Best Drafting Pencil

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Introduction to the Drafting Pencils

Hand drafting may not be as prevalent as it once was due to computer-aided drafting software but the pencils are still as popular as they used to be. They are designed with the purpose of standing up to the demands of heavy, professional use. They are very popular with engineers, students and artists too.

There are some great designs available for drafting pencils available on the market today. They are even popular for other uses besides drafting. Because of the technical nature of their design, they are extremely popular with designers as well.

There are several characteristics that good quality drafting pencils have that the lesser quality drafting pencils don’t have. If you are in the market for a great drafting pencil or you are looking for a beginner’s set, you will love the choices we have for you before.

Each set is at the top of the list of popular drafting pencils and they have all of the features that you are looking for. If you are careful to consider the tips and information we provide, you will be certain to get the kind of drafting pencil or drafting pencil set that will meet all your needs.

Top 10 Drafting Pencils

Rank Picture Pencil Tip (mm) Package
1 Staedtler 0.3, 0.5, 0.7 3
2 Alvin 0.5, 0.7, 0.9 3
3 Pentel 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 0.9 4
4 Pentel Automatic 0.5 1
5 Uni 0.5 1
6 Pentel Sharp 0.5 2
7 Rotring 0.5 1
8 Paper Mate 0.5 2
9 Pentel Mechanical 0.7 1
10 Staedtler Mars 2.0 1

Staedtler Mars Drafting Mechanical Pencils 3 pk

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The tips of these quality drafting pencils are made from chrome plated metal along with metal clips.

They also feature rigid metal lead sleeves in cylindrical form, making them the perfect drafting pencil to use with rulers and templates.

There is color coding on the barrel of each pencil and the lead is advanced with a convenient push button.

This pack includes 3 drafting pencils: 0.3, 0.5 and 0.7 mm tips.

There is also a comfortable non slip rubber grip zone for comfort during use.

They come packaged together in a plastic sleeve for convenient carrying.

ALVIN® DM579C Drafmatic Mechanical Pencil set of 3

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This set of drafting pencils is designed for professional use and feature auto-feed leads.

They have knurled finger grips made of stainless steel and feature rotating lead degree windows as well as cushion points for comfort during use, maximum control and minimal lead breakage as well.

The sleeve of each is 4mm long and also made from stainless steel.

This provides the ultimate in drawing accuracy.

There are three pencils in this pack: 0.5, 0.7 and 0.9.

There is a built-in eraser under each cap for easy mistake fixing.  They are packaged in a leather like pocket pouch.

Pentel GraphGear 500 Automatic Drafting Pencils

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Get a drafting pencil set that will provide the quality and performance you need for professional use as well as recreational use.

There are 4 pencils in this pack that are refillable: 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, and 0.9 thicknesses for a variety of drawing edges.

Each pen features a metallic mesh grip that is on a slim barrel that is has a beveled design.

Each pencil casing is a different color: gray, black, navy and burgundy.

This makes an excellent gift for a drafting student or a drafting professional.

They will appreciate the high quality and design of each pencil, the easy push button lead advance and the fact that they are refillable too.

Drafting Pencils Summary

Purchasing a good quality set of drafting pencils is important so you have the quality and performance that you are looking for when using them for school, professional use or even just for pleasure use.

All three of the drafting pencil choices above are high quality and have excellent construction as well as a good choice of lead thicknesses. Each pencil has features that include comfortable grips, bush button lead advancing, stainless steel features as part of the construction and much more.

If you want to learn more about choosing the right drafting pencil read the following buyer’s guide. We have provided information that will help you sort through the variety of choices on the market and decide on just the right pencil or pencils for your needs.

Whether you are looking for drafting pencils for professional use, school or just to facilitate a hobby, you don’t want to spend money on something that is not good quality. This guide will help you choose the perfect pencil for your needs.

Compare: The 10 Best Rated Drafting Pencils

Drafting Pencil Comparison Table




Pentel Automatic


Pentel Sharp


Paper Mate

Pentel Mechanical

Staedtler Mars
Package 3 3 4 1 1 2 1 2 1 1
0.3, 0.5, 0.7 0.5, 0.7, 0.9 0.3, 0.5,
0.7, 0.9
0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.7 2
Color Black Black,
Silver Black Black Black Black
/ Blue
Silver Blue
0.8 2.1 2.4 0.6 0.5 0.8 0.6 1.4 0.2 0.3
5.8 x 1.9 x 0.3 6 x 2.5 x 0.1 6.4 x 4 x 0.7 0.6 x 6 x 0.6 0.4 x 5.8 x 0.5 2.8 x 0.5 x 7.2 5.5 x 0.3 x 0.3 0.7 x 3.2 x 7.6 5.5 x 0.3 x 0.2 0.5 x 1.9 x 8.9
2 1 Limited
2 Limited
2 Limited


Drafting Pencil Buyers Guide

Things to Consider

drafting-pencil1There are several things you want to consider when looking for a good quality drafting pencil.  These things will help you sort through the different choices and choose a quality drafting pencil that will perform well no matter what application it is used for.

