• Top 8 Best Japanese Mechanical Pencils That Don't Break in 2021 - Tried and True! (Pentel, Zebra, and More) 1
  • Top 8 Best Japanese Mechanical Pencils That Don't Break in 2021 - Tried and True! (Pentel, Zebra, and More) 2
  • Top 8 Best Japanese Mechanical Pencils That Don't Break in 2021 - Tried and True! (Pentel, Zebra, and More) 3
  • Top 8 Best Japanese Mechanical Pencils That Don't Break in 2021 - Tried and True! (Pentel, Zebra, and More) 4
  • Top 8 Best Japanese Mechanical Pencils That Don't Break in 2021 - Tried and True! (Pentel, Zebra, and More) 5

Top 8 Best Japanese Mechanical Pencils That Don't Break in 2021 - Tried and True! (Pentel, Zebra, and More)

The lead we use in mechanical pencils make the pencil easier to control and fine print easier to write, but also has an annoying habit of snapping. However, there are mechanical pencils that have been specifically designed not to snap. So which of these mechanical pencils live up to their promises and which are dupes? 

To answer those questions, we ordered the 8 most popular mechanical pencils from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and kakaku.com) and tested for the following:


  1. How Well Protected the Lead is
  2. How the Grip Felt
  3. How Balanced the Pencil is
  4. How Easy It Is to Write

This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese mechanical pencils that don’t break.

Experts featured in this article

Joe
  • Last updated: 06-07-2021
Table of Contents

Top 8 Best Japanese Mechanical Pencils That Don’t Break

Now to introduce the 8 best Japanese mechanical pencils that don’t break available online. They were ranked by how well they did on our tests and given an overall grade ranging from 1.0 to 5.0.

1
Japaneseぺんてる オレンズネロ
Lead protection4.0
Grip5.0
Balance5.0
Writing5.0
Lead sizes0.2 mm, 0.3 mm
Overall score5.0
2
Platinum Pen Co. OLEeNU Shield 1

Platinum Pen Co.OLEeNU Shield

$3.50

Japaneseプラチナ万年筆 オレーヌ シールド
Lead Protection4.0
Grip4.0
Balance3.0
Writing3.0
Lead Sizes0.5 mm
Overall Score4.0
3
Platinum Pen Co. OLEeNU+ 1

Platinum Pen Co.OLEeNU+

$10.96

Japaneseプラチナ万年筆 オレーヌ プラス
Lead Protection5.0
Grip3.0
Balance2.0
Writing3.0
Lead Sizes0.5 mm
Overall Score4.0
4
Japaneseゼブラ デルガード
Lead Protection5.0
Grip1.0
Balance4.0
Writing2.0
Lead Sizes0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm
Overall Score3.0
5
Japaneseぺんてる オレンズ メタルグリップタイプ
Lead Protection2.0
Grip4.0
Balance3.0
Writing3.0
Lead Sizes0.5 mm
Overall Score3.0
6
Japaneseプラチナ萬年筆 オレーヌ
Lead Protection3.0
Grip4.0
Balance1.0
Writing2.0
Lead Sizes0.5 mm
Overall Score3.0
7
Mitsubishi Pencil Kuru Toga Advance 1

Mitsubishi PencilKuru Toga Advance

$7.75

Japanese三菱鉛筆 クルトガ アドバンス
Lead Protection2.0
Grip1.0
Balance3.0
Writing4.0
Lead Sizes0.3 mm, 0.5 mm
Overall Score2.0

Compare the Best Japanese Mechanical Pencils that Don't Break

Image
1
Pentel Orenz Nero 1

Pentel

2
Platinum Pen Co. OLEeNU Shield 1

Platinum Pen Co.

3
Platinum Pen Co. OLEeNU+ 1

Platinum Pen Co.

4
Zebra DelGuard 1

Zebra

5
Pentel Orenz Metal Grip Type 1

Pentel

6
Platinum Pen Co. OLEeNU 1

Platinum Pen Co.

