If you’re looking to purchase a new mechanical pencil, there’s a good chance that you’ve come across rOtring. rOtring is a writing tools brand that has been making mechanical pencils for a few decades.
And when looking into rOtring pencils, you may look at rOtring 500 and rOtring 600 as your starter pencil. But you may be wondering which one works better as a great pencil for everyday use.
Not to worry, as I’ve reviewed each of them to help you understand which pencil works better in which area!
rOtring has been in the writing instrument business for quite a while now, having been established as a brand over 90 years ago. Originally a fountain pen manufacturer, rOtring has established itself as a prominent mechanical pencil brand in the current day.
Something you may find interesting about its name is that ‘rotring’ translates to ‘red ring’, a feature that persists in its mechanical pencils to this day. It’s a unique identifier that you may use to identify rOtring products.
rOtring 500 Review
Table of Contents
- A step up from the 300, this premium mechanical...
- A brass mechanism delivers precision lead...
The rOtring 500 is the entry-level model in the Japan-only line of mechanical pencils, being one of the three that must be imported for use. If you don’t find the product in your local store, you needn’t be alarmed.
With a plastic body, the rOtring 500 is a mechanical pencil that is primarily meant for drafting purposes. It is available in four lead types: 0.3mm, 0.5mm, 0.7mm, and 0.9mm.
rOtring 500 Features
1. rOtring Classic Design
The rOtring 500 is a part of the rOtring Classic design series, each of which has a few shared design elements among them. One such design choice is the hexagonal shape that prevents the pencil from rolling.
Its plastic barrel has a weighty feel, and its hexagonal edges are slightly rounded off to keep it from feeling uncomfortable. The metal grip, clip and tip all add to its weight, weighing 16 grams in total.
At the other end, the pencil features a brass cap that houses the lead feed system, as well as a small eraser. The rOtring signature red ring and a lead indicator system are underneath the eraser cap.
It’s important to note that the 500 is only available in one color: black. The pencil isn’t colored using anodizing and is instead painted black, creating a look that is somewhat different from other pencils.
2. Comfortable Drafting Pencil
The rOtring 500 was designed to be comfortable and functional, which is why it boasts a minimalistic design. Its weighty feel leans into the precision of the pencil, allowing you to continue drafting without the chances of the instrument slipping off your fingers.
Personally, I found that the pencil doesn’t weigh so much as to become uncomfortable after hours of work. It aims to balance the comfort of an ordinary pencil with the function of a drafting pencil.
3. Knurled Grip
The 500 has a knurled metal grip that keeps its center of balance near its tip, something that is more suited for drafting. Keeping the center of balance close to the tip further adds to the pencil’s precision, making its design all the more purposeful.
I found that the 500 can be used for prolonged periods without any uneasy feeling underneath my fingers, which can be suitable for drafting purposes.
4. Top-Knock Lead Advancement System
The lead advancement internal mechanism in the rOtring 500 is of the top-knock variety that makes a subdued but notable clicking noise when used. It is a consistent design element that is present in many rOtring pencils.
This system worked without displaying any visible issues during my testing, although a retracting mechanism would have made for a great addition.
- Comfortable mechanical pencil
- Metallic knurled grip section
- rOtring Classic design
- Robust writing experience
- Only available in black
rOtring 600 Review
- An iconic tool meant for a lifetime of use; The...
- Brass mechanism allows Precision lead advancement;...
The rOtring 600 is, much like the 500, a mechanical drafting pencil that is a part of the Japan-only series of mechanical pencils. It features all the design elements persistent in the series, such as the red ring and contoured edges with a difference or two. In some aspects, the 600 can be considered an older sibling to the 500, sharing many of the similar design elements but with a few added tidbits.
When compared against other drafting mechanical pencils, I found that the Staedtler 925 and rOtring 600 have comparable performances. This is also true when comparing the rOtring 500, 600 and 800 pencils, each of which have similar performance in comparison.
rOtring 600 Features
1. Metallic Design
Upon picking up the rOtring 600 for the first time, the first thing I noticed about it was its weight. The main reason for this is the fully metallic design of the 600 that makes it weigh quite a bit more than the 500. And like the 500, the barrel of the pencil is hexagonal with slightly rounded off edges.
The top of the pencil has a lead grade indicator and the ever-present rOtring red rings. And on the other end, the tip features a protector pipe to keep the lead safe and easy to use with straight edges.
Lastly, the 600 has a sturdy metallic pocket clip that has strong resistance and doesn’t break. So strong, in fact, that it can be somewhat difficult for it to latch on to a pocket.
2. Professional-Grade Writing Feel
The pencil is hefty and geared toward those who need to use a mechanical pencil for prolonged periods of time. Its tip is designed to work with other tools, such as a ruler, but it can be used for ordinary writing purposes as well.
Sketching with the 600 feels controlled and precise, with its weight ensuring that the tip never sways or slips from your fingers.
3. Metallic Knurled Grip
The 600 features a knurled metal grip that is round, instead of the hexagonal design of the 500. This makes the pencil easy to control, distributing its balance across its length.
Honestly, even with its weight, the 600 doesn’t feel uncomfortable to handle for long periods of work.
4. Focused Design
The 600 feels like a very focused pencil that can function as an ordinary pencil but is at its best in a professional setting. I found myself making deliberate strokes more often than with other pencils, which is generally suited for precision work.
- Metallic body
- Precise mechanical pencil
- Easy to handle
- Round knurled metal grip
- The pocket clip may not latch on easily
Rotring 500 vs 600 Conclusion
Due to its relatively light weight build and lower price point, the 500 is more suited as a great value everyday instrument to write with. Its plastic body keeps its balance slightly away from the tip, which enables it to be used as a precision pencil if needed.
On the other hand, the rOtring 600 mechanical pencil is more akin to a tool heavily geared towards drafting purposes. Its weight and feel lend the pencil an easy-to-handle quality- something that suits sketching, taking notes, and drafting purposes alike.
Despite the differences, you may carry these as everyday instruments without any issues. And at the end of the day, choosing between one or the other depends largely on what you want out of it.