female sketched portrait using pentel graphgear 1000 pencil

Pentel GraphGear 1000 Mechanical Pencil Review

Is this artist favorite everything it's cracked up to be?

Pentel GraphGear 1000
Start sketching
A highly capable line of mechanical pencils that can tackle drawings big and small.
Superior grip
Rectracting nib
Multiple diameters
Sleek looks
Small eraser
Buy it here

When it comes to mechanical pencils, the options can be overwhelming. Price points, manufacturers and materials range wildly, but the basic function remains the same: raise and lower a stick of graphite.

The demands for artists are a bit different than school or office pencils. The grip needs to be especially easy to hold, the build quality should last multiple sketchbooks and additional lead weights are ideal.

The Pentel GraphGear 1000 hits all those marks and then some.

The top model in the GraphGear line, the pencil is designed specifically for artists and draftsman. In this review we’ll put the tool to the test and share interesting quirks and features below.

The 0.7mm size we used is an ideal middle thickness for most sketches.

Marvelous materials

One of the first things that stands out about the GraphGear 1000 is the all-metal outer body. The matte aluminum feels smooth and weighty to hold without making the pencil too bottom-heavy. It catches the light nicely and makes it look like whatever you’re doing with the pencil, it must be important.

The grip however, is where the pencil really shines. Pentel held nothing back. There’s a combination of both finely knurled metal AND four rows of rubberized pads that feel like a handshake from Spider-man.

Retractable nib

One of the downsides of mechanical pencils are the fragile metal sleeves where the lead extends from. One unfortunate drop and that tip can become bent and ruin the pencil.

The GraphGear 1000 has a very nifty way of protecting the point. Pinch the side clip back and the entire pencil tip retracts (like a turtle) into the shaft. Push the eraser forward and the tip pops out again, ready to go.

A pencil for every point

Another perk of the pencil is that it’s available in every size of lead diameter, including 0.3mm, 0.5mm, 0.7mm, and 0.9mm. This is pretty uncommon for one mechanical pencil model and makes a range of detailed drawings possible.

You can buy the entire GraphGear 1000 lineup bundled with lead and erasers here.

Pentel also added some clever color coding to make it easier to tell the sizes apart. The color accents along the shaft and grip are different for each pencil size, so you can switch between say, a 0.3 or 0.9, without hunting for labels.

There’s a rotating dial along the shaft that artists can set to match their chosen lead hardness too.

Customer Izzy Rae’s drawing from Amazon


There are a few small things to nitpick about the GraphGear 1000. While the outer body is metal, the inner sleeve that houses the lead is plastic. We personally didn’t encounter any problems, but some users report the plastic casing breaking.

As is so common with even premium mechanical pencils, the eraser is a bit underwhelming. It’s small, hard to pull out and hidden under a metal cap. Artists looking for more substantial pencil erasers should check out The Best Mechanical Pencil Erasers for Your Biggest Mistakes.

Final thoughts

Pentel’s GraphGear 1000 is one of the highest rated mechanical pencils available. Nearly 19,000 users gave it a 5-star review on Amazon alone. The grip, retracting nib and color coded sizes make it a great addition to any artist’s tool set.

Artist Efrain Malo is a regular user of the GraphGear 1000
© Efrain Malo

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