There’s a novelty to mechanical pencils when you’re a kid, but as you grow up and become a professional, with an impressive desk blotter and a set of fountain pens, you move away from the idea of pumping out graphite to handle your writing needs. Well, then you’re missing the bus. From journaling to carpentry marks to scratching out fantasy football scores, there’s a multitude of uses for a quality pencil that you’re missing. Draftsmen, professionals, and even the DIY set have all discovered what most guys already know: Mistakes you can erase don’t count.
As you cast your refined gaze into the market, seeking the perfect pencil for your everyday carry needs, you should always have an eye to form, function, and durability. If it’s going to be sticking out of your pocket day after day, it needs to look sleek and competent. It also needs to be able to write under the worst conditions and always be ready, willing, and able to get the lead out. So you aren’t left using some piece of junk that looks like it fell out of some middle-schooler’s backpack, we found the 12 best EDC mechanical pencils for your pocket.
Pro: Truly provides a perpetually sharp point
Con: Slick, plastic body
Wound Up: For intricate writers who grow frustrated with their pencils going dull on them, the KuruToga was invented with its unique rotating mechanism that consistently offers a sharp point without the need to twist the whole body. The same design also prevents lead breaks as you go for less wasted time and frustration.
Pro: Solid without feeling weighty or cumbersome
Con: Small, minimalist eraser
Unchanging: Zebra did a smart thing here, which was to base their M-701 on the F-701 ballpoint, which is one of the best EDC pens you can buy. They didn’t try to make a load of changes from the F-701, and instead went with what worked. The outcome is a mechanical pencil that is tough stainless steel that’s easy to grip, hard to break, and works when the chips are down and the sparks are flying.
Pentel Sharp Automatic Pencil
Pro: 4mm fixed sleeve for technical work
Con: Design hasn’t been changed or updated in years
Office Grade: Offices are busy places, and while that door on your corner office is meant to keep the riffraff out, it doesn’t always work. If you want a solid EDC pencil that isn’t going to leave you heartbroken if one of your sticky-fingered colleagues makes off with it, go with the Pentel Sharp. Metallic mesh makes it easy to use, black with silver accents makes it slick, and a low price makes it expendable.
Alvin DM05 Draft-Matic
Pro: Stainless steel grip
Con: Metal is uncomfortable for extended use
Trim and Tough: A work of art all by itself, we found this pencil to be best for detailed artistic work since the knurled tip offers a tight, slip-free grip like a tactical pen for getting every detail perfect. Shock absorbing points help reduce jostles while writing, for a smoother hand, while the eraser won’t get filthy covered by its own delicate cap.
Staedtler Lead Holder
Pro: Lifetime purchase
Con: No built-in eraser
Steady On: A major complaint with cheap everyday carry pencils is that after the abuses of daily use, the internal mechanics lose some of their steadiness. Such is not the case with the Lead Holder from Staedtler. It uses a super lock clutch to hold the lead in place so that even after hours in your pocket or a few hundred drops, there’s still no wiggle room when you sit down to write or draft.
Pentel Graph Gear 1000
Pro: Less effort required to write
Con: Some interior pieces are plastic
Extended Use: In the world of mechanical pencils, comfort is often sacrificed for strength or the other way around. Using a sturdy metal grip that is interspersed with soft pads you’re able to get a grippable surface from the Graph Gear 1000 that won’t slip, but also won’t file away your fingerprints during long writing sessions.
Pentel Sharp Kerry
Pro: Multiple sizes and colors
Con: Takes time to deploy
Twist Off: The top of Pentel’s impressive pencil heap, the Sharp Kerry looks more like a fountain pen with its twist-off cap and lacquered good looks. When posted on the back, the cap becomes part of the overall mechanics of the pencil and adds a layer of protection to the tip when locked down in the standard fashion. It’s even assembled by hand to further give a sense of elegance.
FastCap Fatboy Extreme
Pro: Built-in sharpener
Con: Lead must be extended to work in most traditional sharpeners
Woodsman: We had to hunt high and low just to find a decent mechanical carpenter’s pencil for everyday carry, and while the Fatboy is far from perfect, it’s going to be the best you can get. Breakage of the lead is not uncommon even though it uses beefy 5.5mm lead. While these were formerly aluminum, the body is now a thick plastic, which is good, but might not survive on a rough job site. If you work with wood and need a marking pencil, this won’t (often) disappoint.
Uni Kuru Toga Roulette Model
Pro: Broadens at the tip for better grip
Con: Upper half is not aluminum
Upgrade: Fans of the rotation in the standard KuruToga listed above who are seeking a more professional option will find all the ever-sharp rotating goodness of the original with a partially aluminum body that looks even more suave.
Pro: Spring-loaded pocket clip
Con: Slippery grip
Smooth Operator: The elegant, streamlined exterior of the 2000 makes it seem like it would be a dainty dandy, more for show than real work. That is a lie. It is made with German engineering and a polycarbonate makrolon body that has a texture like wood but a frame that can take several blows without giving up the ghost.
Pro: Safe to clip to external loops without fear of damage
Con: Slim end tends to allow lead to break easily
Hidden Wonders: Rotring makes some outstanding mechanical pencils, but the most alluring part of the 800 that sets it apart is the retractable, twisting tip. When not in use, you can avoid risking it to breakage by slipping the end back into the full metal housing where it won’t snap off. The slender end offers a clean view of the page, which is ideal for detail work and editing.
Modern Fuel Mechanical Pencil
Pro: Seamless look
Con: Metal is slick
Forever and a Day: Machined from a single solid piece of metal, each of these pencils is a work of technical art. Only with investigation will you see how it fits together, but by then it won’t matter. What you need to know is this is a hard case that promises to go forever. Add in the brazenly simple internal engineering and you have Swiss watch design in an everyday pencil.