We all have memories of our elementary school days, using gummy pink erasers—that rubbery smell that lingered on our fingers, the inevitable pink smear and occasional hole in our math homework, and red faces from frantically blowing wads of blackened pink residue. Erasers have come a long way since then, especially with the advent of plastic erasers and the revamp of the formula in rubber erasers. How do erasers work exactly? Eraser molecules are "stickier" than paper molecules and thus are able to lift graphite (what pencil lead is made of) from the paper.
With hundreds of erasers on our website, we know the magic of a good eraser. Whether you're an eraser expert or not yet convinced that erasers warrant so much attention, this article will shed some light on why having a good eraser can change your life.
There are many things to consider when you're picking out an eraser. Here are some of the things we looked into as we were testing our erasers:
- Erasability. Counting the number of strokes an eraser makes should not be like counting sheep. A good eraser should lift graphite with the lightest of touches without smudging or smearing.
- Paper trauma. There's nothing more embarrassing than handing in a piece of work with a bunch of holes in it! An eraser should treat paper nicely. No matter how hard or how much you rub, the paper should stay hole-less.
- Residual mess. No one wants to have a mountain of eraser bits after finishing a big test! Nor do you want a bunch of eraser dust stuck to your paper. The ideal leftover residue from an eraser clumps together and is easily brushed or blown away.
- Lifetime. It's the worst feeling in the world to have a brand new eraser not even last through one big project. Look for an eraser that doesn't wear down too quickly.
These are all things to keep in mind as you read through our favorite picks.
This plastic eraser is the most popular on JetPens and for good reason. Its small, rectangular shape is easy to hold and control, and its black color means that the eraser never looks dirty! Appearance aside, this eraser erases incredibly well with very little mess. The residue from the eraser sticks together in thin strips for easy cleanup. If you're looking for an all-purpose, no fuss, no frills eraser, this is it!
Also consider: Pentel Hi-Polymer Ain Eraser - Small - Black
Softer, with a bit more give than the Uni Boxy Eraser, this classic white eraser is gentle on paper, yet erases completely. Aptly dubbed as a "Dust Gathering" eraser, it really does clump the residual dust and eraser bits into small round balls that are easily blown or brushed away. One thing to note is that the eraser itself is dusty to the touch, so we wouldn't tear the packaging off this one until absolutely necessary.
This foam eraser is designed to minimize the mess from an eraser while erasing at the slightest touch! The technology behind this plastic "foam" allows the residue from the eraser to clump together into little strips. It's gentle on your paper and produces little mess! A similar option is the Sakura Arch Foam Eraser, which features a break-resistant design. We love the unique arched sleeve that reduces the bend of the eraser, contributing to its break-resistance.
Also consider: Pilot Foam Eraser
This eraser is "light erasing," meaning that however lightly you touch the eraser to your paper, it will have an effect on your pencil marks. We found that this is true. A slight touch will lift some graphite from the paper, but not all, so it's perfect for fading. If maneuvered in a certain way, this eraser can also smudge the graphite. For some artists, this is an invaluable asset. If you're not happy with the smudging, the eraser can erase it cleanly with additional rubbing.
Also consider: Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser
Also known as an "erasil," this plastic eraser is in the shape of a pen, so you have complete control over what you erase. This is the preferred eraser of a lot of the artists we've interviewed on the blog, because of it's extremely small size and its ability to erase well. It allows you to precisely pinpoint even the tiniest mistake and remove it completely. Its compact form factor means it will fit easily into your pen case like a pencil so you can take it wherever you go.
We're kicking it up a notch with this recommendation! This eraser is battery-powered and vibrates in a spinning motion over the graphite to lift it from the paper. A good amount of dust forms due to the vibration, but this is easily blown or brushed away. Extremely gentle on paper and meticulously exact, this is a must-have for any artist! Because it is battery-powered, it is clunkier than the sleek Tombow Mono Zero Precision Eraser, making it more difficult to carry around.
This "erasil," though not as small as the Tombow we mentioned earlier, is for the student who wants a little more precision over what he's erasing. It's roughly the size of a regular ballpoint pen, so it's easy to hold and intuitive to use. The eraser is small enough to erase between the lines of graph and ruled paper and its round shape helps you to control where you're erasing. We did find that the dust from this eraser stuck to the paper, so be careful when you're brushing it off--you don't want to smudge your work!
