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Showing 1-10 of 2,169 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 2,357 reviews
TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 29, 2016
I enjoy sketching and painting, and I'm always on the lookout for new tools to help me work. As of late I’ve been going back through some of my art supply purchased over the years and reviewing the ones that stood out in order to hopefully help other artists make informed purchases.

I purchased my first Pentel Graph Gear 1000 mechanical pencil a little over five years ago, and have added many more to my collection in the years since. It's my go-to mechanical pencil for a number of reasons:

- It has a comfortable, chiseled metallic grip inlaid with soft latex-free pads provides writing comfort. These pads are different colors depending on the lead size you choose (brown for .3 mm, grey for .5 mm, blue for .7 mm, and yellow for .9 mm), making it easy to identify which size of lead you're using.
- The dual-action retractor advances and retracts tip for easy use. This means that you're able to retract the tip when you're storing it, which helps prevent damage to the tip as well as accidental damage (read: holes) in whatever you're storing it in.
- The lead and eraser are refillable.
- The barrel has a rotating window that allows you to identify the type of lead you've placed in it (2B, HB, etc.), so if you have multiples of these pencils, it's easy at a glance to identify what type of lead is in each without having to test them. Between this and the color-coding for the lead type, it makes it incredibly easy to keep on creating rather than having to take breaks to remember where you put a certain lead size or hardness or softness of lead. It also means that if you have multiples, you can have a variety of them handy, rather than having to regularly swap out lead.
- They are extremely well weighted.
- I rarely experience breakage.

I regularly carry the following Pentel Graph Gear 1000s in my mobile sketch kit:
- A .5 mm with 2H lead
- A .5 mm with HB lead
- A .5 mm with 2B lead
- A .3 mm with 2H lead

That said, these are by far my favorite mechanical pencils, and they are something I regularly use at home and while on the go. I would highly recommend them to any artist or draftsmen who is interested in adding a solid and long-lasting mechanical pencil to their creative arsenal.

I am a longtime Amazon Prime customer who enjoys writing reviews in my free time. If you have any questions or comments about this product or my review, feel free to message me and I'll be glad to help!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon February 26, 2017
I really like to write with this mechanical pencil.
I have three different mechanical pencils, and I have ranked as my personal preference below:.
1. Pentel GraphGear 500 Automatic Drafting Pencil Black (PG525A)
2. Pentel Graph Gear 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil, 0.5mm Lead Size, Brushed Metal Barrel (PG1015A)
3. Zebra M-301 Stainless Steel Mechanical Pencil, 0.5mm, Black Barrel, 2-Pack (54012)

Somehow, I find GraphGear 500 is more comfortable to hold than GraphGear 1000, maybe because GraphGear 500 is lighter.
The Pentel GraphGear 500's price is right, only half of the Pentel GraphGear 1000, it but feels better in my hand, this maybe different for others.
The Pentel GraphGear 1000 is also a great one, it has full metal body, so it feels very solid in hand; moreover, the clip is very easy to use.
The Zebra M-301 Stainless Steel Mechanical Pencils are very cheap and perfect for taking to school and doing homework. It comes with two in a set. Since it is very cheap, I am not worried if I lose one.

Overall, I am very happy with this purchase, and it is well worth the five stars rating!
I have included few photos for you to look at the details of the product.

[...]below; this would really encourage me to give better reviews in the future. Thank you very much =)
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on February 20, 2015
If you would’ve told me a few months ago that I would be writing this review, I probably would’ve become very depressed, knowing what a sad future laid ahead of me, with nothing better to do than to write a review for a mechanical pencil.

But alas, here I am, not writing out of a lack of other potential activities, but out of a sheer responsibility to let you know how great this pencil is.

Over the last 6 months I’ve been rehabbing an old house we bought, and have drawn up a seemingly endless number of blueprints and building plans. I bought a Moleskin squared notebook to start (worth every penny), and eventually got tired of the sloppiness that came with a regular old #2 pencil. I finally put my foot down and told my wife “Honey, I’m buying a $13 pencil!” to which she responded with almost no emotion. I pulled the trigger and eagerly awaited my new writing device.

