The Unique Advantages and Drawbacks of an $8 Mechanical Pencil


Before the end of the first quarter, I purchased a 0.5mm mechanical pencil for around $8 from Northwest Art and Frame. Accompanied by an extra container of graphite and several replacement erasers, I began using the pencil daily for schoolwork. It originally seemed significantly better than a standard plastic mechanical pencil; the tolerances were tighter, there was less movement for the graphite to push in and out, and the metal grip was significantly better than the plastic alternative. The thinner graphite made it easier to write smaller (rather than 0.7mm, the standard), and thus allowed me better use of my notebook space. However, the graphite would often become so sharp it would pierce or slice the notebook page, or even several, without me intentionally doing so and leave my work tainted or torn. The graphite would run out faster, as there was less thickness to it, and would use more vertical distance on the sticks of graphite to write the same sentence compared to a thicker piece. This resulted in me needing to click out the graphite more, interrupting my writing often. The erasers, though high quality, are also smaller in diameter than an average eraser, requiring replacement more often. The original eraser inside of the pencil is also larger than the replacement ones, making the replacements feel like less than a true replacement. Rather, a band-aid type of solution than a solid fix to running out. The metal clip on the outside of the pencil is removable and rotatable, however rather than serving its purpose and allowing it to clip onto something, it is usually more of a pain to reattach when someone takes it off and it becomes bent, no longer clamping on as tightly as it used to onto the pencil. 

In summary, the pencil has unique disadvantages and advantages in comparison to a standard pencil, and I would rate it an 8/10.