Over the years, I’ve had many wonderful memories of painting, doodling, and drawing with my sketchbook always on hand. Pen and paper are my companions, and art is my world!
As a young artist, I started off writing with wooden pencils. But when I made the shift to mechanical pencils, I never looked back!
Here are some of the best mechanical pencils I’ve used and why I loved them.
The 10 Best Mechanical Pencils for Drawing
Do you need the perfect mechanical pencil for school or work? Here are some of the best mechanical pencils for note-taking and drawing ideas.
What I like
- Its build is lightweight, compact, and portable
- Very sturdy and durable
- The smooth pipe slide system reduces the chances of lead damage and prevents smudging
- It has a retractable tip and not just the lead
- Its rotating lead mechanism allows the uniform wearing of lead
- Reasonably priced for a high-quality mechanical pencil
What I don’t like
- Pencil lead may be too fine for those who prefer thicker lines
- It’s not water-resistant
- It may be too big to fit in your pocket
I declare the Kurutoga as the overall best mechanical pencil for drawing! Speaking of innovation, this pencil’s spring-loaded clutch twists the lead every time you lift it from the paper. That means the lead experiences uniform wearing.
I love how I get to save money since the lead is utilized efficiently, with only 50% usage compared to other mechanical pencils. Plus, with this system, it remains pointed too. No need to keep refilling leads in the barrel!
The Kurutoga mechanical pencil is also equipped with a pipe slide system that shortens alongside the core. This way, the remaining length of the lead is protected, preventing lead breakage.
This keeps your papers clean without a ton of those annoying broken lead dust.
Testing this user-friendly mechanical pencil has been a breeze. Because I take my pens with me to draw as I’m out for coffee, I truly appreciate its ergonomic grip design. I’m comfortable drawing still-life and landscape sketches for hours!
I’m certain to keep the Uni Kurutoga Pipe Slide mechanical pencil in my art kit for years to come! And it doesn’t hurt that these pencils also come at very reasonable prices.
Weight: 0.64 ounces | Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.6 x 2 inches | Lead Diameter: 0.5 mm | Material: Plastic | Grip: Medium | Where to Buy: Amazon.com
What I Liked
- Dual action retractable and extendable pen tip that protects lead from breaking
- It is designed with a lead hardness indicator
- Nicely weighted for smooth writing
- Metallic grip with inlaid pads for a strong handhold
- Ideal for writing in notebooks and journals
- Handy with a ruler
What I Didn’t Like
- Lead can break when not stored correctly
- Eraser is too small
- Not as sharp as other mechanical pencils
The Pentel GraphGear 1000 is no normal pencil. It’s second on my list of the best mechanical pencils for many worthy reasons.
First off, if you’re an architect or draftsman, you’ll love the Pentel GraphGear 1000!
It’s designed to identify exactly what lead type you’re working with, and it has a finely chiseled metallic grip with soft latex-free pads for easy drafting on the go.
It feels pretty futuristic with its dual-action retractable mechanism that maximizes your lead use. And unlike other pencils, the Pentel GraphGear 1000’s hi-polymer lead ensures a clear dark line and a tip that doesn’t need sharpening.
I got the best value for my money on this one. I truly enjoyed writing consistent lines without worrying about any lead breakage.
This mechanical pencil’s great for physical sketches, but if you prefer drawing on a tablet, consider investing in an iPad with the right specs.
Weight: 0.711 ounces | Dimensions: 0.39 x 5.91 x 0.35 inches | Lead Diameter: 0.3 mm / 0.5 mm / 0.7 mm / 0.9 mm | Material: Metal | Grip: Metallic Mesh Grip | Where to Buy: Amazon.com
What I Liked
- Has a durable and anti-corrosive barrel
- Portable and easy to fit in the pocket
- Strong pencil leads for easy consistent lines
What I Didn’t Like
- The grip is not as smooth
- Eraser is too small to use
The Zebra M301 is my pick for the best budget mechanical pencil for drawing. For just a few bucks, I got myself a sleek stainless steel mechanical pencil that’s aesthetically pleasing and easy to sanitize, too!
