Penxo 2mm Lead Holder–Long Term Review

Note: According to feedback on Kickstarter, many Penxo backers have not received their products after more than a year . This may explain why the Penxo staff have not responded to my question about availability. Despite this, I’ve decided to review them as they are available used. I would, however, refrain from making any pre-orders.

I didn’t really have plan for using the Penxo 2mm Lead Holders when I backed the Kickstarter. Now, over a year later, I still don’t have a plan for using them.

The Penxo is an awesome design (it won a 2015 Reddot Award for design) and that’s part of what convinced me to back the Kickstarter. They hold 2mm lead sticks in an aluminum body that is 5.38 inches (136.6 mm) long but weighs less than an ounce. I like that you can see how much lead is left and quickly swap the lead your using for a new version or different color.

The lead is extended by pressing on the body inside the groove and letting the lead drop to the writing surface. The lead is returned by pressing on the body and then pressing the Penxo down. This technique looks really cool, however, it takes some practice and failure to do it well probably drove many users away. Lately I’ve found that I do it automatically, I’m even learning to do it without having to reposition the holder much, but there was some frustration and swearing involved early on.

(Note: I do not blame the designers for this, only my own lack of coordination.)

A pair of Penxos in Galactic Gold and Stealth Grey.

A pair of Penxos in Galactic Gold and Stealth Grey.

I chose Galactic Gold and Stealth Grey for no particular reason, but think they look great in person. The  anodizing has held up well, at least on the gold, which has been beaten around in a pen cup. The grey has spent a lot of time in pen cases not being used.

Details of my Penxo Lead Holders.

Details of my Penxo Lead Holders. There are no scratches after a year.

The Penxos shipped with an eraser and a crap lead pointer that I quickly replaced with a better version.

The main issue I have with the Penxo is that I have no real use for it. It has a great design and is fun to play with, and I do try to use one of mine at least once a week, but it doesn’t seem like something I’d use if I were a professional artist or architect.

Even leaving it around as a gateway drug for others to play with hasn’t worked out that well as the technique involved in extending and retracting the lead requires some practice. People try it, but the lead doesn’t extend and they have to pass it back to me.

I hope the company manages to meet all its orders and gets back in business. Maybe, by then, I’ll have figured out a use for mine.


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