Tombow Mono 100 Pencil (Re-) Review

Tombow Mono 100 pencil pointy end

The Tombow Mono 100 is not a cheap pencil. They cost about $2.35 in the USA and around £1.85 in the UK. There is a perfectly reasonable argument that no pencil could be worth this much. People who make this argument are wrong.

Tombow Mono 100 pencil branding

I sort-of-reviewed the Tombow Mono 100 back in October 2013 but this is a pencil that deserves better than that so here I am again.

Tombow Mono 100 pencil lots in a box

The pencil is made from cedar and is finished beautifully. Gold on black isn’t really my thing but the paint is thick, glossy and smooth and the printing is crisp. The main part of the barrel is hexagonal but the end is round, with a distinctive white stripe. It’s all rather stylish and classy.

Tombow Mono 100 pencil blunt end

There are, in my opinion, better looking pencils but that’s down to my personal taste. The finish is as good as it gets.

Tombow Mono 100 pencil made in Japan

They sharpen beautifully.

Tombow Mono 100 pencil sharpening

What makes the Tombow Mono 100 so special is the quality of the lead. It’s available in grades from 6B to 9H and, putting to one side how scary the point on a 9H pencil is, they are all incredibly smooth. When used for writing, the more sensible HB-type grades keep a point, glide over the page and put down a lush dark line. When drawing, all grades shade gently and consistently. (Almost all the pencils drawings on this site were drawing with Tombow Mono 100s.)

Tombow Mono 100 pencil in a closed box

These pencils are so consistent I feel completely in control of them. They are so smooth on the page they are a pleasure to use with every line. It’s the quality of the lead that makes the Tombow Mono 100 is my favourite pencil.

Tombow Mono 100 pencil handwritten review


  1. Thank you for this review of a great pencil. I use the B and the HB ones for writing, and have found that they write really smoothly. I agree that the lead keeps its point really well, and requires less regular sharpening than is the case with some other pencils (such as a Faber Castell 9000 or Hi-Uni, in the same grades, or even the Blackwing 602). I like the design and think that, although they are relatively expensive, you are buying a quality pencil that is a pleasure to write with, and will outlast many of its cheaper rivals. I cannot draw, but the excellence of your drawings is also testimony to how good these pencils are in that capacity. It is also worth bearing in mind that Tombow makes lead for mechanical pencils that is also first class.

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