What are the Best Mechanical Drawing Pencils?


What are the Best Mechanical Pencils for Drawing

If you’re a creative and have never used mechanical pencils for drawing, you’re missing out.

For example, a mechanical pencil has no equal when it comes to perspective drawing (it works amazingly with rulers).

In addition, it draws lines with greater precision and detail than wooden pencils.

Still, a mechanical pencil will never need sharpening – simply extend the lead when it wears down and you’re back in business.

In short, it’s quite a wonderful tool to have for your trade, school work, and more.

Now, if you’re reading this, you’re most likely hunting for the best mechanical pencil for drawing…

Well, we’re here to help.

We have rounded up the best 3 mechanical pencils for drawing in the market right now and reviewed them in this article.

Besides, we have included a comprehensive buying guide to help point you in the right direction.

Read to the end.

Why consider a Mechanical Pencil for Drawing

As mentioned earlier, a mechanical pencil for drawing brings a lot of benefits to your craft.

We already told you about the reduced maintenance advantage (no sharpening) and its ultra-fine lines.

What we didn’t tell you is that unlike graphite wooden pencils which need constant replacement, it will be years before you buy a new mechanical pencil..

In fact, you’ll only to reload the lead when it’s all used up and voila, you’re back to work (Refilling lead is quite cheap).  

Can you now see why we keep saying that a mechanical pencil for drawing is the real deal for artists, engineers, writers, architects, and more?

Mechanical Pencils for Drawing Buying Guide

We’ll soon get to the reviews section but before then, it’s important that you have some understanding of the features that you should keep your eyes on when comparing these types of pencils.

Look for the right Lead hardness

Overall, the common hardness range is 9B (softest graphite core) to 9H (hardest) with Standard HB pencils being of medium hardness.

Keep in mind that soft lead tends to leave behind thicker marks while harder leads (H) make lighter and finer marks.

Go for the appropriate Lead diameter

You must also get the lead size right depending on the tasks you have in mind.

Here is a general guide to help you make the right choice:

Lead thicknessBest for
0.2 mm – 0.4 mmVery detailed drawings, pencil calligraphy
0.5 mmWriting tasks, basic drawing 
0.7mmSketching, non-detailed drawing, long-hand drafting
0.9 mmBold font Pencil calligraphy (hard to break)
Specialty sizes ( 0.3 mm – 5.6 mm, sizes above 0.9 mm)Recommended for artists or draftsmen

Tip: The 0.5 and 0.7 mm pencils are the most common these days and it’s easier to find replacement load for these two widths compared to the others.

Pick a pencil with an ideal lead sleeve

You see, the lead sleeve (the part starting from the pen cylinder and ending where lead comes into view) can impact how you work and you must be cautious when selecting.

Here are the two commonest options:

  • Sliding (Fully Retractable) sleeves

This lead retracts fully into the pencil body when not in use to protect your shirts/pants from getting poked when you slip it into your pocket.

The most popular mechanical pencils for drawing have a straightforward lead retracting method.

  • Fixed sleeves

This is not designed to retract and it may prick your legs when carrying it in your pocket.

The tip may also break as it’s exposed.

On the upside, you get an improved view of your working area with this sleeve design.

Choose a lead advance mechanism that you’re fine with

The next key consideration is the lead advancement mechanism in use in the mechanical pencil for drawing.

Opinions differ and the best thing is to have an idea about how each operates.

You can then determine which mechanism would suit you most.

The options are:

  • Push button– there’s a button either on the side or the top (combined with the eraser). Just press the button to advance the lead.
  • Twisting lead advancement mechanism– you twist the pencil’s barrel/ top knob to make lead extend. This is becoming less common nowadays.
  • Shake lead advancement mechanism-as the title suggests, you shake the mechanical pencil up/down to make the lead stretch/pull back.

It’s worth mentioning that a lot of people seem to favor the push button mechanism because of its simplicity.

A comfortable grip matters

Needless to say, a pencil with a bumpy grip is more difficult to draw with and may even deny you precise control.

Pick a model with a solid, comfy grip (rubber is particularly firm and more ergonomic).

Best Mechanical Pencils for Drawing Reviews

Meet the mechanical pencils for drawing that are primed to cover all your needs to perfection below.

rOtring 600  Black Barrel 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil (1904443)- best mechanical pencil for engineers and architects

The legendary rOtring 600 has a great design including a Hexagonal shape that ensures it won’t roll off your drawing table.

