Pencils vs Mechanical Pencils


Pencils are the most important item of all school supplies. Even though any writing utensil is okay to use for school, an important question that everyone should have when buying school supplies is, what type of pencil is better? The normal wooden pencils, or the plastic mechanical pencils? Each pencil has its own advantages and disadvantages, but the answer to this question is more complicated than one may assume.


Although the mechanical pencil may be expensive, its popularity shows that it is the most used type of pencil. Out of 35 students asked the question of what pencil they preferred to use, 20 of them said that they preferred to use the mechanical pencil over the wooden pencil. Fifty seven percent of people use mechanical pencils over the 43% of wooden pencil users.

Both pencils use graphite lead, made by combining graphite and clay, and then baking it around 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. The lead of the pencils may be the same, but the materials that make up the actual pencil are much different. Wooden pencils get their wood from the Incense Cedar tree, a wood that is soft enough to sharpen, but hard enough to not break when writing with it. Mechanical pencils on the other hand are made with plastic and other metals.


Due to how the actual pencil is made, each pencil causes its own damage to the environment. Of course, it takes wood to make the wooden pencils, and this hurts the environment by increasing the need for lumber, which causes deforestation. While mechanical pencils may be reusable, the making of the plastic necessary to build these pencils causes emissions to be released into the environment. It is important to note that both pencils release emissions into the environment due to production. Calcedar tells us that, “the wood pencil emits from five to six times more carbon monoxide than either plastic or paper pencil” 


Another factor that comes into deciding what pencil is the best is the cost. Normal wooden pencils have the advantage of cheapness due to only needing the pencils and the sharpener in order to use it. Mechanical pencils suffer in this category due to the upkeep needed to keep using the pencil. While a normal pack of pencils will cost about $2.99, and a good sharpener $3.09, a pack of mechanical pencils will cost about $4.27. The extra lead you will need for it will cost $3.99 and the eraser refills needed will cost you $5.80 more.

While the wooden pencil may be cheaper, the mechanical beats it in any other situation. With how good it is for trees and the environment, and its popularity over the normal wooden pencil, this shows that the mechanical pencil is the best pencil for the school year, and the best pencil for everyday tasks involving writing. However, at Allen High School, students should remember that mechanical pencils are not allowed in a testing environment – a wooden pencil will be needed.