Style and strength work hand in hand in this Zebra pencil. Despite its lightweight structure, it’s very durable. It can keep its leads safe inside its stainless steel barrel, increasing its longevity too.
This 0.5 mm fine point refillable mechanical pencil also comes with HB lead refills and M-pencil eraser refills.
I often keep my Zebra M301 clipped on my planner, pocket, or collar. It conveniently stays there, so I don’t have to worry about losing them!
It’s an easy grab-and-go type of mechanical pencil, great to take with you to work or school. Because you’ll never know when you’ll need a handy writing tool!
Weight: 0.704 ounces | Dimensions: 7.5 x 2.2 x 0.5 inches | Lead Diameter: 0.5 mm | Material: Stainless Steel | Grip: Textured/ Ribbed | Where to Buy: Amazon.com
What I Liked
- Its unique “Twist and Click” mechanism that retracts the pencil lead and guidance sleeve
- Hexagonal shape ergonomic design
- Brass barrel for a sleek look
- Long-lasting ink cartridge
What I Didn’t Like
- It can get too heavy and cause wrist pain
- Not waterproof
- The lead is not very flexible
If you’re looking for a premium mechanical pencil for drawing with high-quality engineering, you won’t go wrong with the Rotring 800. Just be ready to spend a few extra bucks!
Rotring has some of the most iconic tools for writing. They’re built tough to last you a lifetime. I’ve had mine for years! They don’t slack off on innovation too.
The Rotring 800 mechanical pencil uses a unique “Twist and Click” mechanism that retracts the entire lead and sleeve. This leaves little room for the lead to break and makes it pocket-safe too.
Aside from that, its fixed lead guidance sleeve allows for a clear page view when you’re lining with a ruler on paper.
I also enjoy this Rotring mechanical pencil’s simple and classic look. It has a full metal body made of brass with a hexagonal shape barrel.
This was intentionally constructed for fatigue-free drawing, shaped to prevent the pencil from sliding off when it’s laid on a tilted table. It has a non-slip metallic grip zone for easy handling, too.
If you’re a big fan of high-quality mechanical pencils and don’t mind the price tag, the Rotring 800 pencil is worth the spend. Plus, they offer a 2-year guarantee. What’s not to love?
Weight: 1.12 ounces | Dimensions: 6.69 x 1.1 x 6.1 inches | Lead Diameter: 0.5 mm | Material: Metal | Grip: Knurled | Where to Buy: Amazon.com
What I Liked
- Easy to use with rulers and templates
- Its eraser cap stays tightly
- Its lead is automatically fed
- Its metallic mesh grip helps control writing easily
What I Didn’t Like
- Its tip can be too fragile for some
Considered the Pentel GraphGear 1000’s little brother, the GraphGear 500 still makes it on my list of the best mechanical pencils for its user-friendly design.
Pre-loaded with Pentel’s super hi-polymer HB lead, I enjoyed not having to sharpen the tip. It always produces a strong and consistent line.
I like how the beveled barrel is weighted at the fingertips too. Plus, creating precise lines on paper is a breeze thanks to its metallic mesh grip.
Another wonderful feature of this Pentel mechanical pencil is its lead size identification, which removes any guesswork about the type of lead you’re using.
Color-coded sizes of 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm & 0.9 mm are identified on the top tip of the pencil.
If you want to stay in full control over your project, the Pentel GraphGear 500 is a reliable pencil especially made for precision drafting and technical drawing.
If you’re considering upgrading from a pencil to a tablet, you might like this list of cheap drawing tablets.
