The Best Mechanical Pencil (Guide) – 2016 Reviews

best-mechanical-pencil-review-guideIf you’ve ever put pencil to paper for a long period of time, you’re probably aware of the many annoyances that come with it. From hand cramps, to having to sharpen your lead frequently, a conventional pencil makes it difficult for you to focus on the writing at hand. For this reason, you should consider purchasing a high-quality mechanical pencil.

Because of their design, these pencils can store a bevy of lead while also providing you with superb comfort at all times. Whether you’re in school, at work, or just have a need for a pencil around the house, a mechanical pencil is a reliable, consistent, and highly-functional writing utensil that will make your writing experiences as simple and effortless as possible.

Compare: The 10 Top Mechanical Pencils of 2016

What is a Mechanical Pencil?

Typically made out of either metal or plastic, mechanical pencils are devices capable of holding pencil lead which can be slowly let out of their hollow bodies. Unlike traditional wooden pencils, these pencils do not need to be sharpened. As long as they’re filled with lead, they can be continuously reloaded.

Mechanical pencils are available at all different prices, with high-end models being typically constructed out of attractive metals, and low-end models being typically constructed out of plain plastic. They also typically come equipped with attached erasers and pocket hangers.

What are the Benefits of a Mechanical Pencil?

When compared to typical, wooden pencils, mechanical pencils shine. Not only are they capable of holding a great deal of lead at one time, but they also don’t need to be sharpened. This allows you to write continuously for long periods of time without having to sharpen your pencil and lose your train of thought.

Another benefit offered by mechanical pencils is that their erasers can typically be replaced after they have been worn down. This can not be done with wooden pencils; at least not with the same style of eraser.

Who are the Contenders for Best Mechanical Pencil?

BIC Pencil Xtra Life – Made out of 75% recycled plastic, the BIC Pencil Xtra Life is eco-friendly and sturdy enough to withstand a great deal of wear and tear. Capable of storing up to three #2 leads, it allows for smooth and easy release at all stages of a lead stick’s life. Designed to accommodate 0.7 mm point lead, it excels at word writing, though it can be used for everything from sketching, to drafting, and more.

Pentel Graph Gear 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil – Constructed from metal and designed specifically for drafting purposes, the Pentel Graph Gear Drafting Pencil is the top drafting mechanical pencil on the market. With a padded grip that is adorned with rough, metal ridges, it is beyond easy to grip firmly, and with a confident stability. Available in lead sizes of 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, and 0.9 mm, it accommodates all drafting purposes.

Zebra Airfit S, 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil – Equipped with an ergonomic silicone grip, the Zebra Airfit Mechanical Pencil is easy to hold, and allows for comfortable use over long periods of time. Made out of tough metal, and sporting a plastic pocket grip, it is both highly durable and easy to store. Designed to hold 0.5 mm pencil lead, it can be used for everything from word writing, to sketching, to drafting.

Considerations for Choosing the Right Mechanical Pencil

There’s nothing too flashy about any given mechanical pencil. It is, after all, just a writing device meant to substitute for typical, wooden pencils. However, there are small differences between each mechanical pencil on the market. And since you’re probably going to be using your pencil over long periods of writing, each small aspect of the pencil’s being will actually have a huge impact. So, when choosing a mechanical pencil, there are a few things you should look out for and take into consideration. These things include grip-ability, lead capacity, ease of use, and the existence of any additional features.

Grip
Because you could potentially be using your mechanical pencil for long periods of continuous writing, you’re going to want to make sure that it feels comfortable in your hand. Many mechanical pencils come equipped with ergonomic rubber grips that are designed to have a lot of traction.

Lead Capacity
Depending on how thick it is, each pencil is going to have a different amount of storage space. Typically, if a mechanical pencil is wider and thicker, it’s going to have a greater capacity for storing sticks of additional lead. This means you won’t have to carry as much external lead around with you.

Ease of Use
In general, all mechanical pencils are very easy to use. Most have a button located somewhere on them that allows for you to push lead out slowly and consistently as you run out. One of the most important things to look out for is how you insert new lead into the pencil. In some mechanical pencils, this can be a tricky task.

Additional Features
For the most part, mechanical pencils are fairly basic. However, there are some that possess some additional features as well as additional items that are included with them. Pocket clips, lead volume indicators, and storage cases are a few of these features.

Grip

Pentel Graph Gear 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil

Sporting a chiseled metal grip, this Pentel Automatic Drafting Pencil is also lined with non-latex ovular pads that allow for a tight, sure, and stable handle. Equipped to handle precise and detailed drafting work, it is well-balanced and rests in your hand calmly so that you can draft whatever you want with it.

Zebra Airfit S, 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil

Equipped with a silicone grip that is soft to the touch, this Zebra mechanical feels beyond comfortable in your hand, allowing you to write for long periods of time. Because it’s bottom weighted, it is always balanced and stable.

BIC Pencil Xtra Life

Made out of a tough plastic, this BIC mechanical pencil does not possess an additional grip, but instead has a molded, shaped area on which you can place your hands. This isn’t as comfortable as the grips on the Zebra and Pentel mechanical pencils in our top 3, but it’s still fairly comfortable overall.

