9 Best Mechanical Pencils for Artists and Designers

Illustatrion made with the best mechanical pencils

The most important reason for using the best mechanical pencil you can find is precision.

Mechanical pencils are recommended for work that require clean-looking sketches and high-contrast lines.

While regular pencils and especially charcoal allow artists to explore varying hues of gray, which is ideal for creating the illusion of volume and even perspective, mechanical pencils are ideal for artwork that contains fine details.

Mechanical pencils are also particularly useful when the end-goal of the artwork is to be finished in the computer.

What Are The Best Mechanical Pencils for Drawing?

Here is a ranked list of the best mechanical pencils specifically for drawing.

1) Pentel P200

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Pentel P200 Model

Pentel P200 series mechanical pencils are my go-to tool for drawing on paper. I have been using them for years and even though there are fancier brands in the market, this Pentel model has the best cost-benefit ratio.

Another advantage is that this particular model is available everywhere. In case you lose yours, it will be easy to replace it and you will not have to get used to another mechanical pencil with a different shape and feel.

Pentel produces consistent lines and has graphite lead sizes that are ideal for drawing, particularly the triad: 0.3mm, 0.5mm and 0.7mm.

I use the 0.3mm and 0.5mm models for all my illustrations.

Pentel P200 Advantages:

  • Reliable
  • Durable
  • Available everywhere
  • Affordable
  • Line consistency while drawing

Pentel P200 Disadvantages:

  • Its barrel may detach from the metal tube that houses it if you let the mechanical pencil fall on the floor a couple of times.
  • Some people consider this model too light.

2) rOtring 800

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The rOtring 800 is perfect for those who like mechanical pencils that are a little more luxurious. Of course, this one is much more expensive than the Pentel P200.

This mechanical pencil has its own eraser and some artists claim that it has a longer-than-average life-span, but this is really hard to gauge.

Regarding the body, it has a hard metal surface that provides durability and stability during drawing sessions; however, if you prefer softer grips on your mechanical pencils, then this one might not be as comfortable in comparison to other models with a rubber grip.

Although this mechanical pencil is above average, I don’t believe its price is justifiable unless you want to buy it as a gift for someone who is an artist or a designer.

rOting 800 Advantages:

  • It has an eraser
  • It’s ultra-durable, it supposedly lasts longer than most mechanical pencils in today’s market
  • Its hard grip is seen as an advantage by many artists

rOting 800 Disadvantages:

  • It is more expensive than most other mechanical pencils
  • It doesn’t have a soft grip (no rubber surface) which can be seen as an advantage or disadvantage by artists/designers depending on their preference
  • It’s considered less comfortable for long drawing sessions

3) Pentel Sharp Kerry

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Pentel Sharp Kerry

Another mechanical pencil from Pentel, the Sharp Kerry , has a lot in common with the Pentel P200, but it’s much bulkier.

Although I don’t like drawing with bulky mechanical pencils or pens, I know that many artists out there prefer thicker drawing tools, especially because they are more similar to some drawing tablet digital pens, which we are all used to.

The Pentel Sharp Kerry has a soft grip, and is also quite affordable. It comes in four different lead sizes: 0.35mm, 0.55mm, 0.75mm and 01 mm – which makes it great for drawing detailed or large-scale drawings.

Pentel Sharp Kerry Advantages:

  • It has a soft grip
  • Its lead sizes range from 0.35mm, 0.55mm, 0.75mm to 1 mm
  • It’s affordable in comparison to other mechanical pencils on the market
  • Low breakage

Pentel Sharp Kerry Disadvantages:

  • It’s bulky
  • It’s not automatic, meaning you have to manually click the mechanical pencil every time you want more lead

4) Pentel GraphGear 500 Automatic Drafting Pencil

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Pentel GraphGear 500

The Pentel GraphGear 500 Automatic Drafting Pencil is slightly different from the previous mechanical pencils on this list because it’s automatic. Meaning it uses a coil spring that is constantly tensioned to ensure a consistent flow of lead

The Pentel GraphGear 500 Automatic Drafting Pencil also has an eraser on the end and comes in four different leads sizes: 0.35mm, 0.55mm, 0.75mm and 01 mm.

