Paper World

The Best Pencil Eraser

Answer of the Week

I am a fan of mechanical pencils, but continue to be underwhelmed with the minuscule erasers they provide with them (almost as if they expect you not to make a mistake?). I’m tired of buying overpriced refills, and am more interested in finding something that could be used in addition to the pencil.

What’s the best pencil eraser out there? Are there significant differences amongst the materials?

– oliver h

Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser - Color: White.jpegMars plastic erasers are the best. Abrasive erasers tear up the paper surface too much, and unless you have mastered pressing really hard without breaking the lead a mechanical pencil doesn’t draw that deep anyway.

The plastic erasers can also be cleaned with a wet thumb or a rub on scrap paper for neat work. I always find the “gritty” or “gummy” erasers get so dirty you spend half your time rubbing out their own mess. The Mars compound is stiff enough that corners can be used for fine work, or large areas erased with the flat end. The dirty, used portions just roll off as you use it and are cleanly blown/swiped away. I like the idea of putty/moldable erasers, but they get filthy, crumbly and horrible if kept in a pocket or bag.

-- Alan 07/17/11

(I have since ordered a pack of the Mars erasers, and they really are the smoothest and most effective eraser. I can't imagine I'll need another for a few years as long as I can avoid losing them.--OH — editors)