Let me make this clear from the start, although I do hate writing with pencils, I’ve also got a favorite one that is the only one I’ll probably ever write with. For years I refused to use one because I hate the inconsistent, soft, and fuzzy line and I hate how quickly the points get dull. If those things don’t bother you as much as they do me, here are a five different kinds of pencils based on the type of pencil user you might be.
For the pencil chewer, Smencils are probably your best choice. They are made from newspaper so they are environmentally friendly, but even more important, no wood means no splinters for your tongue or lips. Smencils are scented with 10 different scents, so as you chew on your pencil you can daydream of root beer, watermelon, black cherry, cinnamon, cotton candy, grape, bubble gum, orange, berry, or tropical fruit…P.S. don’t really chew your pencils, it probably isn’t very safe, and I don’t want to get sued. $12 for 10 via Amazon
For the traditionalist, you cant go wrong with the Paper Mate Mirado Black Warrior. High quality lead and premium cedar wood make for an excellent writing experience that is actually surprisingly better than that of your cheap-o low quality pencils. With wood grain that is designed to make sharpening easier, and a Pink Pearl eraser that is highly effective and wont rip your paper, for the price, you really cant go wrong. $4 for 12 via Amazon
For the environmentalists out there, you might want to check out the Dixon Ticonderoga Renew pencils made from recycled car tires. Now to be fair, I don’t know the exact process used to break down the tires and shape them into pencils, but I do know that it doesn’t require cutting down a bunch of trees, and it does something useful with the over 2 billion tires sitting in US landfills alone. $6 for 10 via Amazon
This is where I see myself, the practical pencil user. I want it sharp, I don’t want it to break, and I want it to write with a thin consistent line all the time without stopping to sharpen it. The Uniball Kuru Toga is probably the most technically advanced pencil out there. It is a mechanical pencil that actually has a tiny clutch mechanism built into the point, and as you write, the pressure from writing and then lifting the pencil off the paper engages the clutch mechanism that rotates the lead for you. This auto-rotating mechanism not only ensures a constantly sharp point, but it also results in far fewer broken points because of the evenly worn lead. $9 each via Amazon
A true pencil enthusiast would probably do just about anything to get their hands on even just one unused Eberhard Faber Blackwing Pencil. They stopped making these pencils in 1998, however there is still a bit of an unused stock out there that many people covet, horde and pay dearly for. Why? Well, the motto stamped on this pencil tells the story, they say “Half the pressure, twice the speed” so in other words, these things are supposed to write beautifully and effortlessly. Their soft high quality lead puts down a smooth dark line, and many people are also as fascinated with the simple design as they are the writing experience it provides. You can pay up to $40 for ONE pencil these days, and eBay is your best bet.
Illustrations by Jordan Awan.