7
Mitsubishi Pencil Kuru Toga Advance 1

Mitsubishi Pencil

Name

Orenz Nero

OLEeNU Shield

OLEeNU+

DelGuard

Orenz Metal Grip Type

OLEeNU

Kuru Toga Advance

Features

Writes So Well, You Won't Be Able to Go Back

An Exceptional Lead Pencil that Stands up to Hours of Use

Protects Your Lead When You’re Writing and When the Pencil’s in Transit

Writes Just Like a Normal Mechanical Pencil but Rarely Snaps

Choose Between a Number of Lead Sizes and Feels Fine to Write With

Has a Sturdy Grip and Mechanisms in Place to Protect Against Sudden Falls

Allows You to Write Neat Uniform Letters

Price$32.73$3.50$10.96$6.75$6.61$10.91$7.75
Japaneseぺんてる オレンズネロプラチナ万年筆 オレーヌ シールドプラチナ万年筆 オレーヌ プラスゼブラ デルガードぺんてる オレンズ メタルグリップタイププラチナ萬年筆 オレーヌ三菱鉛筆 クルトガ アドバンス
Lead protection4.04.05.05.02.03.02.0
Grip5.04.03.01.04.04.01.0
Balance5.03.02.04.03.01.03.0
Writing5.03.03.02.03.02.04.0
Lead sizes0.2 mm, 0.3 mm0.5 mm0.5 mm0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm0.5 mm0.5 mm0.3 mm, 0.5 mm
Overall score5.04.04.03.03.03.02.0
Link

Products That Didn't Make The Cut

Products That Didn't Make The Cut

The grip on the Pilot Mogulair was slippery and simply designed, leaving our fingers to constantly slide down the pencil. It withstood intense amounts of top-down pressure; however, every time we pressed down on the pencil, it would bounce up and down, which made writing kind of torturous.

How We Tested the Mechanical Pencils

We gathered 8 popular Japanese mechanical pencils from Amazon, Rakuten, and kakaku.com and tested them for how well protected the lead was, how the grip felt, how balanced they were, and how easy it was to write.

Test ① How Well Protected the Lead Is

Test ① How Well Protected the Lead Is

If you’re looking for a mechanical pencil that doesn’t break, the first thing you’re going to want to look at is how well-protected the lead is.

So we checked out what protective mechanisms were in place and whether there were any weaknesses to the system. We then ranked each product on a five-step scale from 1.0 to 5.0.

If the Pencil Could Absorb the Pressure from Our Strokes, then the Lead Usually Didn’t Snap

If the Pencil Could Absorb the Pressure from Our Strokes, then the Lead Usually Didn’t Snap
The pencils that were the least prone to snapping were the ones that had multiple protective mechanisms in place. The ones that stood out the most were Platinum Pen’s OLEeNU+, which protected not only the lead we were writing with, but also the lead still in the barrel, and Zebra’s DelGuard, which absorbed pressure from all angles.
On the other hand, there were some pencils that were designed to only prevent lead inside the barrel from snapping during transit, yet they were still labelled as unbreakable. If you’re looking for a pencil that won’t break when you’re writing, make sure you don’t accidentally buy the wrong thing.

Zebra’s DelGuard was also special in that we could push the lead way out (three clicks’ worth), and it didn’t snap. Then there was Pentel’s Orenz Nero and Orenz Metal Grip, where the lead snapped the second we clicked twice. It’s important that you know the features and limits of each pencil before use.

Test ② How the Grip Felt

Test ② How the Grip Felt
Next we looked at one of the most important factors determining how a mechanical pencil will feel in your hand: grip.

We paid attention, first of all, to whether there was even a grip to begin with, as well as the shape, thickness, and material of the grip. We then graded each pencil on a scale from 1.0 to 5.0.

A Grip Usually Didn’t Fit Well in Our Hands Unless It was Resin or Featured Ridges

A Grip Usually Didn’t Fit Well in Our Hands Unless It was Resin or Featured Ridges
Grips that were just a clear plastic tube all flunked this particular test. Pencils that used a clear grip felt like they were making absolutely no effort to fit our hands and got slippery when covered with sweat.
On the other hand, grips that were made of resin or employed grooves and ridges felt great. It was easy to position our fingers right where we wanted them and either place a lot of pressure on the pencil or just balance it lightly in our fingers.
Grips that were slightly sticky, like the ones of Platinum Pen’s OLEeNU, also had their uses. They helped the pencil remain steady, no matter the angle at which we wrote.

Test ③ How Balanced the Pencil Is

Test ③ How Balanced the Pencil Is
Next, we looked at how well-balanced each pencil was.

We picked up each pencil and checked for both the center of gravity and its heft. We then ranked each on a scale from 1.0 to 5.0.

The More Expensive the Pencil, the More Well-Balanced It Tended to Be

The More Expensive the Pencil, the More Well-Balanced It Tended to Be

In this test, the most expensive product we tested—Pentel’s Orenz Nero—was the only one that got a 5.0. On the other hand, the cheapest product—Platinum Pencil’s OLEeNU—got the lowest score of 1.0

Price is mostly swayed by the materials and the amount of time and effort that went into the pen, but it also is a good indicator of balance. As long as the pencil is worth more than 300 yen (about $3), then chances are that it’s pretty well balanced.

Test ④ How Easy It is to Write

Test ④ How Easy It is to Write
Our last test focused on how easy it was to write with the mechanical pencils.

