For as small as they are and as little as they cost, refills for pens, pencils, and erasers rank among the most frequently returned items. We agree it can be difficult to determine what refill will work with which writing instrument. Most refills work for various pens and pencils of the different manufacturers.

Pen Refills

General Cross Reference Between Millimeters and Description:

  • Extra Fine (also called Super Fine): 0.1mm to 0.4mm
  • Fine: 0.5mm to 0.6mm
  • Medium: 0.7mm
  • Bold: 1.0mm and up
  • Pencil Refills: Lead Diameters (thickness)
  • Lead diameter represents its thickness and is measured in Millimeters (mm). The choice is based on largely on user preference.
  • Generally, most leads for mechanical pencils are either 0.5mm or 0.7mm.
  • 0.5mm is thinner than the 0.7mm and is often preferred due to the sheer precision and fine trail it produces.
  • Two additional lead thicknesses are the 0.9mm, and 1.4mm. Though durable, these dull easily and also cost more than thinner leads. When it comes to specialized writing needs, such as ghostwriting, finding the right pencil with the appropriate lead thickness is crucial for achieving the desired results.

Pencil Lead Refills: Lead Hardness and Lead Darkness

The item number and/or description of a pencil lead refill usually identifies the hardness and darkness of the lead. Notice the letters “HB” or simply “B”.

  • “H” stands for Hardness.
  • “B” stands for Black.
  • HB is the most common lead and is used for for general purposes. HB pencil lead refills are the equivalent of a #2 pencil lead.
  • Softer leads are used for art drawing, while harder leads are frequently used for fine ledger work.
  • Using the pattern below, going left to right, 9B is the softest lead and 9H is the hardest. The pattern of pencils leads is as follows:
  • 9B/8B/7B/6B/5B/4B/3B/2B/B/HB/F/H/2H/3H/4H/5H/6H/7H/8H/9H
  • The higher the number in front of H, the lighter (and harder) the lead.  For example; 2H writes much lighter and is less hard than 9H.
  • The higher the number in front of B, the softer (and darker) the lead. For example; 9B is more soft yet writes darker than 6B.
  • HB = hard black
  • B = black (it is a softer lead)

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