Best Mechanical Pencil for Architects and Artists

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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As a designer or architect, one of the few things that make your work undesirable is having to either replace a pencil or sharpen one. It is time-consuming and steals your concentration from work, thus slowing down your project. But, what if you were to get the best mechanical pencil? Read on to see why a mechanical pencil is your best solution.

What is a Mechanical Pencil?

It is also called a clutch pencil, and it is a pencil that comes with a replaceable and mechanically extendable lead. When writing and drawing, this pencil pushes the lead forward mechanically to eliminate the need to sharpen. Unlike traditional wooden pencils, the mechanical pencil is not bonded to the outer casing, making the pushing possible.

Mechanical pencils are great options for people writers and drawers. With a perfect writing tip, you will enjoy clean handwriting and a consistent line width if drawing. That's not all; a mechanical pencil is also refillable because it is not bonded to the outer casing. You can always add a new one to the stud when your lead is finished and continue with your project.

That said, let's look at some of the best mechanical pencils you can get today. We will talk about the features, pros, and cons of each, and later on, also discuss what factors you may need to consider before buying one.

1. Best Mechanical Pencil: Uni Kuru Toga Roulette Mechanical Pencil

Uni Kuru Toga Roulette Model Auto Lead Rotation 0.5mm...
  • The Kuru Toga Series from Uni-ball Mitsubishi has a core rotation...
  • At first the pencil has a sharp point, but after that when you...
  • But using Kuru Toga pencil, you will not have to face the above...
  • Lead size : 0.5mm
  • Japan Import

If you have used a traditional wooden pencil before, you understand how frustrating it can be to try and maintain perfect handwriting or consistent drawing. With every scribble, the lead changes form in more than one way. Then, it also shortens, and you have to sharpen it again. Now, as your pencil gets shorter, you lose more balance and grip, meaning you won't likely get the perfection you need.

If you use a mechanical pencil such as this Uni Kuru Toga model, these are challenges you won't have to encounter again. Firstly, the pencil has a core rotation mechanism that automatically adjusts the lead as you write or draw. This mechanism uses a spring-loaded clutch that twists the lead incrementally every time you stop scribbling.

The pencil stays sharp and has an o.5mm lead size. In addition, the casing is available in different colors and features knurled grips so the pencil won't slip off as you work. Its nose cone is made with fine metal, and it also comes with a replaceable eraser which is also safe for children.


  • Available in different casing colors
  • The o.5mm size is ideal for writing and drawing
  • It comes with knurled grips for slip-free holds
  • It is a lightweight mechanical pencil
  • It uses a spring-loaded clutch to push the lead forward when you lift the pencil
  • The rotation mechanism allows equal wear to the lead


  • The eraser wears fast
  • It comes with a plastic clip that will also wear fast

2. Best For Writing: Pentel Sharp Kerry Mechanical Pencil

Pentel Sharp Kerry Automatic Pencil, 0.7mm Lead Size,...
  • Handcrafted with watchmaker's tools for precision, beauty and...
  • The only Capped Pencil in the U.S.A. For ultimate pocket and...
  • Removable cap provides proper balance while writing and protects...
  • Elegantly sized to fit comfortably in pockets & purses
  • Comes in a clear plastic box; ideal for gift giving

The Pentel Sharp Kerry is designed with a cap, so it looks like a very classy ballpoint pen when not in use. Another feature that makes it unique is the size of the drafting sleeve. If you compare it to any of the best mechanical pencils from another brand, the drafting sleeve appears almost half the size. This size allows the same precision, but it also more than minimizes the risk of breakages.

The Pentel Sharp Kerry also comes with a cap, unlike most mechanical pencils in the market. You will love the cap for protection if you carry the pencil in your pocket. Additionally, you will also love that you can use the pencil with or without the cap.

To advance the lead, you will use the Pentel click mechanism, and you can click with the cap on or off. Beneath the stainless aluminum button, you will also find a tiny eraser that you can use if you don't have an extra one by your desk.


  • It is pocket friendly with the cap
  • It comes in a unique design
  • It is available in the 0.5 mm lead size that's best for technical writing
  • It comes with an easy-to-use push button to advance the led
  • The pencil also comes with an eraser
  • Available in different colors
  • It comes in a classic plastic box for better portability


  • It doesn't have the best anti-slip grip properties
  • It is costly

3. Best for Drawing: Rotring 600 Mechanical Pencil

rOtring 1904444 600 Mechanical Pencil, 0.5 mm, Black...
  • An iconic tool meant for a lifetime of use; The Full metal body...
  • Brass mechanism allows Precision lead advancement; Lead hardness...
  • Hexagonal shape avoids sliding on drawing tables; Design, pattern...
  • The fixed lead guidance sleeve prevents breakage and gives you a...
  • Limited Warranty: Guaranteed for 2 years from original purchase...

When drawing, you need a pencil that provides the best grip and a view of the drawing surface. The best mechanical pencil for technical drawing is this Rotring 600 that comes with a metallic grip featuring knurled grips for the best non-slip holding. In addition, it also offers an unimpeded view of the page you are working on, making it ideal for drawing and writing.

When drawing, you need to concentrate on the project, so the last thing you need is your pencil rolling off the table the moment you set it down. Fortunately, this Rotring 600 mechanical pencil comes with a metallic, hexagonal body that keeps it in place when you lay it on the table. Additionally, it comes with an ergonomically enhanced barrel that allows better weight distribution so you can use the pencil for long periods.

This pencil uses a brass mechanism to propel the lead forward as you work, and it is available in o.5 and 0.7 mm lead sizes. It is relatively affordable and comes with a 2-year limited warranty.


