The Top 3 Mini Mechanical Pencils

Three mini mechanical pencils are tiny compared to all other mechanical pencils:

  • OHTO Minimo Mechanical Pencil
  • Pilot Birdie Mechanical Pencil
  • Zebra TS-3 Mechanical Pencil

The OHTO Minimo is the world’s most miniature mechanical pencil, with the Pilot Birdie and Zebra TS-3 being slightly larger but still tiny and compact.

So let’s take a closer look.

1. OHTO Minimo Mechanical Pencil

Ohto Minimo Mechanical Pencil

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The OHTO Minimo Mechanical Pencil is simply an engineering marvel. It is the world’s smallest mechanical pencil.

I instantly noticed that the barrel diameter was far smaller compared to the other two pencils. It is only 1.5 mm thinner, but it makes the Pilot Birdie and the Zebra TS3 look quite chunky in comparison.

OHTO Minimo Specifications

  • Overall Length – 91 mm
  • Barrel Diameter – 3.5 mm
  • Barrel Material – Plastic Coated Metal
  • Lead Diameter – 0.5 mm
  • Lead Sleeve Type/Size – Fixed, 1.4 mm,

Despite its small size, it is reasonably easy to write with, although I wouldn’t want to do it for long periods.

The pencil has a fixed 1.4 mm lead sleeve. Pressing the pushbutton will advance its lead.

If you inspect the push button, you see a small cap covering the end of a metal tube.

Ohto Minimo Mechanical Pencil Cap Off

Hold the barrel and its cap, gently pull the lid away from the tube to refill the pencil. We can now insert the new lead into its barrel via the hole that the cap was covering.

Ohto Minimo Mechanical Pencil Holder

Because of its tiny size, it could be easy to lose this pencil, but OHTO has even thought of that.

They supply a convenient credit-card-sized holder to store it in diaries, journals, notebooks, etc.

If you like the OHTO Minimo mini mechanical pencil, OHTO makes a matching Minimo ballpoint pen with a needlepoint tip.

About OHTO & Interesting Facts

Established in 1919, OHTO is a Japanese writing equipment manufacturer that is renowned for its innovative designs.

The OHTO Super Promecha mechanical pencil is considered one of the best drafting pencils in the world.

You can find out more in our guide, The Top Ten Drafting and Mechanical Pencils.

They were the first company whose pens had a tungsten carbide ball and manufactured a transparent refill where the amount of ink remaining is clearly visible.

Perhaps their most famous invention is the rollerball pen, and they designed the first one way back in 1964. A rollerball pen uses water-based ink; if you want to know more, check out our guide ballpoint rollerball or gel pen.

2. Pilot Birdie Mechanical Pencil

Pilot Birdie Mechanical Pencil

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The Pilot Birdie mechanical pencil is perhaps the best known and the biggest of the three mini mechanical pencils.

However, it is only 11 mm longer than the Zebra T3 pencil, and the barrel at 5.5mm in diameter is exactly the same size.

Compared to a regular-sized mechanical pencil, the Pilot Birdie is a very compact pencil with a slim profile.

I found it the most comfortable of the three pencils to write with.

This may be because my hands are big (XL glove size), so someone with smaller hands may prefer one of the other two pencils.

Pilot Birdie Specifications

  • Overall Length – 111 mm
  • Barrel Diameter – 5.5 mm
  • Barrel Material – Brushed Steel
  • Lead Diameter – 0.5 mm
  • Lead Sleeve Type/Size – Fixed, 1.7 mm,

The Birdie has a fixed 1.7 mm lead sleeve; consecutive presses of the push button advance its lead.

Pilot Birdie Mechanical Pencil Cap Off

To refill the pencil.

  • Remove the push button by holding the barrel and pulling on the push button.
  • This now reveals an eraser which is a valuable addition.
  • Pull the eraser out from the end of the barrel.
  • The replacement lead can now be inserted.

If you like the Pilot Birdie mini mechanical pencil Pilot Pens, make a matching Birdie ballpoint pen. Although they are getting harder to find.

About Pilot & Interesting Facts

Established in 1918, Pilot Pens is Japan’s largest manufacturer of writing instruments. They are best known for their Pilot G2 07 gel pens and V System liquid ink rollerball pens.

In 1963, Pilot launched the first retractable fountain pen known in the UK and Europe as the Pilot Capless Fountain Pen, but in the U.S., we know it as the Pilot Vanishing Point.

In 2006 Pilot launched their Frixion erasable pens, which had groundbreaking thermosensitive ink.

The Frixion pens cleanly erased ink from paper with no mess or residue, and they are now the world’s best-selling erasable ink pen.

3. Zebra TS-3 Mechanical Pencil

Zebra TS 3 Mechanical Pencil

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The Zebra TS-3 is the mid-sized of the three small mechanical pencils. It is 9 mm longer than the tiny OHTO Minimo and 11mm shorter than the Pilot Birdie.

Although its barrel at  5.5 mm is the same diameter as the Pilot Birdie.

The Zebra Ts-3 mechanical pencil is more comfortable to hold and write with than the OHTO Minimo pencil.

Zebra TS-3 Specifications

  • Overall Length -100 mm
  • Barrel Diameter – 5.5 mm
  • Barrel Material – Stainless Steel
  • Lead Diameter – 0.5 mm
  • Lead Sleeve Type/Size – Fixed, 1.7 mm,

When you also consider its compact size, this makes it incredibly useful as we can easily store it in many places, including:

  • Small Bags
  • Diaries
  • Journals
  • Notebooks
  • Purses
  • Wallets

As with the other two mini pencils, the Zebra TS-3 has a fixed lead sleeve that is 1.7 mm and fitted with 0.5mm lead.

Consecutive pressing of the push button advances its lead.

Zebra TS 3 Mechanical Pencil Cap Off

To refill the pencil, hold the barrel and the pocket clip/push-button and gently pull apart. The pocket clip is part of the push button and slides off to reveal an eraser.

Remove the eraser from the end of the barrel and insert the replacement lead.

If you like the Zebra TS-3 mini mechanical pencil Zebra make a matching T-3 ballpoint pen.

About Zebra & Interesting Facts

Established in 1914, Zebra is a Japanese manufacturer of writing instruments and has established a reputation for making good quality pens and pencils at affordable prices.

The Zebra M-701 Stainless steel mechanical pencil is one of their best-selling pencils. This is because of its reliability and having a robust stainless steel barrel with a meager price tag.

Final Thoughts

Japanese manufacturers excel in the miniaturization of products, and these three pencils are excellent examples of this.

Each of these pencils uses 0.5mm lead.

The OHTO Minimo is smaller than the other pencils, but it is slightly harder to write with.

Although the mini plastic holder is excellent for attaching to pages inside a journal or notebook.

I found the Pilot Birdie the most comfortable to write with, but the Zebra TS-3 is a very close 2nd.

You may also be interested in The Ultimate Guide to Mechanical Pencil Lead Sizes. If you want to use the best quality lead in your pencils, check out The Best Mechanical Lead Ultimate Guide for more information.

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Peter Warrior: Pen & Pencil Expert

With nearly a decade of experience in the pen industry, I successfully ran an online pen business for 9 years. My deep-rooted passion for pens and pencils led me to become a part-time blogger, where I've dedicated myself to sharing the wealth of knowledge I've amassed over the years. I'm a firm believer in the power of the written word, as echoed by Malcolm Forbes: "Putting pen to paper lights more fire than matches ever will." My expertise is not just rooted in business, but in the genuine appreciation and understanding of the art of writing instruments.

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