11 Best Drafting Pencils Right Now Reviewed

From the time we first learned to write to the experts that we’ve grown to become, the pencil remains one of our favorite stationery. And it’s the go-to tool for giving shape to an artist’s brilliant ideas!

The art of drafting schematics and blueprints by hand has gradually fallen out of trend, but drafting pencils have somehow managed to hold a firm position for many decades.

After all, it helps in the very first stage of creating any great piece of work. For every designer, doodler, or artist, owning a set of quality drafting pencils is pretty crucial.

The growing dependence on drafting pencils is not just for their quality and experience but also for the textured grip that ensures better control and comfort.

Now, with the range of available options, it can get challenging to navigate through the pencil aisle to find one that perfectly suits your needs. So, to simplify things, we’ve compiled some of the best drafting pencils to help you make an informed decision.

Best Drafting Pencils

Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, this list has got you covered. So without further ado, here’s the list of the 11 best drafting pencils.

1. Rotring 600 Drafting Pencil – Best for Professional Precision

The Rotring 600 is one of the most well-designed drafting pencils. It makes for an ideal professional tool for drawing, sketching, and technical writing. It also features the Rotring’s original design with its complete body and non-slip metal grip. It’s available in three different lead sizes – 0.35mm, 0.5mm, and 0.7mm.


We wanted to add a fine-grip drafting pencil to our collection, and this was our first purchase from Rotring. Our colleagues suggested the 600 series, and after using it a few times, we could find a difference in the quality of our drawings.

This is an iconic mechanical pencil; it comes with a knurled grip and brass mechanism that ensures precise lead advancement. Moreover, the fixed lead guidance sleeve helps to prevent lead breakage, and it also offers a clear view of the page.

We can’t stop marveling at the ergonomic build of this drafting pencil that helps to balance out the weight of its metal construction. When it comes to comfort, it has a hexagonal barrel so we can work for extended periods without any fatigue or discomfort.

It doesn’t slide when we set the pencil down on angled drafting tables; therefore, it stays where it was earlier placed without any disturbance. And the sliding sleeve offers an incredibly high level of break resistance.

This design makes it easier for us to carry out precise drawings, especially when using a ruler. Overall, the manufacturing quality of this pencil is pretty good, and it’s great for making accurate designs.

Lead Size: 0.5 mm | Lead Hardness: HB | Grip Material: Full metal | Retractable Tip: No | Lead Mechanism: Fixed | Body Material: Brass

2. Rotring 800 Drafting Pencil – Best for Innovative Features

You’ll find a variety of mechanical pencils in the market, but rOtring is known for its quality products and rich history. The 800 series is a popular upgrade from the earlier iconic model. This version offers higher precision and quality with its unique ‘twist and clicks’ mechanism.


We have used a wide range of mechanical pencils, and we wanted to try out something new, so we opted for this Rotring 800 after reading a lot of reviews. The first thing we noticed about this innovative drafting pencil is the brilliant design and the fact that it feels pretty hefty in our hands. But, the heavy barrel and cylindrical knurled grip give a remarkable tactile experience.

The features of this drafting pencil are very innovative, which we didn’t find in many other brands. Even when we place this pencil on a tilted surface, it doesn’t roll down because of its hexagonal shape.

Plus, the retractable tip is one of the key features of this model that makes the pencil more durable and safe for usage. To extend the tip for drawing or writing, we have to twist the end. And to retract the tip, we need to twist it in reverse.

It also has a refillable eraser that works perfectly well for both polymer and graphite pencil lines. This pencil comes with a lead indicator, which is an exciting feature because we get to know what type of lead is being used before we start with our work. All in all, the flawless design of this pencil provides the professional drafting experience that we were on the lookout for.

Lead Size: 0.5 mm | Lead Hardness: HB | Grip Material: Full metal | Retractable Tip: Yes | Lead Mechanism: Fixed | Body Material: Brass

3. Staedtler Mars 780 Technical Drafting Pencil – Best for Lead Holders Lovers

This drafting pencil is commonly used by architects and other designers for technical drawings. The classic design of the Staedtler Mars 780 is suitable for those who like using lead holders. However, the trend of lead holders has hit rock bottom with its limited users, even though it boasts of exceptional German engineering. To find out why we have included this pencil in our list, let’s move to the following section.


