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Guide to buying the best pencils for technical drawing

  • August 21, 2021
  • 6 min read
Guide to buying the best pencils for technical drawing

Guide to buying the best pencils for technical drawing. Exceptionally high precision and extreme cleanliness: these are the fundamental cornerstones for technical drawing, or rather that form of visual representation so dear to surveyors, architects, engineers, and designers. To draw perfectly uniform and well-defined lines, it is necessary to rely on excellent pencils for technical drawing, therefore characterized by the right level of hardness of the lead, good handling, and a perfectly filed tip. And it is here that often, especially for those taking their first steps in technical drawing, the donkey falls.


Sometimes newbies work using tools that have little or nothing to do with technical drawing, compromising the result from the beginning, even before touching the white support sheet. To meet the needs of those approaching this world, we wanted to write this guide to buy pencils for technical landscape drawing. Therefore, in this post, we will talk about the different degrees of hardness, the classic wooden pencils, and their colleagues: Mechanical or mine holders. At the bottom of this post, you will undoubtedly know which technical drawing pencils to put in your cart!


Let’s start from the beginning: the hardness of mines

To choose the most suitable among the pencils for technical drawing, we must start with an analysis of the various levels of hardness of the mines. We have already talked about it elsewhere and in a post dedicated to pencils for artistic drawing, and for this reason, we will only do a brief review here. The type of stroke it will leave on the paper depends on the degree of hardness of the pencil. There are mainly 4 groups of graphite leads, from the most complex to softest: H, F, HB, and B.


The letter H stands for complex and defines pencils of high hardness; the letter F stands for Fine line and indicates fine point pencils, complex but not too challenging; HB pencils are slightly softer than F but more complex than B (i.e., blackness), which are the softest of all. In the case of H pencils and B pencils, in addition to the letters, there are numbers, which define even more specifically the gradation of graphite. A 9H pencil will be harsh, whereas, on the contrary, a 9B pencil will be very soft. However, these extremes are rarely actually used. The most used pencils are the 3H, 2H, H, F, HB, B, 2B, and 3B.


Having said that, how do you choose the degree of hardness of pencils for technical drawing? You should know that the H pencils, by the hardness of their lead, leave a more precise line on the sheet. In addition to this, it should be emphasized that the H pencils resist smudging well to safeguard the sheet’s cleanliness. For these reasons, harder pencils are undoubtedly the preferred choice for those who have to make technical drawings. However, the disadvantages of the H pencils should not be forgotten, which cannot be used with too much pressure so as not to furrow the sheet unnecessarily and cannot be erased as quickly as the softer leads. Well, now you know which gradations of hardness to choose when buying your technical drawing pencils. But which type of pencil should you choose?

The types of pencil for technical drawing

best pencils for technical drawing

As you may have already noticed by visiting our e-commerce, there is no single pencil type for technical drawing. There are, in fact, the classic wooden pencils, which are occasionally pointed with a sharpener, and there are the mine holders, which instead have a pressure mechanism always to have a perfect trip with a few moves. How to choose between these two options? The factors to be taken into consideration are not few – but not too many.


Let’s start with the classic wooden pencils: indeed, there is no need to explain the use of these simple tools! However, it should emphasize that not all graphite pencils for technical drawing are the same: classic newsstand pencils are characterized by a fragile and hardly workable lead. Still, there are also the most efficient pure cedarwood pencils with extra resistant leads perfectly glued to the wood, designed to withstand over time and guarantee a perfectly sharp line in all circumstances. 


Wooden pencils, however, require some maintenance: always to have a perfect trip, it is, in fact, mandatory to stop often to use a pencil sharpener or a multipurpose sharpener, finishing the work with sandpaper if necessary. In the case of mine holders, however, the mine is always ready to be used, requiring at most a quick rubbing on the paper to find the perfect angle. The operation, also, in this case, is effortless: the mines, which can be purchased together with the mine holder or separately, must be inserted individually in the mine holder, and then let the tip of the mine ‘go down’ by a few millimeters with the unique mechanism. As in the case of wooden pencils, the graphite leads of ‘mechanical’ pencils also have different degrees of hardness, although it must be said that, in an online generation, the range of choice for refill leads is slightly narrower.


The advantages of mine holders

Mine holders will never achieve the charm and versatility of classic wooden technical drawing pencils. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that mine ports have considerable advantages, which cannot be neglected in any way. Firstly, with a mine holder, the mark left on the sheet has a very homogeneous thickness. With the classic wooden pencils, however, the thickness of the line is minimal immediately after making the tip, to increase shortly after sharpening in a more or less conspicuous way to make the result inevitably uneven. Going sharpened often, wooden pencils also tend to change height in a not too long time, mainly if used very frequently. 


The result is a variable balance over the same day, which could disturb the precision of the stroke, a feature that the fussiest designers cannot overlook. On the other hand, mechanical pencils always remain the same, always perfectly balanced in the hands of the illustrator.

The main feature of mine holders is that they are refillable: the instrument, therefore, does not run out, being able to be reloaded countless times with new graphite mines, without requiring the cutting down of new trees to make up the body.



Hardness, the precision of the line, erasability, maintenance, balance: now you know everything you need to buy the best pencils for technical drawing online, according to your particular needs. And don’t be afraid to make a mistake: a pencil or a slightly softer or a bit harder lead must always be present on a designer’s desk!

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