I couldn’t possibly be happier with it. It writes perfectly, draws crisp, clean lines, and is so well made you feel like a damn astronaut when you use it.

10/10, would use in outer space.
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on February 28, 2014
Like most people who have used mechanical pencils for a long time, I settled into my favorite couple pencils, bought a number of them and used them for years. For me it was the Y&C Double Knock and the Alvin Draftmatic dating back to the mid-90's. But then I started using "luxury" pen and pencil sets from Cross, Parker, Pelican and Waterman and lost touch with the "functional" mechanical pencil market. But both between a realization that these "luxury" brands aren't actually interested in making a good pencil as much as something good looking (don't get me wrong, they're good, but writing quality of their pencils is not what drives them) and my kids getting to the age where they could use a good mechanical pencil, I decided to dig back in and re-learn the current offerings. I decided to give my older kids (as stocking stuffers for Christmas) one of each of the viable contenders and then borrow them on occasion to see what I thought. It's now been a couple months and I'm reviewing them all:

Best overall: Pentel GraphGear 500 (full review:
Best value: Zebra M301 (
Best retractable tip: Pentel GraphGear 1000 (this review)
Best rubber grip: Staedtler 925-05 (

Also rans (in order of preference):
Alvin Draftmatic (
Uni Kuru Tora (
Pentel P205 (

Click on the links above for my detailed review of each. And now for the actual review for THIS pencil, the Pentel GraphGear 1000:

Really I have two different needs for pencils: one that I use at my desk and one that I carry around. I guess theoretically there could be one pencil that excels at both needs, but if there is, I haven't found it. As I mentioned in the lead-in, historically I used the Y&C Double Knock (RIP). I used it as my pencil that I carried around. It had a retractable tip and it's eraser, while small like so many others, was on the better side. Unfortunately it's rubber grip would break down over time and the tip wasn't as solid/stiff as some others, so my home/work desk pencil was the Alvin Draftmatic.

But now with the Y&C Double Knock no longer being made, the best modern equivalent is the GraphGear 1000 with its retractable tip. Frankly I liked the Double Knock mechanism better, where a soft push advanced the lead and a hard push retracted the tip. The GraphGear 1000 uses the clip as the retraction mechanism. If you're actually putting it in your pocket, it's nice that doing so automatically retracts the tip, but in practice the mechanism makes it harder to slip it over the pocket material and as another reviewer mentioned, over time as the clip breaks down, you won't just lose the functionality of the clip, you'll lose the functionality of the whole pencil. Nevertheless, it's the best retractable tip out there, and it does so while keeping a very solid/stiff tip, more solid than my old favorite Double Knock.

The other big desire for a pocket pencil is a big and high quality eraser. Sadly, there just doesn't seem to be a pencil out there that meets this. Ironically, Pentel makes a few different erasers in a pencil like casing. I guess if I wanted to carry multiple things in my pocket I could carry them both, but I'd prefer if they figured out how to put both of them together in one writing instrument. But back to this pencil, its eraser is small and useless, but no more so than its competitors, so it stays in the pole position for the pocket pencil.

Also a bit disappointing is the grip. They "improved" on the GraphGear 500 grip by putting rubber bubbles along the otherwise great metal grip. While they're not horrible, I think the bubbles actually are a step back. They would have been better to stick with the 500's grip system.

Finally, the clip. This is one of the only pencils that has has spring loaded clip and that's a big plus for it. I have a lot more confidence in its longevity over the flexing sheet-metal models and it provides much more consistent pressure, even when clipping on thicker items. If you pre-retract the tip, it slides nicely over your pocket material, but as mentioned above if you don't, it can be a bit hard to, mostly because the "V" you have to get the fabric into is quite small.

