Most pencils absolutely suck in much the same way umbrellas do: they break, they look stupid and they’re easily lost. Wooden pencils are mostly inferior to their mechanized cousins, but even the latter tend to have more shortcomings than they’re worth. When I have a pencil need, I often turn to the very inexpensive Paper Mate Sharpwriter — those twist-the-tip yellow ones you see if a lot of offices. I like them because they’re light, their lead is always, you know, sharp and they’re very disposable. But that means bad things. They’re single-use (you can’t replace the lead), so at best the Sharp Writer gets tossed after a relatively short lifespan; at worst, you break the lead internally and are screwed. In the trash they go — not good for many reasons, mostly environmental. At less than $4 for 12 right now on Amazon, they’re still a tempting deal.

Or, you could buy a rOtring. I’ve written about these before, but my favorite item of note about rOtrings is that they come with a two-year warranty. On a pencil. The entire thing is machined metal and features a knurled grip; should you feel a bit dull, under the cap/push-button there lies a small sharpener for keeping you on point. The pencil weighs almost three ounces too, so not only do you get one at a significant savings, you get a very significant writing instrument to boot.

Right now, take 40 percent — $13 — off the 2mm rOtring Rapid Pro Mechanical Pencil at Amazon.

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