Best Pencil Eraser

Types of Erasers – Exploring the Different Eraser Types

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We have all used a pencil at some time in our lives, as a kid scribbling on some paper, or a student at school, or during your working life. We all know that mistakes happen, but that does not mean that the mistake must become permanent. If you have a good quality pencil eraser, it can remove the mistake with ease from paper, canvas, or even from fabric. So, whether you are looking for a pencil eraser for your child, or you are an artist that needs something a bit more heavy-duty, we will help you choose the best pencil eraser that suits your purpose.



Exploring Types of Erasers

Before the eraser was invented, people made use of the pumice stone. This is formed after an explosive volcanic eruption occurs, and it is a type of solid foam. They even used crustless bread to remove their errors. The invention of rubber erasers dates back as far as the 1770s. Then in 1839, the process of vulcanization was developed, and more durable erasers were able to be manufactured.

Different Types of Erasers

It is a fact that not all erasers are formed or created equally, they come in many different types and materials, and all of them have their purpose and use. The standard pink eraser, which we all remember from our school days, is not very effective as it damages the paper, smears, and leaves hordes of crumbs behind. The professional artist that makes use of artist-grade drawing paper, or the person that uses a mechanical pencil, may need a special type of eraser that will effectively remove any mark that is made on a specific surface. We will now explain all the different types of erasers that are available and help you to choose the right one for you.


Kneaded or Putty Erasers

This type of eraser is just as the description describes; it needs to be kneaded before you can use it. These can come as very soft or rather stiff, which can make them difficult to knead. Their main property is that they are not abrasive. This type of eraser consists of carbonated rubber as well as vegetable oil, which is why you must knead it.

The oil must be properly distributed throughout the rubber, and it can also be molded into any shape you want from a sharp point to a large lump.

These rubbers are ideal for erasing charcoal, chalk, pastel colors, and even colored pencils from your paper without leaving a residue behind. When using this type of eraser, you do not wipe or smear it over the paper, but you take the putty rubber and press it over the area you want to erase. The charcoal or color will then stick to the rubber, which is then lifted off the paper surface.

Putty Erasers for Pencils

If you need to continue using the eraser, you can fold the rubber into itself, or you can pull it apart and clean the residue off. You can then knead it back together when you are finished. The kneaded eraser is better for use on smaller areas where precision is required. The kneaded erasers are mainly used by artists, but you need to take care that you do not leave them in the sun or hot environments, as they will lose their shape and eventually become unusable.


  • Very malleable and can be molded into any shape or size
  • Makes very precise corrections for detailed work
  • Will not damage the paper surface
  • Able to lift off paper marks from even the roughest of paper surfaces
  • Can erase many types of mediums 
  • Can also be used to add highlights to your drawing
  • Lasts a long time
  • Does not make your workplace dirty
  • Easy to clean by just stretching and folding the eraser


  • Eventually, becomes too dirty to clean
  • Leaves your hands feeling sticky


Vinyl or Plastic Erasers

The vinyl eraser is often referred to as soft vinyl, plastic, drafting, or polymer rubbers. Although they are soft, they are firm, leave the least amount of dust behind, and they do not dry out. The vinyl eraser can remove deep pencil strokes from the paper and has also been found to remove ink. However, they are fairly abrasive and should be used on thicker paper as the thinner paper may be damaged.

The use of plastic for erasers has become very popular, as it can be molded and fashioned into many different shapes and sizes.

Most vinyl or plastic erasers contain a chemical compound known as phthalates that are found in products like food, detergents, care products, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, wall coverings, and even in children’s toys. The phthalate compound is used to make the plastic more pliable and flexible; however, the phthalate compound may be harmful to your health. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has no concrete evidence that they are harmful to your health, but the European Union (EU) and Canada have very strict regulations to control the use of phthalates.

Best Types of Erasers

You need not be too concerned about this problem, as the chances of you being exposed to phthalate by using an eraser is negligible. However, if it concerns you and you would prefer to stay clear from this compound, many other erasers are specially designed as ‘phthalate free’. Many of the eraser brands state they are ‘phthalates free’ on the label.


  • Extra soft and cleans very deep, even removing ink
  • Does not smudge or smear
  • Is self-cleaning
  • Can absorb paint from your painting
  • Non-abrasive and archival
  • Latex-free
  • Removes graphite, pastel, and charcoal
  • Versatile 


  • Can damage paper if too strong a pressure is applied, not recommended for use on delicate paper
  • They contain phthalates and can be harmful


Gum Erasers

This is the softest of all erasers and is also known as an ‘art gum eraser’. This has a gummy type of texture that can have a slightly lustrous or shiny appearance. The gum erasers are mainly used by sketching artists and are generally made from synthetic rubber, which makes them extremely soft and will not damage your paper in any way.

