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Which mechanical colored pencils are best?

If you’re someone who loves to regularly use colored pencils, mechanical ones can bring you to the next level of drawing or organizing. They can help you in the spur of your creative flow so you don’t have to stop and find a sharpener. Colored mechanical pencils are quick to refill, fine-point and accurate. They’re great for artists, writers and students alike. 

The best ones for every type of user are the Paper Mate ClearPoint Color Lead Mechanical Pencils. They’re comfortable to hold and have quality large erasers. 

What to know before you buy mechanical colored pencils

What they’re for

How you plan to use your mechanical colored pencils can help you determine the type you need. Some pencils have a wider point or diameter that’s better for art and coloring, while others have thinner points that are better for filling in small grids or detail work. This also helps you choose the right the eraser. If you’re drawing on a nice sketchpad, you don’t want to try to fix your mistakes only to smear the color across the page.

How often you use them

If you use your colored pencils regularly, you should find ones that are comfortable to hold and will last a long time. Cushy grips rest against your fingers without digging in. One of the benefits of mechanical colored pencils is that you can refill them for indefinite use; however, some packs don’t include colored lead refills. If you plan to use them continuously, be sure they either come with extra lead or that it’s available somewhere else. You can also opt for a larger package that will last longer. 

How you write

How heavy-handed you write can help you understand how thick your lead needs to be. If you put a lot of pressure on thin lead, it easily breaks and quickly runs down your supply. However, if you write very lightly, you won’t be able to leave a visible mark unless you have thicker lead. The diameter typically ranges from 0.2 millimeters to 0.7 millimeters. 

What to look for in quality mechanical colored pencils

Color range

You can get as few as two colored pencils or as many as several dozen. What’s best for you likely depends on how often you’re using them, how many you need to complete your art or your organizational style. Standard small packs usually have basic colors such as red, green and blue, while larger packs have shades of purple, orange and yellow. 

Eraser quality

Some mechanical colored pencils have much better erasers than others. This is an incredibly important factor, because colored lead can smear and be a lot messier than standard mechanical pencils. The eraser should be the right size for your pencil and your work, as well as thick enough to last long without tearing apart. It should also be soft enough that it doesn’t rip through the page and ruin your progress. 

Ease of use

Colored mechanical pencils should have thick and smooth enough lead for easy and quick use. You shouldn’t have to deal with it being brittle and breaking on you when you’re trying to maintain your workflow. If it’s for art, make sure the lead is blendable enough so it works well for shading. They should be large enough that they’re easy to find in your bag but not so small that they’re uncomfortable to hold. 

How much you can expect to spend on mechanical colored pencils

Most sets of mechanical colored pencils cost $10-$30, depending on how many pencils are included and the quality of the brand. 

Mechanical colored pencils FAQ

Do regular erasers work on colored lead?

A. Regular erasers can erase color, but not especially well. You can get one specially made for colored pencils to get better results, which may be preferable for art. 

Is colored lead washable?

A. If you get the lead on your clothes or other non-paper material, you should be able to easily wash it off. Most lead is washable, but it depends on the product. Always check the description to be sure. 

What are the best mechanical colored pencils to buy?

Top mechanical colored pencils

Paper Mate ClearPoint Color Lead Mechanical Pencils

Paper Mate ClearPoint Color Lead Mechanical Pencils

What you need to know: This is a dynamic set of easy-grip colored pencils. 

What you’ll love: These pencils are available in a variety of sets, including ones with extra lead or additional colors. They’re comfortable to hold and have an effective jumbo eraser on the end of every one. They’re colorful and vibrant for dynamic use. 

What you should consider: The colors don’t show up as well as some customers expected. The lead is somewhat brittle. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Staples

Top mechanical colored pencils for the money

June Gold 36 Assorted Colored Mechanical Pencils

June Gold 36 Assorted Colored Mechanical Pencils

What you need to know: June Gold offers a huge set of oil-based colored pencils in a wide range of colors. 

What you’ll love: These pencils come pre-sharpened and have a built-in sharpener in each one. They’re easy to grip and hold onto for extended use. They’re smudge- and break-resistant. They’re vibrant and blendable. 

What you should consider: They don’t erase very well. They can be hard to sharpen. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

PILOT Color Eno Automatic Mechanical Pencil Set

PILOT Color Eno Automatic Mechanical Pencil Set

What you need to know: This is an eight-pack of pretty and erasable colored pencils from a trusted writing brand.

What you’ll love: These pencils have a nice fine point and a plastic grip. The lead doesn’t break easily and is vibrant and easy to blend while shading. They’re perfect for smooth writing and drawing. The erasers have caps to keep them clean when not in use.  

What you should consider: It’s hard to find lead refills for these pencils. The lead is somewhat brittle. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Anabelle Weissinger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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