Wednesday, February 21, 2018 Top 5 List: Mechanical Pencils

Mechanical pencils are a great alternative to a standard wood pencil. The thin lead provides lines of constant width without sharpening, and helps to create quick, neat writing. Mechanical pencils can include drafting pencils, technical pencils, clutch pencils, and lead holders. In this top 5 list, we're focusing on drafting and technical pencils. Here at iPenstore, we consider clutch pencils and lead holders to be "sketch pencils", so we've covered those in a different blog. (Click here to read more about Sketch Pencils).

The overall design of a mechanical pencil is typically the same from pencil to pencil - a push button or twist mechanism advances the lead out of the tip. However not all mechanical pencils are equal. Grip surface and area, weight, materials used, design, and other features such as a sliding or retractable sleeve and eraser type can vastly change how a mechanical pencil feels in your hand and how well it works for its intended use. Due to the numerous design features, there are thousands of different mechanical pencils available, and hundreds available for purchase on So to simplify things, we surveyed customers and our staff, and combed through tons of user reviews. We then combined that information with sales numbers to come up with our list of the top 5 mechanical pencils we have available. Keep reading below to see our list of our top 5 mechanical pencils, or click here if you would like to see our entire selection of pencils.

 Zebra Mechanical Pencils

The Zebra M-301 has the look and feel of Zebra's best selling ballpoint pen, the F-301. Zebra's most popular pencil features a durable steel body, non-slip grip, and a metal clip for a secure clasp. The pencil is expertly designed to not only look and feel great, but also to last (it also features an incredibly affordable price!). The M-301 is widely considered to be the best mechanical pencil on the market for the price. Available in a 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm point sizes.

Also check out from Zebra:
Zebra M-701
Zebra Zensations Drafix


The Swiss made Caran d'Ache 844 Metal 0.7 mm pencil is recognizable by it's hexagonal shape. Caran d'Ache is known for their classic 6-sided pencil design, which they've incorporated flawlessly into the 844 pencil. The sleek, simple design, and light weight aluminum body perfectly combine form and function into one beautiful writing instrument. The 844 Metal pencil is a large part of why Caran d'Ache has an international reputation for products of exceptional quality and beauty. One of the best features of the 844 is that it is available in a rainbow of colors.

The Caran d'Ache 844 pencil is available in a wide range of colors.

Also check out from Caran d'Ache:

Infinite Pencil


The Ohto Super Promecha professional drafting pencil contains every option necessary for full control of a mechanical pencil. The pencil features an all metal barrel, knurled metal grip, adjustable lead sleeve, removable clip, and lead feed adjustment. The remarkable design team at Ohto managed to pack every feature possible into an incredibly comfortable and well balanced writing instrument. This pencil is the most preferred writing instrument of engineers, architects, mathematicians, and anyone looking to write with precise detail.


The Pentel GraphGear line is made for precision drafting and drawing. The most popular series in the line is the 500. The 500 series doesn't have some of the bells and whistles of the higher GraphGear lines (the 1000 series includes a retractable sleeve and adjustable lead indicator), but it doesn't need it. The simplicity of the 500 makes it the absolute workhorse of mechanical pencils. The 4 mm fixed sleeve protects the lead and makes it ideal for use with rulers and templates, and the metallic mesh grip weights the pen at the tip to provide precise writing control. The brilliant design, and affordable price make the GraphGear 500 the second most popular mechanical pencil on our list.

Also check out from Pentel:
GraphGear 1000 & 800



The Rotring 600 was overwhelmingly voted #1 by both our customers and staff for our list. Rotring has a long history of excellent design and craftsmanship, and the 600 series is a big part of that tradition. The all metal brass body makes it heavier than most drafting pencils, but the weight is dispersed evenly throughout the pencil. The seamless marriage of weight and balance, combined with the legendary knurled grip makes the 600 feel less like a writing tool, and more like an extension of your hand. The hexagonal barrel, the sturdy clip, and lead indicator add the finishing touches to the design. All of the elements of the Rotring 600 come together in a perfect symphony of design and engineering, which is why it is considered by many to be the best mechanical pencil ever made.

The 600 series is an iconic writing instrument meant for a lifetime of use

Also check out from Rotring:
800, 500, 300


Honorable Mention:
Finally, with hundreds of mechanical pencils available, and only 5 spots on our list, some of our favorites were left out! Some didn't qualify because we consider them to be sketch pencils (not mechanical pencils), and others just missed our list. Click on the pencils below for a few more of the best mechanical pencils has to offer:

Worther Shorty (Sketch Pencil)
Kaweco Sport
Rosetta DaVinci (Sketch Pencil)
Lamy Safari Pencil
Tombow Mono Graph

This list includes the top 5 mechanical pencils available at based on a combination of customers, staff and sales figures. But, we know there are many other excellent mechanical pencils available. Are there any other mechanical pencils that you love that didn't make our list? Are there brands or other pens and pencils that you wish iPenstore would stock? Let us know in the comments, or send your suggestions to


  1. A very informative and interesting post. I hope you will do a future post on how to refill a mechanical pencil. Some are impossible to figure out. Usually they do not come with instructions.

    1. Hi, thank you for the suggestion! Most mechanical pencils refill from the top (typically under the eraser), but you are right - some can be difficult. We'll keep it in mind for a future blog, but in the mean time if you have any questions about a particular pencil, just send an email or give us a call and we'll be happy to help. Thank you!

  2. Rotring makes great pencils. They also used to make great pens. Why did they stop?

    1. Hi, you are absolutely right on Rotring. The Sanford company bought Rotring in the late 1990's, and I'm sure a variety of corporate reasons caused them to take the brand in a different direction. Rotring does have a ballpoint in the Rapid Pro - which is actually a very nice pen. However, I'm not sure if any pen will ever compare to the original 600. The original Rotring 600 ballpoint and fountain pens were amazing (my favorite was the Lava Metal finish!).