The Best Pencils for Back to School

It is that time of year again. Kids dread it, parents get more excited about it than Christmas. It is the end of summer break, and the beginning of a new school year. It may just be my inner nerd, but I am really excited to begin another school year. There are many people within the pencil community that, when they were growing up, loved going back to school because that meant new school supplied: paper, pencils, folders, etc. When I was a kid, I don’t remember really feeling that, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t! Here are a few pencils that I think are great that will get you excited for the start of a new school year!

All of these pencils are No.2/HB pencils, so they can be used in the classroom for notes, assignment, and the dreaded Scantron. For each pencil, I have done a few things to help you see how the pencils perform, rather than trying to describe it. I compare the darkness of each pencil in the boxes in the top right corner, and compare each to the Palomino HB, my personal favorite of all of these. In addition to the darkness comparison, there is a smear test, and then an eraser test.


Dixon Ticonderoga Black


The Ticonderoga is boasted about as “The World’s Best Pencil” according to the box. While I don’t think that is a bit of false advertising, this isn’t a bad pencil! It creates a great, dark line, which does not smudge. While it does not have the best erasability, it does erase relatively well.  This also comes in a traditional yellow, I have just been on an all black kick lately. I give it a 3 out of 5.


Staedtler Norica


The Staedtler Norica writes incredibly smoothly, and creates a great, dark line. However, this caused a little bit of smearing on the page, beware lefties! In addition, it didn’t erase badly, but it didn’t erase great. Overall it is not a bad pencil, just not my favorite of the bunch. I give it a 3 out of 5.

General’s Semi Hex


This is the only traditional, yellow pencil that made the list. The darkness is comparable to the Palomino HB. However, where this pencil wins is that it does not smear, and erases to almost invisibility. I love this pencil, and the fact that it is still manufactured here in the U.S of A is a nice plus. I give it a 4.8 out of 5.

Palomino Golden Bear


The Palomino Golden Bear did not hold up to my tests as well as I thought it would. Palomino is one of my favorite pencil manufacturers, and I love just about everything that they make. However, the Golden Bear did not impress me much. It created a great, dark line, and did not smear one bit. However, it did not erase much, and if that it something that you prize in a pencil, this one may not be for you. I give it a 3 out of 5.


Palomino HB


This one was the clear winner for me. However, it is the most expensive on the list, but I think they are well worth the slightly higher cost. This one creates a great dark line, and writes incredibly smooth. While it does smear a smidge, it erases incredibly well! I bought these pencils, because I heard that it has the same core as my favorite pencil, the Blackwing 24, which are no longer made. I have not verified this, but I can say for sure that this is a great pencil to write with! I give is a 4.9 out of 5.


In the end, all of these are great pencils. If you choose one of these five, I don’t think that you will be disappointed. Check them out, and make the best decision you can this school year – use a pencil!

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