The 10 Best Drafting Pencils

Sara Mandeed
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Fine to extra-fine, mechanical or non-mechanical, cheap to expensive, from Japan to the USA, I have rounded up some of the best drafting pencils for the daily user inked in a range of prices.

NameCategoryProduct
Pentel Arts GraphGear 1000 Premium Gift SetBest Overall
Pentel Arts GraphGear 1000 Premium Gift Set
Pentel GraphGear 500 Automatic Drafting Pencil BlackBudget Pick
Pentel GraphGear 500 Automatic Drafting Pencil Black
rOtring 1900184 800+ Mechanical Pencil and Touchscreen StylusUpgrade Pick
rOtring 1900184 800+ Mechanical Pencil and Touchscreen Stylus

1. Pentel Arts GraphGear 1000 Premium Gift Set

Our rating: 9 / 10


Pentel Arts GraphGear 1000 Premium Gift Set

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Pros:

  • Available in blue or red
  • Comes with different types of leads
  • Comfortable to use
  • Good lead quality
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Lead retention can be an issue
  • Sometimes lead tips break while sharpening
  • Some people find the color to be childish

As a hobbyist who works as a graphic designer at a design firm, I can vouch for the Pentel Arts Graphgear 1000 Premium Gift Set.

This starters capable drafting pencil set has 18 pieces with an eraser, pack of leads, lead sharpener, and pencil extender. It is quite easy to use and has a comfortable grip. Users also have the option of choosing between blue and red colors.

Some people say that the lead retention can be a problem but I did not face this problem. The blue and red color scheme is childish for some who prefer a more mature look.

2. Rotring 800 Mechanical Pencil 0.7Mm Black

Our rating: 9 / 10


Rotring 800 Mechanical Pencil 0.7Mm Black

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Pros:

  • Analog-looking design
  • Easy-to-hold grip
  • Comfortable weight
  • High quality lead
  • Ergonomic and sleek, attractive design
  • Produces very little lead wiper
  • Excellent clip
  • Replacement leads are available
  • Includes eraser and new lead mechanism

Rotring developed a reputation amongst pro-drafting artists for over 100 years of delivering high quality products to its customers. This time it has redefined the term "Eco-Friendly" due to its efforts to produce high quality products while remaining environmentally friendly. Rotring has developed a line of mechanical pencils that go above and beyond any standard mechanical pencils, while staying away from potentially harmful products.

The Rotring 800 Mechanical Pencil is easy-to-use, it is also comfortable-to-use without drastically increasing your chances of smudging your work, especially if you have to draft intricate designs. This pencil will not only make your life easier, but will make your drawing more enjoyable as well.

3. rOtring 1900184 800+ Mechanical Pencil and Touchscreen Stylus

Our rating: 9 / 10


rOtring 1900184 800+ Mechanical Pencil and Touchscreen Stylus

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Pros:

  • Most durable mechanical pencil
  • Reasonably priced
  • Perfect balance between performance and aesthetics
  • Beautiful, sleek design
  • Includes a stylus

Mechanical pencils are great for a number of reasons. They tend to last longer than wood-cased pencils, they don’t run out of lead and you can always pick up more if you need to, and you don’t have to sharpen them, which is a great time saver for artists.

Our top pick is the mechanical pencil from rOtring. As far as mechanical pencils go, the rOtring is one of the most durable and reliable ones out there. They’re not the cheapest, but they’re built to last.

This pencil is made of metal and plastic, which gives it an IP54 rating against water and dust, so it’s resistant against a number of things. Plus, it comes with an eraser that can be removed to replace an older one. The eraser tip can be snapped on easily without much effort at all.