  • Comes with a 2-year limited warranty
  • Relatively affordable
  • It uses a brass mechanism to push the lead forward as you continue working
  • Available in two lead sizes
  • The hexagonal body prevents rolling off the table
  • It features a metallic grip zone to reduce finger fatigue
  • It has a Lead hardness indicator


  • It can be a bit heavy for drawing for longer hours

4. Best For Grip: PILOT Center Of Gravity Mechanical Pencil

Pilot Mechanical Pencil Dr. Grip, 0.5mm, Metallic Blue...
  • Pilot Mechanical Pencil Dr Grip Standard
  • 0 5mm
  • Shake or Knock for lead

When you need to write but struggle with a condition such as arthritis, using a mechanical pencil is the best solution to ease your symptoms. Even better, you can use a mechanical pencil designed with the best materials for hassle-free grip. This Pilot Center of Gravity pencil is designed for people who need to write many notes; if you are one, you are predisposed to hand and finger fatigue.

Now, while there are mechanical pencils with better mechanisms for pushing the lead forward, most don't meet the comfort standards of this model. It is made with a double layer of comfort grips and a balanced gripping axis to reduce fatigue and stress. It feels good in your hand, and an 0.7mm lead size only makes your writing easier.

The pencil uses replaceable leads and an eraser. You will only need to click the eraser for the lead to advance.


  • Recommended by the Arthritis Foundation
  • Ideal for students who need to write lots of notes
  • The 0.7mm lead will hardly break as you write
  • The pencil is available in different barrel colors
  • Easy to click the eraser to advance the lead


  • It comes with an almost unusable eraser

5. Best Budget: Paper Mate 56047PP Clearpoint Starter Set

If you want to buy several mechanical pencils at the best prices, your best buy would be from Paper Mate. The 6047PP set comes with two o.7mm mechanical pens, plus two extra leads and jumbo erasers.

The mechanical pencils come with a clear barrel that reveals the leads inside, so you know when it is time to refill. In addition, the outer casing features textured grips so you can write notes for long periods without fatigue. You will also love the convenient side click-advance mechanism to push the lead forward.

The affordable mechanical pencils also come in assorted colors. You can also buy your ideal mechanical pencil in different sets with different assortments and counts the company has on offer.


  • Relatively affordable
  • Easy to use click-advance mechanism pushes the lead forward for consistent handwriting
  • The set comes in assorted colors
  • The 0.7mm lead size is ideal for most students
  • The set comes with extra leads and erasers
  • The clear barrels also have textured grips so you can scribble for more extended periods without fatigue


  • The plastic build gets damaged easily

Advantages of Using the Best Mechanical Pencils

If you have been using regular, wood-cased pencils and are not sure if mechanical pencils will be better, here are some of the advantages you are sure to enjoy.

  1. You will not need to sharpen. The most significant advantage of using the best mechanical pencils is that you will never have to sharpen them, and they will never get blunt. You will notice that each comes with a lead advancement mechanism that pushes the lead forward to keep it fresh and sharp. If you invest in the best, like the Uni Kuru Toga on this list, you will enjoy the way it automatically rotates the lead when you stop scribbling.
  2. They are better for drawing and writing. If you use pencils a lot, you know they can mess up your projects when they start dulling or even shortening. With mechanical pencils, you get a consistent line width, and when the lead wears, you can replace it.
  3. They are refillable. When your leads wear, you will load the studs with new ones and continue your projects.
  4. They offer better balance. When using a regular pencil, it shortens the more you sharpen it, which affects the balance and grip. Luckily, the mechanical pencils only need you to refill the leads, thus never affecting balance and grip.

Factors to Consider for the Best Mechanical Pencil

While you can pick any of the best mechanical pencils on this list and in the market, it is better to pay attention to more details to get the best one for your needs. The most important factors are;

a) Lead adjustment mechanism

The fact that you won't need to sharpen your pencil is exciting. But, you will need to pick the best lead-advancing mechanism for a better experience. These are some mechanisms.

  1. The kuru toga mechanism. It automatically adjusts your lead for even wear.
  2. Click-advance. With this mechanism, you will need to click at the top of the pencil, sometimes on the eraser, to push the lead forward.
  3. Side click mechanism. This mechanism uses a button on the side that you push to advance the lead.
  4. The shaker mechanism. These mechanical pencils also come with a push-button, but you can sake them, so the weight inside the pencils falls on the button to advance the lead.

b) Lead size and grade

The best mechanical pencils come with three main lead sizes; 0.5, 0.7, and 0.9mm. Still, you can find other lead widths, such as 0.3 mm, so the size depends on how you want to use the pencils.

The lead grade also matters; you need a different strength or shade for different functions, so you can pick between HB, 2B, and more grades.

c) Grip

Since the casing of the best mechanical pencil will not change in size, you will need to pick one that guarantees no hand and finger fatigue and is comfortable to hold.

d) Style

There are two styles you can choose between for your mechanical pencils. The best pencils can either be retractable or capped. While this rarely affects the quality of the lead, it is an excellent way to make a statement in class or workstation.

e) Casing materials

When the best mechanical pencils, you need to look at the quality of the lead and the stud as well. Some mechanical pencils will come with plastic casings, aluminum casings, stainless steel casings, and more materials you can pick from. The build also determines durability.

Who Can Use the Best Mechanical Pencil?

While the world slowly moves on towards using keyboards or pens for writing, several groups of professionals and students still rely on an excellent pencil to accomplish their tasks. You will benefit from mechanical pencils of you are;

  1. A writer for good handwriting.
  2. An architect. It is best for drawing precise schematics or sketching new designs.
  3. A mathematician. It is suitable for drawing graphs and solve equations that would also require lots of erasing.
  4. An artist. It would be best if you had a mechanical drafting pencil for better, consistent sketching.
Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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