Graphite Pencils vs Lead Pencils

Graphite Pencils vs Lead Pencils

Introduction On Graphite Pencils vs Lead Pencils

“The pencil of the Holy Ghost hath labored more in describing the afflictions of Job than the felicities of Solomon.”

Whether in artistic works, doodling or any other engagement of a similar kind as long as it requires necessary erasures to achieve the finest results somehow, pencils play an integral role. Yet in principle, there are only two types of pencils, Lets see the Graphite Pencils vs Lead Pencils Graphite Pencils vs Lead Pencils

Graphite (Regular) Pencils

This is the kind of pencils that comes with a soft wooden casing and cylindrical graphite permanently embedded or glued in their central axis. For these pencils to work, one must have a separate sharpener to help chip away the soft wooden casing in order to expose the graphite for the necessary use.

These pencils are classified according to the nature of their leads. They are always determined by their “HARDNESS” or “BLACKNESS” and sometimes these two attributes are usually combined to bring out the very best of all your drawings. There is a distinct range of this “HARDNESS” and “BLACKNESS” options range from 9H all the way to 9B as indicated below:


Letter “F” is used to describe the “FINESS” of the tip.

As would be expected, the greater the number “H” or “B” the more pronounced that specific characteristic will be. A 7H pencil will be lighter with a harder and tougher lead than a 3H pencil just like a 2B pencil will not be as soft and black as a 3B pencil.

The choice of such a pencil would almost entirely depend on the kind of work that needs to be done. The more precise and accurate a drawing needs to be, the more pronounced the HARDNESS will be. Similarly, the more artistic and creative projects, the higher the likelihood will be of using a pencil with slightly more pronounced BLACKNESS.

Colored Pencils

There are also colored graphite pencils. These are often used in coloring and other artistic attributes of a drawing.  Most of these colored pencils have the “BLACKNESS” effect more pronounced than the “HARDNESS”. They are thus soft and can easily chip away.

Overall, there are different graphite pencil suppliers across the world and certainly at different prices. Below is a list of some of the suppliers who are also available online.

Castle Art Supplies Graphite Pencils

This often comes as a kit of 40 pieces all graphite pencils. This kit comes in handy for both sketching and drawing.

Comes well equipped with all the classification of graphite pencils from the 9H all through to the 9B.

Faber Castell Graphite Pencils

The global leader in pencil manufacturing has never been better. Faber Castell is just a cut above the rest. They still deliver quality in as much graphite pencils as they do in mechanical pencils.

Because of this wide variety of hardness and blackness, this type of pencils is certainly the pencil of choice for artists and drafters just to add reality to their works.

As expected, all these and other different manufacturers retail online and can be shipped anywhere around the world. If you yearn for convenience, you get it here right at your disposal around the clock.

Notwithstanding the different graphite pencil manufacturers in the market, their pros and cons are relatively similar. Here are some of them;


  • They are cheaper and can be used by just about anyone including kids
  • You can respectfully adjust the size of the tip through sharpening depending on what needs to be achieved. For instance, you could use a HB pencil for leisure and artistic work by having the tip not so thin and sharp. But you would still use the same HB pencil to make engineering drawings especially if you can sharpen more and make the tip as “FINE” as possible
  • Because they are made of wood, they are usually relatively lighter and thus easier to carry around
  • Most of these pencils nowadays come with detachable erasers so that should you run out of the eraser, you can separately buy a refill but continue using the same pencil.
  • Readily available even in the corner store across the street.
  • Have added another extra dimension in beauty products since the ladies use their “eye pencils” fabricated as graphite pencils
  • Can easily be found online and thus convenient for shopping at anytime of the day.

Graphite Pencils vs Lead Pencils


  • Owing to their wooden casing, if extensively used, these pencils will eventually become an environmental hazard since they will cause more trees to be cut down for that particular purpose.
  • Unlike mechanical pencils, these graphite pencils do not have pocket clips for easier portability. Consequently, they are more prone to getting lost than their mechanical counterparts most of which come with the pocket clips on the caps.
  • Can be fairly untidy especially after sharpening since the wooden chips off the casing would easily litter the surroundings unless properly disposed
  • With consistent use, their tips change in shape and thus can deliver different line sizes and consequently compromise the precision and accuracy of each work unless of course precision is not much of a factor in the work being done like painting

Lead Pencils

This kind of pencils is mostly useful in more technical drawings where line sizes need to remain the same consistently throughout the entire drawing. It is popular with the engineers and technical drafting specialists among others.

The size of its lead would ultimately influence the size of lines being drawn. Their lead sizes vary from 0.2mm all the way to some even 1.1mm. The actual lead sizes vary as indicated in the below illustration;


The smaller the lead size, the thinner the corresponding line size but all the more vulnerable to breakages. There are different mechanical pens that use different lead deployment mechanisms. These different mechanisms also determine how secured the lead is and thus easily the lead could break relative to other pencils.

Examples of such lead pencils include;

The BIC Xtra-Sparkle Pencil

This is one of the commonest brands in the market for most writing tools. Comes readily packaged to your preference and rides on its global brand to deliver quality service and reliability all the time.

Paper Mate ClearPoint Mechanical Pencil

Yet another example of lead pencils specifically designed to meet your needs.

As always, such pencils come with the lead release and retracting mechanism that make their use simply versatile and fun. This alone, already makes them glaringly different from the regular graphite pencils.

Despite the different mechanical pencil manufacturers in the market, this type of pencils generally share a common operating principle even though there is always a notable variance from one pencil to another relative to the manufacturers’ relative innovativeness.


  • They are durable and eco-friendly. This is because they are mostly made from metallic casing, recyclable plastic or often times a mixture of both.
  • They are mostly preferred by engineers, technical drafters and other technical professionals because their leads uniformly wear out. This uniform and evenly distributed wear due to use almost always guarantees an even sized line on the entire drawing. And this is consistency
  • While using the same pencil, the leads can be replaced with other different leads especially where colored lines are required. These colored refills are readily available and affordable in the market.
  • Most of the mechanical pencils come with pocket clips for better carrying
  • The leads often time won’t need sharpening yet still remain effective enough in delivering accurate lines with little or no smudges at all.
  • Can be found online from your preferred vendor like


  • These mechanical pencils are relatively expensive in comparison to regular graphite ones. This is because of the material used in their manufacture and possibly due to their lead deployment mechanisms as well.
  • Often times, because different people apply varying amounts of pressure when writing, a good number of leads break in the process rendering the actual drawing experience to be expensive as a result of the lead refills
  • Most of pencils come with fixed tip sizes. By virtue of this, should there be need for lines of different sizes being drawn then one will need to have more pencils with varying tip sizes. Unlike the regular graphite pencils where the tip size can be determine by appropriate sharpening, these mechanical pencils have their lead size not expressly adjustable
  • A specific preferred type of a pencil may not be immediately available in the corner stores as would regular graphite ones.


Similarly, having a 4 year old toddler learning how to draw and color some pictures would be inconceivable to use a mechanical pencil in the hope of trying to get this task accomplished. However, there are tasks that could use either pencil type. In this case, other factors like convenience, availability and affordability would play a part in the ultimate choice.


One’s choice of pencil will always be somehow determined by their individual preferences and which type would be more appropriate for that particular work that needs to be completed. For example, to have a mechanical eye pencil for the lady’s beauty products would probably be fine but somewhat impractical.


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