Artists, DIY enthusiasts, students, and office workers use pencils and other writing and drawing instruments on a daily basis, for both creative and utilitarian purposes. But everyone occasionally needs a do-over. When it’s time to remove markings from paper or other surfaces, the right eraser depends on the particular situation.
Different kinds of erasers, made from disparate materials and available in varying shapes and sizes, serve distinct purposes. When you need to remove the markings made by graphite pencils, charcoal sticks, ballpoint pens, or colored pencils, consider the eraser type, ease of use, and other factors to find a suitable choice. Along with a reliable pencil sharpener and a stockpile of pencils and drawing utensils, be sure to have an ample supply of the best eraser for your art and DIY project needs.
- BEST OVERALL: STAEDTLER Mars Plastic, Premium Quality Vinyl Eraser
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Pentel Hi-Polymer Block Eraser, Large, Pack of 10
- BEST FOR COLORED PENCILS: Tombow 67304 MONO Sand Eraser, 2-Pack. Silica Eraser
- BEST FOR CHARCOAL: Faber-Castell Erasers – Drawing Art kneaded Erasers
- BEST FOR ARTISTS: Sanford 2-PACK – Prismacolor Premier Eraser Set
- BEST FOR STUDENTS: Mr. Pen Pink Pencil Erasers, Large, Pack of 12
- BEST FUN SHAPES: OHill Pack of 46 Pencil Erasers for Kids Pull Apart
- BEST PENCIL-TOP: Paper Mate 73015 Arrowhead Pink Pearl Cap Erasers
What to Consider When Buying the Best Eraser
Erasers come in a variety of forms and materials, and often are intended for distinct uses. The most common use for erasers is to remove the markings of graphite pencils from paper, but that’s far from the only purpose that erasers serve.
Different types of erasers are available in multiple sizes and shapes to ensure their functionality and ease of use. Read on for important information to consider before buying the best eraser for home, office, school, or art, and DIY projects.
The purpose of any eraser is simple: to remove markings from paper and other surfaces. However, those markings can vary widely in their composition, depending on the writing/drawing instruments that made them. Graphite pencils, charcoal sticks, and colored pencils leave different markings that require different types of erasers for clean removal:
- Natural rubber erasers are seldom used today. They are slightly abrasive and leave dust behind, plus they have a tendency to dry out over time.
- Synthetic rubber erasers are made of plastic compounds. They are available at cheaper prices and leave behind less dust than natural rubber erasers.
- Gum erasers are used widely by sketching artists. Generally made of synthetic rubber, these exceptionally soft erasers do not damage paper or other surfaces, although they crumble when used.
- Kneaded erasers are favored by artists for blending and for precise erasures in small areas. Made of extremely pliable, putty-like materials, they can mold into nearly any shape.
- Silica/sand erasers are abrasive enough to remove ink and colored pencil markings. However, their abrasive texture can damage paper.
- Vinyl/plastic/polymer erasers do not dry out, produce minimal wear on paper, and leave behind the least possible dust.
Size and Shape
Many erasers feature a rectangular-prism (cuboid) shape. Essentially, these are rectangular blocks offering right-angle corners for erasures in small spaces and flat sides for removing marks in larger areas. These rectangular-block erasers are available in large and small sizes, ranging from around 2.25 by 1 by 0.4 inches for small erasers to 2.5 by 7 by 0.5 inches for larger ones.
Artists can shape soft and pliable kneaded erasers as needed for blending, removing markings, and cleaning up the edges of their artwork. When shaped into narrow points, kneaded erasers facilitate precise erasures from tiny areas on the paper. Kneaded into larger shapes, they remove markings from large areas.
Pencil-top erasers provide convenience, since they attach to the cap of a pencil and remain within immediate reach of the user. Most pencil-top erasers feature narrow angles for precise erasures as well as flat faces for erasing in larger areas. Colorful and fun-shaped erasers for children fulfill both useful and entertainment purposes. The available shapes include animals, food items, and emojis.
Eraser Sleeves and Cases
Eraser sleeves and cases protect and preserve erasers for long-term use. Some plastic, polymer, and vinyl choices feature tight-fitting, sliding sleeves. As the erasers wear down over time, users can slide the sleeves to reveal clean, unused surfaces. Meantime, the sleeves protect the erasers from damage, dirt, and smudges. To safeguard the longevity of erasers, users should not unwrap or remove the sleeves of newly purchased ones until it’s time to use them.
Artists frequently use kneaded erasers. Made from extra-soft, synthetic rubber, they are available in plastic storage cases. These protective coverings keep the erasers from drying out and becoming hard. To keep kneaded erasers pliable, artists can return them to their plastic cases after every use, prolonging their serviceable life.
Ease of Use
Companies create individual types of erasers to remove specific types of markings. To remove markings from graphite pencils, charcoal, pastels, colored pencils, or ink, each user can select the most appropriate type of eraser to make the job easier.
Erasers made of vinyl/plastic/polymer offer easy removal of the markings from graphite pencils. These are the everyday pencils used by students, office workers, and handy DIYers. Vinyl erasers are simple to use because they remove marks cleanly without leaving behind dust or smudges.
Other types of erasers, such as art gum and silica types, are not so easy to use. Art gum erasers crumble on the surface, leaving behind erasure dust that the user must whisk from the surface. Silica erasers exert wear and tear on the paper, requiring more care. Although they are not as easy to use as plastic erasers, silica types perform certain distinct functions that are especially valuable in the art world.
Our Top Picks
Artists, DIYers, students, and everyday users have different eraser needs, and the erasers below have been chosen to suit those assorted situations. The list includes erasers made from vinyl polymer, synthetic and natural rubber, as well as abrasive silica.