We have been using Staedtler drafting pencils for quite some time now, and this brand stands out for its excellent quality products. When we wanted to purchase a new lead holder, we came across this product, and we ordered 3 pieces in total. It uses a 2mm lead, and to make things easier while working, we have loaded them with HB, 2B, and 4B leads accordingly.

As far as the mechanical process is concerned, it holds up pretty well, and it doesn’t clog up like the other thin lead drafting pencils. We love that these new models have rotary sharpeners for the leads, so we can use them to make the tip sharper when required.

We also prefer the top-clutch mechanism that secures the lead and holds it together for a smooth workflow. With fewer moving parts and sturdy metal construction, we believe that the Staedtler Mars 780 is a great drafting pencil for everyday use.

Lead Size: 2 mm | Lead Hardness: HB | Grip Material: Non-slip rubber | Retractable Tip: No | Lead Mechanism: Push-button | Body Material: Plastic

4. Pilot S20 Drafting Pencil – Best for Wooden Barrel Enthusiasts

The pilot is a common name in the world of stationery. Known for their exquisite designs that help to maximize comfort and stability. The birch body has been polished to give the exterior a silky, velvety feel. It lives up to the expectations of the user, as it continues to deliver a stellar performance.


We have used a variety of drafting pencils, but they all had a metal casing. The birch wood construction makes this drafting pencil stand out amongst the other stationeries that we’ve got on the table. This pencil features a lead-grade indicator, soft metal accents, and a capped eraser.

It produces very fine markings, and we haven’t faced any issues with the paper tearing, scoring, or puncturing due to pressure. Moreover, the lead size is 0.5mm, which is a little small, but it writes pretty smoothly. The lead sleeve is not retractable so, we prefer not to carry it around.

Best of all, the wood feels great in hand, and it’s not top-heavy. Also, it doesn’t feel uncomfortable after prolonged use. It’s a lightweight drafting pencil with an ergonomic design which makes for a great tool for our drawing and writing work.

Lead Size: 0.5 mm | Lead Hardness: HB | Grip Material: Dual-material grip | Retractable Tip: Yes | Lead Mechanism: Top button | Body Material: Plastic

5. Pentel Arts Graph Gear 1000 Drafting Pencil Set – Best for Varied Lead Sizes

Pentel has a rich history of designing unique writing instruments that come within an affordable price range. The Gear 1000 is equipped with more features and upgrades than the earlier models. This is a superior drafting pencil that comes in a set of 4, which includes a 0.3mm, 0.5mm, 0.7mm, and 0.9mm lead size.


We read a lot of reviews about Pentel and the quality of its products, which helped us opt for this set. For drafting purposes, we generally need a good pencil; therefore, we were ready to stretch our budget for purchasing this set. When we opened the box, we found the pencils looking more like some fancy equipment. The four different lead sizes are of great support for our everyday use.

The pencils have a stained silver finish, and they are color-coded as per the lead size, which makes it more convenient. When it comes to the grip, we can say that the soft textured rubber parts help to increase comfort when we use the pencil for long hours.

It has a well-balanced weight distribution, and it gets easy to work with it without having to put in any additional effort. The unique dual-action retractor is a great feature that prevents the lead from breaking, and we can safely carry it with us. Overall, the design, advanced features, and smooth usage make it a value-added product.

Lead Size: 0.3-0.9 mm | Lead Hardness: Varies | Grip Material: Dual-material grip | Retractable Tip: Yes | Lead Mechanism: Top button | Body Material: Metal

6. Alvin Draft-Matic Drafting Pencil

If you’re a professional looking for a pencil that will help you perform efficiently, you should check out this model. The stainless steel construction ensures long-term usage. It features a cushion point that helps to control your writing and reduces lead breakage. The 4mm stainless steel sleeve provides accurate drawing even when you are working with thick edges.


For design students from all backgrounds, be it engineering, architecture, fashion, or other fields, there is an immense need for a quality drafting pencil. So, we are always in search of a quality pencil. We found this piece to be one of the most affordable products and a popular one amongst the rest.

It has a 4mm tip that holds the lead solidly, and we haven’t had any issues with the lead breaking during our drawing sessions. The lightweight construction makes it simple to work with it for many hours without any feeling of fatigue.

