The best mechanical pencils are made with variable lead size (0.3, 0.5, 0.7, and 0.9mm). Metal-made, mechanical pencils replace cheap disposable plastic pencils. Added structural support plus a superior retraction system makes these pencils the best choice for drawing.
Stainless steel is widely used to manufacture quality mechanical pencils. Made for proper manoeuvrability and excellent artistic creativity support, these pencils normally weigh around 10 grams (with 0.5mm lead). Not considerably heavier than wooden pencils or plastic pencils, they are widely used for sketching and technical drawing. The following mechanical pencils offer leading quality at a fair price.
- Pentel Graphgear 1000 Draughting Pencil
4 leads are included with the popular mechanical pen. Pentel is one of the big players in the mechanical graphite pencils market and it enjoys a level of popularity that allows it to create designs such AS THE Draughting Pencil.
Among its strengths, artists note it’s comfortable to hold. The brushed metal grip ensures it stays between the fingers without slipping. This is not a rare quality, but it’s a good starting point.
One of the rare qualities of the pen is it comes with a retractable lead holder. Travelling artists who know how easy it is to damage the pen in a backpack knows this is the most practical feature to count on.
Practical features don’t end here. The end of the automatic drafting pencil which features an eraser that can also be removed and which doubles as a lead push button. Once off, it allows users to add more lead
Another advantage the pencil has over its traditional alternatives is it doesn’t require sharpening. Forgetting the pencil sharpener at home is not an issue as a result. However, it does have its limitations as it can’t take all types of lead hardness.
Made in Swindon, the pencil is among the most practical in its class and certainly in its price range. It even features a pocket clip that allows one to be attached to a shirt pocket or a sketchbook.
- Available in various lead sizes
- Includes 3 Hi-Polymer HB refill leads
- It features a refillable eraser cap
- Parker Jotter Mechanical Pencil
The Jotter design is now back in a mechanical pencil. It stands out above its competition with a simple elegant design. Unlike other mechanical pens, it doesn’t feature a thick grip area. This allows drawers to hold it a bit easier as it offers an alternative to thick pens.
With all-metal construction, the pen is also durable. Mostly seen as the first step up from Parker from classic pens towards mechanical pens, it isn’t a disposable solution. Replacing lead is easy and the pen can be used for years. Once the lead is inside the pen, a simple click to an advanced mechanism allows users to sketch without sharpening.
Since Jotter is so popular, Parker also makes it in ballpoint pens and fountain pens. High shine trims are characteristic of all Jotter pens. Made as a reinterpreted design of the old Jotter, it can be considered a homage more than an everyday pen.
A gift box is shipped with the pen. Those considering birthday gifts for artists certainly have the right setup with Jotter. However, when purchased as a gift, people should know the pen only works with 0.5mm lead for the best results.
- Made after a classic Jotter design
- It features all-steel construction
- Also available in a golden luxurious finish
- Uni Mechanical Pencil Kurutoga Roulette Model
The drafting pencil is made with a good weight balance so that it’s easy to hold. Made from hard plastic, it offers one of the most affordable options for artists on a budget. Responsive, durable, and lightweight, the pencil is one of the Japan-made must-haves for students or anyone starting with sketches.
One of its major advantages is its universal design. A considerable problem is found in pencils with such a specific design since most left-handed sketches don’t feel comfortable with the grip. But Uni’s design doesn’t have this problem as it works for both right-handed and left-handed users.
Suitable for 0.5mm lead, the pen has a universal appeal as it can be used on almost any type of notebook. When it comes to its drawbacks, users don’t find too many faults to share. For example, the combination of plastic and metal parts is what sometimes creates issues. The metal lead part sometimes loosens.
The eraser part is also a bit small compared to other designs. But these problems can be overlooked given it’s one of the best Amazon mechanical pencils for drawing at a low price outside Knurled.
- Removable eraser to replace lead
- It holds 1-3 leads
- The grip is made from aluminium and rubber
- Uni Kuru Toga
Compatible with nano-diamond infused leads, the pencil features an interesting cross rotation mechanism. This system allows the lead inside the pen to rotate every time it’s lifted from the paper. The purpose of the ingenious system is to support self-sharpening leads in consumer-grade products.
Dedicated sketches find this system useful and time-saving. But is there another benefit to this mechanism? Users underline the rotating lead allows them to write with constant aesthetic results. There are no thicker or thinner lines as a result of an even use. Both its writing and drawing results are hard to match.
While the previous version of the Kuru Toga was similar and also reliable, its new design makes it even better. The manufacturer calculated a full lead turn every 20 strokes. This is a considerable advantage. The previous version took 40 strokes to fully rotate.
Construction isn’t bad either. Apart from using a rotating mechanism, the pen also features solid durable materials. The bottom part is made from steel while the top part is made from lightweight aluminium. While it would have been nice to have an all-steel design, the durable part is still the one gripped by fingers.