Overall, while it doesn't quite measure up to the GraphGear 500 overall and it's price tag is in the high range ($10-$20) making it not as compelling as the Zebra M301 from a value perspective, it's still the 3rd pencil I'll keep in my arsenal as my pocket pencil. Thus it deserves a solid 4-star rating.
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on April 18, 2017
I absolutely LOVE this set!. I actually purchased the 0.3 Pentel GraphGear after using these mechanical pencils because I had to have the whole range. The pencil is very easy to handle, very comfortable in the hand, and writes very smoothly. I really like how the point pops in when you press the pocket clip. I like how easy the lead is to advance using the top, and the fact that you don't potentially dump out all of your lead when you want to get at the eraser. The small sized eraser enables you to erase or highlight very small sections of your work, which is a plus. The leads themselves are very sturdy, very little breakage, and what there was, was my fault for extending the lead too far out. I appreciate being able to use different hardness of leads and having an indicator on the pencil to set to remind me what I am using. I also love the use of rubberized colored dots on the barrel to let you know the size lead the pencil uses, and how the rubber dots make it easy to hold for long lengths of time. I am enclosing a picture I drew entirely with the .3 pencil on Strathmore 5.5 x 8.5 toned tan sketch paper. I used all the lead that came pre-loaded in the pencil, plus two more pieces that were included in the set. I worked sometimes for hours on this without any hand strain at all. I highly recommend this pencil to anyone. The affordable price means you don't have that much to lose, and with this whole set, you are good to go for a long time if you love it as much as I do.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 22, 2017
This is my favorite mechanical pencil, and I have about sixty different models to choose from. I need many pencils for layout in woodworking. Normally, that is too demanding and rough for fragile leads in mechanical pencils. But these seem to resist breakage far better than most, yet they make a clear solid line in one stroke. I use them with INCRA rules and find that the pointed shape of this pencil makes hitting the right hole easier. It gives you a clear line-of-sight.

Oh yeah, I write with them too. The heft and balance is delightful. The clip automatically retracts the point so it's less likely to rip my shop apron or your shirts. Of course, you'd probably want a pocket protector if you wore this in your daily engineering job. I love the knurled grip too. That makes it easy to control for both accurate marking and fine calligraphy.
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on January 30, 2014
Great feel, great function, great look. Don't let my rating fool you, I love this pencil. The rating reflects the cheap construction of this pencil for the price you pay, and for that I must say shame on you Pentel for making such a cheap product. I have bought two of these now because the plastic tube that makes the center section of the pencil has broken. If the pencil had been constructed as the one I now have or at least similar to it (which is explained below), my rating would have been 5 stars. By the same token, if I hadn't been able to fix at least one of the two I bought the rating would have been 1 star.

As an engineer this pencil has been indispensable to me. But while I may be an engineer, I do a lot of hands on and heavy work.

The way Pentel designed the junction between the upper tube and the lower plastic body (the part under the rubber and metal finger grip) causes a major stress point and, in the case of my first one, after only having had it for a few months just the force of lightly leaning against a table while it was in my pocket was enough to break the plastic tube and literally break the pencil in half. A similar event occured with the second one I bought but happened within 3 weeks of me buying it.

Considering how expensive these are I was not about to buy a third and I tried several times to glue the two pieces back together to no avail. Whatever plastic Pentel used does not like to be glued as every time I did, it survived for less time than the previous. Fortunately my father does machining as part of one of his hobbies and was able to make a substitute piece out of brass to replicate and replace the broken plastic. The pencil has since stood up to quite a lot of punishment and still works great.

So once again Pentel, for what you charge for this pencil it should have been constructed A LOT BETTER than it is.
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on April 12, 2016
I've been using the Graph Gear 1000 since it was released. It is expensive for an automatic pencil but for long periods of drawing, several hours, it's the single most comfortable pencil I've used. It fits well within the hand, is well weighted and balanced, and doesn't give me those much hated pencil dents in the sides of my fingers from prolonged use.

