Mechanical pencils are convenient, comfortable, and refillable, with plenty of features to choose from: a range of lead sizes, different lead advancement mechanisms, and various weights and colors, to name a few. But how do you choose from among so many options? Our mechanical pencil gallery highlights some of the best features in our collection.
Most comfortable mechanical pencils
The Alpha Gel Shaker is named for its squishy gel grip, which is comfortable to hold for hours of writing. It’s also got a shaker mechanism to advance the lead, so you can simply shake the pencil and keep writing without having to readjust your grip.
The Sumo Grip mechanical pencil has an extra-large triangular grip that’s comfortable to hold and also helps you maintain a good hand position while writing.
If you like the hexagon shape of a traditional wooden pencil, you might enjoy the hexagonal rubber grip of the Kokuyo ME mechanical pencil, which feels like a softer version.
Many people who write with a heavier hand enjoy using the Ohto Sharp mechanical pencil, which has an extra-wide wooden body and thick 2.0mm lead that won’t break easily under pressure.
Pencils with special lead advancement features
Just like the aforementioned Alpha Gel Shaker, the Mono Graph Shaker advances the lead with a simple shake of the pencil. The shaker mechanism can be locked and unlocked by pushing the pencil clip up or down.
The No-Noc mechanical pencil has an auto-feed mechanism that pushes lead out automatically as you write. It’s also got a manual push button so you can retract the lead when you’re done writing or extend it when you’re ready to start again.
The Kuru Toga mechanical pencil rotates your lead while you write, so that the tip wears down evenly and stays sharp at all times.
Drafting pencils are designed for precise drawing and writing, and feature a metal lead sleeve to help you draw along the edge of a ruler or stencil and make it easier to see the pencil tip. The GraphGear 500 is a classic drafting pencil with a metal mesh grip that’s comfortably weighted.
The Conception mechanical pencil is cleverly designed with two modes: a drafting mode where the metal sleeve stays fixed in place, and a lead guard mode, where the sleeve retracts as you write so you won’t need to extend the lead as frequently.
This cool drafting pencil is fully customizable, from the length of the lead it dispenses to the length of its lead sleeve to the removable clip.
Giftable mechanical pencils
The Kaweco Special AL pencil is a classy, sleek pencil whose aluminum body has a pleasant weight. The heft and design of this pencil, along with its tin gift box, make it as giftable as a classic fountain pen.
The Caran D’Ache 844 pencil has a sleek hexagonal barrel made of lightweight aluminum. It comes in a variety of colorful lacquer finishes that make it an eye-catching and attractive pencil.
The Streamline pencil is another one that’s as pleasant on the eyes as it is in the hand. It has an acrylic barrel with brushed aluminum accents in a smooth, streamlined shape, and is well-balanced and comfortable to write with.
The Kaweco Sketch Up is technically a lead holder, with thicker lead than a mechanical pencil that drops out by gravity instead of advancing incrementally. With wide, soft lead that’s great for drawing and sketching, plus an integrated sharpener, it’s got a thick brass barrel and timeless design that make an impressive gift.