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Unlike regular pencils, mechanical pencils have built-in mechanisms that push out their lead cores so they don’t need sharpening or get shorter with use. These tools are essential writing and drawing instruments for artists, engineers, designers, and students. Check the large selection of writing supplies and instruments at Staples to find the right writing implement for your needs.

Enjoy the consistent performance and balance of a mechanical pencil
The lead core in this writing tool is thin enough to always remain sharp. Since it doesn’t require sharpening, the tip stays the same even as the core dwindles. This means that the tool draws a consistent line width every time. This predictability is important to professionals working with pencils of different lead sizes and graphite grades. Even as its lead depletes, this tool retains its length and heft. This benefit ensures the tool has a consistent balance and delivers predictable performance.

One other feature that distinguishes these writing tools from wood-cased pencils is the ability to refill them with new cores. Students and professionals can hold on to their favorite pencils by refilling them with new leads. This benefit possibly makes mechanical units more environmentally friendly than regular disposable pencils.

Consider lead advance mechanisms when shopping for mechanical pencils
Available options are push button, twist, shaker, bend, and automatic. The most popular advancement mechanism is the push button. A model with this feature has a clicker at the top that pushes forward a fixed length of lead with each click. A shaker mechanism uses a built-in sliding weight to advance the writing core when shaken. This allows the user to push out a new tip without changing their grip on the pencil. A bend mechanism requires squeezing the writing tool in the middle to advance the lead.

Pencils with twist mechanisms have rotating knobs in their top caps or nose cones. Turning this knob allows the user to push out the exact length of lead they want. This design requires pencils with 0.7 mm leads or wider. An automatic advancement mechanism pushes out more lead whenever the tip gets down to the edge of the lead sleeve. While this is convenient and requires no user input, some may prefer that their pencil tips don’t get so low.

What lead sizes do mechanical pencils offer?
They have lead sizes ranging from 0.2 mm to 0.9 mm and above. Thin leads measuring 0.2 mm and 0.3 mm wide produce sharp, fine lines, while leads measuring 0.9 mm and above are best for sketching and writing bold lines. Lead sizes between 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm are ideal for everyday writing and drawing tasks.

Is grip important when selecting mechanical pencils?
Yes. Consider both the diameters and materials of the grip sections of these writing tools. Plastic, rubber, silicone, and metal are common pencil grip materials. While metal and plastic are firm, rubber and silicone are squishy and better suited for extended writing and drawing sessions. Wide grips are best for users with large hands.

What is a dual clutch mechanical pencil?
This writing tool uses a clutch system capable of holding an outgoing lead and a new one. A regular mechanical pen stops writing when the lead left is shorter than the gap between its clutch and tip. A dual clutch unit prevents wastage by holding onto the leftover lead while pushing the new one right behind it.
54% off
BIC Xtra-Life Mechanical Pencils, No. 2 Medium Lead, 40/Pack (MPP40MJ-BLK)BIC Xtra-Life Mechanical Pencils, No. 2 Medium Lead, 40/Pack (MPP40MJ-BLK)
6.99
Item #24276526
Model #MPP40MJ-BLK
  • Mechanical pencils are ready to use right out of the box
  • 0.7mm medium lead features bonded break-resistant quality that provides smooth writing
$6.99
Reg.  $15.44
40/Pack
Free delivery
Add to cart
60% off
Staples Mechanical Pencils, No. 2 Medium Lead, Dozen (29082)Staples Mechanical Pencils, No. 2 Medium Lead, Dozen (29082)
1.49
Item #2071562
Model #29082
  • Mechanical pencils are ready to use right out of the box
  • Equipped with a No. 2 lead, these pencils feature a 0.7mm medium point for precise writing
$1.49
Reg.  $3.73
Dozen
Free delivery
Add to cart
29% off
Paper Mate Sharpwriter Mechanical Pencil, No. 2 Medium Lead, 36/Pack (1921221)Paper Mate Sharpwriter Mechanical Pencil, No. 2 Medium Lead, 36/Pack (1921221)
9.99
Item #1706689
Model #1921221
  • This non-refillable, disposable pencil is easy to use, requiring a simple twist of the barrel to push the lead into position
  • 0.7 mm #2 Lead
$9.99
Reg.  $14.12
36/Pack
Free delivery
Add to cart
Pentel Twist-Erase III Mechanical Pencils, No. 2 Medium Lead, 2/Pack (QE515BP2-K6)Pentel Twist-Erase III Mechanical Pencils, No. 2 Medium Lead, 2/Pack (QE515BP2-K6)
9.93
Item #434347
Model #QE515BP2-K6
  • Mechanical pencils are ready to use right out of the box
  • Equipped with 0.5mm lead, these pencils feature a fine point for precise writing
$9.93
2/Pack
Free delivery
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42% off
Paper Mate Sharpwriter Mechanical Pencils, No. 2 Medium Lead, 12/Pack (3030131)Paper Mate Sharpwriter Mechanical Pencils, No. 2 Medium Lead, 12/Pack (3030131)
3.99
Item #107250
Model #3030131
  • Mechanical pencils are ready to use right out of the box
  • 0.7mm, No. 2 medium Lead
$3.99
Reg.  $6.99
Dozen
Free delivery
Add to cart
Pentel Sharp Mechanical Pencils, No. 2 Medium Lead, 2/Pack (P207BP2-K6)Pentel Sharp Mechanical Pencils, No. 2 Medium Lead, 2/Pack (P207BP2-K6)
8.73
Item #270835
Model #P207BP2-K6
  • Mechanical pencils are ready to use right out of the box
  • No. 2 lead provides smooth, clear writing
$8.73
2/Pack
Free delivery
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Staples® Metrix™ Mechanical Pencils, 0.7mm, Blue (50805)
1.69
Item #2496226
Model #50805
  • Mechanical
  • 0.7mm
$1.69
1Each
Free delivery
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Staples Side Advance Mechanical Pencils, No. 2 Soft Lead, 8/Pack (41966)
11.12
Item #957039
Model #41966
  • Mechanical pencils are ready to use right out of the box
  • This pencil has No. 2 lead feature a 0.7mm point that resists breakage for smooth writing
$11.12
8/Pack
Free delivery
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18% off
Paper Mate Clearpoint Mechanical Pencils, No. 2 Medium Lead, 2/Pack (56047)Paper Mate Clearpoint Mechanical Pencils, No. 2 Medium Lead, 2/Pack (56047)
6.99
Item #615721
Model #56047
  • Mechanical pencils are ready to use right out of the box
  • This pencil has 0.7mm, No. 2 medium lead that resists breakage for smooth writing
$6.99
Reg.  $8.61
2/Pack
Free delivery
Add to cart
Pentel Twist-Erase Express Mechanical Pencils, No. 2 Medium Lead, 4/pack QE415LZBP4)
7.46
Item #730883
Model #QE415LZBP4
  • Mechanical pencils are ready to use right out of the box
  • Equipped with 0.5mm lead, these pencils feature a fine point for precise writing
$7.46
1Each
Free delivery
Add to cart