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.
6 Replies to “Staedtler Mars micro drafting pencils”
Although I am a Staedtler fan I am quite disappointed with the Mars micro so I second your recommendation. A while ago I a part of the body of my 0.5mm Mars micro that holds the clip lateral broke; that has never happend to me with any other mechanical pencil. But the way the sleeve can be hidden is clever – it’s fairly simple but works.
Thanks, Gunther. I am remiss. Yes, the sleeve retracts, and apparently the pencils follow an ISO colour coding scheme for lead diameter (this fact from CultPens), though I’m not sure just which ISO specification that is. It sounds interesting.
I am mainly a woodcase pencil user, and bought these drafting pencils partly to experience the various lead diameters, especially 0.3mm, which are a new corner of pencildom to me.
It could be the ISO 128 that determines the colour coding (but I’m not sure). – Which lead do you use? I had no trouble at all with the Pentel Ain lead so I can recommend them without any reservation.
I completely agree with you. Additionally, the lead retreats very often with normal pressure, this is very annoying. I recommend Pentel too.
Right now the pencils have whatever lead they came with, but I have acquired some Lead Cup winning Ain. It is waiting on the sideline for future use.
And ISO 128 looks correct, although the document requires purchase.