4. Staedtler Mars 780 Technical Mechanical Pencil

Our rating: 9 / 10


Staedtler Mars 780 Technical Mechanical Pencil

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Pros:

  • Non-slip grip
  • Unique no-spill mechanism
  • You can use it with the protective cap on
  • Good point retention and break-resistant
  • Eraser tip lacks fray
  • Heavyweight body for a solid grip
  • 4-5mm lead is ideal for drawing and drafting
  • Lead indicator eliminates accidental reloading

Cons:

  • Some users aren’t fans of the pencil’s grip
  • Plastic feels a little cheap
  • Too thick to fit into pockets

In our quest for the best drafting pencils, we came across the Staedtler Mars 780. The 780 offers a lot in a small package. It’s a non-slip pencil, perfect for long hours of drawing. It offers a comfortable grip while still feeling substantial. Just looking at the awesome design, you can tell that the pencil is made for professionals.

This drafting pencil also offers a unique no-spill mechanism that eliminates the need for caps when sharpening and an eraser-less tip that’s easily replaceable. The pencil’s lead indicator eliminates accidental reloading, which is always tough to get rid of.

5. rOtring 600 Series Mechanical Pencil

Our rating: 9 / 10


rOtring 600 Series Mechanical Pencil

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Pros:

  • Small, lightweight design
  • Features a sturdy tip that doesn’t break easily
  • Comes with a handy 0.5mm lead refills
  • The eraser is attached with a screwed mechanism

Cons:

  • Medium grip is slippery when wet
  • Feels cheap in your hands when writing for too long
  • Does not stand up by itself

The rOtring 600 mechanical pencil is one of the best drafting pencils you can find on the market right now. It’s perfect for designers and engineers and has a lightweight body, which makes it easy to hold without feeling fatigued. Plus, the rubber grip is anti-slip, making it even more comfortable to use.

The pencil comes with either a 0.5mm or 0.7mm lead selection. You can easily access your preferred size by simply twisting the mechanism in the middle. While it’s durable, the pencil is heavy on the pocket, so if you’re on a tight budget, this might be too expensive for you.

However, there are some complaints about the clip mechanism breaking. You can fix this issue by removing the clip and drilling up to 10mm from the end and inserting a screw. This will allow you to tension the clip more effectively.

6. Koh-i-Noor Mechanical Hardtmuth Lead Holder

Our rating: 8 / 10


Koh-i-Noor Mechanical Hardtmuth Lead Holder

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Pros:

  • Perfect for all kinds of drafting
  • Time-tested and popular lead holder
  • Exceptional durability and performance
  • Available in a variety of sizes and colors
  • Cheaper than most other lead holders

Cons:

  • Not ideal for extreme or heavy drafting
  • May break if it falls hard on the ground

Specifically designed for drawing and drafting, this Koh-i-Noor drafting pencil is a favorite of many artists, designers, and architects. The shaft is made of a lightweight cast aluminum material, with the lower third made of hardwood. This pencil is suitable for use on any paper – regardless of quality.

However, true to its namesake, this Koh-i-Noor lead holder is super-hard, so you may need to keep some softer leads on hand to achieve the aesthetic you’re going for. At the same time, it’s perfect for delicate or curved drawings. And, with a removable clip on the cap, it’s easy to fix it on your pockets, pens, or books.

7. Uni Core Keeps Sharp Mechanical Pencil

Our rating: 8 / 10


Uni Core Keeps Sharp Mechanical Pencil

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Pros:

  • Economical
  • High-quality
  • Made of metal and fully polished
  • Eraser works smoothly
  • Reliable
  • Won’t leave lead coke or tarry stains
  • Great-looking pencils
  • It’s available in nine colors
  • Eraser works effortlessly
  • Rounded thick lead does not break and is easy to erase

This is a mechanical pencil, which means it’s powered by a mechanical mechanism rather than a graphite stick. It’s usually of higher quality than a graphite pencil. This pencil comes in a set of 12 different colors, including black, blue, red, orange, yellow, rose pink, purple, silver gun metallic, orange gun metallic, green, white, and brown.

The pencil has a thick metal body that’s easy to hold and doesn’t get slippery when your hands are a little damp. The grip is good and offers a high level of writing efficiency, even with the thick lead.

