A Pox Upon my Once-Beloved Comfortmate Ultra 0.5 Mechanical Pencil

I love Papermate's Comformate Ultra Mechanical pencils because they're very comfortable to write with. I still love the 0.7mm, because they don't malfunction like the 0.5mm ones, which doesn't make sense to me.

I'm a writer, and I always hand write my novels and gigs first before I type them, and I've noticed that every single 0.5 Comfortmate I've used (I have like six of these things) eventually craps out on me halfway through a chapter. What happens is the little nib that the lead comes out of just falls off right in the middle of a sentence. I can generally repair it easily enough and get back to it, but with the knowledge that it will eventually fall off again. How am I supposed to explain to my client that his Chapter is overdue because my pencil sucks?

So my question is, what would you suggest? Which mechanical pencils (0.5) work best for you? I need one that won't destroy my pre-arthritic hand and that accepts high-polymer lead. What say you?

* By the way, I'm willing to spend up to $15 on a pencil, but I can't make myself spend $60.

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I don't write with pencils the way you write with pencils. For me they're the lesser used option. I much prefer my G2 pens on paper.

At the moment I am working with a Pentel Energize, which is not as contoured as yours (not contoured at all, really) but it does have a rubberized grip and a pen clip. This one happens to be a .5. I have not yet refilled it, but it's close. It seems fairly decent. It's weighty but not heavy with a wide-ish barrel. It has the stupid little skinny eraser underneath the clicker cap, and the eraser plugs up the tube where you put the leads, like most inexpensive pencils.

Personally, I prefer pens that have a moderate amount of metal to them. The plastic ones are just too cheap and prone to breakage. The spendier all-metal ones will last much longer, I think, but more than ten bucks or so and it starts to weigh a ton, seems like.

So, not a connoisseur and not a heavy user, but so far the Pentel seems decent if you like the wider barrel.


Rotring Tikky

I'm a big fan of Rotring 600 mechanicals, but they're getting harder to find. (Oh wait, JetPens.com has them...) They're thinner, though so not as comfortable for you maybe? (And beyond the $15 spending limit.)

However, Rotring does make a wider mechanical, their Tikky. (Again, at JetPens.com.) It might be an option for you.

Good luck, kevl


I was going to recommend the Tikky. I've got one, and the only downside is that I frequently extend too much lead, and it breaks off because I'm so heavy-handed. ;-)

I like the Pilot Dr. Grip

Because it comes in 0.5 and 0.7 mm lead
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson) ***


That looks nice. Wonder if I can get them here in Poland!

Forgot about the Dr. Grip!

Another good option...

PhD Pencil

I was a long time fan of the Papermate PhD pens, and I accidentally bought a pencil on one occasion. I've got the 0.5 version. One of the cool things about it is the eraser - it advances out of the pencil with a twist - standard pencil eraser diameter x about an inch. Nice if you don't like a separate eraser.

My 2 cents...


"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle

Never been a fan of mechanical pencils but I like these a lot

About 4 months ago I came acrosss a two pack of Write Dudes mechanical pencils. The lead is supposed to harder to break, and it's not ever broken on me. The lead is a weird shape which may be a turn-off for some, it's shaped like the lead in carpentry pencils but smaller, but I've been fine with it. It's damn near perfect and I don't like pencils in general.
Here the link on amazon if anyone wants to see:


I am using a Faber-Castell mechanical pencil from their budget line, that has its stays always with my planner. Never had an issue with the mechanic so far.

I write with fountain pens

I write with fountain pens mostly. But when I need a pencil, the only one I use is the Pentel Quicker Clicker. They've changed the shape some since I last bought one. Still, the one thing that hooked me on this pencil is the button on the side to advance the lead. And they are cheap, and last forever (or at least until I lose them)

Lamy Safari

While not in the same league as yourself as clutch pencil user I was big user in the past and found the Lamy Safari clutch (0.5 mm) met my needs though it is possibly in the wrong price range. The pencil has a bit thicker barrel than most clutch pencils and the barrel is shaped to facilitate your grip. A down side is that it is easy to damage and/or lose the end cap to the eraser if you do not take care but you can buy spares. Bob H.

I second the Safari pencil,

I second the Safari pencil, years ago, I needed to fill out forms, with very little space. I have a big handwriting and cramping all that data and numbers did not good to my hand.

I had stopped using thin clutch pencils, in favor of 2mm leadholders fitted with pencil grips.

I roamed the aisles of many office and stationnery stores, to no avail, until I stopped by a pen store to buy ink for my fountain pens.

There, I saw and tried the Safari fountain pen, bought 2; the rollerball, bought one; the ballpoint, bought one and the pencil which I also bought.

The width of Safari grips is designed to allow European school children and teens to take class notes, all day long, every school day from primary school to college. Including during those dreaded final exams.

Unless, one doesn't like or uses the tripod grip, at all, they are the best everyday pens.

I bought those pens more than a decade ago and used them like the school pens they are, everyday, taking field notes, conferences and lectures notes, jornaling, scheduling in various calendars and planners of all sorts from the worse scratch paper to the smoothest Rhodia.

I just move the box that hold them together, back to my desk, tonite. They look like new, the original refills are still working, I did replace the pencil leads quite a few times and bought various brands.
The eraser is the original, I bought a little vial of 3 replacements, just in case.

It should be noted that always carry a little eraser block and my backup #2 pencil is fitted with an oversized pencil eraser.

How to fix it

I know this question was asked a couple of years ago, but there is an easy fix: PTFE tape (aka Teflon tape, aka plumber's tape) applied to the threads on the barrel. The tip will never again fall off, yet you can still remove it if you need to.

You can find the stuff just about anywhere, from hardware stores to department stores to the big chains.

Unless, of course, you're just using this as an excuse to shop for new pencils - in that case, disregard. :)