Review: Steadtler essentials HB Graphite Pencils

I’ve seen some whispering around the stationery groups regarding these pencils. Staedtler’s new offering for the American Back-to-School crowd. These look like a riff on their Yellow Pencil 134 HB, only not. These were priced at $1.88 at Walmart for an 8-pack. 

The packaging of these is my least favorite type- a plastic bag. The pencils knock around in transit and often arrive with broken cores. I’ve received other staedtler pencils broken in half and in disastrous condition. These seem okay, well not harmed by the crap packaging.

Once opened the pencils were revealed to have a decent lacquer finish a nice bright yellow. The ferrule is silver and holds a dark pink eraser which is quite stiff and gritty despite being latex free. It works well enough but isn’t anything to get excited about. The wood beneath the lacquer is jelutong and sharpens well with all my usual sharpeners- including the Pollux. Kind of amazing. The imprint is good on 4/8 while the other 4 suffer from either too much paint or not enough and not enough or too much pressure. The imprint is shoddy. The cores are centered well enough.

The core is standard HB for Staedtler USA. That is to say that it is smooth, but also darker than some other brands but pretty middle of the road as HB pencils go. I’ve tested these on a couple of different types of paper, from a toothy composition notebook to a smooth toothy paper to smooth less toothy paper. It performs best on a paper like the Yoobi composition book. This is a pencil that does well with toothy paper. It’s also nicely dark on those papers. On less toothy paper it’s a little light for my taste. It is smooth when compared to other school pencils.

At $1.88 it’s a bit overpriced for 8 pencils though. That’s nearly 24 cents per pencil. When compared to other pencils like the Pen+ Gear plain yellow school pencil, well it’s not a question. The only reason to buy these over the P+G is for the brand, which as you know is something that teen Less would have considered (Ahhh the issues of a poor kid) but adult Less will chose performance over brand any day. So all that said, skip these.

It says something when Staedtler USA doesn’t even list these on their website. They aren’t proud of these pencils.