The 6 Best Mechanical Pencils for Drawing in 2021

When looking for the best mechanical pencil for drawing, choosing a high-quality mechanical pencil that fits your needs is essential. Whether using the mechanical pencil for drawing, sketching, or drafting, picking the best pencil for the job is important. Unlike a wooden pencil, mechanical pencils come in a range of options and are more versatile than wooden pencils. When looking to buy a mechanical pencil, a few things to consider are  – lead diameter, comfort, its outer casing material, and the lead hardness.

We will also cover what features make the best mechanical pencil for drawing based on our criteria below, as well as our recommendations for the best pencil for drawing, sketching, and technical drawing. Be sure to tick all the right boxes before choosing the best pencil for your needs.

How to Choose the Best Mechanical Pencil for Drawing

Below find the critical selection criteria you should use when selecting your drawing implement.  We provide product recommendations with grades for each of these criteria below:

Lead diameter

Most mechanical pencils come in three standard pencil lead sizes that are measured in millimeters; 5, 7, and 9 with the smaller the number, the thinner the lead and vice versa. The best pencils for drawing details have a smaller lead, whereas thicker graphite creates darker, more pronounced lines. The finer the graphite lead, the thinner the line, which is especially useful for precise drawings. Some pencils also have a rotating tip where the lead wears evenly and avoids a wedge-shaped tip.

While most mechanical pencil lead is actually made of graphite– a carbon with a hexagonal shape, the terms lead, and graphite are used interchangeably.

Lastly, all mechanical pencils come with a fixed lead guidance sleeve and a retractable mechanism that controls how much lead is released or retracted. Knowing the diameter the pencil can hold is vital to avoid buying larger or smaller lead refills.

Comfort

The comfort of a mechanical pencil isn’t something only drafters, architects, or professional artists have to think about. People who have arthritis, smaller hands, or who suffer from hand fatigue should also consider how comfortable a pencil is before buying it. The best pencil will be lightweight, fit well in the hand, and have a rubberized or coarse grip.

Another crucial feature that can make using a mechanical pencil more comfortable is if the pencil has an integrated lead sharpener, usually found in the eraser.

Material

Unlike wooden pencils, a mechanical pencil casing is usually made of a mix of plastic, metal, or rubber. Whereas a wooden pencil must be sharpened often and will last only as long as the wooden body, a mechanical pencil has the lead integrated within the casing and has the potential to last forever with the right care.

The best pencil for professionals will have either full metal surfaces or be made at least partially of metal.

Lead hardness

Lead hardness on the average mechanical pencil comes in three different hardness levels, explained below. Some mechanical pencils even have an integrated lead sharpener in the cap. No matter the lead hardness, be sure to retract the entire lead before putting it away to avoid lead breakage.

H stands for Hard, which increases as the number increases. Harder leads are ideal for technical drawing or drawing on thicker materials.

H hardness can be found between 2H–8H with the higher the number, the harder the lead

B stands for Black, with the softer the lead, the more intense the lines. Softer leads are perfect for drawing, sketching, or shading.

B hardness usually ranges between 2B–8B with the higher the number, the softer the lead

HB refers to Hard Black and is a combination of hard and soft lead and is a good in between for beginners who aren’t familiar with the differences in lead hardness. It is also the ideal pencil for general use as it can be used for just about the full range of uses mentioned above.

Our Product Recommendations

1. Best Mechanical Pencils for Drawing Overall – Uni Kurutoga Pipe Slide Mechanical Pencils

Uni Mechanical Pencil Kurutoga Pipe Slide Model

Selection Criteria

  • Price – ~$10
    • Our score: 8/10
  • Lead diameter – 0.5mm
    • Our score: 9/10
  • Comfort –  Medium
    • Our score: 8/10
  • Material – Plastic
    • Our score: 9/10
  • Hardness – H and HB
    • Our score: 10/10

About Uni Kurutoga Pipe Slide Mechanical Pencils

The Mercedes of mechanical pencils, this Uni Kurutoga pipe slide premium pencil, is the overall best mechanical pencil for drawing with its rotating lead that keeps the pencil tip always sharp. Other features on this premium mechanical pencil include a spring-loaded clutch twists, a retractable tip, and a pipe slide that makes the pipe inside get shorter as the lead gets shorter to avoid breakage.

Most mechanical pencils cannot boast this high-quality engineering, making this a more reliable pencil overall. The lightweight of this mechanical pencil can also reduce hand fatigue. Uni Kurutoga also makes the best mechanical pencil lead with its harder core than most other brands.

Pros

  • Pipe slide system reduces lead damage and thereby smudges on the paper
  • Rotating pencil tip ensures a fine line every time
  • The entire tip retracts, not just the lead
  • Price is very reasonable for this innovative pen

Cons

  • May be too fine for thicker lines
  • The eraser is a bit small

2. Best Mechanical Pencils for Sketching and Drawing – Tombow Mono Graph Shaker Mechanical Pencils

 

Tombow Mono Graph Shaker Mechanical Pencil

 

 

Selection Criteria

  • Price – ~$6.99
    • Our score: 10/10
  • Lead diameter –  0.5mm
    • Our score: 9/10
  • Comfort –  High
    • Our score: 9/10
  • Material – Plastic
    • Our score: 9/10
  • Hardness – HB
    • Our score: 8/10

About Tombow Mono Graph Shaker Mechanical Pencils

Nothing beats having the proper sketching tools for sketching and drawing, and this Tombow Mono Graph Shaker pencil was the best pencil largely due to its weight and comfort over long periods of time. Different from other mechanical pencils, the lead is retracted by shaking the pencil, which saves time having to reposition your hand.

