Compare Pencil Grips

Compare pencil grips in three different categories: easy grips, specialty grips, and therapeutic grips.

pencil grips assortment

Incorrectly holding a pen or pencil leads to less legible penmanship, writer's cramp, and for some students regression in writing and drawing ability as they re-learn the correct way to hold their writing instruments.

The use of pencil grips aids them in correcting an incorrect pencil grip. Better yet, the correct pencil grip may aid them in developing the correct grip in the first place.


The first four grips compared here are what we call easy grips. They are easy to use and for the majority of students will train their fingers in the tripod grip with consistent use for several months.

If the easy and less expensive tools work, there's no reason to invest in the more expensive grips.

Stetro Pencil Grips

Stetro Pencil Grips
THE Stetro Grip is Included in the Easy Grip Pack AND the Favorite Five Pack

The Stetro pencil grip can be considered the classic pen and pencil grip children have used for decades. It was developed by J.R. Moon, who also developed the edges on pencils which make them not perfectly cylinder shaped.

The famous stetro pencil grip is a small piece of firm plastic slightly larger than a marble. It's surface has indentations which form the tripod grip when the students' fingers are placed in the correct area.

An arrow on the grip points up for a right handed student and down for a left handed student.

There is a star shape on the indentation where the thumb rests. The pointer finger is opposite it, and the underside has a larger curve which the middle finger fits into.

As one of the original pen/pencil grips, the stetro grip is often considered the standard to compare other pencil grips.

Stetro Pencil Grip Advantages of the Stetro pencil grips

Disadvantages of the Stetro pencil grips

Solo Pencil Grip

Solo Pencil Grip

This is a newer pencil grip which is larger and easier to use than the Stetro, but largely does the same thing. It has matching indentations for right and left handed writers. Right handed students place their thumb in the "R" space, and left handed students place their thumb in the "L" space.

Advantages of the Solo Pencil Grip

Disadvantages of the Solo Pencil Grips

Triangle Pencil Grip

TrianglePencil Grips
The Triangle Grip is Included in both the Easy Pack and the Favorite Five Pack

The triangle pencil grips are used in many schools and are one of the most used kindergarten pencil grips. They are made of a rubbery substance and have a triangle shape which promotes the tripod pencil grasp.

Triangle pencil grips are a simple shape and very easy to use: no special directions, no modifications for left handed students.

Advantages of the Triangle Pencil Grips

TrianglePencil Grips

Disadvantages of the Triangle Pencil Grips

Fish Pencil Grip

Fish shaped Pencil Grips
The Fish Grip is Included in the Easy Pack Below

Here is a fun and simple grip to use, and kids like the friendly looking fish that come in a variety of colors. The fish grip is somewhat like the triangle grip, except it is necessary to get the fish's head upward. The underside of the fish is curved to nestle onto the third finger.

Advantages of the Fish Pencil Grips

Disadvantages of the Fish Pencil Grips

Specialty Pencil Grips

The next five pencil grips we will compare we have listed as specialty grips. They are larger, softer, and generally more comfortable than those we have listed as "easy grips." They may prevent specific problems (such as the thumb crossing over the middle of the pencil.) They are a little more expensive (over $1 each) and generally need to be ordered on-line.

THE Ergonomic Pencil Grip

The Ergonomic Pencil Grip The Pencil Grip

THE Pencil Grip is Included in the Speciality Pack AND the Favorite Five Pack.

We refer to this grip as THE ergonomic grip. The company that makes it just calls it The Pencil Grip (a bit generic, wouldn't you say?) Since we are reviewing multiple grips, we call it THE Ergonomic grip here. It is made of larger, softer, and more flexible material than any of the grips listed above as "easy" grips.

THE Pencil Grip is ergonomically correct, developed by a physician, and recommended by many occupational therapists. A larger percentage of the grip is in contact with writers' skin than with other grips. It has soft contours.

The pictures above show how the thumb sits on the flat part of the grip while the other fingers are cushioned are the softer curves.