Weight: 0.8 ounces | Dimensions: 0.37 x 5.8 x 0.37 inches | Lead Diameter: 0.3 mm / 0.5 mm / 0.7 mm / 0.9 mm | Material: Polymer | Grip: Metallic Mesh Grip/ Knurled | Where to Buy: Amazon.com
6. Rotring Rapid PRO – Best Mechanical Pencil for Durability
What I Liked
- Eraser doesn’t wear-off fast
- Sturdy and durable pencil lead and barrel made of metal
- Easy-to-use built-in sharpener
- The sliding sleeve and a cushioned lead mechanism prevent breakage
What I Didn’t Like
- Pencil and lead refills are expensive
The Rotring Rapid PRO is a high-quality pencil that comes at a hefty price tag. But it made it on my list of best mechanical pencils for drawing because it is worth every penny!
First off, this pencil is made with a full metal body, balanced weight, and a comfortable non-slip grip with metal knurling. It’s easy to write with the Rapid PRO, making it a favorite among professionals.
Plus, it’s equipped with very sturdy lead, an efficient eraser, and a built-in sharpener. You can write and revise your projects easily for hours without having to shift tools.
The Rapid PRO also has a sliding sleeve and cushioned lead mechanism. This mechanism helps prevent lead breakage and an easy retraction of lead.
As a bonus, this pencil comes with a limited warranty of 2 years just in case of defects in its material and work.
Weight: 2.82 ounces | Dimensions: 7.48 x 1.96 x 0.79 inches | Lead Diameter: 0.7 mm | Material: Metal | Grip: Knurled | Where to Buy: Amazon.com
7. Staedtler 780 C Mars – Best Mechanical Pencil for Everyone
What I Liked
- Durable, made in Germany
- Convenient metal clip, push button and knurled metal grip
- Hardness indicator available on its clip
- Lightweight and portable design
- Integrated lead sharpener
Staedtler is no stranger when it comes to stationery and mechanical pencils. Originating in Germany, I expected no less than perfection and utmost durability in this pen. And it did not disappoint!
What makes the Staedtler 780 C Mars stand out is its metal clip with a magnetic ring that indicates the lead’s hardness, a knurled metal grip for added firmness and control, and a retractable pencil tip.
This retractable tip is a great feature that prevents lead breakage. Besides that, Staedtler manufactures some of the best mechanical pencils leads in the industry.
They have thicker lead, so you don’t have to worry about needing constant refills.
I also really like using its built-in pencil sharpener. With just a simple push of a button, the lead is sharpened, ready to draw consistent lines on paper.
The Staedtler 780 C Mars is a definite winner for me. Not only is it durable and comfortable to write with for hours, but it’s also versatile and can be used for just about every purpose.
If you’re new to mechanical pencils, give this clutch pencil a shot with a list of ideas for things to draw.
Weight: 0.992 ounces | Dimensions: 9.25 x 2.6 x 0.59 inches | Lead Diameter: 2 mm | Material: Metal | Grip: Knurled Metal | Where to Buy: Amazon.com
8. MozArt Mechanical Pencil – Best Mechanical Pencil for Drawing and Drafting
What I Liked
- Compact and lightweight
- Easy to carry around
- Eraser cleans unwanted marks easily
- Sleek and professional design
If you’re looking for the best mechanical pencil for sketching and detailed work, I highly recommend the MozArt Mechanical Pencil.
These pencils are made with an all-metal body, and they also have an ideal balanced weight, so your hands and fingers don’t get fatigued from drawing all day.
This is an excellent mechanical pencil for anybody, even children heading back to school. It’s a compact mechanical pencil with non-slip grips, an ergonomic barrel, and thick lead. These leads come in different sizes and hardness to fit every purpose.
Plus, this quality pencil comes with clips, so you can easily attach them to pockets, planners, and notebooks.
I also really enjoyed its retractable mechanism that helps me save up on lead since they don’t break too easily.
If you’re up for it, the set comes with a minimal design pencil case, extra lead and eraser refills, and 4 mechanical pencils.
