Black erasers

Black erasers

There was a question about how the PaperMate Exam Standard compared to other black erasers, so I thought I’d try a small side by side comparison.

Black erasers

As was done with previous eraser tests, the Staedtler Mars Lumograph 100 and a Rhodia pad were used as our reference pencil and paper.

Black erasers

I also added in Pentel Ain 2B 0.7mm mechanical pencil lead for comparison.

Black erasers

The erasers tested were:

  • PaperMate Exam Standard
  • Factis Black 18
  • Seed Kesu Gomu
  • Faber-Castell 7089-20
  • Mitsubishi Boxy EP-60BX
  • Some black erasers I’m aware of that I don’t have are the Papermate Black Pearl, Carta Pura, and Stabilo Exam Grade.

    So what is the raison d’être of these erasers? I don’t really know. The only one I’ve generally seen at retail in Canada is the Factis. I heard it suggested that charcoal erasure is the purpose of black erasers. How do they differ from a standard white vinyl eraser? Here, I know even less. It is entirely possible that they are just dyed standard erasers.

    Black erasers

    Basically, I thought they would be alike – but testing exposed some differences.

    Black erasers

    First, the polymer Ain lead erased better than the ceramic Staedler lead, which is consistent with previous findings.

    Second – picking the winner was tougher than picking the loser. Two were notably worse at erasure – the Kesu Gomu and the Faber-Castell, the Faber-Castell being the worst.

    The winner is, to my eye, the Boxy, though the Papermate and Factis also did extremely well.

    My general impression is that the erasers are on the softer, gentler side.

    A couple of notes about the erasers –

    I don’t find the Exam Standard officially acknowledged on Papermate’s website. It shipped in a blister pack of three, and the erasers are wrapped in paper sleeves.

    Factis is based in Girona, Spain. The eraser has a cellophane band, and is the only eraser with markings.

    The Kesu Gomu is from Seed of Japan. It is a delightful eraser, and some great photos can be seen at Lexikaliker. I am not sure if it is meant to be a novelty eraser, but I am treating it as if meant for duty.

    The Faber-Castell has rounded edges which are called a “comfort feature”. Interesting, as many erasers tout their sharp edges as a feature.

    The Boxy has an unusual square cross-section.

    Black erasers

    I thought I was done, but decided on one more challenge – to investigate the charcoal erasure function.

    Black erasers

    Black erasers

    I tried both a charcoal pencil and willow charcoal on a Fabriano journal. As one would expect, the natural charcoal erased much more easily than the compressed charcoal in the pencil. Yet, the charcoal marks don’t really erase.

    14 Replies to “Black erasers”

    1. Another thorough and informative review with a useful products comparison. I have a black Factis laying around somewhere, but is used just as cushioning in my mechanical pencils case. The Boxy eraser is my current choice for my graphite pencil sketching case. I thought that black erasers were made, so that they wouldn’t show the smudges and stray graphite marks on their surface.

    2. Would you be interested in a pair of Black Pearls? It’s the least I could do for you! They’re one of my favorite erasers, although I haven’t put them to rigorous comparative testing!

    3. I only discovered black erasers recently. They seemed odd until I tried them; now they’re my favorites. I have the Factis and the Boxy. I also have the Black Pearl and am very impressed with it; this surprised me since I do not find the Pink Pearl or White Pearl at all effective.

    4. Alberto, thanks for your comment. I think we don’t really have too much information from the manufacturers. My curiosity remains!

      Diane – thank you! I will kindly accept if you agree to make no unusual effort and don’t inconvenience yourself.

      Susan, thanks for your comment. The Pearl family seems ready for further market expansion.

    5. Thank you for the detailed and interesting review. I can confirm your rating of the Boxy – it is one of my favourites among black erasers.

    6. I bought a black Milan eraser a week ago. It’s good but doesn’t feel as good as the Milan 4020 eraser or Faber’s Ocean/Sleeve/7070-40 erasers.

    7. It’s a shame you didn’t get to try the Stabilo Exam Grade black eraser. It is my current favourite …. better than the Staedtler ones IMHO.

    8. I realized that JetPens carries the Boxy. It’s so cute. I do like it, as well as the Black Pearl. I think they’re my two favorites now.

    9. I agree with Diane and Susan, I love the Black Pearl eraser too. It is my first black eraser so I would love to see a follow-up article comparing the Black Pearl to these black erasers. I’d like to know how it fares in comparison.

    10. I think black erasers are in part meant to make fine bits of the eraser easier to notice against paper so you dont miss them when dusting off.

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