TWSBI Mechanical Pencils

I’m a fountain pen guy through and through, but I’ve been getting asked a lot of questions lately about the TWSBI mechanical pencils. TWSBI is a popular brand of fountain pen and I do like the design and functionality of their pens, so I thought “what the heck, I’ll check out their pencils”. I’m not a pencil aficionado (is there even a thing?), but here’s a video of me sharing my impression.

There are two different pencils, fixed and retractable tip. The difference is that one has a fixed lead guide that sticks out of the pen (more stable/accurate), the retractable has a lead guide that can push back into the pen (better for putting in your shirt pocket).

TWSBI Mechanical Pencil, retractable tip (in the retracted position)

TWSBI Mechanical Pencil, fixed tip
The pens come in either black or silver, and also come in .5mm or .7mm. That makes a total of 8 different combinations of pencil features. The one I personally chose for myself was the fixed tip, in black and .7mm. For $25, this seems to me to be a pretty solid performing pencil. But then, I don’t have vast pencil knowledge so keep that in mind. 

If you’re curious how much lead will fit in these pencils, I made a rather entertaining video here where I discover for myself how much…by jamming as much lead in them as I can!

TWSBI Pencils come with the pencil, two sticks of lead and an eraser (inside the pencil), a spare pack of lead (12 pc), and 3 spare erasers in a tube.

TWSBI logo engraved on the clip

Pencil completely disassembled

Silver Pencil

I’d love to know what you more hardcore pencil folks think about these pencils and pencils in general, just leave your feedback in the comments.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

2017-10-11T03:23:49+00:00 February 12th, 2013|Other Reviews|20 Comments
  • Brandon

    I love my TWSBI mechanical pencil. As a student, I pretty much just carry one of these and a filled fountain pen in my pen pouch.

  • Sam

    I just received mine yesterday. Can't say I have faith that it will improve my writing experience as much as fountain pens do over ballpoints, but I do quite like it. I guess I just have a thing for expensive writing instruments.

  • can a cap of sorts be placed over the non retractable tip pencil? also, can colored lead be used in these pencils? thank you

  • Iris

    My love of mechanical pencils is what eventually lead to me discovering fountain pens. =D

    This is an awesome blog with plenty of reviews of various types of mechanical pencils. Although I didn't see one for TWSBI, it's definitely worth taking a look around.

  • David

    I am an Engineer. I use mechanical pencils professionally on a daily basis. Trust me on this one… Get a 0.5mm Uni-Ball "Kuru Toga High Grade" or "Kuru Toga Roulette" pencil and put "Uni-Ball NanoDia" lead in it.

    The Kuru Toga pencil has a revolutionary (no pun intended) automatic lead rotation mechanism that keeps the point sharp as you write. The NanoDia lead is buttery smooth but resilient. Together, they'll put you in a state of pencil nirvana (well; perhaps I'm going a bit overboard with that one).

    There are several versions of the Kuru Toga such as the standard version with a plastic clip (don't bother IMO), the High Grade version with a metallic grip and part plastic barrel, and the all metallic Roulette. 0.3mm and 0.5mm versions are available. The metallic silver Roulette looks a lot like the silver TWSBI pencil. Kuru Toga prices range from roughly $6 USD each (standard model) to $15 USD each (Roulette or High Grade), plus shipping. They are fairly easy to find (Google knows).

    Now you've hit the sweet spot when it comes to EDC mechanical pencils. Don't waste your time with anything else. (No, I do not work for Uni-Ball.)

  • Cool! Glad to hear it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Oh, well, of course not ๐Ÿ˜‰ I still very much hold fountain pens in the highest regard, but as far as pencils go, I'm impressed. I would have loved one of these in my middle school days when I used exclusively mechanical pencils.

  • I'm sure some kind of cap could be fashioned, nothing is included with the pen, though. I would assume colored lead would not be a problem, as long as it's the right size.

  • Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Thanks for your thoughts, David. I'll have to give those a look-see.

  • Liz I.

    I'm saving for a Kuru Toga. I can't buy any pens, markers, pencils or ink this month! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Meanwhile, my favorite is the Zebra Tect 2way .7mm in white. I have two of these, one on my desk, one in my iPad/pencil & pen case. There's something so elegant about it–the glossy white with silver accents, the white cap covering the eraser, the satsfying weight. And, you can click OR shake to advance the lead. It just makes me happy . . . And all for $10!

    So, I'm glad Goulet pens is carrying pencils as I definitely enjoy using both.

  • Thanks for your thoughts ๐Ÿ™‚ I don't think I'll be diving deep into pencils anytime soon, this was more just because we already carry a lot of TWSBI stuff and their pencils didn't seem to be widely available (but we were having a lot of folks wanting them). It seems like a lot of the other pencils I'm getting recommended are available at plenty of other retailers, so I don't know how advantageous it would be for me to start carrying them. Still though, it's fun for me to play around with something a little different than what I'm used to. I have to say though, I much prefer to have ink on my fingers than graphite ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Tom L

    As to the different types of leads I know that Pentel makes a full range of both Hard (H) and soft (B) leads.

  • I love mine, a 0,7mm in black with the sliding sleeve, the only mechanical pencils I have that I like as well would be the Tombow Zoom 505 and the classic Pentel Sharp Kerry, and the TWSBI seems an all around better EDC item, I also have come to prefer the TWSBI to the Caran d'Ache metal series and even my venerable Rotring 600. I would suggest getting the matching TWSBI Precise (shudder) ballpoints which are also very nice, come with a very smooth flowing Parker type refill, plus a spare, and take without modification the Caran d'Ache and Ballograf refills as well and of course the Fisher SpacePen refill with its included Parker adapter.

    I've tried the Mitsubishi Uni Kuru Togaโ€”I own a 0,5mm High Grade and though it works well enough leaves me unimpressed, though the NanoDia leads are impressive, the problem ith that for general writing and sketching and daily carry a retractable sleeve or point or a shorter point is much more practicalโ€”it's not just about not poking holes in you or your shits it's about not winding up with a bent lead sleeve rendering your fancy pencil useless. I've done that more than once. Also, the Kuru Toga's mechanism works best in limited circumstances, if one is writing Kanji or manuscript 'printed' characters and doing template work for plans and flowcharts it is quite useful but if you're writing in a Western cursive hand, freehand sketching, or attempting to do certain kinds of decorative architectural lettering it either doesn't really work or it gets in the way.

  • Vickie

    Another thorough review, thanks Brian! I'm particular about erasures and prefer white erasures over any other. My favorite is called the magic rub. I also prefer a dark, soft lead like a 4B. I have the Kuru Toga which is a really nice mechanical pencil. Will add the TWISBI to my collection at some point.

  • Good to know.

  • Cool, thanks for your thoughts.

  • Thanks for your insight!

  • Brad

    I received mine last week and the first time I dropped it the eraser and its holder became lodged into the pencil. No matter how hard I try it will not come out. Is there anyway to fix this?

  • Arthur

    Same thing happened to me today as well. Also when I write the retractable tip just goes in rendering it unusable.