I have used most of brands of pencils in my childhood. But my parents stuck to Natraj. I came to consider it The Brand. And, when my daughter started to put in her writing skills, I too, bought her the same brand. But the gifts that poured in, in the form of pencils including all brands and the brandless ones too. So, I had the opportunity to try most of them through these. The brandless ones were worthless as the leads that were inside the wood were in pieces. The branded ones were good, only if I used the knife to sharpen them.
Among all the brands, Faber-castel met all my expectations. The pencil was smooth, lighter than others by weight, darker than other HB pencils and most of all, survived all the sharpenings that my daughter loved to do. The pencil is made to have three sides, to hold it between the thumb, index and the middle finger. The grip was the best. The handwriting was easier to improve.
And, now after 4 years, as my second daughter is getting ready for her schooling, I plan to use the same for her too.