Review of Staedtler Tri-Plus.


This review is by Alex Melillo in Italy. Grazie, Alex!

Material: Really don’t know, looks like cedar and smells good.
Shape: Triangular with rounded edges.
Finish: Black and Yellow stripes, a traditional Staedtler finish.
Ferrule: None.
Eraser: None.
Core: Unknown; feels between HB and B graphite.
Markings: E4 (engraved) STAEDTLER triplus (in golden letters) and, on
another side, Art.Nr.119 and a codebar, in white.
Packaging: Varies. Often unpackaged/open stock.
Origin: Made in Germany.
Availability: In Italy in office stores and stationer’s shops.


Ten minutes. It’s all I had to wait to fall in love with this pencil: Staedtler Triplus. Actually, Staedtler has a whole range of items labeled “Triplus”, and most of them aren’t even pencils; there are mechanical pencils, pens, markers — all sharing the very same attribute: their cross section. Just like the well known Dixon Tri-Conderoga, the Triplus section is triangular with very comfortable rounded edges allowing a good grip without effort. Writing with it cannot be tiring or annoying; it’s a pleasure to hold it for long stretches of time. It’s good to have one for technical drawing as well, because its firm grip helps in tracing sharp straight lines. The Staedtler Triplus is 10 mm wide and 170mm long, showing a 4 mm lead which is of an unknown hardness. In fact, there isn’t any visible label to show it. To be honest, on the Staedtler homepage the Triplus pencil doesn’t even exist…but the pencil is labeled as art.nr.119, so that they *must* have classified it! The feeling is that of a B lead, pretty black and soft enough, but I wouldn’t swear it, as it could be a harder lead as well and have a softer feeling just because of its dimensions.

Staedtler products are easy to be found in Italy and, I presume, in the rest of Europe as well. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be the same in America, and it’s a pity, as this pencil is really a good one.


Writing with a triplus is half-way between a traditional pencil and a thicker sketching lead, and it may be somewhat uncomfortable to write with when the tip gets blunt. Nothing to worry if you write in pretty large letters, but if you, as I do, write on small notebooks just like my UNI A6 Hipster PDA it may be odd if the pencil isn’t perfectly sharpened. It’s great to sketch brief visual notes — I’m an architect after all — and a Triplus is pretty useful to have my ideas quickly fixed on paper, and it won’t even roll away from my table! A bad note is that it doesn’t sharpen very nicely, the wood, I mean. While the lead has a good grain, the wood seems to be quite crumby when you sharpen it, but it might be due to several factors, as my sharpener — though it’s a brand new Staedtler Graphite — or its odd triangular shape.

[Images and text, A.M. Used with kind permission.]

15 Replies to “Review of Staedtler Tri-Plus.”

  1. Very nice review Alex!
    How it compares to Staedtler Mars Lumograph 100? It’s easy to get “Koh-I-Noor” in Italy?

    thanks,

    Daniel Venosa

  2. This looks the same as the Ergosoft pencil we have in North America, though our ones have graded hardness. If it’s the same pencil, I’d disagree about the wood; it sharpens beautifully. Mind you, I use a blade for sharpening.The slightly grippy coating is really nice, as is the lack of eraser (yay!). I’d say the grade of the Ergosoft is pretty much a typical HB, about the same as a Ticonderoga tri-write.

    There’s also an Ergosoft Learner’s Pencil (art. nr 153), which is basically a fatter version of the Ergosoft. If you have large handwriting, I think you’ll like it. There’s a picture of it here (once I ever work out how to get WordPress’s thumbnailing to work properly).

    The Ergosoft also has a place to write your name on it. Pencil thieves die!

  3. In my opinion there is a difference between Lumograph and Noris II only know the traditional Noris) in the quality of the lead. Lumograph writes smoother and darker and it doesn’t scratch. It’s also twice the price of Noris.

  4. I got a Learner’s Pencil as a free handout at an art store, along with a couple other types of triangular Ergosoft pencils, when the line was introduced. I really like the Learner’s Pencil for drawing, but I haven’t seen them for sale anywhere. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen any Ergosoft pencils locally.

  5. I have one of the “Learner’s pencil” (though it’s actually an unusual English/French/German trilingual labelling) pencils at my desk – they have definitely been for sale in Canada in the past.

    I’d say the lead is much darker than most HBs – noticeably so. I also like the no-nonsense eraserless open end – it’s like many traditional pencils.

    I don’t think they are nearly as nice as the Mars Lumograph in terms of finish, but they are also sold at a completely different (lower) price point.

    Can I also mention that the review’s photos are nice – the separate views of the point, cap, and body seem to illustrate the pencil much better than a single long rectangular shot.

  6. Nice review. Is Staedtler not common in the USA? Here in my part of the world (New Zealand) Staedtler would easily be the most common brand of pencils, erasers, etc.

    1. Staedtler is a brand available almost everywhere, including the US, but not every pencil they make.

      And even pencils that have the same name, such as the Norica in Canada (blue) and the one in the US (black) are not the same.

      I did a video on YouTube (rixcandoit) that compares these two Staedtler Norica pencils. Core size, feel, different.

  7. to daniel: compared to a standard lumograph, the triplus has a thicker line and a firmer grip. i just found it (well hidden) in the staedtler website, and it says it’s a 2B lead. there exists a triplus slim as well, but i couldn’t find it anywhere.
    the koh-i-noor isn’t easy to be found here, but i have a favourite stationer’s shop where i get my KIN Millenniums, some of the best pencils i own!

  8. I just bought a .7 Triplus mechanical pencil online from the Utrecht art supplies, and I really like it (it’s also available in .5).

    So far I’ve only used it for writing, but I will probably give it a shot for sketching as well. It’s the first triangular-barrelled pencil I’ve used and I’m definitely warming up to it. A nice bonus is that the nib/tip completely retracts, so you can toss it into a pocket, bag etc, without breaking the lead off.

  9. i used to be able to buy ergosoft HB at office depot. they had them for sale there for about three months once, obviously somebody made a mistake and ordered decent pencils. i bought 6 packages of them, and gave some away. then one day these pencils disappeared.

    however i am presently totally into palomino HB with erasers. i also found some faber castel grip pencils WITH erasers. personally for my taste,
    palomino is the best pencil since the late lamented blackfeet indian pencil.

    i know i love them because i am Accumulating.

  10. It totally changed my drawing life. I threw out ALL of my mechanical pencil(3 roting 0.3 pencils) and bought 3box of this marvelous invention. I barely remember using anything other than these anymore. :D

  11. When I was a kid, I had a pencil that had an exacto-like blade hidden under the eraser cap.

    Does anyone know what kind of pencil that was, or if it is still made?

    Mark

  12. A magnficent pencil.The flow grip,and design.A brilliant German product(So sick of ChineseAmerican junk)Get these pencils anyway you can!There wonderbar!

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