Eraser for Drawing

Unfortunately, they crumble as you erase, and are the messiest of all erasers, leaving crumbs all over your paper. So, it is a good idea to have a vacuum cleaner or wastebasket nearby. Since it is soft, it can be used on various paper types.


  • Does not damage the paper
  • Ideal for professionals as well as students
  • Versatile and suitable for paper, fabric, and leather


  • They crumble when used leaving a big mess behind


Rubber Erasers

When we talk about erasers, most people think of the rubber eraser. This is because the eraser is sometimes called a “rubber”. The genuine natural rubber eraser is very seldom used today, it is not very abrasive and it will leave dust behind, and it also has a tendency to dry out over time.

Many people are allergic to natural rubber latex, and you may need to use a synthetic rubber eraser instead.

The rubber erasers used today are more synthetic rubber, made from a rubber blend and pumice, and tend to leave less dust behind than the genuine rubber eraser. Also, they are prone to leaving smear marks on your paper. These erasers include the common pink eraser that is also found at the back of pencils, they are also available at a much cheaper price.


  • Completely erase without damaging the paper
  • Can also remove graphite from a wood surface
  • Not very abrasive


  • Contains latex
  • Not for use by the professional
  • Leaves dust behind
  • Can dry out over time


Foam Erasers

It is not very clear what the foam erasers are made from, but it is safe to say that some are made from microporous reticulated foam, also known as melamine foam. These erasers are excellent for removing graphite from your paper surface, leaving no trace or marks behind. They also do not require much power exerted on them to do the job, ensuring no damage is done to your paper.

Best Eraser for Colored Pencils

As far as leaving dust behind, by using the right technique, you will only have one single piece of waste in the end. However, they are used up a lot faster and do not last as long as the ordinary standard erasers.  These erasers can also be used for other purposes like cleaning glass, removing crayon marks from walls, scuff marks from leather, removing paint, stains from clothes, and cleaning tile grout.


  • When the eraser is soaked in water, the foam fibers expand, and it can do a deeper cleaning
  • The foam eraser is reusable and just needs to be scrubbed clean
  • Very versatile
  • Safe to use


  • Not biodegradable
  • Not suitable for wood surface as it will strip the wood’s finish
  • May cause skin damage to children after extended use


Silica or Sand Erasers

Silica, also known as sand erasers, are made from natural rubber latex and silica sand grit. This formulation makes the eraser very abrasive and can remove colored pencil, ink, ballpoint pen marks, printed letters, rollerball, and even some types of markers.

This eraser can also be used for including pencil drawing highlights.

Since the silica eraser’s texture is very abrasive, it may damage your paper surface. This eraser is environmentally friendly as it is made from all-natural materials, and it also has no PVC and is phthalate-free.


  • Can remove different types of marks from pencils, ink, to crayons, and certain markers
  • Contain natural ingredients
  • Needs fewer rubs to remove marks
  • PVC and phthalates-free


  • Is very abrasive and can damage the paper surface
  • Wears down very fast
  • Leaves a great deal of dust behind


Pencil-Shaped Erasers

When we refer to a pencil-shaped eraser, we do not mean that pink cylinder that is attached to the back of your pencil. Rather, it is the erasers for pencils, which look like a pencil, but instead of graphite, the pencil has a vinyl eraser inserted. The point of the eraser can be sharpened just like you would sharpen a pencil and is suited for smaller detailed areas. Instead of the eraser being encased in wood, it can also have a plastic body with click action, to retract or extend the rubber.

Pencil Shaped Eraser for Drawing


  • Offers a high level of precision
  • Will not damage your paper surface
  • Comfortable as if you were holding a pencil
  • Does not leave much dust behind
  • Lasts a long time
  • Does not smudge or smear
  • Can be sharpened using a regular sharpener


  • Not possible to sharpen the tip as when you first bought it
  • May leave a slight pink tint behind
  • If you remove too much of the barrel, it leaves the tip too soft


Electric Erasers

The electric eraser is battery powered, and with a flick of a button, the tip begins to spin at about 10,000 rpm (revolutions per minute). The eraser will lift the graphite off your paper quickly and easily. It is very similar to the electric toothbrush, so we do not recommend it for use in the classroom.

The eraser is accurate and can erase exactly where you want it to and is also very gentle.

This means that it will not damage your paper surface and can also be used to lift off ink washes from drawings.  The electric eraser is comfortable to hold so it will not tire your hand while using it, and the material used in the eraser is plastic. They are also supplied with ample refill tips.