- Made for self-sharpening lead
- Lightweight at 18.1 grams
- Available in smoke, pink, green, and blue barrels
- MozArt Supplies Essential Mechanical Pencil Set
A dedicated draughtsman knows a good mechanical pencil set is all that’s needed to start drawing or sketching. The value proposition from MozArt is made for those on a budget, such as art students. Supporting full drawings on a budget, the set includes 4 mechanical pens. They each hold 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, and 0.9 lead.
Non-slip grips are added to all of these pencils. This recommends them more to kids as well as they firmly stay between fingers. Compatible with 30HB refills, the pens aren’t even expensive to use. Students only need to purchase good notebooks to start drawing.
4 extra erasers are also found in the pack. Useful and going one step further than the competition, the replacement erasers offer students a glimpse of how these pencils are going to be used in the future. Erasers can also be purchased separately once they run out.
Made with a notebook attachment clip, the pens are hard to displace. The class of the products is certainly special. But to make the most out of such high-quality mechanical pencils, sketch artists should also consider the type of paper they use for sketches. MozArt recommends the SketchPad for high-quality results. The pad features linen hardback paper bound with excellent storage space.
- The set includes 4 ergonomic mechanical pencils
- Shipped with 30 X 4 piece of HB lead
- Top pick for Sketch Pad use
- Staedtler 925 Mechanical Pencil Silver Series
Made in Japan, Staedtler mechanical pencils are a true inspiration for sketches, students, kids, and even engineers. The pens are made with high build quality materials that stand out in a competitive market. Made a metallic finish, the pencil combines steel and aluminium for enhanced durability.
The pen is compatible with different leads. It works with leads between 0.3mm and 2.0mm which means it covers a wide range of sketching needs and the 925 series is also practical. Those new to these pens can also take a look at the lead grade indicator which shows the type of lead it holds.
Comfortable with an anti-slip grip area, the pen has been compared to the Rapid Pro mechanical pencil. However, its grip is different. The Rapid Pro pen grip features no grooves while the segmented grip of the Staedtler 925 ensures a superior anti-slip surface.
Since the pen is of the best quality, sketches mainly use it with premium lead as well. Any resin-made option which resists breakage to 2.0mm can be a good choice. These leads are typically available in minimum sets of 6 refills. However, the pencil includes 2 leads to start with.
- Compatible with a wide range of lead diameters
- Made with a digital retractable pencil tip for quick lead adjustments
- Designed with a premium grip surface
- Rotring Tikky Mechanical Pencil
Made for engineering work, Tikky is one of the balanced mechanical drawing pencils. You can find it both individually and in 3, 4, and 12. Sure, Photoshop and CAD and a good Lenovo laptop are popular choices in engineering today. But not all engineers like to use software for sketches. Others simply prefer pen and paper before looking at a screen for hours.
A thin marking line is what the pencil is known for. Practical and reliable without a pencil sharpener, it drops a new piece of lead whenever the old one starts to get dull for consistent marking.
Engineers also note the pencil is a bit thicker than their previous pencils which support a sturdier grip. Another advantage of the thicker diameter is the sturdiness of the pencils. It’s hard to imagine it breaking. This also means the eco-friendly approach of the pen is a viable alternative to easily broken plastic mechanical pencils such as the Rotring 600 or selected Lamy pencils.
- Available in 17 colours
- Compatible with HB 0.5 and HB 0.7mm lead
- It weighs 18.1 grams
- Zebra DelGuard 0.5mm Lead Mechanical Pencil
Those who use multiple mechanical pencils know their prices can add up. Students often go through multiple pencil sets within an art school semester. This is where Zebra’s plastic pencil comes in. Offering all the benefits of mechanical pens with plastic affordability, DelGuard is known as a cheap mechanical pen.
One of the issues of affordable pens is graphite lead breaks easily. But DelGuard works with third-party lead which can come from any brand. It’s up to the user to select the most price-appropriate and performance-appropriate lead.
For general use at university and college, the pen can be even better. Users report a single lead can be used for months and the investment isn’t as considerable as many expect when compared to wooden pencils.
The lead protecting cap is aluminium-made. It represents the most important section of the pen as it stops lead from breaking due to movement, which is often the case with plastic-made alternatives. But it doesn’t affect the mechanism of the retractable tip which prevents pencil accidents.
- One of the most affordable mechanical drawing pencils
- Available on black, blue, white, and pink
- It features 2 spring-loaded mechanisms
- Rotring 300 Mechanical Pencil 2.0mm
The 2.0mm pencil weighs just 13.6 grams, it’s one of the lightest mechanical pencils on the list. This recommends it for students who write a lot. It might also be a good practice pen for sketch artists immersed in artwork for hours.
With lighter construction, the pencil is among the performers at a low price. Sure, it could be better but making it with all-metal construction would also double its price. The important part of the pen (the lead holder) is aluminium-made and it offers the sturdiness needed to support lead for months and years.
