School supplies in Germany. 2. Pencils, pens (Füller) and others

Last Updated on April 17, 2023

The first part is about satchel, pencil cases, sports bags and theft of the school supplies. Let’s go further down the list – to pencils and pens as school supplies.

Important: pencils, pens, sharpeners, erasers, and rulers should be purchased also for “home-use”. That means you schould buy all things in double amount. If your child takes a pencil case out of his satchel to do his homework, then he is on the right way to forget everything at home one beautiful day.

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*Affiliate links to Amazon are for better visualization. About where to buy office supplies is more profitable – see in the first part. If you buy something I get very little reward, but you don’t pay for it. That doesn’t affect my opinion.


In primary school, they usually want pencils from 2B to HB. The difference is explained by the fact that for some teachers it is important that HB writes more clearly, while for others it is that HB is difficult to erase, in contrast to softer pencils.

Usually they ask for two jumbo pencils and one thinner pencil in the first two grades. In grades 3-4, they switch to thin pencils.

Colored pencils are a must. It is required the basic colors – a set of 12 colors is enough. Moreover, a pencil case filled with pencils of all colors is not welcome (more harm than good).

A comfortable shape (triangular, with notches or dots for better grip) is also desirable.

Read about writting helps in separate post.

Tips for buying pencils (Bleistift)

  • pencils Jumbo Grip* Faber Castell – is classic. Thin ones are not bad either, although I like their wood less.
  • thin pencils are cheaper to buy in packs of several pieces. It makes sense 6-10 pencils per year. Children do not completely write pencils. It is bad for them to write with short pencils, so we take away the stubs less than half.
  • Maped pencils are a good option for soft pencils
  • I do not recommend buying automatic pencils, even those for beginners (for example, Lamy*, Stabilo Easy*).
    First, they are usually not welcomed by teachers. Thus, you can only use it at home.
    Second, if the core is thin, they tend to break without repair. And if the core is thick, then it is inconvenient to sharpen it.
    Thirdly, children are not as comfortable to hold them as they seem.

Tips on colored pencils (Farbstift)

  • trying different options, this year I again returned to the fact that the Stabilo Trio dick* is the most convenient option, with the best price-quality ratio. They paint softly, sharpen well and cost 3.99 euros in discount period. Their only minus is that sometimes you want them to be firmer and brighter. But for the 1-2 grades, it’s best. It is also convenient in these pencils that for the 1-2 grade they are thick enough, and for the 3-4 grade they are thin enough.
  • Herlitz – is also a very budget option. But at the same time it is less convenient. The best version are triangular thick pencils Trilino*. But the same appearance of pencils with a small color coding is really inconvenient. Herlitz is often placed in pencil cases sold full.
  • harder and brighter pencils Lyra*, but they are also significantly more expensive.
  • very bright and solid Bic Kids Evolution*. They are also cheap at the same time. But it is very hard to sharpen.
  • for those who like to draw – good old Koh-i-noor*. It is unlikely to be found in real stores, but there is in Amazon. This is such a transitional option between school pencils and professional pencils, at a very good price for such quality and quantity. Perfectly sharpened, bright, hard enough, but easy to draw and long-lasting. I have regular and watercolors. Watercolors are especially good.
  • school color pencils Faber Castell (I don’t know about professional ones) and all pencils Staedtler I didn’t like. Faber Castell is bad sharpening and always breaking. I do not like everything from Staedtler, although I fully admit that some particular item may be acceptable.

Erasers, sharpeners, rulers, compasses

Rulers (Lineal)

With rulers, everything is pretty simple. A thin, small ruler, which often comes with a filled pencil case, is sufficient for the entire school life. For the house, you will need to buy the same (but better color or with picture, otherwise it is not visible) and plus a long one for different crafts and tasks.

Teachers don’t like flexible rulers.

In the third grade will be added Geodreieck* – a geometric triangle that allows you to draw at a certain angle, make parallel and perpendicular lines. At school they are taught this, but not enough, you must show it one (or more) time at home.
One large and one small triangle are usually required for school. For the house, you must definitely have a small one, otherwise the child will forget to put it in the satchel.

Sharpeners (Spitzer)

The main requirement for a sharpener from teachers: two compartments for thick and thin pencils and a closed box for shavings.

In the first two classes we suffered with sharpeners. Firstly, I tried to find left-handed sharpeners for my pseudo-left-handed. They are there, but in a very limited range. Secondly, our sharpeners broke up consistently.

After trying a whole series, I came to the big sharpeners Faber Castell Dosenspitzer* for school and electric sharpeners for the home. Before that, the large pencil sharpeners from FC seemed to me too tight and uncomfortable. Having bought them out of despair – if these powerful ones also break, then where then ?! – I am glad with them for three years. The kids manage it also. Usually these sharpeners are more profitable to buy in discount complete with pencils.

