Take notes with a pencil or pen? (10 important things)

Taking notes with a pen or pencil? this debate created many conflicts between supporters and opponents.

But what is a good tool to use? is right that pencils are more useful than a pen or just a single point of view?

In this article, we’re going to discover the 10 facts about pens and pencils that most people don’t know about.

Also shows some alternatives that can work better than a pen or pencil. So keep reading to know the right answer.

Should you take notes with a pencil or pen?

Many students say that taking notes with a pencil is much more effective than pens, but there are always downsides to pens and pencils. So it depends on your need. However, after reading these 10 facts about pencils and pens you will 100% know what is much more effective for you.

1 – The life span of a pen and pencil

If you have a pencil you will likely be able to write 45,000 before buying a new one. One pencil is able to draw a line about 35 miles before ending up. So writing or taking notes with a pencil instead of a pen is durable and takes a long time before changing.

On the opposite it is less durable 10 times than a pencil. According to penvibe, the writing pen capacity is only a 3-mile line drawing. So 35 miles for pencil and 3 miles for pen, Which indicates how many pencils last compared to a pen.

Thus for people who like durability and persistence pencils are winners on this side.

2 – Pencils have unstable writing quality

According to Wikipedia the writing size that a pencil could perform is between 2mm and 0,13 mm, depending on the quality of graphite used, sharpening technics, and paper surface quality to write down. It gives a variety of writing sizes.

Controlling is very hard, most pencil users have this common problem. You can find thick and finer writing on a one-page paper. People who love finner writing, always have to sharpen their pencils.

Sharping permanently to keep a pencil lead finer, reduce the life span of the pencil, and make it easy to break out, so you have to sharpen again.

Many students say that every 20 minutes they have to sharpen their pencils which becomes frustrating and loose of time.

The pen doesn’t have to be sharpened, and the writing thickness for taking notes or writing an essay remains the same.

3 – Pencil notes can be erased, but

A pencil is great for people who make a lot of scrambling on paper, but it has a limitation. Writing down and erasing on the same spot more than 2 times make the paper messy and the writings look shadowed.

But it is still useful for people who love taking notes using a pencil over a pen. It allows you to correct, not riping a paper and begin from scratch.

People who don’t care about writing beauty don’t have this kind of problem. However, for stylist students who write finner taking attention is obligatory. finner pencils’ heads penetrate deeply the paper and make it hard to be erased afterward.

4 – Some pens drop ink

According to Healthline, 2 to 3 days is the time that needs for ink stains to disappear from your skin. Many students have experienced some dropping ink pens, not leakage accidents just pen dropping ink unexpectedly.

Students write with those pens and suddenly find ink stains on their fingers. It also relates to the method in that students hold a pen. Some student keeps their finger close to the head pen and some others away.

This problem will not be acceptable for girls who love to take care of their skins and be stylesheets.

Pencils don’t have ink or something like that to drop out, they use the force of friction to write down on the paper.

5 – Pencils need to be sharpened every

According to the office express, an average pencil can be sharpened 17 times and draw 35 miles long which is equivalent to 45,000 words. pencil can be sharpened more or less, that depends if student or person love finner writings or not.

The average pencil tall is 19 cm( 7.5 inches), so the normal range that students should sharpen their pencils is after every 236 words. Pencils need to be sharpened to preserve regular finner writings, that means after each 1 hour of consistent writing.

While other students prefer to sharpen on each half-hour, that means two times on the A4 page which is annoying. Also, in intensive uses of pencil sharpeners, every 6 months you should buy a new one.

6 – Is forbidden to make mistakes

According to recornation the average school use 2000 paper sheet per day, that meaning during a full school year 320,000 sheets of paper will be consumed every year. So if we take 100,000 schools in the US the result will be 3.2 billion sheets of paper per year.

Revising these numbers indicates how much pencils could be environmentally friendly and preserve nature. Even if that paper is currently recycled. But important energy gets lost during this process.

According to ocshredding, To produce 1 ton of recycled paper takes about 22 million BTUs(BTU is an energy unit). On the opposite, pencil paper writings can be at least used 3 times before getting thrown up, and even more, people who care a lot about the environment can use it 10 times more.

writing with a pen means mistakes are forbidden, once you scrumble more than 3 times on a paper things become messy and the majority of professors don’t accept that.

On this side, pencils are a beating pen for any discussions.

7 – You can’t take notes with a pen in this environment

9,807 m/s² is the gravity that our planet has, which allows us to take notes with a pen. In the international spatial state, astronauts don’t use pens that because of the lack of gravity. Ink is flowing to paper due to the gravity effect.

This is what makes it very hard to write on walls, surpassing 45 degrees horizontally makes writing hard, and the head pen begins to dry. This has happened to almost all students, but a few of them know the reason.

Using a pencil allows you to write not only on walls which we don’t recommend but also on roofs. Pencils work with friction forces, meaning the force you apply on the paper and the roughness of paper surfaces is what create a good adherence to writing.

That is explaining why is hard to write on glasses using a pen or pencil.

Currently, pencils are no longer used due to many problems that astronauts face. you can watch this video below to know more about writing in space

8 – Pen leaks

According to Green America 1,6 billion pens are thrown away every year, regarding the technical ability that allows pens to be refilled without any need to buy new pieces, the waste is still present. As a result have detrimental aspects on the environment.

But what is could be annoying about pens is leaking accidents, so many people have lost their shirts trousers suits. That happens frequently when people forget their pens in their pockets, especially on hot days.

Removing ink from clothes is not guaranteed and stains could stay permanently in some cases. In addition, it requires investing energy, time, and money without any certain guarantees.

9 – with pens, you can’t see how much is left

As we noticed above in the article, pens don’t have exact and measurable durability, meaning that is impossible to know when the pen will dry out, which makes students or pen users forced to always have an emergency pen in reserve.

While under 5cm, pencils become hard to use and make problems to ensure good quality of writing. So you have enough time to change a pencil and look for the newer one.

Using a pencil guarantee the fluency of the work. Consequently, you will never fall into the trap of asking colleagues for additional pens.

In addition, pens have the highest probability to dry over pencils in the beginning. This is would not happen even for the cheapest pencil in the market, they break out easily but still do the job.

10 – You can write almost in anywhere

Pencils have the ability to be used to write down on many surfaces because they have a good friction coefficient that varies between 0.5 to 0.8 which is much higher than a pen. It allows pencils to adhere to many surfaces that are hard for a pen to do, like:

  • glass
  • wood
  • plastic
  • ceramic

So many craftsmen love to use pencils because it is easy to erase especially on slippery surfaces.


After reading these 10 facts about pencils and pens the vision must be wide and you will like to know what to choose between, but to sum up, taking notes with pen or pencil depends on your use and personality nature so:

Take notes with pencils only if you:

  • care about envirement
  • you make a lot of mistakes in writing
  • love studying laying down on your back
  • you always prefer to wear expensive suites(ink drop)
  • you’re minimalist, meaning don’t love to carry a lot of tools

Take notes with a pen if you:

  • care so much about writing style
  • don’t love thick writings
  • hate sharping pencils
  • you’re minded to writing perfect notes without mistakes
  • love to use colors in your notes

You can see this video below, is a pretty debate about pen and pencil it has good points to take into consideration.

Today digital alternatives have become better and solved many issues that pens and pencils have. you could read this post and discover a good alternative that replaces pen and pencils in taking notes filed.


Yassin ajanif is a physics graduate and electromechanical engineer width more than 5 years in the field. My goal and my team are to share our experience to help you succeed in your career as a stem major. we talk about all tips, problems, and struggle STEM students face in their career and how to overcome them.