Kensington Art Supply has an extensive selection of standard mechanical pencils, but there are some that really stand out. This article describes the outstanding choices at various price levels.
The new 0.2mm mechanical pencil from Pentel called Orenz allows people, even with a heavy hand, to use this extra fine lead as it is supported by a unique sliding sleeve that retracts as you write or draw, giving the lead support the whole time to keep it from breaking. Once the sleeve retracts fully, just one click brings out enough lead to keep on writing or drawing. It is important to use this mechanical pencil as it was designed (watch video).
Refill leads are available for the 2.0mm mechanical pencil. Pentel also makes Orenz in 0.3mm, 0.5mm and 0.7mm and these are all one-click design.
Pentel Orenz Nero
Recently released is the Pentel Orenz Nero with new technology of an “auto-lead-forwarding” system. The spring-loaded tip pulls the lead down automatically as you write or draw and keeps feeding until the lead runs out. This means you don’t have to stop to click the pencil! Each pencil comes pre-loaded with Pentel Ain Stein HB lead and the eraser is refillable. Available in 0.3mm and 0.5mm.
Pentel EnerGel 2S
Mechanical pencils are also now available in a multi-tip pen which includes two rollerballs AND a 0.5mm mechanical pencil. Pentel makes the EnerGel 2S which has two ink colours in the pen (black and red) as well as a mechanical pencil – all in the same pen! Refills are available for the rollerballs and the lead can be refilled as well.
Pilot Birdie Combo
To continue in the theme of multi-tip pens, I love the Pilot Birdie Combo – a mechanical pencil and ballpoint pen all in a small and sleek design. The refillable pencil is 0.5mm and the ballpoint is 0.7mm. You can move the cap to either side.
Pilot Color Eno
If you want to spice things up with some colour, try this popular mechanical pencil from Pilot – the Color Eno. Available in 8 vibrant colours (yellow, orange, pink, red, soft blue, blue, green and violet) with matching coloured 0.7mm leads. The leads resist smudging and are easy to erase and the soft blue is a non-photo blue! They work beautifully on black or toned paper!
Pencils are priced at $3.50 each and the leads are $2.50 for a pack of 12.
Tombow MONO Graph
A new mechanical pencil by Tombow is called MONO Graph and they are now available in a variety of pastel colours (lavender, coral pink, mint green, cream yellow, ice blue) and metallic finishes of gold and silver. What’s unique about the MONO Graph is an innovative shake mechanism that allows you to extend the lead just by shaking the pencil! If you don’t want that to happen accidentally, then the pencil’s clip has a shake lock that prevents accidental lead extension. This pencil also features a 4mm sleeve that extends along with the lead to prevent the lead from breaking if you write or draw with firm pressure. It uses a 0.5mm lead and it is refillable. It also comes along with an eraser.
Pentel GraphGear Line
Pentel has a long tradition of making beautiful mechanical pencils in their GraphGear line. From the GraphGear 1000, their high-end pencil with dual-action retractor and built-in lead hardness indicator and knurled grip with soft rubber pads (Price $31.50) to the GraphGear 800 with the metallic grip inlaid with soft rubber pads and sturdy metal construction (Price $12.95) to the GraphGear 500 with the metal mesh grip on a slim, beveled barrel (Price $10.75). Pentel now introduces the GraphGear 300 where quality meets affordability in this entry-level mechanical pencil. The small clip doesn’t bother your hand while writing or drawing and the metal grip on a slim barrel is comfortable to hold. All GraphGear models are available in 0.3, 05, 0.7 and 0.9mm.
Price $5 = What a great price for a quality mechanical pencil
Faber-Castell Grip Plus
Faber-Castell Grip Plus has an ergonomic triangular shape and a rubber grip zone for comfort and a unique 1.4mm lead. I love this pencil for sketching. The metal tip retracts and there is an extra-large twist eraser on the tip. Refill leads are available in a B hardness and refills are also available for the eraser. Comes in a white, metallic red or metallic blue finish.
The Faber-Castell e-motion Wood Twist
The Faber-Castell e-motion Wood Twist Pencil is not only beautiful to look at but feels so comfortable in your hand. The barrel is made of stained pearwood with an end cap and tip made of chrome-plated polished metal. The pencil has a cigar-shape look to it and the twist mechanism moves the lead forward. What is unique about this pencil is the 1.4mm lead. There is a refillable eraser under the cap.
Available in dark brown, brown, or black stained pearwood. Refill lead available in B hardness.
The LAMY 2000 mechanical pencil has won many design awards. The sleek design is made of fiberglass and stainless steel with a matte brushed finish. Available with either a 0.5mm or 0.7mm lead and comes with an eraser and a cleaning needle. Available in a matte black.
(Also available by special order in a matte silver metal finish with a 0.7mm lead for $270)