Mechanical pencils to keep forever

Scribble in style.

Mechanical pencils are a great tool for jotting down notes, sketching out ideas, annotating your favorite novel, designing new floor plans, and getting good detail on your latest portrait. They never need to be sharpened and come in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes to fit your needs. Whether you’re a student or professional, everyone needs to find a writing utensil that they can leave at their desk or take with them on the go; a refillable pencil might be just the right option. And, as we know, not everything we write should be set in stone, so keeping a few pencils around with replaceable erasers, just in case you need to brainstorm and experiment, might not be such a bad idea.

Here are some great options to add to your pencil case.

Best overall: rOtring 600 Mechanical Pencil

Black Beauty

Write like the wind. Amazon

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This mechanical pencil from rOtring is one of the best writing, drawing, and sketching tools out there. Available in 0.5 or 0.7-millimeter lead, this ergonomic writing utensil will keep you comfortable while you get out your next big idea. The hexagonal body is specifically designed to not only stay put on your desk but sit nicely in your hand. The full metal body and non-slip knurled grip provide the ideal weight and balance for “fatigue-free” work. The 600 model features precision lead advancement with a fixed lead guidance sleeve that prevents snapping lead and gives you a clear view of the page so you can always be precise. Each pencil has a built-in lead hardness indicator, so you always know what you’re picking up and putting to paper.

Best for design professionals: Pentel GraphGear 1000 Mechanical Pencil

Cool Metallic Grip

Your next draft awaits. Amazon

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If you are a designer or need something useful for drafting, this pencil from Pentel is going to give you great results. Choose from 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, or 0.9-millimeter super high-polymer HB lead to get the exact size you need for crisp, clean lines. Each lead type comes with a color-coded pencil, so if you need all four sizes, you can rest assured you’ll never get confused about which is which. This pencil features a dual-action retractor that advances and retracts the tip to avoid any breakage in the lead. Rest your fingers on the chiseled metallic grip with comfortable latex pads and get to work.

Best mid-range: Zebra M-701 Stainless Steel Mechanical Pencil

Level-Up Your Utensil

Sleek, uniform look in and out of the office. Amazon

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If you are looking for a smartly designed professional pencil, but you don’t necessarily need to do any precision drafting, this pencil from Zebra might be the one for you. Made from durable stainless steel and featuring a knurled grip, this pencil is beautifully designed and weighted for a great feel behind the proverbial writing wheel. It’s available in 0.7-millimeter lead, with a secure metal clasp, and provides a silent retraction plunger so you can do away with the constant clicking.

Simple and straightforward: Paper Mate Clearpoint Mechanical Pencils, 0.7mm, HB #2

Classic, Reliable Choice

Stock up and start your engines. Amazon

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These pencils from Paper Mate are a classic way to get set up for school or work. You can find sets in 0.5, 0.7, or 0.9-millimeter lead with fun colors like bright green, pink, and purple. Featuring a translucent barrel, twistable advancement or retraction for a jumbo eraser, and a side-click lead advance for easy extension without losing your grip, this pencil sets the bar high for common-use mechanical pencils. The #2 lead means it’s good to go for any tests or exams that may come your way, and the comfort grip means you’ll never slip away from the task at hand.