Lead Capacity

Pentel Graph Gear 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil

Measuring in at 6 inches in length, this Pentel Automatic Drafting Pencil is capable of holding 0.3 mm pencil lead. Because of its rather thick construction, it allows you to insert about five sticks of lead at one time, ensuring that it doesn’t have to be opened up frequently.

Zebra Airfit S, 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil

As far as lead capacity goes, this Zebra mechanical pencil is very similar to the Pentel mechanical pencil in our top 3. It’s rather wide, and so can accommodate up to about 5 lead sticks at one time. This allows you to write for long periods of time without having to add additional lead.

BIC Pencil Xtra Life

Capable of holding 3 full length leads at one time, this BIC mechanical pencil falls a little below the Pentel and Zebra mechanical pencils in our top 3. However, even after it has run out of lead, it is fairly simple to open up so that you can put new lead in it.

Ease of Use

BIC Pencil Xtra Life

There is no pencil on the market that is easier to use than this BIC mechanical pencil. To insert new lead, you simply remove its eraser, place the lead sticks into its body, and put the eraser back on. To advance lead, you just press down on the eraser, slowly, but consistently pushing out lead as you need it.

Zebra Airfit S, 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil

When it comes to ease of use, this Zebra mechanical pencil is comparable to the BIC mechanical pencil in our top 3. Lead is added by taking off its eraser and placing the lead inside. To advance lead, you simply press at the top of the pocket clip. This will slowly and reliably push out new lead whenever you need it.

Pentel Graph Gear 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil

As far as ease of use goes, this Pentel Automatic Drafting Pencil falls below the BIC and Zebra mechanical pencils in our top 3. Its eraser is covered by a removable metal cap which must be pressed down in order to advance lead out of its tip. To put additional lead in it, its container sleeve can be retracted by pressing on its pocket clip.

Additional Features

Pentel Graph Gear 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil

When it comes to additional features, the Pentel Automatic Drafting Pencil reigns supreme. Equipped with a lead hardness indicator, it allows you to adjust the lightness and darkness of its lead. It also possesses a nice pocket clip that makes for simple and convenient transportation.

BIC Pencil Xtra Life

As far as additional features go, this BIC mechanical pencil is pretty standard. While it does possess a useful pocket clip, it really has no other features to speak of. Though it should be noted that it is made out of 75% recycled materials.

Zebra Airfit S, 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil

For the most part, this Zebra mechanical pencil is fairly basic. Its only real additional feature is its pocket clip, which allows for easy storage and transportation. A simple mechanical pencil with a comfortable grip, it excels at long term use.

Conclusion: Our Mechanical Pencil Reviews

Pilot Color Mechanical Pencil – Best Cheap

pilot-color-mechanical-pencil-enoFor a mechanical pencil in its price range, the Pilot Color Mechanical pencil is the best mechanical pencil you’re going to find. Made of tough, durable plastic and equipped with a soft, ergonomic silicone grip, it is easy to hold, and does its job flawlessly. Designed to hold 0.7 mm lead, it works best for word-writing purposes. If you’re looking for a very solid mechanical pencil at a very affordable price, you just might want to consider this one.

Pros:

  • Possesses a comfortable silicone grip
  • Made out out of tough plastic
  • Distributes lead smoothly and consistently

Cons:

  • Lead breaks too easily for some tastes

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Zebra Airfit S, 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil – Best for the Money

zebra-airfit-sThough all mechanical pencils are fairly reasonably-priced, there are some which can be found for slightly lower prices. Perhaps you’re looking for this type of mechanical pencil, but don’t want to sacrifice much in the way of quality. If so, consider the Zebra Airfit. Made out of tough, durable metal and available in a number of different styles, it can hold a bevy of 0.5 mm lead, allowing you to write, sketch, and draft over long periods of time. If you’re looking for a high-end mechanical pencil at a low-end price, you must consider this one.

Pros:

  • Ergonomic silicone grip
  • Made out of tough, durable metal
  • Possesses a pocket clip

Cons:

  • Grip gets dirty frequently

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BIC Pencil Xtra Life – Best Overall

bic-pencil-xtra-lifeBIC mechanical pencils are an absolute staple in schools across America. So, it’s no surprise to see the BIC Pencil Xtra Life mechanical pencil topping our list as the best mechanical pencil on the market. Made out of 75% recycled plastic, it is both eco-friendly and capable of withstanding a beating. Capable of holding up to 3 full length 0.7 mm leads at one time, it ensures that you’ll never run out of what’s needed to finish your paper, sketch, or draft. If you’re looking for the best mechanical pencil on the market, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Pros:

  • Made out of eco-friendly plastic
  • Feels comfortable in your hands
  • Lets out lead smoothly and consistently

Cons:

  • Not as durable as some mechanical pencils, though much cheaper when bought in bulk

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Conclusion

Whether you’re in school, at work, or have a need to draw and sketch, a mechanical pencil is a consistent and reliable writing utensil to have on hand. No longer will you lose your train of thought while attempting to sharpen your pencil’s lead. It’s as simple as a push of a button.

Attractive, durable, and highly-functional writing utensils like the BIC Pencil Xtra Life allow you to write for long periods of time with great comfort and consistency. Don’t want writing to be a horrible chore? Invest in a solid mechanical pencil.