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Between schools switching back to in-person learning and offices starting to open up again, many individuals are gearing up to return to normal in some capacity. And though back-to-school shopping lists might look a little bit different this year — with recommendations for things like KN95 masks and at-home Covid tests — kids will still need essentials like backpacks and lunch boxes. Another important item on that back-to-school list is a pencil case — though it can sometimes feel like an afterthought, a pencil case can help your child keep their smaller writing utensils and stationary items in one safe place. College students — especially art students and those who prefer to take notes by hand — can also benefit from using a pencil case instead of haphazardly throwing their pens and pencils into their bags. Below, we rounded up some top-rated pen and pencil cases for students and professionals of all ages.
A good option for those who like to have options, this case from EASTHILL can hold up to 50 pens or 90 pencils, according to the brand. Additionally, it has a zippered mesh pocket where you can store small items like tape and erasers, and the canvas bag is big enough to hold most scissors, rulers and basic calculators. It comes in nine colors and has a 4.7-star average rating from nearly 17,000 reviews on Amazon.
With a shiny mermaid scale print and a name personalization option that makes it easy to keep track of, this pencil case will please both parent and child. If your little one might prefer a different print, the Etsy shop offers several other options, including rainbows and trains. The mermaid scale case has a 4.9-star average rating from more than 2,500 reviews on Etsy.
If you’re looking to save space in your bag, consider investing in a pencil holder that sits inside your binder. This one from Staples is punched with three metal-enforced holes to fit in most binders, and it has both a larger pocket for pencils and pens and a smaller mesh pocket for quick access to erasers, highlighters and more. The pencil pouch boasts a 4.5-star average rating from more than 150 reviews at Staples.
This adorable bubble tea-shaped pencil case comes with two small handles that you can use to move the top of the bag up and down and easily access your pens, highlighter and erasers. It’s designed to stand on its own, so when you sit down for class, you can prop it up on your desk just like you would at home. It has a 4.7-star average rating from more than 200 reviews on Amazon.
Equipped with a carrying handle to make transportation easier, this sleek pencil case from Herschel is a good option for students and professionals returning to the office. Not only does it come in 25 colors, but Herschel also offers a discount if you create a bundle with the Heritage Youth Backpack and Pop Quiz Lunch Box. The Settlement Case has a 4.7-star average rating from more than 100 reviews at Herschel.
Though this pencil case is a bit bulkier than the other options on the list, it also offers more security thanks to its built-in key lock. It’s reinforced with aluminum and has steel corners, which makes it hard to break and hard to break into. It’s available in several patterns, including Embossed Sharks and 3D Butterflies, and has a 4.6-star average rating from more than 4,400 reviews on Amazon.
If you’re looking for something that’s simple but stylish, consider this leather pencil case from GratitudeNotebook. Available in six colors, the compact case can hold up to 15 pens, according to the brand. The case has a 5-star rating from more than 1,800 reviews on Etsy.
With the ability to hold up to 60 pens and pencils, this machine-washable pencil box from ZIPIT is both fun and functional. Each box features a fun monster-like “wildling” design, and if you register the product on the ZIPIT website, any manufacturer defects will be covered with a lifetime warranty. The kids pencil box has a 4.8-star average rating from more than 1,300 reviews on Amazon.
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Morgan Greenwald is the SEO editor of Select on NBC News.
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