Mechanical pencil comparison – 0.2 and 0.3 mm

Mab Graves is one of my favourite artists. When she posts work in progress on Instagram often there’s a bright yellow mechanical pencil in the photo; a 0.3 mm Alvin Draft/Matic. I love pens with tiny points, so I recently got myself a “Mab” pencil, and for comparison also a 0.3 Pentel Graphgear 500.

Today another three arrived in the mail. Here they all are:


  • Alvin Draft/Matic:
    • Reasonably heavy.
    • Nice colour.
    • Some might find the grip too textured.
  • Pentel Graphgear 500:
    • Nice pointiness; gives a good view of whatever one is writing/drawing.
  • Uni Shift:
    • Beautiful design.
    • The heaviest of the bunch.
    • Retractable: I can pop it in my bag and be sure the lead sleeve won’t be damaged.
  • Uni Kuru Toga:
    • Rotates the lead  every time you lift the pencil from the paper, to give a finer and more uniform line. I don’t think my pencil is rotating as much as it should be, judging by this video. It does feel a bit scratchy though, which is a sign it’s working somewhat, and which also makes me think I prefer the lo-tech version where I rotate the pencil in my hand at my own leisure. Note, the mechanism will have a more noticeable effect with thicker lead.
    • Very lightweight.
  • Pentel Orenz 0.2 mm:
    • The tiniest lead size available in a mechanical pencil, to my knowledge. The tip of the lead sleeve is rounded and is meant to glide across the paper and get pushed back as the lead gets shorter.
    • The line is ever so slightly thinner than 0.3 mm but it feels a bit scratchy. At first I thought it was the lead sleeve, but I think it’s the thin lead itself that does it. This is on regular Moleskine notebook paper.
    • I have big lady hands, but I like the feel of the slender grip.
    • The lead sleeve does retract but cannot be locked in place like on the Uni Shift.


  • 10 g: Uni Kuru Toga
  • 11 g: Pentel Orenz
  • 15 g: Pentel Graphgear 500
  • 17 g: Alvin Draft/Matic
  • 19 g: Uni Shift

Weight distribution, for those who are interested:


Conclusion: In spite of my love for tiny points, I will go for a heavy 0.3 mm pencil over these 0.2 mm and rotating lead pencils. The difference in line width is not very noticeable, and also I have a huge crush on the silver/blue Uni Shift. Shown in this photo with the point out; in the main photo it is retracted and exposes a section of lovely blue.

Here it is:



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