The grip is the biggest drawback of the pencil. With small grooves, it’s not the most efficient option to prevent slippage. Otherwise, the push cap is robust as is the attaching aluminium clip.
- Made with an adjustable lead hardness indicator
- Designed with a sharpener in the cap
- Only available in black-red
- Faber-Castell Apollo 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil
Faber-Castell is one of the brands with international recognition for years. Founded by Kaspar Faber, the German brand makes some of the most reliable writing and drawing tools today. Apollo shows the passion for the pen-making of the manufacturer. Made with an ergonomic design, it features a narrower profile in the middle for a better grip.
Materials here are mainly plastic with rubber additions on the knurled grip. The lead holder piece is aluminium-made. These materials are behind its low 9.07 grams weight. Suitable for any users, the lightweight mechanical pencil for drawing is one of the affordable entry options into Faber-Castell’s line of products.
But these materials are also behind some of its drawbacks. One of them is the pencil doesn’t feel like a premium product. Many associate the brand with the highest quality products, but it’s not the case here, as the pencil is made to be qualitative and affordable at the same time.
The plastic construction can be overlooked as long as leads are qualitative. The recommended choice is Faber-Castell’s 0.5 2B mechanical pencil load leads.
- Available on pink, lilac, and rose
- Made with a unique twist eraser
- Based on a retractor lead mechanism
Frequently asked questions on the best mechanical pencils for drawing
Which lead is best for drawing?
From 0.2mm to 2.0mm, lead type for drawing differs considerably. In theory, all of them can draw or sketch. Practice shows just how different they are and how they can be used for the ultimate results.
- 0.2 – 0.4mm – the thinnest lead is mainly used for fine lines, calligraphy, or detailed drawings. In calculations and mathematics, this is the best lead for mechanical lead pencils.
- 0.5mm – this size is the most popular for mechanical pencil lead drawing.
- 0.7mm – a stronger drawing alternative, this lead size may also be used for some less-complex calculations outside sketching.
- 0.9mm – these leads are known for thick lines and contour go-to options in the drawing.
- 2.0mm – the thickest leads are the best pencil solution for novices as they aren’t easy to break.
Which mechanical pencil is the best?
The Pentel Graphgear 1000 Draughting with its metal construction and high lead compatibility is the best mechanical pencil for drawing. Made in the UK, the pencil is also quick to ship compared to its Japan-made alternatives.
What’s the difference between HB and 2b lead?
HB is light lead while 2b is dark lead. HB and 2b leads are based on the old traditional pencil categorization. They were made between 9H and 9B from light to dark. HB lead is the midway darkness solution between 9H and 9B lead.
|Pentel Graphgear 1000 Draughting Pencil||Pentel||Available in various lead sizes, Includes 3 Hi-Polymer HB refill leads, Features a refillable eraser cap||View on Amazon|
|Parker Jotter Mechanical Pencil||Parker||Made after a classic Jotter design, Features all-steel construction, Available in a golden luxurious finish||View on Amazon|
|Uni Mechanical Pencil Kurutoga Roulette Model||Uni||Removable eraser to replace lead, Holds 1-3 leads, Grip is made from aluminium and rubber||View on Amazon|
|Uni Kuru Toga||Uni||Made for self-sharpening lead, Lightweight at 18.1 grams, Available in smoke, pink, green, and blue barrels||View on Amazon|
|MozArt Supplies Essential Mechanical Pencil Set||MozArt Supplies||The set includes 4 ergonomic mechanical pencils, Shipped with 30 X 4 piece of HB lead, Top pick for Sketch Pad use||View on Amazon|
|Staedtler 925 Mechanical Pencil Silver Series||Staedtler||Compatible with a wide range of lead diameters, Made with a digital retractable pencil tip for quick lead adjustments, Designed with a premium grip surface||View on Amazon|
|Rotring Tikky Mechanical Pencil||Rotring||Available in 17 colours, Compatible with HB 0.5 and HB 0.7mm lead, Weighs 18.1 grams||View on Amazon|
|Zebra DelGuard 0.5mm Lead Mechanical Pencil||Zebra||One of the most Available in black, blue, white, and pink, Features 2 spring-loaded mechanisms||View on Amazon|
|Rotring 300 Mechanical Pencil 2.0mm||Rotring||Made with an adjustable lead hardness indicator Designed with a sharpener in the cap Only available in black-red||View on Amazon|
|Faber-Castell Apollo 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil||Faber-Castell||Available in pink, lilac, and rose Made with a unique twist eraser, Based on a retractor lead mechanism||View on Amazon|
Finding the best mechanical pencil for sketching and drawing is now considerably easier. The listed options are made to last and regardless of their plastic or metal materials, they can be used both by students and professionals. Most of those drawing with these pens never go back to classic drawing pencils.
Have you already used mechanical pencils for drawing? You can share your top newbie drawing tips with these pencils on Digi Helpdesk Facebook page.