Weight: 2.99 pounds | Dimensions: 7.24 x 2.52 x 1.06 inches | Lead Diameter: 0.3 mm / 0.5mm / 0.7 mm / 0.9 mm | Material: Metal | Grip: Metal | Where to Buy: Amazon.com
What I Liked
- Simplistic design
- Fits well in the hands
- Unique sliding mechanism
- Variety of colors available
- Lightweight and portable
What I Didn’t Like
- The pencil tip was not retractable
The next clutch on my list of the best mechanical pencils for drawing has a very unique look and an even more interesting mechanism.
WSD’s Magnetic Control mechanical pencil advances its 2.0 mm tip by loosening the magnetic ring on the tip of its shaft and sliding it down to control the length of the pencil.
This magnetic ring also has the dual purpose of allowing the pen to stick to metal surfaces for proper storage.
The mechanical pencil is different from most mechanical pencil leads because it uses a thick 2.0 mm that is good for sketching and drawing with the feel of traditional pencils. These leads also come in different colors other than black.
When it comes to design, this mechanical pencil is made of aviation aluminum which gives it a lightweight, soft, and comfortable feel. You can also choose a variety of colors for its body. They have gold, black, silver, rose, and pink.
The only downside is perhaps the absence of a retractable mechanism. Nonetheless, it’s an aesthetically pleasing pencil that you can pick up at a reasonable price.
Weight: 3.2 pounds | Dimensions: 14.9 x 10.7 x 6.5 inches | Lead Diameter: 2mm | Material: Metal | Grip: Contoured Metal | Where to Buy: Amazon
What I Liked
- Ergonomic cushion grip to ease long use
- Balanced weight barrels
Dr. Grip sure isn’t messing around! This Pilot mechanical pencil is my best grip mechanical pencil for its super ergonomic and comfy design. It was even commended by the Arthritis Foundation for its ease of use.
Pilot is a well-known brand for all types of pens. It has some of the best writing instruments you can find at your nearest stationary store.
Dr. Grip made it as one of my best mechanical pencils for drawing because it helps combat hand fatigue and arthritis that can occur after long hours of writing or drawing.
I also admire this product’s unique shaking mechanism that easily advances the lead. Besides that, it’s also easy to refill and comfortable to write with.
Weight: 0.32 ounces | Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 0.6 inches | Lead Diameter: 0.5 mm | Material: Plastic | Grip: Rubberized | Where to Buy: Amazon.com
Compare the Best Mechanical Pencils for Drawing
What Are the Different Types of Mechanical Pencils?
Mechanical pencils have different features for particular uses. If you need them to be waterproof for a lot of outdoor sketching, versatile with multiple lead tips, or even colorful to give more life to your work, there’s a mechanical pencil out there for you!
Here are some of the common types of mechanical pencils you can consider:
- Combination pen and mechanical pencil
- Waterproof mechanical pencils
- Colored pencils
- Mechanical pencils with built-in erasers and sharpeners
- Mechanical pencils with multiple tips
- Hard lead mechanical pencils
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Great Mechanical Pencil (Buying Guide)
Mechanical pencils make excellent tools for sketching, drawing, and taking notes.
They’re better than your traditional pencil because you can make quick, consistent lines with a great mechanical pencil. No wonder they’ve become a must-have for students and professionals alike!
But with so many mechanical pencils available today, finding the perfect mechanical pencil for you can get overwhelming. I recommend considering the following features:
This refers to the width of the pencil lead and the size of the line it creates. Most people opt for 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm sizes. The best mechanical pencils for drawing and sketching have these widths, but smaller and larger widths are available too.
Lead Grade or Graphite Hardness
Leads can have different levels of hardness too. This changes the shade of your writing and the strength of the pencil tip. If you’re a heavy-handed writer, go for a lighter shade yet stronger lead to avoid smudging.
Mechanical pencils usually have different grades than regular wooden pencils, so the lead inserts are more robust. For mechanical pencils, a finer point is better for detailing, while softer inserts are best for shadows and shading.
Familiarize yourself with the softness and hardness of graphite in its specific ranges:
- H stands for “Hard.” Hardness can be found from 2H – 8H; the higher the number, the harder the lead. A finer point is better for drawing finer details.
