8 Best Mechanical Pencils for Drawing

Despite all the advances in technology, you still can’t beat a mechanical pencil

It’s one of my favorite drawing and sketching tools. I recommend every artist has a trusty mechanical pencil.

While drawing tablets have come a long way, sometimes you need to feel the pen in your hand and draw on good old paper.

There are a few reasons why mechanical pencils are so useful. First of all, they are very sturdy and hardwearing. A mechanical pencil will outlast any regular pencil.

Another bonus is that you can erase them easily. Plus, these pencils are suitable for sketching, drawing, and taking notes.

But when you look for the best mechanical pencil, you’ll discover that there are many factors to consider. Deciding which one to buy can be pretty tricky and confusing!

That’s why I’ve put together this guide to the best mechanical pencil for drawing. I’ve had a lot of experience using mechanical art pencils, so I’ll sum up the key factors.

Then, I’ll share my reviews of good mechanical pencils for drawing. Let’s get stuck in!

What is the Best Mechanical Pencil for Drawing: Buyer’s Guide

Before you buy a mechanical pencil for drawing, there are a few things you need to know! 

Mechanical pencils can differ a lot in style, shape, and more. Here are the essential features of the best drawing pencils.


First of all, you want a mechanical pencil that is the right size for your hand. Mechanical pencils vary a lot in size, as people’s hands do. 

So, it’s a good idea to take a look at the measurements and test it out for yourself, if you can. 

You don’t want a pencil that’s too big or too small. Finding that Goldilocks pencil (just right!) is so worth it.

Shape & Ergonomics

But it’s not only the size of the pencil that’s essential. The shape and ergonomics of the pencil make a huge difference, too. 

The ergonomics means how comfortably the pencil fits the shape of your hand. The best pencil for drawing will fit snugly to your fingers.

The shape will make all the difference to how long you can hold your pencil. So, if you like to draw or write a lot, you’ll need to take this category seriously!

Another vital factor is how well-balanced the pencil feels in use. Does it sit nicely, or does it feel top or bottom-heavy?

Again, it all comes down to holding the pencil in your hand and testing it out! But if you can’t do that, reviews like the ones below are super helpful. 

Reading the reviews will give you an idea of how ergonomic and comfortable the pencil will be to use. When you use it frequently, you don’t want to give up your comfort! 

Durability & Materials

You want a mechanical pencil that’s been well constructed and built to last. If you pick carefully, your pencil could last for decades or longer.

That’s why it’s essential to check the reviews before you buy. Try to buy from one of the well-known brands that produce quality mechanical pencils. 

You can buy mechanical pencils made of plastic or metal. While metal is heavier, it does tend to last longer. But the choice is yours!

Best Mechanical Pencil Lead Size for Drawing

We’ve talked about the size of the pencil itself. But the mechanical pencils lead sizes is also an essential factor. You’ll need to get the right size to ensure your pencil is fit for the job!

If you need to draw delicate details, you’ll need to go for the thinnest lead at around 0.3 mm.

A 0.5 mm lead is very versatile and suitable for most drawing and sketching. But if you need to write on delicate paper like newsprint, you could go for a 0.9 mm pencil.

Extra Features

Some pencils will have some handy extra features that make it stand out from its competitors. 

For example, it’s useful to have a pencil with an eraser so that you can make changes as you go.

Other useful features to look out for include a built-in sharpener or nib storage. While not essential, they are a real bonus! 

8 Best Mechanical Pencils: The Reviews

  • 01. Uni Kurutoga Pipe Slide 0.5mm
  • Uni Core Keeps Sharp Mechanical
  • Zebra 54012 Stainless Steel Mechanical Pencil
  • Rotring 600 Black Barrel
  • Rite in the Rain All-Weather Durable
  • rOtring 1904449 800 Retractable Mechanical Pencil
  • Pentel GraphGear 1000 Mechanical Pencil
  • Staedtler 780 C Mars

Uni Kurutoga Pipe Slide 0.5mm

Best Mechanical Pencil for Drawing

Best Mechanical Pencil for Drawing - Uni Kurutoga Pipe Slide 0.5mm

(Image credit: UniPatch)

This innovative mechanical pencil is perfect for artists. It has some cool features that set it apart from other mechanical pencils. 

For example, it has a core rotation mechanism that works with the spring-loaded clutch. Together, these features ensure a constant rotation of the lead.

So, the lead stays sharp and uniform, rather than getting worn down or wedge-shaped. As a result, your drawings will always look clean and consistent!