This 4-pack of premium-quality STAEDTLER white, vinyl erasers offers reliable value and first-rate performance. A cellophane package surrounds each vinyl eraser for protection, and each one features a handy, sliding sleeve to keep the eraser clean throughout its usable lifetime.
STAEDTLER Mars erasers remove graphite pencil marks cleanly from paper, vellum, drafting film, and other surfaces. They do not discolor the paper and leave minimal crumbs behind on artwork and documents. With their rectangular-prism shapes, these erasers feature sharp corners for erasing tiny markings in tight spaces. Additionally, they contain no phthalate or latex and follow the company’s eco-friendly policies.
Pentel offers its premium-quality polymer erasers in a 10-pack for an economical price. These soft, white, polymer-synthetic erasers remove graphite pencil marks completely, leaving behind no smudges, dust, or ghost markings. Because they can erase cleanly with very little pressure, users do not damage their paper or other writing and drawing surfaces as they remove markings.
The material in these erasers remains soft and does not harden or crack with age. Each eraser features a protective, sliding sleeve to keep it clean and soft even after repeated usage. The rectangular-block shape facilitates cleaning marks in both large and small areas.
The Tombow 67304 MONO Sand erasers consist of natural rubber latex (made from the sap of rubber trees) along with natural silica (sand) grit. Because of their abrasive texture, the erasers remove markings from colored pencils and graphite (lead) pencils.
These abrasive erasers also remove the stubborn markings made by the ink from ballpoint pens, rollerball pens, and some felt-tip markers. Colored markings from watercolor brush-pens are no match for these erasers either. Artists use silica erasers to create artwork highlights through the subtle removal of color from strategic spots in their paintings and drawings.
For added value, environmentally conscious shoppers can rest assured that the materials in the erasers are natural and sourced via environmentally sustainable processes.
Every artist knows the importance of high-quality tools in the pursuit of artistic expression. For those who work with charcoal, drawing pencils, or pastels, these kneaded rubber erasers from Faber-Castell offer superb quality and performance.
Each putty-like, rubber eraser is soft and pliable, so users can shape them depending on the erasure task. These erasers can achieve highlights in areas of charcoal, pastel, or pencil drawings. They also work well for cleaning up edges, final touch-ups, and removing markings from paper and other surfaces.
Available in a 4-pack, each included eraser sits in its own plastic storage case. Store them in their cases after each use to keep the erasers soft and kneadable.
Prismacolor offers this Sanford 2-pack that provides versatility for artists working with multiple types of media and materials. Each set features three different types of erasers, including kneaded rubber, ArtGum, and latex-free plastic. The 2-pack contains a total of six erasers.
Artists can easily mold the kneaded rubber erasers into their desired shape, facilitating the clean removal of markings from surface areas of various sizes. The ArtGum erasers can make quick work of cleaning up marks from dry media and graphite pencils. Plastic, latex-free erasers round out the set, yielding clean erasures with minimal residual mess.
For added convenience, artists can use these erasers on most surfaces. They effectively remove markings from India ink, pastels, chalk, and more.
These handheld Mr. Pen erasers, in their iconic pink color, offer reliable value for students in schools, as well as for home and office users. Made from synthetic rubber, they erase cleanly without tearing or damaging paper. Students can use these durable erasers to make clean corrections on standardized test sheets, homework, and other schoolwork assignments.
Originally made from a mixture of rubber and pumice, pink erasers acquired their rosy hue from the pumice that was sourced for their manufacture. Today, the eraser material is synthetic rubber and contains no pumice. However, the company, which was founded by former teachers, retained their notable pink color. Each eraser in this 12-pack measures 2.25 by 1 by 0.4 inches.
Made from safe, nontoxic, latex-free material, the colorful OHill Pack of 46 mini erasers offers both entertainment and practicality for children. Each eraser features a food shape, rendered in vibrant colors. In addition to erasing pencil marks from school papers, these erasers disassemble to become 3D puzzles.
This 46-piece pack contains assorted food shapes, including desserts, cakes, vegetables, fruits, and ice creams. Since they are well suited for classroom rewards or party favors, children can enjoy collecting and playing with these erasers. After keeping their work clean, children can have fun putting the 3D eraser puzzles together.
Because these erasers come apart into small pieces, they could pose a choking hazard for babies and toddlers. Keep them away from very young children who might put small objects into their mouths.
Eliminating the task of searching for an eraser when the need arises, these Paper Mate 73015 Arrowhead pink pearl cap erasers fit snugly atop pencils and resist slipping during use. For students, office workers, serious artists, and anyone who writes in pencil, these pencil-top erasers offer convenience and dependable performance.
Made from high-quality, pliable rubber, these erasers remove pencil marks completely, without smudging or damaging the paper. Their design features narrow edges as well as flat surfaces to clean both small and large areas effectively.
For ultimate convenience, an eraser located on the top of a pencil saves time and energy when taking notes, writing lists, completing school assignments, and more.
FAQs About Erasers
Most erasers remove markings made by pencils and other writing/drawing instruments, though different types of erasers can fulfill an assortment of needs. Read on for some answers to common questions about erasers.
Q. What makes a good eraser?
A good eraser removes markings cleanly and completely without leaving smudges and without damaging the paper or other writing or drawing surface.
Q. How many types of erasers are there?
Five types of erasers fill the needs of most students, writers, and artists: natural rubber, synthetic rubber, gum, kneaded, and vinyl/plastic/polymer erasers.
Q. How long does an eraser last?
The longevity of an eraser depends on its size and on how frequently it is used. Erasers that come with sliding sleeves or plastic storage cases should be stored in those protective containers to help them last longer.