The best mechanical pencil in the UK 2023

Many people don't know it, but the mechanical pencil was invented before the wooden pencil. Five centuries of refinement and innovation later, the market is saturated with both fun and functional models. But if you have to choose, we definitely recommend the Parker Jotter. A style icon for over 60 years, this chrome-plated stainless steel mechanical pencil offers an exquisite writing experience.

Porte-mine – Parker Jotter 1

Best value for money

Porte-mine – Parker Jotter

The best mechanical pencil in 2021

The Parker Jotter is a timeless classic that has been around for 60 years. Besides its chrome-plated steel body, this mechanical pencil keeps the same comfort and writing precision. A little expensive though.

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Parker's Jotter pencil is a push-button model compatible with 0.5 mm lead pencils. Versatile and easy to handle, this timeless classic is equally suited for drawing and writing. It features a stainless steel barrel with a chrome finish and an arrow-shaped clip. The tip is also made of stainless steel and has a chiseled finish. Finally, it should be noted that this model has a replaceable eraser located under the cap. With so much quality, it is not surprising that this best-seller has lasted for over 60 years.

Faber-Castell Grip 1345 2

Best value for money

Faber-Castell Grip 1345

The best entry-level mechanical pencil

The Faber-Castell brand is best known for its colored pencils. But it also excels in the manufacture of mechanical pencils. In addition, this one is sold for less than 4 euros and has a rubberized grip area.

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Made in Japan and imported from Germany, the Faber-Castell Grip 1345 is a very nice mechanical pencil. It can only hold 0.5 mm diameter leads. Relatively light due to an almost all-plastic design, it still has metal parts such as the clip, the tip and the end of the push-button. At the end of the latter is a 3 cm rubber, non-replaceable. Note that the Faber-Castell Grip 1345 uses a spring protection system to limit the breakage of the lead. Not to mention the rubberized grip area, which is the origin of the name Grip and which improves the grip.

Rotring Rapid Pro 2.0 3

Best premium value for money

Rotring Rapid Pro 2.0

The best high-end mechanical pencil

The ultimate in mechanical pencils can be found at Rotring. With its Rapid Pro 2.0, the brand offers a model equipped with a 2 mm lead, perfect for all writing and drawing requirements.

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As the name suggests, the Rotring Rapid Pro 2.0 uses a 2mm lead pencil. It has an all-metal body, including the non-slip grip area. The pencil's hexagonal body and knurled grip area highlight its technicality. This design provides perfect balance and a comfortable grip. This is a professional push-button model, perfect for all writing and drawing requirements. Its lead cushioning mechanism adds to the comfort of use. And for a change, under the cap you'll find not an eraser, but a pencil sharpener.

Rotring 600 0.7 4

0.7mm mechanical pencil

Rotring 600 0.7

The best 0.7mm mechanical pencil

If the Rotring Rapid Pro 2.0 prevents you from adding ultra fine lines for your technical or artistic drawings, there is an alternative, namely the Rotring 600 0.7. Same quality, but a finer lead.

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The Rotring 600 0.7 is made entirely of metal and feels robust. Quite heavy, it is nevertheless balanced and has an excellent finish. The grip area features a series of metallic criss-cross patterns. These patterns accentuate the grip of the pencil. This model also offers a variant compatible with 0.5 mm leads. We also appreciate the eraser under the push button cap and the lead hardness indicator. This mechanical pencil allows you to make precise tracings. You can also use it to add details to artistic or industrial drawings.

Buying guide • November 2023

Best mechanical pencil

Any specific needs?

The best mechanical pencil in 2021

The best entry-level mechanical pencil

The best high-end mechanical pencil

The best 0.7mm mechanical pencil

Your guide : Samuel

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Comparison table of the best mechanical pencil

