I think good quality drafting lead holders are among the most reliable, user friendly and durable writing instruments ever made. Partially due to their simple mechanics and quality materials used on their manufacture. This is more evident when they're all made of metal. As an owner and user of some fine specimens I obviously have my preferences. On the top of my favorites list, my nº1 pencil has to be my 2.0 mm/2.5mm Koh-I-Noor 5617 “Select-O-Matic”. More detailed information can be found here: leadholder.com/lh-draft-kohinoor_us-5617.html#5617-gold-imprint
Koh-I-Noor 5617 “Select-O-Matic”
Would be nice to know which pencils do you like best.
If I could only have one lead holder, it would be the Staedtler Mars Technico. It's bottom heavy with good knurling. All my lead feels nicer somehow when it's in this lead holder and it's very comfortable to write with. Of all my lead holders, this one feels the most nimble when I write with it, almost as good as my favorite drafting pencils.
The Alvin "Tech" DA lead holder is also very nice to write with if I'm in the mood for something a bit heavier. The knurling is excellent and the grip is a big wider. I love the 4-piece clutch and the pencil's ability to use wider "leads" (I have been known to use a multi-pen refill in this pencil on occasion).
The Sanford Turquoise lead holder is another favorite of mine. It gets all the same things right that the Staedtler does (bottom heavy, good knurling, robust clip, etc), but somehow this lead holder lends itself to doodling rather than writing. So that's how I use it.
The Rotring 300 feels similar to the Sanford except that it has plastic knurling which isn't as aggressive and the balance is about in the center.
These are the lead holders that I reach for during the day. I've got some others that are perfectly functional, but I don't care to use them as much for one reason or another.
Faber Castell TK-9400: good for drawing, too narrow for comfortable writing. Alvin "PRO-MATIC" MC5: weaker spring and balanced too high. I've seen nicer specimens of this pencil. I guess I got a dud. Alvin "Scott" B/2: smooth grip section is too slick. Solid pencil otherwise.
All of my lead holders have a clutch drop mechanism because that's what I like. I have a single exception to this which is a Helix lead holder I got for the sole purpose of using whilst wearing work gloves in the shop or when volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. It works fine for that purpose, but it will probably get retired soon and replaced with a 0.9mm drafting pencil (P209 perhaps?).
Last Edit: Nov 17, 2014 20:56:25 GMT -8 by flatline