We paid attention to all the different mechanisms in the pencils and whether they did more harm than good. We then rated each product on a scale from 1.0 to 5.0.

Automatic Lead Dispensers and the Kuru Toga Engine Worked Well at Being Unobtrusive

Automatic Lead Dispensers and the Kuru Toga Engine Worked Well at Being Unobtrusive
Pentel’s Orenz Nero, which featured an automatic lead dispenser, was on a completely different level, earning a 5.0 on this test. Because we no longer needed to click at our pencils, we cut down noise and were able to write with as few distractions as possible.
Mitsubishi Pencil’s Kuru Toga Advance featured a spinning engine that kept lead sharp, letting us write neat, uniform letters for longer. It also cleaned up messy handwriting. 

However, because it featured a kind of cushion meant to absorb pressure from our hands, writing with it kind of felt bouncy, like we were writing on clouds. You may love the feeling, or you may hate it.

How to Choose a Japanese Mechanical Pencil that Doesn’t Break – Buying Guide

Here, we want to introduce three things you should look out for when picking out a mechanical pencil that doesn’t break.

Look for Extra Features Meant to Protect Your Lead

Look for Extra Features Meant to Protect Your Lead

Under the giant umbrella label of “mechanical pencils,” we have “mechanical pencils that don’t break.” And under the smaller umbrella of “mechanical pencils that don’t break,” we have a variety of preventive mechanisms that differ depending on model and brand.

Is there a suspension system that adjusts to the amount of pressure you put on and the angle at which you hold the pencil? Does the lead simply not come out after a certain point? Is it that it’s difficult for shock waves to reach the lead still held inside the barrel?
Think about how and why you need the pencil to protect the lead inside, then choose the mechanism that most answers to that need.

Find a Pencil that Feels Good in Your Hand

The two biggest determining factors of comfort are grip and balance.

When the Grip’s a Good Fit, Your Hand Doesn’t Tire Out So Easily

When the Grip’s a Good Fit, Your Hand Doesn’t Tire Out So Easily
When the grip doesn’t fit well, on the other hand, you start using extra strength to write, which tires your hand out more quickly. If you want to write comfortably for long periods of time, then look for a grip that is non-slip and feels natural to hold.
Then there’s the diameter of the grip and barrel. If you write with heavy strokes, look for a grip that’s thick, which keeps your fingers from getting sore even if you do clutch the pencil tightly; if you write with light strokes, look for a grip that’s thinner and that you can hold loosely in your hand, thereby ensuring your arm doesn’t tire out.

When the Pencil is Well-Balanced, You Can Easily Control It for Long Periods of Time

When the Pencil is Well-Balanced, You Can Easily Control It for Long Periods of Time
If you want to have smooth sailing with your mechanical pencil for hours, then you need to check how well the weight is balanced. The higher the center of gravity, the more unsteady the pencil and the more strength needed to control it. Therefore, if you need to write for a long time, choose a pencil with a center of balance located closer to the tip.
It’s also important to pay attention to overall weight. Heavier pencils add the force of their weight to your pen stroke, allowing for smoother writing, whereas lighter pencils allow for speed writing.

Check if It's Easy to Use

Check if It's Easy to Use
If you’re looking for a mechanical pencil you’ll love forever, then be picky about how easy it is to use. In recent years, there have been many clever little additions to mechanical pencils, including those shake pencils, where all you have to do is shake the barrel to get the lead to come out, and pencils that ensure your lead always stays sharp.
Of course, how a pencil writes is also greatly swayed by the type of mechanisms put in place to prevent breakage. The best thing to do is drive yourself over to your local stationery store and try out their stuff, writing down everyday things, like your name and numbers in both block letters and script.

More Stationary Goods for Your Studies

More Stationary Goods for Your Studies

Of course, stationery isn't just for studying, but for enjoying as well! If you're looking for more tried and true options for things to write with or use for DIY projects, then take a look at the links below.

Summary

What surprised us most through conducting these tests was that while the most expensive one of the lot, Pentel’s Orenz Nero, was an easy first, and that one of the cheapest products, Platinum Pen’s OLEeNU Shield, actually won second. 

But the fact that price doesn’t necessarily correspond to functionality may just be one of the most appealing points about unbreakable mechanical pencils. Overall, though, we hope that this article has helped you find and evaluate your next mechanical pencil that doesn't break!

Author: Nao Kondo/Translation: Jasmine Li


Check Out This Classic Pencil Recommended by an Expert

If you're looking for something a little more classic, like a wooden pencil that you sharpen, then take a look at this luxurious option from the Gentlemen Stationer himself, Joe.

Expert's
pick

PalominoBlackwing Pencil (12-Count)

$24.95

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