Porte-mine – Parker Jotter 5
Faber-Castell Grip 1345 6
Rotring Rapid Pro 2.0 7
Rotring 600 0.7 8
Porte-mine – Parker Jotter
Faber-Castell Grip 1345
Rotring Rapid Pro 2.0
Rotring 600 0.7
The Parker Jotter is a timeless classic that has been around for 60 years. Besides its chrome-plated steel body, this mechanical pencil keeps the same comfort and writing precision. A little expensive though.
The Faber-Castell brand is best known for its colored pencils. But it also excels in the manufacture of mechanical pencils. In addition, this one is sold for less than 4 euros and has a rubberized grip area.
The ultimate in mechanical pencils can be found at Rotring. With its Rapid Pro 2.0, the brand offers a model equipped with a 2 mm lead, perfect for all writing and drawing requirements.
If the Rotring Rapid Pro 2.0 prevents you from adding ultra fine lines for your technical or artistic drawings, there is an alternative, namely the Rotring 600 0.7. Same quality, but a finer lead.
Precise writing and drawing accuracy
Rubberized grip area
Total control of lead advancement
Hexagonal body studied to avoid hand fatigue
A timeless classic for over 60 years
Long 3 cm eraser
Integrated pencil sharpener in the cap
Precise lead movement thanks to the brass mechanism
Replaceable built-in eraser
Retractable tip
Designed for professionals
Indicator of the degree of hardness of the lead

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Report an error, request the addition of a feature to the table, or suggest another product. Thank you for your kindness!

Buying guide - mechanical pencil

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How to choose your mechanical pencil

When buying a mechanical pencil, make sure it offers everything you are looking for. If you're just starting out, here are the criteria to keep in mind when choosing.

#1 - The mechanism of advancement of the lead mine

Mechanical pencils use different methods to advance the lead as you write or draw. Because this is something you will be doing very often, you should carefully consider the lead advancement mechanism. Whatever you choose, it's important to find the type of feed that works for you and the way you work. The push-button mechanism is the most common. Here, you push a button, usually located on the top of the mechanical pencil, to advance the lead. There are also mechanical pencils with a shake mechanism where you simply shake the pencil to activate a click mechanism to advance the lead. This allows you to bring out the lead without changing your grip. Finally, there are also models that work with an automatic advance mechanism. Here, the lead automatically comes out as you use the pencil. When the lead reaches a certain length, your pressure on the work holder releases a ratchet mechanism that advances the lead.

#2 - The size of the lead pencil

With mechanical pencils, size matters. The precision of the different lead sizes and their specific use is one reason many users choose this accessory. There are different lead sizes and a specific use for each size. The clarity and smoothness of the lines depends on the thickness of the lead used. Lead sizes are listed in millimeters (mm).

  • 0.2 mm to 0.4 mm: This is an ultra-fine lead for detailed drawings, precision writing and compact mathematical equations. The main drawback with these ultra-fine leads is that they break easily and you will need to limit the pressure you apply to the pencil.
  • 0.5 to 0.7 mm: Users often opt for mechanical pencils that support lead in this size range, as they have a heavier feel. They can still be used for finer work, but are not as crisp and accurate in detailed drawings.
  • 0.9mm and above: These lead sizes are for writers with heavier hands. These leads do not break as easily, but their line is much thicker and a bit smudged. They are best suited for sketching and rough writing.

#3 - The handle

A professional, or even an individual, using a mechanical pencil tends to have the item in hand for long periods of time. Due to the fact that you will likely be holding the pencil for a very long time, the configuration of the handle becomes very important to ensure comfort of use. There are two considerations to keep in mind with regard to grip: the diameter and the material of the handle. Here's how these two considerations should influence your choice:

  • Diameter: The width of the grip can make a big difference to the size of your hand and fingers. A wider grip will work better for people with larger hands or arthritis. Those with smaller hands often feel more comfortable with a narrower grip.
  • Materials of construction: The materials used for mechanical pencil handles are varied. The most common are plastic, metal, silicone and rubber. Silicone and rubber handles generally have a soft feel. Plastic and metal handles tend to have a non-slip coating to prevent the hand from slipping. Metal handles are preferred by many because of their heavier feel and the fact that they tend to stay cool to the touch.

#4 - The gum


users who gum a lot don't have to worry about this criterion. In fact, most of them have a separate eraser. If you're a whiz at freehand drawing, this part doesn't concern you either. But those in between the 2 groups will have to consider the size and interchangeability of the pencil eraser. Most mechanical pencil erasers are replaceable, but make sure there is a regular supply of these replacement erasers. On most mechanical pencils, the erasers don't last long because of their small size. Fortunately, there are models with large twist-stretch erasers.

#5 - Additional features

There are a few additional features that could enhance your user experience and sway your choice for one mechanical pencil over another. These additional features include the presence of retractable tips, a lead protection system, a dual clutch system, and an automatic lead rotation system.

