Posts filed under Mechanical Pencil Lead

Pentel Ain Stein 0.3 mm H Mechanical Pencil Lead Review

Pentel Ain Stein 0.3 mm H Mechanical Pencil Lead Review

Ain Stein Lead is Pentel’s foray into hi-grade mechanical pencil lead. Most of the big mechanical pencil companies have this type of offering, with a basic lead for mass consumption, followed by a more feature-rich, pricier, lead.

This level of lead is where the marketing takes off. Each company has their own formula as to why their lead is bigger, better, faster, and stronger, and the Pentel Ain Stein is no different. To wit: STEIN stands for "Strongest Technology by Enhanced SiO2 Integrated Network.

Me too Barack. Me too.

That said, the marketing is easy to ignore if the product is good. And this case it is. I might even say it is great for my own personal use.

Pentel Ain Stein 0.3 mm H Mechanical Pencil Lead

As fond as I am of 0.3 mm gel ink pens, that love generally does not translate to mechanical pencils. Leads in that size are either generally fragile, or so firm (to combat the fragility) that they are too light on the page. The Ain Stein 0.3 mm H solves both of those problems for me.

I could tell this lead was going to be good as soon as I loaded it into my Alvin Draft/Matic 0.3 mm Mab Graves special edition. For starters, I didn’t snap the stick when pulling it from the lead holder and sliding it into the back of the pencil. That’s a huge win for leads this tiny! Secondly, it was darker and firmer that I thought it would be when I started writing with it.

Pentel Ain Stein 0.3 mm H

That is exactly what I want when writing with an 0.3 mm pencil. This size has made me gun-shy in the past, thinking I would snap it on contact, but not the Ain Stein 0.3 mm H.

What sealed the deal for me with this lead was doing something I never, ever do: Write notes in a moving car. And no, I wasn’t driving! My family and I took a quick road trip this weekend, and with my wife behind the wheel, I took the opportunity to lay out the upcoming week in my planner and chose this pencil and lead setup to do so.

Pentel Ain Stein 0.3 mm

You would think the bouncing and shaking of the car hurtling down the highway would break the lead every time the tip hit the page. It didn’t. Not even once. This was far from a controlled environment, as my shaky handwriting can attest to, and the 0.3 mm H lead handled it perfectly. I’m surprised I even tried it, and even more surprised it worked so flawlessly.

If I’m not sold after that performance then I don’t know what else I’m looking for in a stick of graphite. The Pentel Ain Stein 0.3 mm H will be my 0.3 mm mechanical pencil lead of choice.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Pentel Ain Stein
Posted on June 17, 2019 and filed under Pentel, Ain Stein, Mechanical Pencil Lead.

Uni NanoDia Low-Wear Pencil Lead 0.5 mm HB Review

Uni NanoDia Low-Wear Pencil Lead 0.5 mm HB Review

I think we are on to something here.

Towards the beginning of this project, I reviewed the 0.7 mm H-grade version of the Uni NanoDia lead. It was good, and I saw why it was popular. It just wasn’t for me specifically. Little did I know that a lead one size and one hardness away from that one might be the one I have been looking for all along.

The Uni NanoDia 0.5 mm HB lead is my favorite lead I have tested so far. Many of you are yelling at me right now saying “We told you so!” But, I’m stubborn. I had to find out for myself. I actively avoided choosing to review it too, knowing that it is one of the more popular leads on the market. It only came up this time because I chose to make a blind choice for this review, reaching into my pouch of 15-plus packs left to review and sticking with whatever came out.

Uni NanoDia Low-Wear Pencil Lead 0.5 mm HB

I’m glad this one did. Being 0.5 mm and HB makes this one of the most standard leads on the market. The middle ground, stock lead, if you will - but with added diamond particles for durability! From the moment I loaded it into my Pentel P205 I knew it was going to be good. The darkness was right, and most importantly, the feel was right.

Uni NanoDia Low-Wear Pencil Lead 0.5 mm

I’ve said in nearly every mechanical pencil lead review I have done that I want the graphite to feel like graphite, not plastic. There has to be feedback and texture. I understand that additives are required due to the fragility of the individual sticks of lead, but they can’t feel fake. This one delivers on that feeling of authenticity.

Uni NanoDia Low-Wear Pencil Lead

This is the first lead I have wanted to keep loaded in the pencil after I was done with the review. That surprises me because I thought for sure I would land on the harder end of the graphite scale. And maybe I will as I continue to go through these tests. But until then, the Uni NanoDia 0.5 mm HB is the best lead I have come across.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Uni NanoDia Low-Wear Pencil Lead Review
Posted on May 14, 2019 and filed under Uni, NanoDia, Mechanical Pencil Lead, Pencil Reviews.

Staedtler Mars Micro Carbon 0.5 mm 2B Pencil Lead Review

Staedtler Mars Micro Carbon 0.5 mm 2B Pencil Lead Review

I’m still working my way through a good backlog of mechanical pencil leads in an attempt to find a favorite. Next on the docket: The Staedtler Mars Micro Carbon Pencil Lead.

To begin this process, I chose many different brands in varying diameters and hardness levels. Even though I have my own tastes, I wanted to cover the spectrum and make sure I didn’t miss anything. 0.5 mm diameter lead in 2B hardness is not a lead I would ever pick for myself, for example, but I wanted to try it to see what if?

I must say, this one is nice.

Staedtler Mars Micro Carbon 0.5 mm 2B Pencil Lead

It is dark and soft, and unlike some other leads I have tested, there is feedback! The last thing I want is a fake plastic-y feeling lead, and the Mars Micro Carbon feels like what graphite on the page should feel like. Maybe it’s their formulation?

It is highly flexible and thus break-resistant. The lead is also environmentally friendly, composed of more than 90% natural raw materials. Plus, it is produced using unique ecologically-responsible manufacturing processes without PVC or softening agents.

Those are words. I don’t know what they mean, but if they translate into “Hey, this feels like writing with a pencil!” then I am in. Now, I need to move down the line to a firmer lead for my personal use. If you like a softer lead that performs great, then this is one to check out.

Staedtler Mars Micro Carbon 0.5 mm 2B

As a side note, I used some fun new products to test this lead out. I had yet to take my Spoke Model 5 pencil for a spin, and to write on, what better than the Huntington Base Ball Co. Hardcover Score Book and Score Card I picked up as part of the Baseball Lovers boxed set I bought from C.W. Pencil Enterprise? A match made in my nerdy little heaven!

Huntington Baseball Score Card

For Spoke Pencil fans, the Model 5 is the ultralight option when compared to the more stout Model 4. I prefer the feel of the 4, but the 5 is light and airy, and I can see why it has been popular.

The Huntington Score Card is very well designed and comes with a tremendous hardcover to use to bear down on when scoring a game. I scored the early Saturday Atlanta Braves at Cleveland Indians game, and everything I had in use worked wonderfully. Unfortunately, they didn’t work well enough for the Braves to win but impressed nonetheless.

Baseball Scoring Notebook

To put a bow on this review, the Staedtler Mars Micro Carbon 0.5 mm 2B Pencil Lead is a lead I would recommend to others, but not use for myself due to the softness. I’m impressed with the feel and performance of it otherwise, and I already have firmer samples ready to test out.

(JetPens provided the Staedtler lead at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes. I bought and paid full price for the C.W. Pencil Baseball Box. The Spoke Pencil was given to me because I am part-owner of the company.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, for which I am very grateful.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Staedtler Mars Graphite Review
Posted on April 23, 2019 and filed under Staedtler, Mechanical Pencil Lead.