Pencil Lead

Choosing the right mechanical pencils and pencil lead for the job means producing your most precise work every time. Whether you need a mechanical pencil for creating art, completing school work or for the office, Staples has a collection of pencils, including top brands and styles that work for any project. 

Choosing the Right Mechanical Pencils 
Getting the right mechanical pencil makes work easier. For writing, a thicker lead is darker and produces a legible finished project. For technical drawings, thin, strong leads make clean, crisp lines that have staying power, even if touched. Someone who wants to have a unique pencil might choose colored leads, which come in a multitude of hues. A mechanical pencil body with an ergonomic design or a padded base enhances comfort for extended drawing or writing sessions. Refillable pencils are available in multiple sizes. For versatility, some models can accommodate a variety of different lead sizes and colors.

Lead Versus Graphite: Know the Difference
The lead found in pencils is actually graphite. Real lead is toxic, making it unsuitable for use. Graphite received the nickname 'lead' because it was known first as black lead. Today's pencils have various core designs, but most have a graphite and clay core. Cores with less clay create a soft lead while more clay makes the lead harder. 

What Types of Pencil Leads Are Available?
Pencil leads are available in soft, medium and hard, each with several grades. Soft leads are ranked from 4B, the softest, to B, the hardest of soft leads. These leads create dark lines that are easy to read. They work well for those wanting a bold line. Medium leads include HB and F. Most mechanical pencils come in HB, which creates a medium-value line that has a strong tensile strength. Medium leads are highly visible, making them a good choice for work which will be scanned, copied or printed. Hard leads include H, 2H, 3H, 4H, 5H and 6H. The lines created with these leads come out light, and each lead resists breakage with an exceptionally hard tensile strength. These leads work well for technical drawings. If you are shopping for new back to school supplies, most curriculums require a number 2 pencil. 

What Size Pencil Lead to Choose?
Mechanical pencils come with several sizes of lead. The most common sizes include .03mm, .05mm, and .07mm. For those looking for a thin lead size, .03mm leads are the thinnest. Medium width .05mm lead creates a thicker line, good for writing or technical drawing, while .07mm lines have a thickness ideal for drawing or writing in notebooks. Other possible lead sizes seen less frequently include .9mm, 1.18mm, 1.4mm, 2.0mm, 3.0mm, 3.2 mm and 5.6mm. Mechanical pencil leads come in refill packages marked with the individual sizes, so it's easy to choose the right one for your needs.

What Quantities Do Pencil Leads Come In?
Pencil leads come in a number of quantities, with most containers including 12 to 15 leads. Some specialty leads, like red drafting leads, come in refill sets with 36 or more leads for those who use them regularly. Each set comes with three containers containing 12 leads per container. Staples carries an extensive line of pencils and other great office supplies to select from.