  • Design – You want to look for drafting pencils that have a durable and hearty design that is easy to use as well.  Most drafting pencils are constructed from materials including high quality plastic, brass and aluminum or stainless steel.  For precise control, having textured or knurled grips are preferable.
  • Lead Sleeve – You want the lead sleeve to be long and narrow which makes them much better suited for using with a straight edge ruler or templates. This lead sleeve is also called the guide pipe.  This sleeve gives an unobstructed view of the end of the pencil for accurate drawings that need to be made. The lead sleeves of drafting pencils are very fragile and can make holes in the case or pocket they are kept in.  Many quality drafting pencils will feature retractable sleeves which prevent this from occurring.
  • Lead Grade Indicator – There are many different hardness grades available when it comes to drafting pencil leads.  Professionals almost always use several lead thicknesses at a time during a given project. In packs where there are 3-4 pencils in a pack, each pencil has a different grade of pencil lead.  The lead indicator allows the user to see what size lead is in each pencil so the user grabs the right one for the project they are working on.
  • Erasers – Almost all drafting pencils have a small eraser that will be hidden underneath the push button. They are also where extra leads are kept. If you have small corrections to take care of, this is the type of eraser that can handle them. You will want to keep a larger eraser on hand for any large scale mistake corrections that need to be made.
  • Lead Size – Leads for drafting pencils will come in different thicknesses and hardnesses. The most common size is 0.5 and 0.7. The majority of brands also offer 0.3, 0.4 along with 0.9 as well.  In packs, you will usually see groupings of 0.3, 0.5 and 0.7 or something similar to that.  Buying drafting pencil packs allows you to have the different sizes and hardnesses that you need in one place so you can adjust as needed.
  • drafting-pencil2

  • Clean Out Rod – Lead jams are inevitable when you use the drafting pencil for an extended time period on a daily basis.   You can get rid of any jams by cleaning out the broken pencil lead pieces that get stuck inside the lead sleeve. Many pencils have a clean out rod available that is part of the pencil and works to keep jams out of the way.

Differences Between a Drafting Pencil and a Mechanical Pencil

Many people think that mechanical pencils and drafting pencils are one and the same but this is not the case. There are slight differences but they are differences are important in how the pencil works.

Drafting pencils –

  • Longer sleeves – Measuring anywhere from 3-5mm. this longer sleeve on the drafting pencil allows better gliding along a template or ruler.
  • Variety of lead sizes – this is good for multiple pencil projects. Lead sizes will usually include 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 0.9.  Sometimes there even may be 0.4 as well.
  • Professional/artistic uses – Drafting pencils are most often used for professional applications and artists also tend to prefer them.

Mechanical Pencils –

  • Shorter sleeves – Measuring around 2mm.  This makes them better suited for casual use rather than professional due to the much shorter sleeves.
  • drafting-pencil3

  • Limited lead sizes – Most mechanical pencils come in either 0.5 or 0.7 sizes and do not offer a variety of choices.


If you are a professional engineer or drafter, you want to have the best quality tools you can have and that includes a well made set of drafting pencils that offer a variety of lead sizes. This will make projects much easier to accomplish and do well with. Even if you are not a professional, some people just prefer using a good quality drafting pencil.

There are many different price points available when it comes to drafting pencils. If you are purchasing a single unit it can vary in price by 3-4 dollars. Packs typically come with 2-4 pencils that have s variety of leads. This gives you a good amount of variety available for your projects or artwork.

Choosing a good drafting pencil or set of pencils will in many cases, be personal preference but you want to keep the factors in mind that we have mentioned so you get a good quality drafting pencil rather than one that is more of a frustration to use.

A higher price does not necessarily mean a higher quality, so do your homework on brands and stick to the companies that are known for producing high quality drafting pencils. Pentel, Staedtler and Alvin are all excellent companies that are known for their quality drafting pencils that are sturdy, easy to use, comfortable to hold and that offer a variety of lead sizes.