What’s more, the built in eraser can be extracted by twisting the top of the pencil. Other features on this mechanical pencil include a retractable tip, metal clip, and an attractive soft blue casing.

Pros

  • One of the best quality mechanical pencils in the industry
  • Shaker feature saves time
  • Ideal size and weight for drawing or sketching for long periods of time

Cons

  • The clip can’t hold onto thicker items like a notebook

3. Best Mechanical Pencils for Drawing and Drafting – Mr. Pen Mechanical Pencils

Mr. Pen Mechanical Pencil Set

Selection Criteria

  • Price – ~$6.99
    • Our score: 10/10
  • Lead diameter – 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 0.9 and 2mm
    • Our score: 10/10
  • Comfort
    • Our score: 10/10
  • Material – Hard
    • Our score: 9/10
  • Hardness
    • Our score: 10/10

About Mr. Pen Mechanical Pencils

Unlike other mechanical pencils, this set of five Mr. Pen mechanical pencils include the optimal variety of diameters and hardness for different applications. These mechanical pencils can be used to create very detailed designs, precision work, and a consistent line, which are all essential for drawing or drafting work.

Each grip mechanical pencil is made of metal, has a convenient pencil cap, and a retractable tip. It’s important to note that other pencil sets do not include the versatility of this multi-pack set.

Pros

  • Great mechanical pencil for making consistent lines
  • Best mechanical pencil to draw precisely
  • Latex-free pads on the eraser
  • The 2mm pencil has a built-in sharpener in the eraser

Cons

  • May not be the best pencil for technical drawing

4. Best Mechanical Pencils for Drawing for Artists – Zebra Mechanical Pencils

Zebra M-701 Stainless Steel Mechanical Pencil

Selection Criteria

  • Price – ~$7 (Was $8.48) – Our score: 9/10
  • Lead diameter – 0.7mm – Our score: 10/10
  • Comfort –  High – Our score: 10/10
  • Material – Stainless Steel – Our score: 9/10
  • Hardness – HB – Our score: 9/10

About Zebra Mechanical Pencils

Professional artists looking for a mechanical pencil with an all-metal body will be pleasantly surprised by the features included in this Zebra mechanical pencil. The retractable tip makes sure there is no lead breakage, it has a nice solid weight, a knurled metal grip, and a magnetic ring on the attractive metal clip.

All the features of this thin yet high-quality mechanical pencil, especially its full metal body, make it one of the better mechanical pencils for artists and business professionals.

Pros

  • Metal body made of professional stainless steel
  • An attractive mechanical pencil
  • Latex-free pads in the eraser
  • Metallic mesh grip

Cons

  • The Interior is made of plastic

5. Best Mechanical Pencil for Technical Drawing – Staedtler Mechanical Pencils for Technical Drawing

Staedtler Mars 780 Technical Mechanical Pencil

Selection Criteria

  • Price – ~$8.95 (Was $13.65)
    • Our score: 10/10
  • Lead diameter – 2mm
    • Our score: 10/10
  • Comfort
    • Our score: 10/10
  • Material – Plastic and Steel
    • Our score: 9/10
  • Hardness – 2H
    • Our score: 10/10

About Staedtler Mechanical Pencils

Engineers and architects will appreciate how durable and versatile this mechanical pencil is. This Staedtler mechanical pencil is perfect for technical drawing with its thicker lead and abundant features. It has a retractable tip, a metal clip with a magnetic ring, a knurled metal grip that provides a more firm grip, and a built-in sharpener in the cap.

This clutch pencil is comfortable enough to draw for hours and can support various thickness leads. Staedtler is also known to have the best mechanical pencil lead that doesn’t snap as easily as other brands and keeps its point longer.

Pros

  • Excellent pencil for drawing consistent lines
  • The sharpener allows artists to create a dull or sharp point

Cons

  • It may not be the best pencil for auxiliary technical drawing

6. Best Budget Mechanical Pencil for Drawing – Pentel Mechanical Pencils

Pentel GraphGear 500 Automatic Drafting Pencil Black

Selection Criteria

  • Price – ~$4.32 (Was $7.09)
    • Our score: 9/10
  • Lead diameter – 0.5mm
    • Our score: 7/10
  • Comfort –  Medium
    • Our score: 8/10
  • Material – Plastic and Steel
    • Our score: 9/10
  • Hardness – HB
    • Our score: 8/10

About Pentel Mechanical Pencils

At under $5, this Pentel mechanical pencil is an absolute steal and has features you would expect to see on a pricier mechanical pencil. Features include a retractable tip, metallic mesh grip, metal clip, and a pencil cap for the eraser. Unlike wooden pencils, this mechanical pencil never has to be sharpened.

This pencil is available in various lead sizes, with each mechanical pencil being color coded to quickly and easily identify which lead size is enclosed.

Pros

  • Different lead sizes are available
  • Comfortable knurled grip
  • Is a clutch pencil

Cons

  • Does not have an eraser

Conclusion

This wraps up our guide to the best mechanical pencils for drawing. Not only have we discussed how you could identify the different kinds of mechanical pencils, but we’ve also shared our recommendations in various contexts.

We’ve discussed how you can choose the best mechanical pencil and why lead diameter, comfort, material, and hardness are key deciding factors. We’ve outlined them thoroughly to help you understand them easily.

Lastly, we’ve combined our recommendations in different situations. So whether buying the best mechanical pencil for beginners, a mechanical pencil for drawing, or a mechanical pencil for fine details, we’ve discussed it all.

Thanks for reading; we hope our suggestion helps you purchase the best mechanical pencils for your next project.

Sources

 

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