Erasable pens aren’t as common as they should be. These writing instruments have come a long way in recent years and now offer both very good writing experience and legibility, while leaving almost no mark at all on the paper. If you haven’t used an erasable pen recently, you should pick one up soon.
This article will review the best erasable pens available today. The pens all use replaceable refills, so in finding the best pen, we’ll in turn know the best erasable pen refill.
Best Erasable Pens On Video
Prefer to see a video? This is one we made before this year, but it’s still quite helpful — and entirely accurate. It’ll give you a good idea of what these pens look like in action.
The Best Erasable Pens
And here are Unsharpen’s picks for the best erasable pens. We’ll break this one big category down into more approachable sub-categories so you can get exactly the pen you want.
Best Overall: Pilot Frixion Retractable Gel Pen
If you want the best erasable pen, then you want a retractable Pilot Frixon (pictured at the top). In the US this gel pen is sold as the Frixion Ball Clicker Erasable but in Japan it’s the Pilot Frixion Ball Knock. It’s the same pen with slightly different packaging, so don’t worry which one you buy.
This pen is comfortable, highly available, and enjoyable to use. The blue and black inks are smooth flowing and quite erasable. These are definitely not the erasable pens of yesteryear, which had dull colors and ink that was easy to smudge and came out of to pen in globs.
Yes, upon inspection, the Frixion ink can be differentiated from normal pen ink, but it’s quite close and it’s more than good enough. The blues are a bit less vibrant and the black isn’t quite as black as you’d expect with a great gel pen but these are definitely good enough for everyday use.
Best Design: Uni-ball R:E+ Pen Set
Uni has used its erasable R:E family of pens as a showcase for its design acumen. Why? We have no idea… but we like it.
The coolest of all the designs Uni has released is the R:E+ which is a 3-pen set in a holder. The holder has a small button you press which pops the pens out of their secure storage mode and makes them accessible. When you have chosen the pen you want, you push the others securely back in the case. It’s a fun design that looks great and keeps your three R:E erasable pens together.
Most Erasable: Pilot Frixion Ink
When you want erasability, then you want Pilot’s Frixion ink. This ink is smooth writing, it’s no “globby” like the erasable inks of yesteryear, and it erases quite well. It also has good legibility, with relatively strong blue and black colors. Older erasable pens features dull blues and black colors that were more like a grey. These were hard to read and not fun to use.
Sadly Uni’s R:E line suffers from the same issues still and doesn’t have the strong colors of Pilot.
The video above clearly shows why we think Pilot’s Frixion ink is the best erasable pen ink sold today.
Best Executive Erasable Pen: Pilot Frixion Biz Knock
An executive pen uses the same refill and design cues as its non-executive counterpart but has a metal body and usually other upgraded components, for instance the clip.
The Frixion Biz Knock is just such an executive pen, utilizing standard Frixion refills but in a high-end pen body. The pen is larger, heavier, and more comfortable than a standard Frixion Knock or Ball Clicker. It’s also much classier looking, with a matte black color scheme (grey, navy, and other colors are available too), considerably less branding the pen, and a concealed eraser. The overall effect is a pen that is erasable, but it’s ready for office use and look like an expensive you’d bring to work. Not bad for about $25!
If you want something lighter and thinner, there is also the Frixion Ball Slim Biz, which is the executive version of the Slim family of Frixion pens. These are much skinner and lighter than the normal pens, which is great for storing them in notebook or bag, but means they aren’t as comfortable for longer writing sessions.
Best Erasable Pen Refill
As you might expect at this point, Pilot is the runaway winner when it comes to erasable pen quality, largely due to their excellent ink. This means that the best erasable pen refill is from Pilot, specifically the Pilot Frixion Ball Gel refill.
This refill is sold in a wide array of colors, with black generally being the best performer and blue a close second.
We’d recommend this refill in the 0.5 mm size for a nice blend of smoothness and legibility, but the 0.4 mm size is quite good too. You can size up to the 0.7 mm if you want bolder lines and added smoothness, but the marks left on the paper after erasing will be more noticeable.
Who Else Makes Erasable Pens?
The field here is clearly limited, but companies besides Pilot and Uni-ball do make erasable pens. Some of these include…
- PaperMate (the Erasermate line)
And not many others, it’s a disappointingly small field of manufacturers today, with Pilot (seemingly) being far in the lead in the US and Europe.