Along with the Pentel 120 A3 DX drafting pencils that I acquired last month at a university supply store, I purchased the rival Staedtler Mars micro line.
The micro, which may be Staedtler’s least expensive drafting pencil, has a metal tip, rubber grip, plastic body, metal clip, and metal cap. The lead advances by clicking the cap. A replaceable eraser is inside the cap. Just like the Pentel, a larger diameter pencil advances more lead per click than a smaller diameter pencil.
I’ll admit that I immediately preferred the Pentel, and a month later, still do, for several reasons.
The Staedtler is a heavier pencil – about 13.2g to the Pentel’s 8.3g. The balance and hold on the Pentel seem (quite subjectively) superior to me, with the micro being unwieldy.
The grip on the micro is a patterned hard rubber. While I found the Pentel’s spongy grip pleasant, the Staedler was quite uncomfortable.
In appearance, I also much prefer the Pentel. It at least doesn’t seem to be taking itself so seriously.
For context, these are fairly inexpensive pencils, pretty much the cheapest that can make any claim at being a professional tool. Their price is equivalent to two to three quality woodcase pencils.
If you found yourself at a store with only these two drafting pencil choices, I’d recommend the Pentel.