The comfortable grip and sturdy construction make it ideal for accurate drawing. We have also been using it for writing purposes and its pretty smooth to work with. Overall, this a pretty versatile product, and it perfectly suits our needs.

Lead Size: 0.5 mm | Lead Hardness: HB | Grip Material: Knurled stainless steel | Retractable Tip: Yes | Lead Mechanism: Push-button | Body Material: Plastic

7. Pentel GraphGear 500 Automatic Drafting Pencil

This is the perfect automatic drafting pencil, as it’s designed to deliver precision and control with great ease. It features a classy, metallic mesh grip, that surrounds the slim, beveled barrel. You can get this pencil in four different lead sizes ranging from 0.3mm to 0.9mm. The pencil comes with a 4mm lead sleeve which is ideal for technical drawings and template work.


We wanted a pencil that would give us the cold, solid, heavy metal feel of the traditional mechanical drafting pencils. After reading a ton of reviews, we decided to order this model because it fits our budget without any compromise on its performance. It has a seamless clicking and clipping mechanism, and the metal grip gives it a high-end look.

The 4mm tip makes it simple for us to use this pencil when working with templates and rulers. Also, it has a small eraser that is attached to the end, and it’s pretty easy to refill. The Hi-polymer lead is not prone to breakage, and we don’t need to refill it often.

It doesn’t need to be sharpened, and it effortlessly produces crystal-clear dark lines. This outstanding pencil is a steal for its superior quality as well as sturdy construction that makes it perfect for using it daily.

Lead Size: 0.3-0.9 mm | Lead Hardness: Varies | Grip Material: Latex-free grip | Retractable Tip: Yes | Lead Mechanism: Top button | Body Material: Metal

8. Uni Kuru Toga Roulette Gun Metallic Drafting Pencil

This pencil is made with resin polymer, and it uses lead rotating technology. To take out the lead, you need to follow the twist-and-turn mechanism. It has a sleek, premium-quality metal body that looks clean and luxurious. Plus, it has a metal tip of 0.5mm, and it uses the regular HB-type lead, which makes it easy to get clear, dark lines.


We placed an order for this pencil after we saw a massive demand for this product among our classmates. It’s evident that in the field of design, a quality pencil makes a significant difference in the output.

This pencil has a retractable tip, so we can easily carry it around with us without worrying about any form of accidental injury. It’s slightly heavier than the other drafting pencils, but we love its cold, heavy metal feel, especially when we are working for long hours.

It comes with an integrated ratchet mechanism that rotates the lead whenever we lift the pencil from the page. With such brilliant technology, we always have a consistent and sharp lead point. The grip section is made using metal, which is comfortable to hold. Overall, we enjoy completing our projects using this pencil that comes with a bunch of innovative features.

Lead Size: 0.5 mm | Lead Hardness: HB | Grip Material: Metal | Retractable Tip: Yes | Lead Mechanism: Rotating mechanism | Body Material: Metal

9. Koh-i-Noor Drafting Pencil

This stunning drafting pencil uses 5.6mm lead that produces thick and dark lines. It has a sleek design. And the classy metal black body with silver accents makes it stand out amongst the rest. If you’re looking for a tool that can help you in your writing, sketching, or technical drawing work, this model makes for an ideal choice.


We were looking out for a pencil that we could use for sketching as well as writing, and we already had plenty of thin-tip drafting pencils. This is the first time that we are trying out a pencil that has a lead size of 5.6 mm. To our surprise, this pencil looks and feels incredible. The size is unobtrusive and comfortable, in terms of usage and aesthetics.

It comes filled with an excellent quality lead that helps in producing solid, dark strokes with a fine texture. We can also sharpen the tips easily because the sharpener is the cap of the pencil. Moreover, the tension of the clip can be adjusted, and it’s heavy-duty, so it stays in place when we are carrying it around.

We have dropped this pencil a couple of times, and there hasn’t been any damage till now. The sturdy construction and durability of this product are perfect for its price, making it suitable for outdoor use.

Lead Size: 2 mm | Lead Hardness: Varies | Grip Material: Textured grip | Retractable Tip: No | Lead Mechanism: Push-button | Body Material: Plastic

10. Uni Kuru- Toga Pipe Slide Drafting Pencil

The design and innovative features of this drafting pencil are brilliant. It’s equipped with a pipe slide system and a cross-rotation mechanism. This pencil works in a way that the lead inside rotates each time you lift the tip from the page. As a result of which you’ll be getting a sharp tip that helps you write evenly instead of a wedge-shaped tip.


