Home :: Pentel Kerry Pencil Review

Latest Update: Sorry – images lost in some rearranging.

What Is It?

An automatic pencil, but designed to look good. It’s unusually expensive for an automatic pencil, but if you’re looking for something that’s really nice to use and pocketable, this could be it.

  • Retro styling, plastic and metal construction.
  • Eraser under cap.
  • Cap clips over front for pocketing, and clips onto back in use – as is common for fountain pens.
  • Eraser in cap.
  • .5mm lead.
  • Costs – At the time of writing, £20 RRP (£17.50 from Cult Pens), rather annoyingly cheap in the US – seen it listed for around $16.


Sam and I discussed this at length, but we couldn’t decide if it actually counts as retro. Since the label on the cap reads “Kerry – Since 1971”, is it actually retro, or just old? Either way, we both like the design. The black is very black, and the chromed parts are very shiny. The surround to the tip is matte rather than chrome, which I quite like.

If you’re after a pencil that wouldn’t look out of place in the office, this is the one.

Even the presentation box is special – a mix of white and light grey, like a wedding car.


It’s a little thinner than I usually like my pencils – I perfer a thick grip – but it’s not uncomfortable. The cap pulls off with a real click, and snaps onto the back of the pencil just as solidly. On the whole, it just feels like a much higher quality item than pretty much any other pencil I’ve used.

In Use

This pencil has a trick. If the cap goes over the back, where is the button to advance the lead? It’s on the end of the cap. It’s also on the top end of the pencil. The reason the cap snaps so firmly into place when you push it onto the top of the pencil for use is that it’s engaging with the pencil advance button, so the button on the top of the cap connects to the button on the top of the pencil.

What this means is that there’s two ways you can use this pencil – cap on, or cap off.

  • Cap On – the pencil is quite heavy, and fairly average length, giving it quite a bit of ‘swing’ in your hand. You can hold it right up at the patterned chrome section, and it still has a bit more weight above your grip. If you pull the silver button, there’s an eraser underneath.
  • Cap Off – the pencil is now much lighter, though still a little on the heavy side for a pencil. It is now quite short, though, so the balance is now only a little above your grip – better for precision, but doesn’t smooth your curves for you. Shifting your grip up to the squared chrome area will let you drop the end of the pencil low in your hand, for shading areas, and puts the balance point between your fingers. The eraser isn’t accessable – it’s not far enough out of the cap to grip.

This actually gives you a bit more flexability, and makes this pencil better than you might expect for drawing.

Because the cap is over the ‘business end’ when it’s packed away, this is a pencil that you can carry in your pocket in complete safety – no more getting stabbed in the leg with the sharp tip.


The price will be too much for some people – you have to like pencils to spend this much on one. If you do like pencils, though, and just wish you had something that looked a bit more ‘business-like’, you’ll love the Kerry.

If you want a pencil you can slip into the bottom of a pocket safely, it’s ideal, and the quality should make sure it lasts.


Disclosure: Our Kerry was bought from Cult Pens, who give us a little discount in return for us mentioning them when we review stuff we got there. We used them and mentioned them before any of this started, but we like to be open about it.

2 thoughts on “Pentel Kerry Pencil Review

  1. Pingback: Pentel GraphGear 1000 Pencil Review :: PigPog

  2. Kerry indeed goes back to 1971. It isn’t retro, it’s still current. Good design doesn’t go out.

    The only changes have been in markings — the original only said “PENTEL 5” and “JAPAN”

    I had a grey one in 1982, a blue one in 1993 (still have and use that particular one) and 2 more, another blue and a black. All in .5.

    These are hand-made, you know. Well, at least assembled by hand. They last forever, too — the one from 1993 saw daily service from ’93 to ’99, and still sees use today. Never a problem.

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