Advantages of The Pencil Grip

Disadvantages of The Pencil Grip

The Crossover Pencil Grips

Crossover Pencil Grips
Crossover Grip is in the Speciality Pack AND The Favorite Five Pack

This is very similar to THE Ergonomic Pencil Grip (above) but has an additional band across the top. Students tuck their thumb and pointer finger under the band. This gives extra security in preventing their fingers from slipping out of position and reinforcing the tripod pencil grasp.

How to use Crossover Pencil Grip
Advantages of the Crossover Pencil Grips

Disadvantages of the Crossover Pencil Grips

Grotto Pencil Grips

Grotto Pencil Grips
The Grotto Grip is in the Specialty Pack

The grotto pencil grips are soft grips with multiple angles and curves in an interesting shape. It fosters an "o" shape between the thumb and index finger as well as a relaxed grip on the pencil.

Grotto Pencil Grips Advantages of the Grotto Pencil Grips

Disadvantages of the Grotto Pencil Grips

Crossover Pencil Grip vs Grotto Grip

I am often asked what is the difference between the two. The answer: not a lot. They both serve primarily the same purpose but are made by different companies.

The Crossover grip is made by the same company as The Ergonomic Grip and has the same soft cushy comfort. The Grotto grip is more flexible than the rigid plastic of the Stetro and Solo grips, but not quite as cushy as the Crossover.

The Grotto grip is more angular with a deeper pocket for the thumb so it may be more effective for those whose thumbs are so determined to cross the center line.

Like many similar products, people have their preferences between these two but both serve the primary purpose of keeping the thumb from crossing over the pointer finger.

The Pinch Grip

Pinch Pencil Grips
The Pinch Grip is in the Specialty Pack

The Pinch Grip is another soft grip made by the same company that makes the ergonomic and crossover grips. It has the same soft, cushioned texture. It does not have the band that prevents thumb wrapping. Instead, the front of the grip comes to a triangular shape that promotes the tripod grasp. Advantages of the Pinch Grips
Disadvantages of the Pinch Pencil Grips

Bumpy Pencil Grip

Bumpy Pencil Grips
The Bumpy Grip is in the Specialty Pack

We debated if this grip should go in the specialty grips section or the textured grips section. It really belongs in both.

The Bumpy grip is made by the same group that makes The Ergonomic Grip (and Crossover) so it has the same comfortable feel. It is also similar to the Triangle grips (described in Easy Grips at the top of this page) so it could go in THAT category as well. We have included it with our specialty grips for the reasons listed below. Advantages of the Bumpy Grips
Disadvantages of the Pinch Pencil Grips

Therapeutic Grips

Now we come to the group of grips we label therapeutic (although all of them are therapeutic to some extent.) These are a more expensive set of grips that are intended to meet specific problems that the easy grips or specialty grips did not solve.

In addition to being more expensive, these are also more conspicuous devices that might make some students more self-concious using.

The Claw

The Claw Pencil Grips
The Claw is Included in the Therapeutic Pack AND the Favorite Five Pack

What an awesome name for a pencil grip, but once you have seen it you will agree that it is well named. The Claw pencil grips are made of three small, flexible cups that the fingers fit into. In the middle is a space to place the pencil, pen, marker or crayon. The cups ensure that the fingers stay in the tripod hold the entire time the instrument is held. While any child who struggles to maintain the tripod grasp would benefit from this device, it is particularly valuable for those with weak muscles or hand disabilities.

It comes in three sizes:

The Claw Pencil Grip The Claw Pencil Grip

Advantages of the Claw Pencil Grips

Disadvantages of the Claw Pencil Grips

Egg Oh

Egg OhPencil Grips
The Egg Oh Pencil Grip is included in the Therapeutic Pack

When it comes to pencil grips, the Egg Oh is a horse of a different color (speaking of which, it only comes in two colors.) It is shaped like an egg and is made of a spongy-like material. It does not promote the tripod hold specifically. However, it is a first grip for those students whose pencil-hold is seriously wrong (like those who grasp it with their full fist.)

How to Hold the Egg Oh Grip

Advantages of the Egg Oh Pencil Grip

Disadvantages of Egg Oh Pencil Grips


Handiwriter Pencil Grip

The HandWriter is a completely different design from pencil grips. This is a knit band that students wear around the wrist. The pencil or writing instrument is inserted in a small loop and held in the correct position. A small charm is held against the palm by the fourth and fifth finger. The effect is to pull the fingers into the tripod grasp.

