it despite its lightweight look, making it a joy to use.
Pilot’s Dr. Grip mechanical pencil is the perfect everyday option for work, school, and pretty much everything else you can think of.
- Commended by the Arthritis Foundation for comfort and ease-of-use
- Metallic design is practical and stylish
- 0.9 mm lead is the perfect thickness for everyday usage
Comfort is the key selling point of this pencil, so much so that it’s been commended for ease-of-use by the Arthritis Foundation. The shake or knock mechanism is an easier way to get more lead and is perfect for users with less dexterity.
The classic painted metallic barrel looks professional and is robust enough to take you from the classroom or office straight to fieldwork. The 0.9 mm lead is strong enough to stand up to most uses, but will really shine with writing and drawing.
- Ideal for clear and accurate technical drawings among other uses
- Lightweight and comfortable for long work sessions
- Dual action lead protection system prevents breakages
The Graph Gear 1000 is a robust multitasker. High-polymer lead refills deliver strong and precise lines for clear note-taking, accurate technical drawings, and wherever else you need accuracy.
The tapered 4 mm tip makes it great for use with rulers and straight edges, so craftspeople would do well to consider this option. 0.8 oz. is a good weight for an everyday mechanical pencil and the chiseled metallic grip with soft latex pads keeps you comfy through long writing and drawing sessions.
Available with either 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, or 0.9 mm lead there’s an option to suit your personal preferences. And, the dual action retractor protects the lead from breakages for an uninterrupted workflow.
The Graph Gear 1000 is surprisingly cheap for how much it offers and makes a superb first step into the world of mechanical pencils.
German engineering, quality materials, and thoughtful features combine to make the ROtring Rapid PRO one of the best mechanical pencils on the market.
- The metal body feels great during prolonged usage
- 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm models have a sliding sleeve design to avoid lead breakages
- 2.0 mm design includes a sharpener to keep the lead at its best
The full metal body has a great weight to it and is perfectly balanced for a great in-hand feel. The non-slip metal knurled grip also feels comfortable against the fingers and helps to relieve pressure and fatigue during prolonged usage.
The push-button mechanism reveals 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, or 2.0 mm lead, and the sliding sleeve and cushioned lead mechanism in the two thinnest lead models work together to make writing more comfortable while protecting against lead breakages. The 2.0 mm model has a built-in sharpener hidden under the push-button cap to keep the thicker led sharp enough for legible writing and precise drawing.
It’s not the cheapest pencil on the market so it’s probably better suited to professionals rather than students. But, for less than $50 you’re getting world-leading German engineering backed by almost a century of expertise.
This classic Sharp Kerry pencil from Pentel has been a firm favorite since its unveiling over two decades ago, and it’s a worthy runner-up on our list.
- Built using watchmaker’s tools for incredible precision
- Careful engineering makes this pencil robust and long-lasting
- Surprisingly low price for such high quality
The high-end design is actually made with watchmaker’s tools for more precision and accuracy than you might have previously considered possible in a mechanical pencil. In terms of aesthetics, it actually looks more like a pen than a pencil: the nicely-sized resin barrel is comfortable in the hand and the cap will protect against accidental pencil marks when not in use.
Such care during the manufacturing process means that these pencils will last a lifetime. There are also lots of thoughtful touches including a replacement eraser hidden under the cap, and a handy lead storage tube hid inside.
The Sharp Kerry is surprisingly mid-range in terms of price. It’s also available in a variety of colors, as well as in two lead thicknesses (0.5 mm and 0.7 mm).
The Kuru Toga from Uni tops our list of mechanical pencils for its innovative features and super-low price.
- Patented twist mechanism protects the lead while keeping it sharp
- Light and stylish design looks and feels great
- Incredibly low price for such impressive quality
The issue of lead breakage has been resolved by several of the manufacturers on our list, but Uni has taken this one step further and has figured out a way to stop the lead becoming blunt and your writing inconsistent. Their patented twist and turn lead mechanism rotates the high-quality 0.5 mm lead every time you lift it off the page, keeping it sharp and ready to deliver crisp and clean lines.
The stylishly designed barrel is super-light at 0.32 oz. which is a real selling point if you’re prone to hand fatigue during long working sessions. And speaking of design, it’s available in a few different colors if you fancy a change from standard black.
What’s perhaps most impressive about this mechanical pencil, though, is just how cheap it is. You can pick it up for less than $10, which is astounding considering how good this pencil performs.
Here’s what to consider when buying a mechanical pencil:
- Purpose – some pencils are designed for precision note-taking, whereas others shine when they’re put to work on more rugged tasks. Thicker leads are great for marking wood, and thinner leads are perfect for technical drawing and use with math equations.
- Weight – most pencils are around 1 oz. but there are plenty of lighter and heavier options out there. Beware of the risk of hand-stress with heavier pencils if that’s something you’re susceptible to.
- Design features – some pencils feature extras like grips and erasers, so keep an eye out for those additions if they’re important to you. Also look out for lead protection features that help avoid breakages.
- Price – the pencils on our list range from a couple of dollars to closer to $50. With mechanical pencils a higher price doesn’t always equal higher quality, so don’t rely solely on this when making your choice.
No matter your budget and your requirements, there is a mechanical pencil on the market that’s perfect for you. When you’re shopping around, bear in mind how you plan to use the pencil, and make sure that it has the right design and features to keep you happy.
What’s your favorite mechanical pencil? Let me know in the comments.