- B, on the other hand, stands for “Black.” This can range from 2B – 8B. The higher the number, the softer the lead. Soft lead creates more intense lines making it perfect for technical drawing, sketching, and shading.
- HB stands for “Hard Black.” This is the middle range of hardness and is ideal for beginners who’re unfamiliar with the differences in the lead. It is also the common hardness used for general use.
Try out these different hardness levels with some drawing ideas for beginners.
In my hunt for the best mechanical pencil for drawing, I’ve encountered different pencils with varying materials and price ranges. Plastic mechanical pencils are easily mass-produced and come cheap, so these are ideal for young students.
But for professionals, artists, and designers, a high-quality mechanical pencil made of all metal surfaces or stainless steel is ideal. These may come with a heftier price tag, but they can withstand rigorous daily use.
A good mechanical pencil has a barrel length range of 3 to 4 inches. You may find longer ones that are more expensive.
I like to try out the comfort of a certain length when writing before purchasing one. Comfort is crucial as it greatly affects the quality of your written note, drawing, or sketch.
Erasers on mechanical pencils are usually made of plastic or rubber. They’re also removable and refillable.
A built-in eraser gives added convenience and allows you to explore your creativity and adjust your project from time to time.
The best mechanical pencils are made at 60 degrees to aid in drawing curved lines. For straight lines, opt for pencils with a 90-degree writing angle.
Some mechanical pencils will have a triangle tip, wedge-shaped tip, or round tip. Round tips are easier to sharpen but may be tougher to write with compared to triangular or wedge-shaped ones.
Grip and Cushion
A pencil grip or lead cushion doesn’t always make your mechanical pencil more comfortable. I prefer a firm grip with the help of a rubber grip on the barrel or a rubber tip on the end, so my hand is cushioned from the sharpness of the pencil lead.
Whichever feels comfortable for your hand, cushion or no cushion, go for mechanical pencils that feel right.
Most mechanical pencils have a button or click on the top to advance the lead. Some later models have side-click mechanisms, while others have a twist lead advancement.
An efficient lead advancement mechanism, controlling how much lead is retracted, is important for an undisrupted writing flow. This makes sketching exercises at the museum more pleasant!
Retractable Tip and Capped Tip
Standard mechanical pencils have retractable tips. But I prefer a pencil cap for pocket safety and a more polished look.
Mechanical Pencil For Drawing FAQ
Got more questions about the best mechanical pencils? I’ve got you covered!
It depends on the use. The 0.5 mm lead is better for writing and detailed drawing, while the 0.7 mm is better for sketching and shading.
Other sizes have their special uses too, but 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm are the most common lead sizes.
Yes, 0.7 mm mechanical pencils are good, particularly for break-resistant sketching, drawing, and writing.
The softer grades, B and HB, are good for relaxed drawing. Soft B pencils are also ideal for a child just learning to write.
HB is good for any simple sketch. People who prefer to express themselves more artistically and freely with rich contrasts should go for hardness grades 2B to 8B.
Here’s a quick look at my top 3 mechanical pencils:
This mechanical pencil is just under $5! This is your no-brainer versatile writing tool for your drawing or note-taking.
If you’re looking for a quality pencil at a reasonable price, the GraphGear 1000 won’t disappoint. It is best for professional work.
The Kurutoga is the best mechanical pencil you can get if you want top-of-the-line innovation and durability. With this one, you’ll enjoy long hours of comfortable drawing, sketching, and writing!
Conclusion On Mechanical Pencil For Drawing
A reliable mechanical pencil like my top pick, the Uni Kurutoga Pipe Slide Mechanical Pencil, will greatly impact how you can translate your ideas onto paper.
A traditional pencil simply can’t compete with a mechanical pencil’s portability and convenience. So make the shift and get a handy mechanical pencil for your writing kit today.
With the best mechanical pencils I’ve listed on this list, I’m confident you will find one that you will love and enjoy!