Pentel GraphGear 500 Automatic Drafting Pencil’s Advantages

  • It has an eraser
  • The lead is automatically fed, which makes it easier to use this mechanical pencil for long periods of time
  • It supports a variety of different lead sizes: 0.35mm, 0.55mm, 0.75mm and 01 mm
  • It’s affordable

Pentel GraphGear 500 Automatic Drafting Pencil’s Disadvantages

  • The tip is fragile and can be permanently damaged if the mechanical pencil is stored in a soft pencil case.

5) Staedtler 780 Technico C Mars

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Staedtler Mars Technico C

Staedtler is another brand that is famous for its great mechanical pencils. The Staedtler 780 Technico C Mars is, above all, versatile.

This one is highly recommended for artists who work with different media because its crisp lines are ideal for scanning.

One of the disadvantages of the Staedtler 780 Technico C Mars is that it doesn’t come with an eraser on the end like many other mechanical pencils do.

That said, this is no big deal since you should never use mechanical pencils’ erasers anyway, they’re way too small and should only be used in case of an emergency when there are absolutely no other erasers around.

6) Pentel GraphGear 1000

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Pentel GraphGear 1000

The Pentel GraphGear 1000 was designed to look like a work-tool. It has a metallic body and is the most elegant option from this list.

I think that metal is the worst material for a mechanical pencil because it tends to get slippery if the artist’s hands start to sweat. Although Pentel has tried to deal with this issue by adding some texture to the gripping area, I still don’t think this mechanical pencil is comfortable to hold.

7) rOtring 600

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rOting 600

rOtring (yes, it’s spelled correctly) along with Pentel and Staedtler has some of the best mechanical pencils out there, which is the case of the rOtring 600. This is a modern and simple mechanical pencil with a distinctive blue look.

The price of the rOtring 600 is reasonable, affordable for those who are on a tight budget but also want to invest in a good mechanical pencil.

8) Uni Kuru Toga Roulette

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Uni Kuru Toga Roulette

This mechanical pencil is particularly similar to the Pentel GraphGear series, but somehow feels nicer to hold.

The Uni Kuru Toga Roulette has been receiving great reviews all over the internet and even though it is not one of the mechanical pencils I keep on my pencil case, I’m seriously considering adding one of these models to my collection.

It has a metallic body and a graphite dispenser tip that has absolutely no gap (which provides precision while drawing).

It’s also worth mentioning that this mechanical pencil is popular among engineering students.

9) Titaner CNC Machining Titanium Mechanical Pencil

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Titaner Machining Titanium Mechanical Pencil

Last but not least, the Titaner CNC Machining Titanium Mechanical Pencil, as the name suggest, is made of titanium, which is the best possible material.

This is not your average mechanical pencil, it’s literally a machine and it can be completely disassembled.

If someone were to give me a mechanical pencil, this is definitely the one I would like to get. I have only used it once in my life at a friend’s house and there is no doubt in my mind that this model is above all others.

In case you have the means to buy it, this is a great choice. For most of us, though, it’s a little bit on the expensive side.

What Are the Characteristics of a Great Mechanical Pencil?

  1. Mechanical pencils should feature an ergonomic grip so artists can draw comfortably and not suffer from any hand or wrist pain.
  2. There should be absolutely no gap between the lead dispenser on the tip of the mechanical pencil and the lead itself. Tight dispensers equal higher precision while drawing.
  3. The material the mechanical pencil is made of also affects the quality of the artist’s drawing sessions. However, this is a very personal choice. I personally hate metallic grips, some other people have a clear preference for it. You should try different types of materials and see for yourself what works better for you.
  4. Shape matters. I tend to stay away from bulky mechanical pencils because I feel like they take away from my precision.

Final Thoughts

Although this list contains better mechanical pencils than the ones I work with, I still recommend that you stick to the Pentel P200 Series.

Despite the fact that this model is not made with special materials like titanium and doesn’t have that cool black-matte look, it works extremely well for what it was designed for, which is drawing.

That said, when you decide to purchase your mechanical pencil try to get a set that comes with the thee main sizes:

  • 0.3mm
  • 0.5mm
  • 0.7mm

Each one of them serve a different purpose and having a set will definitely make your life easier.

If you have any questions just leave a comment below =)

Bruno Brasil

Hi! My name is Bruno. I'm a web developer/designer based in Toronto, Canada. I've been working with drawing tablets for over 20 years and I'm among the Top 10 Most Viewed Writers on Quora in the Graphics Tablets category. Do you have any questions? Just leave a comment =)

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