You get a thin, neat line using the Kurutoga pencil. It also means that your lead will last longer, making it very friendly on your wallet, too!

This version of the Kurutoga is new and improved. It rotates your lead more often than before and is much more effective.

The smart pipe slide system also protects your lead and prevents breakages. So, you can pop this pencil in your bag or pocket without worrying about damaging it. 

It feels comfortable in hand and comes with a built-in eraser. Overall, it’s one of the best pencils for writing or drawing.

  • Unique design with self-rotating lead
  • The lead produces a thin, sharp line
  • The eraser isn’t the best quality

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Uni Core Keeps Sharp Mechanical

Best Mechanical Pencil Lead for Sketching

Best Mechanical Pencil for Drawing - Uni Core Keeps Sharp Mechanical

(Image credit: UniPatch)

Another option is this sleek mechanical pencil from Uni. It has a cool, attractive design in gunmetal black with silver features.

It fits nicely in your hand and has a comfortable knurled grip. It’s textured enough to provide a firm grip without feeling sticky. 

The design allows you to draw for longer without feeling hand fatigue.

At 0.5 mm, the lead size is very versatile. In my opinion, it’s the best mechanical pencil lead for drawing. You can draw very detailed designs with ease.

Constructed from a combination of metal and plastic, it feels sturdy and hardwearing. You can attach it to your jacket or bag using the handy metal clip.

  • Excellent construction and cool design
  • Ergonomic shape with plenty of grip
  • It’s quite expensive for what you get

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Zebra 54012 Stainless Steel Mechanical Pencil

Best Mechanical Pencil for Writing and Drawing

Best Mechanical Pencil for Drawing - Zebra 54012 Stainless Steel Mechanical Pencil

(Image credit: Zebra)

Here we have a contender for the best mechanical pencil for writing. This beautiful pencil is made from stainless steel with a brushed barrel. It looks great and performs even better!

Metal pencils tend to be very durable and sturdy compared to plastic models. The Zebra mechanical pencil doesn’t disappoint! 

It feels great in hand. It’s not flimsy, but it also balances nicely, allowing you to do your best work. 

Treat this pencil right, and it will be a good investment. So, you’ll get excellent value for money.

It produces a thin, precise line that is perfect for sketches and illustrations.

The non-slip grip ensures that you always have a firm grasp on your pen. It prevents any slips or errors in your drawings.

This pencil takes 0.5 mm HB pencil lead, which is versatile and easy to find. It also has a metal clip for your shirt and a replaceable eraser. 

To sum up, this sturdy metal pencil is durable and pleasant to write with.

  • A robust yet attractive metal build
  • Feels nice to write with
  • The tip doesn’t retract

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Rotring 600 Black Barrel

Best Mechanical Pencil for Sketching

Best Mechanical Pencil for Drawing - Rotring 600 Black Barrel

(Image credit: rOtring)

If you’re looking for a premium mechanical pencil, check out the Rotring 600. While it’s more expensive, it ticks all the right boxes.

This pencil has a unique design in all-black with red trim. The body has a hexagonal shape, which provides a firm grip and looks cool, too!

The first thing that will catch your eye is the all-metal body. This build means that it’s about as strong and robust as mechanical pencils come. 

But it’s not too weighty. This pencil balances out beautifully in your hand to reduce fatigue. The clever engineering translates to your increased comfort!

You can select the Rotring in 0.35, 0.5, or 0.7 mm pencil leads. These choices allow you to choose the ideal pencil for any situation.

It’s also very versatile, giving a thin, delicate, and consistent line. The Rotring 600 is one of the best sketching mechanical pencils, but it’s just as good for writing and tracing.

  • One of the top-quality mechanical artist pencils
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty and should last for decades
  • It doesn’t come cheap

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rOtring 1904449 800 Retractable Mechanical Pencil

Best Quality Mechanical Pencil

Best Mechanical Pencil for Drawing - rOtring 1904449 800 Retractable Mechanical Pencil

(Image credit: rOtring)

You’ve already seen the Rotring 600, but the Rotring 800 is another worthy choice. If you have some cash to splash, consider this excellent pencil.

It’s slightly more expensive, but the features make up for the price.

It’s attractive because it has a retractable tip to keep your lead safe at all times. On this model, it draws the entire lead and sleeve in with just one click.

This safety measure prevents your lead from breaking and makes it more portable. It reduces the chances that you’ll poke yourself with the pencil tip.

