The Mechanical Pencil Review
If you remember your first mechanical pencil, then you can probably recall the feeling of freedom that came along with it. You didn’t have to ask anyone if you could borrow their pencil sharpener. You never had to worry about your pencil breaking in your hand if you held it too tightly. And best of all, you never had to deal with the messy clean up after sharpening your pencil. It just made life easier. Even today, these types of pencils are becoming more advanced and manufacturers are making sure to customize them to the writer’s needs. Has it been a while since you’ve used a mechanical pencil? Well if you’re considering buying one any time soon, then you definitely need to know what to look for.
Once you’ve chosen a hardness grade, you’ll need to consider which brand of lead to use. Different brands do perform differently, and the best one for you depends on how you use your pencils most.
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So, what features should you be on the look out for when shopping for mechanical pencils? Well, there are a surprising amount of things that you need to take into consideration.
Lead Size: If you would like to use the mechanical pencil for sketching or drawing, then it’s important to choose one that offers thick lead. It’s best to get something that is 4mm or thicker. However, if you plan to use it only for writing, then it’s a good idea to stick with thinner lead– 0.9mm or 0.7mm. Just remember, the thicker your lead, the thicker the line you will be able to achieve and the easier it will be to shade large areas. Thick lead is especially helpful if you tend to write or draw aggressively and are prone to snapping.
Lead Sleeve: Thin round sleeves are ideal for drafting pencils. You get a much better view of the drawing area and can use the pencil more accurately. In some cases, the sleeve can slide back and if you run low on led it will get pushed out of the way by your paper. If you tend to use rulers and templates a lot, then you may prefer fixed sleeves.
Retractable Tip: Retractable tips are often referred to as “Pocket Safes”. If you plan on carrying your mechanical pencil in your pocket, then it’s very important that you have the ability to retract the tip inside of the pencil so that you can you prevent injury damage.
Lead Grade Indicators: As discussed earlier, there are certain models that show an indicator of what grade of lead has been loaded into the pencil. And this is extremely useful if you use a variety of pencils with different lead hardness.
Grip: If you want to be able to work for long periods of time, then it’s essential that you choose a mechanical pencil that offers just the right amount of grip. You should be able to hold your pencil comfortably, without it slipping between your fingers. You may prefer one that features rubber grips. Or you may be interested in the old-fashioned knurled metal style which is a prominent design feature in drafting pencils. If you are someone who often has trouble holding thin pencils, you should look for one with wider grips.
Clip: Clips can be extremely convenient if you are always on the go. They allow the pencil to fit securely inside your shirt or coat pocket. Most pencils come with clips, but some models allow you to remove the clips when you don’t need it.
Lead Advance: Pay attention to how the mechanical pencil moves the lead forward. There are a lot of options available, but you need to choose the one that is most convenient for you. The most common feature is a button at the top of the pencil. However, some do allow you to push a button that is attached to the side. This side button is particularly convenient because it gives you the ability to get more lead without having to maneuver your pencil as much.
If you’re looking for a more creative option, then you can always choose a mechanical pencil that twists. These models ‘click’ forward with a twist to move the lead forward and twist back to retract the lead. There are also models that take a more creative approach and allow you to shake the whole pencil to get more lead. In this case, you can hear the ‘click’ of lead each time you shake it.
Erasers: Most mechanical pencils feature an eraser, but there are some models which make it easier to use them. For instance, the traditional pencil has a small eraser which push-fits into the top, often underneath a cap. However, some models are more advanced in that they give you the ability to retract the eraser by twisting the top of your pencil. This makes it last much longer. Whichever option you choose, just make sure that you choose one that offers eraser refills.