Paper Mate SharpWriter Mechanical Pencil

If you follow any makers on YouTube you probably saw this ugly yet somehow charming little mechanical pencil in action. The Paper Mate SharpWriter is a strange beast, full of surprises. It’s a mechanical pencil with a twist mechanism in the tip instead of a click mechanism under the cap, it actually has a serviceable eraser, and it’s non-refillable. It’s as if Paper Mate saw the “Think Different” ad and said, “yes, but how can we apply that to a mechanical pencil?”

Paper Mate SharpWriter.

First of all, you can buy the Paper Mate SharpWriter in many different widths, as long as they’re all 0.7mm. This has the added value of saving Paper Mate the need to indicate the lead width on the pencil, because there’s only one width to rule them all. I can’t honestly fault them for that. It’s a pencil that’s meant for students and bills itself as having less lead breakage, and so 0.7mm is the way to go.

There are some interesting things going on with the business side of this pencil. First and foremost, that’s where the lead propelling mechanism is, which caught me by surprise. It’s a twist mechanism, and it’s pretty sophisticated as it allows you to easily extend and retract the lead to suit your needs. The second part is the “lead cushioning mechanism” which means that the lead springs up and down as you right, preventing you from breaking it if you exert too much pressure. It works, but I’m not a fan as it makes me feel as if the lead is broken inside and I have to extend it to get rid of the small broken piece and reach the “real” lead left inside. It’s going to take some time for me to get used to it.

Writing and erasing sample.

The eraser is downright phenomenal, as it actually erases things quite well, and doesn’t tear into the page. The lead itself is a solid HB 0.7mm lead that is smooth and on the slightly darker side of HB.

The Paper Mate SharpWriter isn’t a pretty of fancy mechanical pencil, but it’s comfortable to hold, lightweight, and has a playful colour scheme that recalls a woodcase pencil. And like a woodcase pencil, it’s disposable, which is where my only real beef with this pencil lies. Yes, this is a student pencil, and so it’s likely to get lost or somehow broken (it’s far from flimsy, but where there’s a will, there’s a way), and if the pencil won’t be lost, the leads will, and yet… The last thing the world needs is more plastic waste.

So, do I recommend the Paper Mate SharpWriter? No, and not because there’s anything wrong with the pencil, it’s just that there’s very little justification for a disposable mechanical pencil when there are cheap, good and even great refillable options to be had in the market.

But I do understand the makers who have fallen for this ugly duckling.

5 thoughts on “Paper Mate SharpWriter Mechanical Pencil

  1. Julie Ford

    I have never hated anything more than the new Sharpwriter pencils. The lead is NOT #2 anymore. It is scratchy and hard and not anything like it used to be. What has happened? I’ve tried to tell Sharpwriter that these new manufactured pencils are terrible. Are they listening to me? I can send you pictures of the difference in how great the older Sharpwriters were compared to what is going on now. Yes, I’m upset because I’ve not used any other mechanical pencil in 15 years. Help someone, please listen. These pencils are advertised as #2 lead. They are NOT #2 lead. They are closer to #4. Please let me send comparison pictures to someone – please!!! It no longer wins my heart. To the person writing this blog – have you tried the new pencils? Evidently you have not.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sharon

    This is not the same pencil I have used for over forty years…not #2, scratches the paper, eraser smears dark, first noticed the plastic case the color of anemic lemons…goodbye Papermate!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Charlotte Melichar

    I agree that these Papermate Sharpwriter pencils have changed for the worse! They used to write darker and erase clean. This time, I received one that did not even have a lead inside … just an empty plastic tube! But the erasers used to work … and they don’t work any more … they just smear the erroneous marks around … MOST disappointing! I thought I could depend on Papermate Sharpwriter … but not any more. I’m looking for a replacement that writes darker and erases cleaner!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Julie Ford

    When someone finds a pencil that can replace what Sharpwriter used to be, please report back. I get disgusted every time I pick up one of the “new” pencils that I foolishly have spent money on. I did make an observaton, however. The “new” Sharpwriter pencils are now manufactured by Newell. The ones we loved were manufactured by Sanford. I have tried to explain to Newell that they need to get the “recipe” from Sanford and get this corrected. The erasers smudge, the pencil lead slips and the lead is a #3 or #4 and can barely be seen. I started writing to Sharpwriter about this over a year ago but not sure they have listened.

    Liked by 1 person

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