8. Pentel Graph Gear 1000 Mechanical Drafting Pencil 0.7mm Blue

Our rating: 8 / 10


Pentel Graph Gear 1000 Mechanical Drafting Pencil 0.7mm Blue

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Pros:

  • Good blend of quality and affordability
  • Lead grade indicator
  • Good for drawing outlines of shapes
  • Attractive design

We all know that a drafting pencil is a must-have for any artist out there. Despite its relatively low price, the Pentel Graph Gear 1000 delivers an excellent balance of both performance and quality.

The Graph Gear 1000 features a 0.7 millimeter lead and a retractable eraser. It’s also five inches long, which is a good length for a drafting pencil. We recommend a range of five to six inches. If it’s too short, your hand will get tired quickly. If it’s longer, accuracy and grip will suffer.

The Pentel Graph Gear 1000 also includes an indicator on its lead grade, which is especially convenient for quick sketches and designs. Plus, it’s available in a few different colors, so you can choose a color that’s most pleasing to you.

9. Pentel GraphGear 500 Automatic Drafting Pencil Black

Our rating: 8 / 10


Pentel GraphGear 500 Automatic Drafting Pencil Black

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Pros:

  • Auto-rotating lead mechanism
  • Lead sleeve extends to allow 0.7mm lead changes
  • Apad-Resin grip for added comfort
  • Eco-Friendly phase-change lead
  • Reliable auto lead mechanism
  • Comfortable design for all-day use
  • Good array of lead sizes
  • Works well for drawing and shading

Cons:

  • Small wood casing can come undone after a lot of use
  • Drafting pencils are also expensive

The Pentel GraphGear 500 Auto Rotating Pencil is probably one of the best drafting pencils in the market, owing to the fact that it is extremely comfortable to use. The pencil itself comes with an environmentally-friendly phase-change lead, which is a bit more expensive than typical lead grades but last a lot longer.

The lead sleeve of this pencil automatically rotates when you use the pencil, allowing you to change the lead size without having to change the tip. A lot of professional artists swear by the Pentel graphgear pencils – specifically the eco-friendly variants. The lead is about 0.7mm in diameter, which prevents you from accidentally pressing too hard on the paper and damaging your artwork.

10. Staedtler 502 BK A6 Mars Rotary Action Lead Pointer and Tub

Our rating: 8 / 10


Staedtler 502 BK A6 Mars Rotary Action Lead Pointer and Tub

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Pros:

  • Made of high-quality material
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Spring loaded and writes smoothly
  • Sturdy and lightweight
  • Hassle-free money back guarantee
  • Compatible with 2mm lead
  • Nib is detachable
  • Handy grip for easy and convenient use
  • Straightness/refill indicator
  • Made in Germany

Cons:

  • Only available online
  • Hard to find refills
  • Not ideal for heavy-duty use

Barrel,Blue.

If you’re looking for a drafting pencil that’s sturdy, well crafted, and offers easy use, this is it. The Mars was designed by Staedtler, a renown German manufacturer of high-quality stationery items. The drafting pencil comes with a handy grip that allows you to write comfortably even if you have larger hands.

11. Alvin, Draft-Matic Mechanical Pencil

Our rating: 8 / 10


Alvin, Draft-Matic Mechanical Pencil

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Pros:

  • Very well balanced pencil
  • Superior quality design and construction
  • Allows for a quick and smooth glide
  • Can be used for small handwriting or writing down short ideas
  • Thick enough to write small notes without smudging
  • Sharpen easily

Cons:

  • Have to use an extra sharpener
  • Nicks lead quickly
  • Not ideal for drawing

This first pick is the Alvin, Draft-Matic Mechanical Pencil, 0.5mm. It first popped up on our radar when we were researching for the best drafting pencils. The Alvin Draftmatic 0.5mm drafting pencil is just a great pencil. It has a highly polished finish and the sleek coating makes it look really professional. The drafting pencil is attached to a sturdy metal body which allows it to balance well in your hand.

The part that makes this pencil stand out though is the lead hardness regulation feature. It has a triangular grip at the top of the pencil that activates the lead hardness controls. This gives you three lead hardness settings depending on how you hold the pencil. This is ideal for fine tuning the drafting pencil to your hand.

