Uni Kuru Toga Advance Review

My favorite mechanical pencil so far has been Tombow Mono Graph (review here), and even though I use Uni Kuru Toga daily, I only use it for writing in Chinese and Japanese.

The Kuru Toga Engine is great for Chinese and Japanese characters. Shorter strokes make that engine spin, and the lead is always sharp. It just doesn’t work as well with western writing.

This is especially true if you have light handwriting as I do. I couldn’t get my pencil to rotate the lead.

That problem has been solved. The new Kuru Toga Advance is better, faster ( literally faster – the engine rotates faster) and of higher quality.

Uni Kuru Toga Advance

photo of a mechanical pencil on a white background

So, what makes the new Kuru Toga better than the old version?

Look and Feel

This pencil feels better in hand; it’s a bit heavier (sizewise is the same as the previous model) thanks to metal clip and metal head.

The eraser cap is also made of metal. Those three things give Kuru Toga Advance a more sophisticated feeling and look.

The added weight makes writing much more comfortable. Now the pencil is balanced a bit better.

The grip is mostly the same, so if you like writing with Kuru Toga pencils, you will feel like home.

New barrel design is also great.

I love those new shining colors (there is also a white, dark blue, black, orange/red version) and it’s a matter of time when Uni comes up with some new designs.

Retractable Tip

Photo of Kuru Toga pencil tip

The tip on the standard Kuru Toga is annoying.

Since you can’t retract it, it’s impossible to keep the pencil in your pocket, or even in your shirt, as you are risking that the tip will penetrate the material (and your leg or breast if you are keeping it in a shirt pocket).

Advance not only solves that problem but also adds sliding lead sleeve to protect the lead as you write.

The mechanism is simple;  as you write, and as the lead gets shorter, the sleeve will get shorter too.

Thanks to that it’s harder to break the lead, and you don’t have to click all the time to extend the lead as you write. Win-Win.

New Mechanism

closeup of kuru toga engine

Uni calls the new mechanism “W Speed” and it deserves a new name.

W speed is twice as fast, what I mean by that is, it’s rotating the lead fully once every 20, let’s say, strokes.

The previous model needed 40 strokes to make one circle. I can’t check it without destroying my pencil, but I heard that W speed has some metal parts to make it work smoother.

And man, it works better!

Previous Kuru Toga required a lot of pressure to rotate the mechanism, and that’s the reason it never worked for me apart from Chinese characters.

Now even a gentle contact with the paper will rotate the lead. That makes the pencil perfect even for westerners.

Sum Up

I believe that everyone should try the Uni Kuru Toga Advance.

If you like the old Kuru Toga, you will love the new one, too. It’s much better.

If you don’t like Kuru Toga, you should try the new version and maybe you will fall in love with it as I did.


  • new, more expensive look
  • W speed is smoother, faster and simply better “engine.”


  • None


Reviewed Item
Uni Kuru Toga Advance