Monday, November 9, 2020

Wirecutter ’s "best” pencils

The New York Times Wirecutter picks the “best” pencils for writing and schoolwork. The picks are, let’s say, idiosyncratic.

Some pencil brands have been excluded as “less widely available” (a little odd in the age of the Internets), but several of the pencils under review I’ve never seen in stores. Brands that the average shopper is likely to see in stores (Paper Mate, Staples) aren’t here. I’m not sure that two of the top three Wirecutter picks are widely available in stores. And I’m disappointed that those two top picks are manufactured by a company whose ethics are shoddy, shoddy, and shoddy. No doubt no one at Wirecutter knows the history there.

With the pencils under consideration, at least one judgment of quality seems dubious: Wirecutter deems the blue Staedtler Norica “one of the most expensive pencils we tested, as well as one of the worst performers.” I haven’t used the blue Norica, which seems not especially expensive and is well reviewed ($6.85 a dozen and 4.5 stars at Amazon). I do know Staedtler’s black Norica. It’s a bargain, and it too is well reviewed ($4.49 a dozen and 4.5 stars at Staples). I wrote a rave review five years ago.

Long story short: I don’t find Wirecutter particularly helpful or reliable on pencils.

When my children were tykes, back-to-school shopping was a happy summer ritual. Choosing pencils for the year was always a big deal. (Dad’s a fanatic; humor him.) A sad truth that my kids broke to me long after their school days were over: all supplies were pooled for class use. So when you buy a dozen good pencils, you might want to buy another dozen for your child’s private stash — along with a pencil case.

And keep any pink perfect-attendance pencils in a secure location.

Related reading
All OCA pencil posts (Pinboard)

comments: 1

J D Lowe said...

I use Staedtler norica HB all the time and they seem perfectly fine.