As for electric sharpeners*: this is a real relief, especially if you have more than one school student at home. You should look after the sharpness of the pencils. A child can sharpen a couple of pencils at school, but this takes up his time and he may miss important information. It is better to buy sharpeners that have reserve knives, and even better, which are stable on the market and sell knives separately. Aldi’s version is quite decent.

The electric sharpener is a toy for adults. Children are happy to sharpen down pencils to zero to see how cool it spins.

Erasers (Radierer)

Eraser from FC in the form of a pencil* was bought solely for the reason “everyone has this”, but so far for all the years it is the most popular among children and is almost eternal. Its only disadvantage is that it takes more effort than with a soft eraser. But on the other hand, it erases very cleanly, does not smear, unlike soft erasers.

Soft erasers from FC* are also quite a worthy choice.

And the third leader, also from FC, is a pencil cap eraser*. Similar in quality to a large eraser in form of pencil. It can be very convenient to put on from above and not look for an endlessly escaped eraser.

I didn’t like FC’s two-tone vinyl eraser.

For older children, a retractable pencil eraser *may be useful. It erases also an automatic pencil well.

Since we immediately landed on three successful options, it is difficult for me to say about the rest of the firms. I can only say that erasers with stickers and drawings are usually bullshit.


Compasses (Zirkel) in primary school are needed only at the end of grade 4. Some teachers do not specify which compasses are needed, they just ask to buy. Others, on the contrary, do not want their parents to act on their own and even oppose the parents buying, since it is not known what compasses the secondary school will want. And they themselves buy some pieces per class.

My child first had the first option (and we bought it), then the second option (and why did we already buy it …), and then the corona virus and the requirement to bring what is at home (and we already bought it!). Our version* is considered an unkillable classic. I bought it for 13 euros. According to the teacher, the compasses for less than 10 euros are of poor quality.


The first class does not write with pens. The second class writes only at the end of the year and even then not all and not always. From the third grade, discord begins: some teachers say only Füller (ink pen), others – an erasable one will also go (Frixion), others – only a pencil.


The classic version for grade 3-4 is still a Füller. However, on printed sheets, it often leaks to the other side, because premium paper is not used for printouts. This is one of the reasons why teathers still want a pencil. Children begin to have a split consciousness: they are not able to remember that there is one thing in a notebook, and another in the worksheets, therefore they often prefer to write everywhere with a pencil.

Füller are of two types: real with a feather and capillary.

The capillary pens are, in fact, Fineliners, tucked into the Füller shell. They give you the ability to meet a formal requirement – you bought an ink pen.
On the other hand, capillary pen is easier to use than a real Füller, and the task that real Füller solves (and which everyone has forgotten about) does not fulfill – with the correct position of the hand, the real Füller works correctly and thus instills good handwriting. Capillary pens work correctly always – you don’t need the correct position of the hand.

Thus, the classic version would be better for developing good handwriting. But if your child is not capable of such feats, make his life easier, buy a capillary.

Füller is an expensive and individual thing. Better to buy it with your child so that he can try.

Note: Füller and Tintenroller (and also pencils) can have the same name!

With my first son (awful handwritting) we mainly use capillary: Pelican* did not fit, Stabilo* is not bad, Herlitz My Pen* is best. The classic Herlitz* has gone worse and gets dirty.

A list of recommended Füller from the school of my second son:
Pelikan Twist (Füller and Tintenroller)
Pelikan Griffix (Füller for righthanded and left-handed and Tintenroller)
Lamy nexx (Füller)
Lamy safary (Füller and Tintenroller)
Lamy abc Füllerhalter
Stabilo Easy original Tintenroller
Stabilo Easy buddy Füller
Stabilo Easy birdy Füller
Faber-Castell Scribolino Füller

He write much better as the first son, therefore he use real Füller Faber-Castell Scribolino.

Having bought a Füller, check what cartridges it writes with, and be sure to buy refills (and many! my son needs about 10 sets (of 6 items), so about 60 cartridges for My pen in 5. grade). If your child like the pen, buy a second one for your home.

The Tintenkiller *also should be bought for the Füller. Why does it have two ends? We erase what we have written with white, and we write over with blue. Because it will no longer be possible to write over the white with a Füller, it will disappear all the time until the erasing liquid dries completely. Some teachers are strongly against Tintenkiller, as they believe that it creates dirt. And they require children to simply put in parentheses and cross out the incorrectly written.

Erasable pens

Some teachers allow writing with erasable pens. The leader is here Pilot with his Frixion*. I tried cheap options, but the Pilot’s, unfortunately, are better. Unfortunately – because it’s a little expensive. The refills leave very quickly, so it makes sense to buy spare ones with a large volume (and then Amazon is usually cheaper – but watch carefully: it happens that 3 items 4 times are cheaper than 12 items in a one package). But the pen itself is more profitable to buy during the period of discounts in regular stores.

Don’t forget that writing with erasable pens disappears when exposed to temperature! This is an option for drafts, abstracts and unimportant information, not for tests, contracts and tax returns.

Next – world of lineatur and folders and a little about furniture.

Part 1, part 3
All themen about #primary school

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