Lead jamming on a mechanical pencil

If you are using a mechanical pencil, at some point you may get a lead jam. It happens! A little bit of lead gets stuck somewhere in the mechanism and prevents it from working. The lead may not move forward, or it may move forward well, but fold up as soon as you press a holder.

Most mechanical pencils can be disassembled to some extent to fix a jam. Usually the part near the tip unscrews, allowing you to see the mechanism. If you then press the button against your desk, the clutch mechanism pushes up. There is a brass ring around the clutch jaws that keeps them closed. Simply push it down to release the jaws. Then, a little tapping on the side should dislodge any small pieces of lead.

If the mechanism cannot be opened, blockages can usually be removed by holding the tip of the pencil up, with the button pressed against your desk, and inserting a cleaning pin through the tip to push the small pieces of lead out. Some mechanical pencils come with a cleaning pin, attached to the eraser, but many do not. If you don't have one handy, another piece of thin wire or a pin can do the trick, but don't insert anything too large into the tip.

The different types of mechanical pencil

Depending on the diameter of the lead pencil used, there are three types of mechanical pencils: ultra-fine lead, thick lead and all-purpose lead. Let's see what differentiates these 3 types.

Mechanical pencil with ultra-fine lead

Ultra-fine pencils are models that can accommodate a lead size of 0.2mm to 0.4mm. This type of pencil is ideal for writing in small spaces and adding ultra-fine detail to drawings. It is also suitable for people with very small handwriting. On the other hand, 0.2mm to 0.4mm leads are more fragile than other leads, so it's best to use them with mechanical pencils that have a lead protection feature.

All purpose mechanical pencil

When we talk about all-purpose leads, we are referring to lead pencils that have a size of 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm. The difference between the two sizes depends on the writing style. Regardless, both sizes are small enough to be easy to read, but strong enough to withstand normal writing pressure with minimal breakage. Heavy-handed writers and those with larger handwriting will be more comfortable with the extra durability and width of the .7mm leads, while those with a lighter touch often appreciate the .5mm size. Both sizes are suitable for drawing details in most sketch sizes.

Mechanical pencil with thick lead

Thick lead pencils are those with a size of 0.9 mm and larger. Mechanical pencils with this lead size are uncommon and are perfect for people who write or draw with a very heavy hand, have extra large handwriting, or do large sketches. Thick leads offer a much smoother feel than smaller sizes, as their wider tips don't dig into the paper and their increased strength allows artists to produce more tonal variations with pressure. They also allow for an interesting calligraphic effect as their tips wear down.

Wooden pencil or mechanical pencil?

Wooden pencil

A pencil consists of a graphite lead enclosed in wood. The graphite core is a mixture of clay and graphite. The ratio of clay to graphite determines the hardness or softness of the pencil lead, its brightness on the paper and the smoothness of the writing. Generally, soft wood is used to make the wood that surrounds the lead.

Wooden pencils are not expensive. If you lose one, it will not be a big loss. On the other hand, in order to keep your wooden pencil sharp, you should have a sharpener handy. This can be a small model or an electric model. In any case, it is necessary to have one to continue using your wooden pencil. Wooden pencils have a very limited life span. As you sharpen a wooden pencil to bring out the graphite lead, it gets closer to the end of its life and you will eventually have to throw it away.

Mechanical pencil

A mechanical pencil is not a conventional pencil. Its lead is not graphite and is not encased in wood. A mechanical pencil uses lead pencils that are changed regularly as they wear out. Mechanical pencils are distinguished from each other by the thickness of the lead. The thinnest lead pencils are 0.2 mm in size, while the thickest lead pencils can be 0.9 mm or more in diameter.

With a mechanical pencil, the thickness or diameter of the tip always remains the same. This type of pencil is intended for quick and neat writing, as the tips are kept in a constant width. When it comes to technical or artistic drawings, mechanical pencils help a lot. They allow you to bring more sharpness and detail.


The use of a wooden pencil or mechanical pencil depends on the type of work being done, whether it is writing for school or producing masterpieces or highly technical drawings. But the choice can also be dictated by individual taste and preference. In any case, since they are two very complementary tools, keep them on hand.

Why buy a mechanical pencil?

To refine your drawings

In addition to its design quality, a mechanical pencil is the ideal option for good drawing, provided you have the right lead. No more rough or blotchy drawings because of a badly sharpened pencil. You will have a finer and sharper outline, especially for technical drawings. Moreover, using a mechanical pencil for drawing forces you to be more attentive and not to press too much at the risk of breaking the lead.