Just like the Rotring 600, it has the same all-metal body that’s both gorgeous and sturdy. You can choose between a black or silver design.

The knurled grip feels great and provides the right amount of friction. 

Plus, the Rotring 800 is a bit longer and larger than the 600 model. This update perfects the balance and feels of this pencil as you write.

  • Premium pencil has all the same features and a retractable tip
  • The longer length makes writing with this pencil even easier
  • It’s costly

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Pentel GraphGear 1000 Mechanical Pencil

Best Mechanical Pencil for Artists, Designers, and Architects

Best Mechanical Pencil for Drawing - Pentel GraphGear 1000 Mechanical Pencil

(Image credit: Pentel)

The Pentel GraphGear is another excellent mechanical pencil. It’s packed full of features and offers superb value for money.

The GraphGear is ideal for drawing, sketching, and writing. It’s ideal for artists, designers, architects, or anyone who wants a reliable pencil.

This pencil looks elegant and feels nice in your hand. The chiseled metal grip has soft, latex-free pads. It’s a winning combination that gives you just the right amount of grip. 

It’s not the lightest pencil due to the metal construction. But that gives it a pleasingly solid and smooth feel when writing with it. 

It’s also robust and should last a long time. The GraphGear comes in lead sizes of 0.3 to 0.9 mm, so you can pick the right size for your needs.

It has an eraser cap and a useful dual-action retractor that protects the lead when not in use. It even has a lead hardness indicator so you can work out what kind of lead you’re using.

  • Comes with all the features you could need, like an eraser and retractable tip
  • Sturdy design that offers good value for money
  • You can feel a bit of movement in the tip

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Staedtler 780 C Mars

Best Mechanical Pencil with a Retractable Tip

Best Mechanical Pencil for Drawing - Staedtler 780 C Mars

(Image credit: Staedtler)

Staedtler is a well-known brand name that’s been leading the way with stationery for years. The Staedtler 780 Mars has all the features you’d expect from this respected German brand.

But it’s the integrated lead sharpener that makes this pencil stand out. With a push of a button, the lead will always be sharp and on point, for a thin, delicate line.

The bright blue design is a welcome pop of color, and the crosshatch grip zone makes it easy to hold for a long time. It has a metal clip, allowing you to attach it securely to your shirt or bag.

It is sturdy and has a retractable tip, making it perfect for traveling. You can take this pencil anywhere without worrying about the lead snapping.

  • You get excellent, consistent lines thanks to the built-in sharpener
  • The retractable tip makes it portable and hardwearing
  • The round design means that it can rotate when in use

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Rite in the Rain All-Weather Durable

Best Waterproof and Weatherproof Mechanical Pencil

Best Mechanical Pencil for Drawing - Rite in the Rain All-Weather Durable

(Image credit: Rite)

Most mechanical pencils tend to have thinner leads. But if you need a thicker lead diameter, you should snap up this weatherproof pencil.

The Rite in the Rain is a pencil barrel that uses a permanent marker instead of a regular pencil lead. 

It’s suitable for use in any condition, no matter the humidity or the temperature. The permanent ink is waterproof and weatherproof, so it won’t fade or wash away.

If you need to make sketches or notes in the great outdoors, snap up this pencil now. This pencil uses 1.1 mm ink that is clear to read in any situation. 

You don’t need to worry about delicate leads or flimsy construction. This pencil barrel is made to withstand anything and can even write underwater.

You can take your pick of both the barrel color and the ink. Choose from a classic all-black pencil or the easy-to-find bright orange. The ink is also available in black, blue, or red. 

This weatherproof mechanical pencil meets a specific set of needs. If you want to write outside, whatever the weather, grab this pencil today! 

  • Waterproof ink that writes in all conditions
  • Sturdy construction and you can choose from a range of colors
  • It’s not for making small or delicate notes/sketches

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In Conclusion

There you have an idea about drawing mechanical pencils! I’ve summed up the most critical factors, from size to shape and durability.

Comparing mechanical art pencils isn’t an easy task with so many different models on the market. 

But if you grab one of the recommended models, you’ll know you’re buying a tried-and-tested pencil! You’ll get greater peace of mind and satisfaction with your new pencil.

If you’re looking for the best mechanical pencil for sketching, any of these products will fit the bill. Click the links above to check the price of your preferred pencil.

Let me know if you have any questions by dropping me a comment below! Then, sign up for the Proactive Creative newsletter to stay in the loop with the best tips and reviews!

Happy drawing! 

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My name is Outmane, I am a designer and artist.

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