The lead hardness control pencil is very well-made ; the parts are sturdy and the grip is balanced. It comes out of the box ready to go. There’s also an included eraser at the base of the pencil.

12. Pilot Mechanical Pencil S20

Our rating: 6 / 10


Pilot Mechanical Pencil S20

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Pros:

  • Balanced, light, well-designed
  • Most ergonomic pencil on the market
  • Translucent barrel
  • Reasonably priced
  • They move over paper like a hot knife through butter
  • Pencils don’t get stuck
  • Well balanced and comfortable to use
  • They are eraser resistant and stay sharp a long time
  • They are, in essence, worth 3 to 4 times their price

Cons:

  • Grip could be a little better
  • The metal tip can bend a little if you use a heavy hand

We found that this is the best mechanical pencil to use for drafting or general drawing. In fact, we were blown away at how good it is. You can’t beat all the things this one pencil has to offer and you will love it if you try it. They are 1mm, which is really ideal for drafting, and they are in post earring beads materials colors (such as platinum, shiny gold, bright silver, and deep green).

Pilot mechanical pencils are well known for their eraser-like quality. They are resistant to breakage and keep their shape even when you’re erasing a lot. It is made out of high quality composite materials that do not easily break, scratch, chip, or crack.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best drafting pencil?

There are so many options with great features like comfort grips and anti-roll functionality. We wanted to find you the best drafting pencil that everyone could enjoy. We analyzed several different drafting pencils and found that the one from the brand Rotring was the best drafting pencil. It provides the most comfort along with an eraser that does not smudge the paper. However, there are a few other ones that achieve a similar standard of quality and would make great options.

What is a drafting pencil used for?

The drafting pencil is used in workplaces where something is drawn on a paper or art is to be created digitally.

With its longer length, it is one of the most traditional types of pencils and is a famous tool that artists use.

Before coming into the existence of the computer, this pencil was the preferred personal tool of artists because of its precision. Now, with the availability of computer graphics and other tools, this pencil is widely used in the engineering industry. It is used to create technical drawings of various components of a product.

It is also used by architects and artisans in creating sketches and creating plans. This is the reason why this pencil is also known as an architect’s pencil.

What are the best pencils in the world?

It's a tough question, but if it helps you find the pencil that's best for your needs, we’d be happy to shed some light on the subject.

As with most things, pencils come in a variety of quality, but also in a variety of price ranges. Typically, the more features and benefits a pencil has, the higher the price will be.

When it comes to choosing the ideal pencil, there are several criteria which are important to consider. The first thing will be personal preference, as pencils can have different features which may be more important than others.

But then there are the physical features. The material of a pencil is often the first thing one would notice, but that is also just one of the aspects to take into account.

Is 0.5 or 0.7 lead better?

I can't decide.

For me personally, I prefer an 0.7 lead. I like the darker lines on the paper it creates. I've never had any teachers complain about the darker lines, and I've been generally happy with the results. Personally, I prefer the 0.7 lead.

5 lead is easier to erase, and gives a lighter result.

Some people see finer lines as easier to erase, while others like the bolder lines of the 0.7. It's really a matter of choice. If you're set on the 0.5 lead, that's perfectly okay.

I personally don't see any advantages to the 0.5 lead, but that's a matter of opinion.

Conclusion

A good quality drafting pencil is one of the basic tools for drawing and measuring as it creates crisp lines. You will want a durable pencil that won’t break easily as you use it for hours. But not all pencils are created equal! Most have inferior brittle lead and rubber erasers. We found a few exceptions and we have done the hard work of reviewing them for you.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Pentel Arts GraphGear 1000 Premium Gift SetBest Overall
Pentel Arts GraphGear 1000 Premium Gift Set
Pentel GraphGear 500 Automatic Drafting Pencil BlackBudget Pick
Pentel GraphGear 500 Automatic Drafting Pencil Black
rOtring 1900184 800+ Mechanical Pencil and Touchscreen StylusUpgrade Pick
rOtring 1900184 800+ Mechanical Pencil and Touchscreen Stylus