For its practicality

Unlike a traditional pencil, a mechanical pencil has the advantage of being more practical. You will not have to sharpen it and it will not be reduced according to the use; as well as the thickness of the point. You will also find refill cartridges of different sizes, depending on your needs if you run out of leads. Furthermore, the graph is a material that does not stain, even if you erase it with an eraser.

For its durability

More robust than a wooden pencil, the mechanical pencil has an unlimited life span. Indeed, the former can break easily since wood is a relatively fragile material. On the other hand, a mechanical pencil, thanks to its well thought-out design, is ultra-resistant and can withstand any shock.

To write well

A mechanical pencil is also an ideal instrument for writing. Although it's not as widely used as a regular pen, it allows you to take notes quickly, provided you use the right lead. A 0.7 mm lead, for example, is an excellent choice, as it is neither too thin nor too thick and does not break easily. You can also choose an HB lead that is used exclusively for writing.

To save money

With a mechanical pencil, you get the pencil itself, a small eraser, and a first refill. So you don't have to buy all three items separately, which will undoubtedly save you money and time.


Always have an eraser on hand

With most mechanical pencils, the eraser is there for emergency use only. If you need to erase a lot, you're better off with a separate eraser. A few mechanical pencil models, however, have larger erasers, with twist mechanisms to make them longer, so they can last a long time.

If you use the mechanical pencil mainly for writing, use a lead pencil of at least 0.5 mm


you write a lot with your mechanical pencil, you'll need a lead that is thick enough that it won't break too easily. With modern leads, 0.5 mm diameter is strong enough for most people. For others, 0.5 mm is still too fragile. They prefer leads of 0.7 mm or even 0.9 mm.

If you use the mechanical pencil mainly for drawing, choose a lead pencil less than 0.5 mm thick

Drawing or sketching can have very different requirements than writing and may require a little experimentation to see what works for you and your style. Lead thickness is very important for drawing. Rough sketches may require thick leads. So stick with a more versatile 0.5mm lead. For technical and detailed drawings, you may want to consider a 0.3mm lead.

Work in an organized manner


they generally display finer lines, mechanical pencils, like traditional wood pencils, tend to stain. And the softer the lead, the harder it is to keep your work surface clean. However, planning which area of the composition you work on first can help. Essentially, you don't want to put your hand on areas where you've already drawn. And unless you have an unusual pencil grip, you'll want to work from top to bottom. Then, right-handed people should work from left to right, and left-handed people should move from right to left.

Vary the thickness of the drawing line

Thicker lines can help indicate importance or tell the viewer that something is in the foreground of the scene. They can also be used to distinguish between two distinct, overlapping objects - a thicker line on the outside of an object helps differentiate the outer lines of the subject from the lines that represent the details on the inside.


What is the best mechanical pencil?

The best mechanical pencil depends on your needs and your budget. Read our buying guide to find out which products are the best at the moment.

How does a mechanical pencil work?

The lead in a mechanical pencil is not connected to the outer casing and can therefore move freely when you want. When you click a push button on the mechanical pencil (or something similar), a spring pushes the lead forward a few millimeters at a time, so you can easily get the perfect length of lead.

What are the main advantages of a mechanical pencil?

There are many advantages to using a mechanical pencil. We will only mention the main ones. For example, no sharpening is required. You don't have to pause your work to sharpen the tip. The other advantage of a mechanical pencil is the constant line width.

What is a lead hardness indicator?

This is a device found on some mechanical pencils. It is a twisting device on the cap that indicates the hardness of the lead that is currently in your pencil.

Is there a mechanism to reduce the risk of lead breakage?

Yes, some mechanical pencils have a mechanism with a slight rebound that cushions the shock against the work surface to reduce the risk of the lead breaking.


Note: Below are some of the sources we have consulted in writing this article. Links to other sites are not continuously updated. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. Please use a search engine to find the desired information.
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March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

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Our selection
Porte-mine – Parker Jotter 9
Porte-mine – Parker Jotter
Faber-Castell Grip 1345 10
Faber-Castell Grip 1345
Rotring Rapid Pro 2.0 11
Rotring Rapid Pro 2.0
Rotring 600 0.7 12
Rotring 600 0.7


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