We were quite excited when we saw this new version of the Kuru Toga pencil and ordered it immediately. This model has a consistent mechanism that functions efficiently without breaking the lead. It uses 0.5 mm HB lead, and whatever we draw, ends up looking precise and crystal clear. We have also used this pencil for writing notes; the overall work looked crisp and consistent.

This pencil helps us produce some real quality work, and our shadings have improved drastically. The consistency of our drawings and writings has a smooth flow to them. Moreover, it has a retractable tip and a unique pipe slide mechanism that makes it safe for our pockets.

Also, the lead rotates after every 20 strokes that prevent lead breakage. In terms of ergonomics, it has a lightweight design, and the clear-plastic grip makes it comfortable to work for long hours.

Lead Size: 0.5 mm | Lead Hardness: HB | Grip Material: Metal | Retractable Tip: Yes | Lead Mechanism: Rotating mechanism | Body Material: Metal

11. Pilot Dr. Grip Drafting Pencil

The Pilot Dr. Grip pencil has a metallic barrel that gives it a luxurious and sophisticated feel. It comes with an ergonomic design grip which is specially designed for people who work for long hours or have arthritis. There is an even weight distribution that creates very light pressure on the hands. What makes this product unique is the shaker mechanism.


We are usually quite selective about the pencil that we purchase because comfort plays a vital role in helping us produce quality work. One of our friends recommended the pilot Dr. Grip Model for its well-crafted design. We must say that it’s not just the aesthetics that stand out in this product, but the 0.5mm lead sizes make it suitable for different tasks.

The pencil has a double-layered grip that ensures soft handling, we often use this pencil for long hours, but we never faced any issues with its weight. The best part, we don’t have to adjust our grip for pressing the button to advance the lead. We need to shake the pencil once or twice to push the lead gently.

Moreover, we find the usage of this model to be relatively simple when compared to the other drafting pencils. It’s the most comfortable pencil that we have used in a long time.

Lead Size: 0.5 mm | Lead Hardness: HB | Grip Material: Dual-layered cushion grip | Retractable Tip: Yes | Lead Mechanism: Side button | Body Material: Plastic

Best Drafting Pencils Comparison Table

Product Lead Size Lead Hardness Grip Material Retractable Tip Lead Mechanism Body Material
Rotring 600 Drafting Pencil 0.5 mm HB Full metal No Fixed Brass
Rotring 800 Drafting Pencil 0.5 mm HB Full metal Yes Fixed Brass
Staedtler Mars 780 Technical Drafting Pencil 2 mm HB Non-slip rubber No Push-button Plastic
Pilot S20 Drafting Pencil 0.5 mm HB Dual-material grip Yes Top button Plastic
Pentel Arts Graph Gear 1000 Drafting Pencil Set 0.3-0.9 mm Varies Dual-material grip Yes Top button Metal
Alvin Draft-Matic Drafting Pencil 0.5 mm HB Knurled stainless steel Yes Push-button Plastic
Pentel GraphGear 500 Automatic Drafting Pencil 0.3-0.9 mm Varies Latex-free grip Yes Top button Metal
Uni Kuru Toga Roulette Gun Metallic Drafting Pencil 0.5 mm HB Metal Yes Rotating mechanism Metal
Pilot Dr. Grip Drafting Pencil 0.5 mm HB Dual-layered cushion grip Yes Side button Plastic
Koh-i-Noor Drafting Pencil 2 mm Varies Textured grip No Push-button Plastic
Uni Kuru- Toga Pipe Slide Drafting Pencil 0.5 mm HB Metal Yes Rotating mechanism Metal

Buying Guide For The Best Drafting Pencil

1. Build quality

The way the product feels in your hand depends on its weight and ergonomics. Therefore, you should check whether the drafting pencil has a balanced weight distribution or not. This not only keeps you from fatigue after using the pencil for long durations, but it also helps you work more smoothly.

For a durable drafting pencil, you should check out the ones that are made with stainless steel or quality wood.