Plus, it’s quite lightweight and the full knurl yields a secure, comfortable grip.

rOtring 600 0.5mm Black Barrel Mechanical Pencil

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Features

This is our most recommended mechanical pencil for engineers and architects (plus students studying engineering and architecture) because of its impressive features.

Top of the list is the fixed lead guidance sleeve- not only does it help the pencil resist breakage but you’ll also make more precise ruler-based drawings as you can view the page more clearly.

Even more importantly, the 0.5mm produces super crisp markings not to mention it draws smoothly thanks to the beveled edges.

As hinted above, the weight is perfect and it feels nicely balanced- the barrel is brass made so this is no surprise.

There are some nice little touches too including a handy lead grade indicator to help you know what grade of lead you are using quickly and easily.

As a bonus, the quality of the built-in eraser seems to be up a notch.

Pros

  • Brilliant matt finish.
  • Well-crafted brass construction.
  • Super precise and steady.

Cons

  • Not retractable- tip can bend, break, or jab your body.

Pentel Graph Gear 0.5mm 1000 Pen (PG1015)- best mechanical pencil for artistsOpens in a new tab.

Pentel has a long list of extraordinary products for artists and this is clearly built for enthusiasts seeking to take their art to the next level.

You’ll love everything about it- the weight, heft, durability… its flawless.

Pentel Graph Gear 1000 Pen, 0.5mm

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Features

This is a superior mechanical drawing pencil by a country mile…

From the finely chiseled metal grip that’s further studded with soft, latex-free rubber pads (making it very robust and non-slip) to the top quality eraser, every feature is very well thought out.

There’s also the retracting lead guard meaning you’ll no longer worry about a broken tip or the many potential injuries.

The dual-action retractor is specially constructed and effortlessly executes its two tasks- just press/depress the button to extend lead or retract the pencil tip.

We expected exquisite illustrations and marks and this doesn’t disappoint.

You’ll also appreciate the built-in lead hardness indicator if you plan to use it with a variety of leads.

Long story short, you cannot go wrong with a Pentel 1000 Graph Gear Pen.

Pros

  • Easy to use.
  • Lead doesn’t break easily.
  • Lasting construction.

Cons

  • The eraser doesn’t last.

Staedtler Mechanical Pencil 0.5mm Silver Series (925 25-05)Opens in a new tab.

Though some have called it the best mechanical pencil for sketching, this high quality mechanical pencil for drawing tends to excel on any task- writing, drafting, math, woodworking, etc.

Like the rest, this gem is delightfully solid yet very comfortable.

Staedtler 0.5mm Mechanical Pencil Silver Series

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Features

Perhaps the most versatile mechanical pencil for drawing, this has all it takes to become your favorite baby.

You’ll like the sturdy all-metal construction – this comprises of a mix of brass, aluminum, and steel resulting in perfectly matched weight and balance.

Take this to the bank: it’s so well balanced that you’ll feel zero fatigue even after drawing with this for hours.

You’re also getting a grip that is bang on- the knurling feels awesome to the touch and the ring indentation gives the texture more friction (to prevent slips) while enhancing its aesthetical appeal.

Turning to how it works, this pencil draws amazing lines with ease and is a joy to work with.

And now that we’re here, I must say that it gives nice, dark lines without being excessively smudgy making it the best mechanical pencil for drawing comics in our opinion.

The other highlights in this Staedtler are the lead hardness indicator and a seamless lead advance mechanism.

Pros

  • Elegant design.
  • Great ergonomics.
  • Very solid.

Cons

  • The sleeve won’t retract and may damage the pocket.

Final words

What are the Best Mechanical Pencils for Drawing

There go our top 3 recommended mechanical pencils for drawing.

We believe that you should be able to choose the right model for your needs now that you have learned what to look for when shopping.

Just to recap, we have nominated the popular rOtring 600 the best mechanical pencil for engineers and architects while the Pentel 1000 Pen won our editors endorsement for artists.

Finally, we propose that you go for the Stealer 925 if you’re looking for an outstanding pencil for sketching, comics, writing, woodworking, and a whole range of tasks (it’s the most versatile).

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