May 28, 2019 - posted by Ryan to Guides, Pencils, wood Pencils, Beginners" Guides, Pencil Beginners" Guides
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We often get asked whether it’s okay to use a mechanical pencil top top fill-in-the-blank answer sheets because that the SAT/ACT and other Scantron-style exam that call for a #2 pencil. That easy sufficient to uncover a wooden #2 pencil in any type of office it is provided store, but mechanical pencil leads usage a totally different grading system—one filled v letters like H, B, and also occasionally even F.

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For mechanically pencil leads indistinguishable to a #2 pencil, select ones marked “HB.” A mechanically pencil filled with HB lead will certainly perform as with a #2 pencil and also can be provided in virtually any situation wherein a #2 pencil is required.

Luckily, the vast bulk of mechanical pencils come v HB lead by default, and also HB command is basic to find. If anything, it deserve to be overwhelming to choose between every one of the options.


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We recommend Uni NanoDia leads as the best all-purpose leads for writing, drawing, and also math. If you mostly use your mechanical pencil for creating or drawing, us recommend Pilot Neox leads, and if you mainly use your mechanical pencil for doing math, us recommend Pentel Ain Stein leads.

Make sure to obtain leads that room the right size for her pencil. 0.5 mm leader will autumn right with a 0.7 mm pencil, and 0.7 mm leads will certainly jam a 0.5 mm pencil.


Here is a table showing how all of the American pencil grades correspond to the worldwide HB grading scale.

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Grading SystemLead Grade
American#1#2#2½#3#4
InternationalBHBFH2H

For much more information on lead hardness grades, be sure to inspect out our overview to the best lead grades for every application. For more information ~ above the various lead brands, take a look in ~ our overview to the ideal mechanical pencil leads.


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