Review: OfficeMax Mechanical Pencils

OfficeMax box of mechanical pencils

With just a couple weeks before school starts back here, the excitement of back-to-school is hitting me again. Do you remember going to the store with your mom to fill a shopping cart full of new pencils, erasers, notebooks and tools? I know every parent dreads it, but as a fledgling office supply junkie, it was better than Christmas morning for me.

When the package arrived from OfficeMax of blister-packed bulk office supplies, I didn’t think about the office manager who has to stock the supply closet. I thought of my dad handing me my box of a dozen pencils and telling me I had to split them with my brother and hoping we could amicably divide the colors without bloodshed.

OfficeMax mechanical pencils

Particularly, I was transported back to my youth by the box of a dozen OfficeMax mechanical pencils with bright colored grip areas and matching erasers on the opposite end. The bodies are made of translucent grey plastic with a clip molded into the barrel. An opaque white inner tube holds the lead and forms the cap that holds the eraser. That little candy-colored Zot-like eraser fills me with an odd sense of joy. The grip area is a softer rubber but not as soft as the silicone grips I’ve found on most budget writing tools these days but the colors are appealing. The raised dots in the grip area are molded into the body of the pen and appear to be designed to keep the softer grip material from sliding off the pencil. If the pencil is twisted to a certain angle, I could feel those nubs distinctly. Rotating the pencils a fraction this way or that alleviated any discomfort.

OfficeMax mechanical pencil writing sample

The pencils use the standard click mechanism to advance the standardized test favorite #2 leads. Holding the click down allows one to push the metal point holding the lead up into the grey plastic body to prevent unwanted holes in backpacks, bookbags, pencils cases or people.

These pencils are filled with the wider 0.7mm lead which is good for heavy writers as its less likely to snap. Each pencil contains three leads inside the barrel and could be refilled with additional leads as needed.

The candy-dot erasers work better than I anticipated and can be removed from the plastic casing and flipped over for a fresh corner but it also means it could pop out inadvertently.

The graphite write comparably to any other budget mechanical pencil — not super smooth but not noticeably scritchy either.

OfficeMax Mechanical Pencils

If you need to stock a backpack or two for back-to-school or  the supply closet in your office or you’re just feeling nostalgic for the joys of a new lunch box and a bookbag full of new supplies, this might be a pleasing little treat. Each box of a dozen OfficeMax brand mechanical pencils is $4.79 (less than 40¢ per pencil) which is about the same price as a Venti Mocha at Starbucks (last checked around $4.35).

In fact, OfficeMax is letting me give away a whole box of these to a lucky reader. Leave your favorite back-to-school moment in the comments to be entered to win.

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Tuesday, August 6, 2013. All entries must be submitted at, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Wednesday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. Pencils will be sent directly from OfficeMax so your email and home address will be forwarded to them in order to fulfill shipment. One entry per person please.

Written by

0 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Favorite moment was when I got to buy the supplies for my daughter. Her school PTA sold them on site, so I could buy hers plus extras to donate. It was fun indulging my inner junkie while actually doing something useful. A win-win! Alas, this was many years ago when students had books, paper, pencils and not laptops and cellphones. It’s kinda hard to donate “spares” for the classroom.

  2. In college i loved tge first day when the professor would hand out the syllabus. It was at that moment I could begin to map out my semester. I love getting organized for class!!

  3. My back to school memories are of the fresh supplies I could count on each year. It was high school when I discovered that the right pen made all the difference in the world. I searched high and low for just the right set of pens. Finally I found them…a set of extra fine tip ball point Papermate pens. I had to get a separate set of cheap round stick pens to share because my perfect pens were all mine!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.