Thursday, September 5, 2013

Staedtler Riptide & Polo Mechanical Pencils

This is a quick review and comparison of two mechanical pencils from Staedtler: the 0.7mm Riptide and the 0.5mm Polo.  I've owned the Polo for years (it was originally part of a geometry set I bought for school), while the Riptide is a recent addition.

Staedtler Polo (top; the writing on the barrel is starting to wear off) and Riptide (bottom) mechanical pencils.

Both the Riptide and the Polo are basic mechanical pencils.  The Riptide is longer, with a slightly wider barrel, possibly making it more suitable for someone with larger hands.  It is also probably the most durable of the two pencils, as its clip and tip are metal, whereas on the Polo they are plastic, and it generally feels sturdier in the hand.  The Riptide has a soft-but-not-squishy grip, while the Polo just has a grip section of ridged plastic.  Another difference between the two: the lead sleeve (the metal part that encases the lead) on the Riptide can be retracted, which is useful if you want to protect the pencil or to protect yourself from getting inadvertently poked if you keep your pencil in your pocket.

I really love the grip on the Riptide (the design of it also looks fun), but the Polo's grip is rather lacking.

Both pencils come with erasers.  The Riptide's eraser is about the same size as most pencil erasers, but the Polo's eraser is pathetically tiny and should be reserved for only the most dire of erasing emergencies.  (Everyone has an erasing emergency now and then, don't they?)  The Polo's eraser comes with a cap, which gives this pencil a somewhat neater look, but in my experience, these caps often end up getting lost.

Comparing clips (left) and erasers (right).  The Riptide's eraser has been worn down because it's actually usable, while the Polo's eraser still looks like new because I've never touched it!

Based on this quick comparison, I would say that the Riptide (which is also available in 0.5mm, I should add) is the better pencil, although I do prefer the bold black and neon yellow colours of the Polo over the Riptide's red and blue.  Both are decent, if mostly unremarkable, mechanical pencils.  Grab a few Riptides and have one in every place where you might need a pencil.


  1. Rachel Maddow uses a Riptide. It's possible I'm the only one who thinks that's cool.

  2. wish they'd sell eraser refills for the Riptide. a serious downfall for an otherwise great product.

    1. Eraser refills can often be a challenge. You could try looking at eraser refills for other brands; perhaps you will be able to find one that will fit or that you could cut to fit. The Riptide seems to have a fairly standard looking eraser, so I would think that you should be able to find something.


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