I pretty much only use the inbuilt eraser when I lose or forget to bring a dedicated eraser but it does its job with none of the smearing that you get with low quality erasers and it's reasonably long. Woe betide you if you lose the end cap though. Retracting the tip will become much harder.

As to that retractable tip, it may seem like an extravagance, but I like long sleeves in my pencils as I draw with a fair bit of pressure and it helps keep my graphite sticks from snapping. These kinds of pencils tend to lead to a lot of lost change and dropped keys when they inevitably poke holes in the pockets of your pants so it's a huge plus for me. The mechanism functions smoothly with firm clicks when fully extended or retracted. It holds up to hundreds of extensions and retractions with no reduction of functionality. It's rock solid.
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on February 7, 2017
I have been a fan of Pentel for over four years now. My erasers, lead, pencils, and other various office supplies have all come from you guys since. I am a student, and use all of these products on the daily. I have always been happy with their performances.
I received my first Graph Gear 1000 as a gift around Christmas of 2014, and it lasted me for several years. I loved the weight, the build, and the quality of the utensil immediately. Since, I have gifted it myself to others at least twice, and I have heard nothing but good things. In September of 2016, my pencil finally gave out, and I ordered a new one immediately. That was less than six months ago, and just today my second pencil broke.
I was surprised, but not completely taken aback when my first pencil broke, as it had been several years. But my latest Graph Gear broke in the exact same way.
The plastic lip that separates the two metal halves of the utensil and holds them together cracked for no apparent reason for the SECOND TIME today. I first realized when I simply picked it up from off of my desk and noticed that the two halves were not even. When I determined that it was cracked, I recognized it from my first pencil and resigned myself to the fact that I would have to buy yet another one.
Over the course of the day, the plastic chipped off despite how cautious I was while using it, wanting to make it last as long as possible.
I was going to just come home and buy yet another one, but I don't seem to be at any fault here; these pencils are expensive, and I am a very loyal customer. I am happy to purchase and pay for your products as I use them, but factors out of my control should not result in me needing to spend another ten bucks, especially if it's just going to break again.
I would be happy to change my rating: as I said, I love Pentel products. But if you wouldn't mind, I would also be happy to receive a replacement pencil. Please consider both looking into this problem and sending me another pencil. If I continue to be disappointed, I will probably move on to Pilot or Bic products instead.
Once again, I love your products and want to continue to purchase and use them, but until this problem is solved, I doubt I will.
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on April 18, 2017
I purchased two of these Pentel Graph Gear 1000 (PG1019G) in 0.9mm because I used the Pentel Kerry in 0.5 and 0.7 mm for 25 years with no problems. I liked the 0.9 mm so much I bought a third one in 2014. The first one failed in April of 2015. The main structural member turns out to be a plastic tube and it is threaded to mate with the conical metal nose piece. The plastic tube sheared at this threaded joint. I replaced this one and hoped the others would last. The second one (probably the one I bought second so it would be four years old) failed at exactly the same place. The choice of a plastic tube instead of a metal one saved them a few pennies but lost me as a 30 plus year customer. My older Pentel Kerry models (which I would have bought in a second if they made it in 0.9 mm) lasted me 20 plus years of much harder use than these Graph Gear 1000 models. I buy a quality pencil not just because it lasts longer, for the pleasure of using a well engineered tool every day. These are no better than the $1.19 ones I can buy in bulk.. I am going to try to find an all metal one that might last 20 plus years versus 2 to 4. But it won't be a Pentel. I am happy to spend 2 to 3 times for a quality pencil. It was a mistake to save 40 cents and ruin the design by substituting a plastic sleeve for a a metal one for the main structural piece. Edward Deming would not approve. I wish Pentel sold replacement plastic sleeves, I think there would be a market for them just keeping their Graph Gears running. For what it is worth, mine were yellow sleeves, I don't know it all of their colored plastics have the same mechanical properties, perhaps yellow is a weaker plastic or perhaps it ages faster. Should have used aluminum.
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