Besides the unique design, another feature of this tool that differs from pencil grips is the focus on the angle of the pencil. If a student's grasp causes the writing instrument to project at a different angle, this may be the best tool for correcting their problem.

Handiwriter Grip in use Handiwriter Grip in use

Particularly helpful for left-handed students, the same tool came be used by either left or right handed writers. If corrects the problem of left-handed writers who smudge their letters while writing.

How to use the handiwriter

Advantages of the Handiwriter

Disadvantages of the Handiwriter

Twist N Write

Twist N Write Pencil How to Use Twist N Write

The Twist N Write is not a pencil grip but a specially designed pencil that places the kids' fingers into the tripod hold. It is made by the makers of Pen Again, a similar tool with ink instead of pencil lead.

Advantages of Twist N Write
Disadvantages of Twist N Write

Textured Pencil Grips

In this class there are a wide range of pencil grips made by numerous companies. These are not therapeutic per se, and do not help to correct writing problems such as poor grasp. They make holding the pencil more comfortable. In addition, the assortment of colors and shapes are fun to many students. Pencil grip collection anyone?

Some students who benefit from sensory stimulation have enjoyed using pencils grips, and when no longer needed may still prefer the softer more comfortable feel of soft pencil grips than wooden pencils. They may "graduate" to these textured pencil grips which give them a wide variety of choices, usually for little cost.

Advantages of Textured Pencil Grips
< Disadvantages of Textured Pencil Grips
Foam Pencil Grips Gel Pencil Grips Other options
Fuzzy, furry, spikey, slimey, gooey, glittery, flashing
You name it, someone has probably made it.

Get a Grip Pack

You may have noticed that it gets fairly pricey to buy pencil grips - particularly if you don't know which grip you need. We have four packs to help you.

Easy Grip Pack

Easy Grip Pack
Easy Grip Pack
This includes one each of the following grips:

Specialty Grip Pack

Speciality Pencil Grip Pack
Specialty Grip Pack
The Specialty Pencil Grip Pack includes one each of these (pictured left to right):

Therapeutic Grip Pack

Therapeutic Pencil Grips
Therapeutic Grip Pack
The Therapeutic Grip Pack includes one of each of these:

Favorite Five Grip Pack

5 different pencil grips
Favorite Five Pack
Our Favorite 5 Pack allows you to purchase five of our most popular pencil grips.

The five are (from left to right in the picture):
  • The Claw Pencil Grip (medium - age 5 to 12)
  • The Stetro Pencil Grip
  • The Crossover Pencil Grip
  • THE Ergonomic Pencil Grip
  • The Triangle Grip

Tripod Hold: Correct Technique for Holding A Pencil

Stetro Pencil Grip The tripod hold is the standard method for holding a pencil. We use the term "tripod hold" rather than "tripod grip" to distinguish that the tripod refers to a technique, not a grip that can be put on a pencil.

The thumb and second and third finger form a tripod. The pencil is actually grasped between the second and third fingers. The thumb rests against the side of the pencil, touching the other two fingers.

As the point of the pencil touches the paper, the side of the wrist and the side of the fifth finger are resting on the paper or desk.

The first finger (pointer finger) and thumb make a slightly irregular shaped circle. The other end of the pencil comes out of the circle and rests near the knuckle at the base of the pointer finger.

Got all that? I suggest you re-read those directions while holding a pen or pencil in your hand, to make it more comprehensible and to verify that you are using the correct pencil grip technique yourself.

It should also be noted that when a person writes, the muscles of the pointer finger move the pencil downward while the muscles of the third finger move it upward. The thumb acts as a fulcrum and keeps the pencil in place as it moves up and down with the strokes.

Pencil grips help students who are struggling to hold their pencil correctly. We have listed these from the easiest to use (and generally the least expensive), to the more advanced and expensive grips used to correct specific problems. Like all reviews, this comparison of pencil grips has some generalizations. Certain individuals will find other products fit their situation better.

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