2. Lead quality

This is an essential factor that you need to consider when choosing a drafting pencil. Using the right lead makes a significant difference in the quality of your work. The hardness of the lead helps to determine how dark or light the pencil writes.

3. Lead size

The leads of drafting pencils come in a variety of sizes and are used for different purposes. For instance, pencils that come with thin leads (0.2mm to 0.4mm) are most suitable for adding small details to your work.

Plus, the all-purpose drafting pencil has a standard lead size of 0.5mm to 0.7mm, which is best for writing and sketching. Whereas, for making bold sketches or for extra-large handwriting the thick leads of about 0.9mm to 0.13mm would work ideally.

4. Balanced grip

Drafting pencils that come with a rubber cover help to provide a better grip and comfort when working for long hours. You can also find pencil grips that are designed for diverting heat away from your hand. This feature allows you to hold the pencil without your hands getting slippery with sweat.

Lead advancement quality

You can find drafting pencils with many types of lead advancement mechanisms, but the most common ones are:

  • Shaker mechanism- Pencils that use this mechanism are the easiest to use. You need to give the pencil a firm shake a few times to advance the lead. There is some weight installed inside the casing that clicks the button for you, and a quick flick does the job.
  • Twist-Click Mechanism- When you’re using these pencils, you’ll have to twist the top of the barrel to adjust the lead to the desired level. For pushing the lead back inside, you need to twist and hold the button.

What lead size is best for drafting pencils?

The most commonly used lead size for drafting pencils is 0.5mm, as it allows for fine lines and precise markings. However, some drafting pencils also come in 0.3mm or 0.7mm sizes depending on the user’s preferences and requirements.

What is the difference between a retractable tip and a fixed-tip drafting pencil?

A retractable tip drafting pencil has a lead sleeve that can be retracted into the pencil body when not in use, providing protection for both the lead and the user. A fixed-tip drafting pencil has a stationary lead sleeve that does not retract, making it less portable but more sturdy.

What lead hardness is best for drafting pencils?

The most commonly used lead hardness for drafting pencils is HB, which provides a good balance between darkness and durability. However, some users may prefer harder or softer leads depending on their personal preferences and the specific project they are working on.

What is a textured grip on a drafting pencil?

A textured grip on a drafting pencil refers to a section of the pencil body that is designed to provide additional grip and comfort for the user. This can be achieved through various materials and textures, such as rubber, knurling, or ribbing.

What body materials are used for drafting pencils?

Drafting pencils can be made from a variety of materials, including plastic, metal, and even wood. The choice of material can affect the weight, durability, and aesthetics of the pencil, and different materials may be preferred for different uses and preferences.

What is a Kuru Toga mechanism?

A Kuru Toga mechanism is a rotating lead mechanism used in some drafting pencils, which helps to keep the lead sharp and reduces breakage. The mechanism rotates the lead slightly every time it is lifted from the paper, ensuring that the lead is always sharp and reducing the need for frequent sharpening.


Thank you for joining us on this journey to discover the best drafting pencils on the market. We hope that our reviews and experiences with these pencils have given you valuable insight into the world of drafting pencils, as well as the factors to consider when selecting the perfect one for your needs. The array of options can seem overwhelming, but remember that each pencil offers its unique advantages that cater to different users and tasks.

Out of these 11 best drafting pencils, here are the top three expert recommendations:

For a professional tool that offers excellent balance and comfort, the Rotring 600 Drafting Pencil is an ideal option. With its knurled grip, hexagonal barrel, and precise lead advancement mechanism, you won’t have to worry about lead breakages and discomfort during extended periods of use.

If you’re looking for a combination of higher precision, quality, and innovative features, the Rotring 800 Drafting Pencil is a good option. Its unique ‘twist and click’ mechanism, retractable tip, and refillable eraser create a seamless drafting experience for professionals.

For users who prefer lead holders but still want the convenience of exceptional engineering, the Staedtler Mars 780 Technical Drafting Pencil is the right choice. With a sturdy metal construction and multifunctional capabilities, this pencil caters to all designers and architects alike.

As you continue your work, remember that the drafting pencil is an extension of your hand and creative mind – so take the time to explore different options and find the best fit for you. Here’s to elevating your creations while achieving better control, accuracy, and comfort with the perfect drafting pencil. Happy drawing and designing!

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