Also consider: Pentel Ain Clic Knock Triangular Eraser with Clip
Different types of paper have different line spacing and sizes, and this star-shaped eraser was designed to combat that! The numbers at the end of the eraser represent the size in millimeters. From graph paper to lined paper, you can find a shape that will let you erase what you need to erase without disturbing the other sections. Though the idea is innovative, it did take a little longer to erase using the back and forth motion that's necessary when erasing an exact line. Because of that, the corners tend to wear down pretty quickly. Nevertheless, this is a good tool for students who need flexibility in their eraser.
If a no. 2/HB pencil isn't dark enough, but you're at your wits end trying to find an eraser that will erase darker leads, never fear: the Kokuyo Campus Student Eraser 2B is here! Erasing HB graphite with extreme ease, this eraser is specifically made to erase 2B graphite. It takes longer to erase completely, but when it does, it's incredibly clean. Eraser bits are left behind as easy-to-clean, easy-to-blow thin strips, so don't worry about a messy workspace.
These wildly popular erasers need no introduction. Coming in a variety of shapes such as animals and food, the Iwako Novelty erasers are truly the epitome of the Japanese word for cute, "kawaii." Can these cute erasers really erase? The answer is yes! They're not as effective as our favorite Uni Boxy Eraser, but with a little bit of patience, you can get a clean erase from these kawaii erasers. On the flip side, do you really want to use them as erasers?
This funky looking eraser is actually very practical! With 28 corners in one eraser, you never have to worry about running out of a corner to get at those tiny, hard to reach spots. While we were testing this eraser, we noticed the corners wore down rather quickly though, and the eraser was more effective after the corner had worn down. However, it erases cleanly with no smearing, and even when worn, the area it covers is still quite small.
All of our plastic erasers are made from U.S. government approved materials, but for the person who is extra conscious about being eco-friendly, this rubber eraser is the answer. This isn't your ordinary pink rubber eraser--the updated formula uses a special rubber that mimics the characteristics of the aforementioned plastic erasers. It takes a little more rubbing and the residue sticks onto the eraser itself instead of cleanly coming off, but it erases without any smearing. This one is dusty to the touch, so keep that packaging on!
The good thing about erasers is that they're fairly inexpensive, so you can experiment with different ones to find out what is best for you, or have several for different purposes. Never underestimate the power of a good eraser! It can mean the difference between an A and a B grade, a framed work of art or a crumbled piece of paper, or a stunning presentation and a haphazard mess.
We hope you found this article useful and maybe even learned a few things you didn't know about erasers. Do you have any eraser recommendations or questions? Share with us in the comments below and be sure to check out the Eraser Category of our website!
|Model||Type||Erasability||Residual Mess||Lifetime||Best For|
|Uni Boxy Eraser||Block||High||Thin strips||High||General Use|
|Pentel Hi-Polymer Ain Eraser - Black||Block||High||Thin Strips||High||General Use|
|Pentel Hi-Polymer Ain Eraser - Dust-Gathering||Block||High||Clumps dust together; dusty to touch||High||General Use|
|Sakura Foam Eraser - W80||Block||High||Thin clumps||High||General Use|
|Sakura Arch Foam Eraser||Block||High||Thin clumps||High||General Use|
|Pilot Foam Eraser||Block||High||Clumps dust together; dusty to touch||High||General Use|
|Pentel Hi-Polymer Ain Eraser - Light Erasing||Block||High||Clumps dust together; smears slightly||High||Artist|
|Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser||Block||Medium||Small clumps; smears||High||Artist|
|Tombow Mono Zero Eraser - 2.3 mm - Circle||Pencil||Medium, but precise||Short strips||High||Artist|
|Sun-Star Bode Electric Eraser||Pencil||High||Very dusty||High||Artist|
|Uni E-Knock Eraser||Pencil||High||Small clumps of dust||High||Student|
|Pentel Ain Clic Knock Triangular Eraser with Clip||Pencil||High||Small clumps of dust||High||Student|
|Kokuyo Miri 5-Function Eraser||5-Point Star Shape||Medium||Fat clumps||Low; wears quickly||Student|
|Kokuyo Campus Student Eraser - For 2B Lead||Block||High||Thin clumps||Medium||Student|
|Iwako Safari Animal Novelty 8 Piece Set||Novelty||Medium||Small pieces of dust||Medium||Kids|
|Kokuyo Kadokeshi 28 Corner Eraser||Novelty||High, after worn down||Fat clumps||Low; wears quickly||General Use|
|Tombow Mono NP Non-PVC Eraser||Block||Medium||Thin clumps||Medium||Eco-conscious|
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