  • Very durable and lasts long
  • Able to clean itself when rotated on a blank sheet of paper
  • Comfortable to handle
  • Is supplied with the eraser, eraser holder, and plenty of refill tips
  • Quick to erase and easy to use
  • Will not damage the paper


  • The rubber button is often hard to depress
  • A method to change the speed would be an advantage


Novelty Erasers

If you are tired of the ordinary eraser shapes, why not try a novelty eraser. They are shaped with all different themes that the kids will love. The designs and shapes include food, animals, toys, trucks, aquarium animals, and many more. Some of these erasers are made up of multiple parts, which will give the young engineers the challenge of taking them apart and then reassembling them again. Amazingly enough, the quality is not bad, and they perform fairly well but may cause some smudging.

Novelty Eraser Brands


  • Come in all kinds of shapes
  • Can even be scented
  • Extra soft and cleans easily
  • Non-abrasive
  • Latex-free
  • Adaptable and can be used on various surfaces
  • Is self-cleaning


  • They may contain phthalates


Summarizing the Properties of the Various Types of Erasers

Erasers may sound like a simple item of stationery, but there are plenty of different types and styles as you can see from all the above erasers. Finding the right eraser can be difficult. We have drawn up a table of each of the different erasers and inserted some of the properties of each eraser.

This will hopefully provide a better idea of the purpose and use of each one.

Type of EraserAble to RemoveAccuracyRemaining MessLatex FreePhthalate Free
Kneaded or Putty ErasersPastels, graphite, chalk, and charcoalHighNone
Vinyl or Plastic ErasersMost markings from paper – including inkMediumSmall clumps and may smear
Gum ErasersPencil marks from paperMediumCrumbles and messes
Rubber ErasersAbsorbs Charcoal and Graphite, Removes pastel and carbon marksMediumThin clumps
Foam ErasersGraphite and long-term stubborn stainsMediumClumps dust and is dusty to touch
Silica/Sand ErasersColored pencil, ink, ballpoint pen marks, printed letters, rollerball, and even some types of markersMediumFine dust may cause damage to the paper surface
Electric ErasersGraphite, colored pencil, and charcoalHighSmall clumps of dust
Pencil-Shaped ErasersMost markings from paper, including inkHighSmall clumps
Novelty ErasersMost markings from paper, including inkMediumFat clumps and may cause smudging


Eraser for Artists



Factors to Consider When Purchasing the Best Erasers for Pencils

Since there are loads of different erasers on the market and each one has its own purpose, it is difficult to tell if the eraser you want to buy can successfully remove the type of medium you are using. So, here are a few things to look at before you make up your mind.

Best Eraser for Artists


Ease of Use

You need an eraser that is easy to use. Meaning, you do not want to rub and keep on rubbing, and nothing seems to be working. Also, you want to be sketching more and not worrying about spending too much time erasing. You need an eraser that does not require too much pressure to remove the marks.

Erasers that need a lot of pressure could damage your paper.


Smudge-Free Eraser

The eraser needs to remove marks without smudging and leaving gray spots all over the paper. This will defeat the purpose of erasing. You need to read the instructions on the product label that will show the words ‘smudge-free’ or ‘no smudging’.

Eraser for Sketching


The Surface

If you are using drawing paper, then you will need an eraser that does not tear the paper. On the other hand, are you working with canvas or any other form of medium where you do not want the eraser to damage the surface?

If you are using a very rough surface, then the kneaded eraser will be the answer as it can get right into all the small crevices.


The Medium You Want to Erase

The type of eraser you choose is very important as there are loads of different erasers out there. Are you going to erase ink, graphite, colored pencil, charcoal, or even marker pens? This gives you a good idea of what eraser to buy. It can also depend on the type of work you are involved with: are you a student, office worker, artist, draftsman, or just a DIY worker enjoying drawing at home?

Eraser for Drawing Pastels

A good quality plastic eraser can erase graphite, charcoal, ink, and even colored pencil marks, and can be used by everyone. The rubber eraser is ideal for graphite and is an excellent choice for the scholar. The gum erasers are soft and can be used for large areas and textured paper, they are used extensively by the artist. The kneaded eraser lifts off the mark from the paper without damaging it and can be used to remove graphite, charcoal, pastel colors, and even colored pencils, and is used extensively by artists.



The hands of people are not all the same and people hold tools differently, so you need to look for an eraser that can fit snugly into your hand. Instead of thick chunky erasers, some people prefer to use a pencil-shaped eraser that is easy to hold. Others may be suffering from arthritis and may find the larger chunky erasers difficult to hold.

This is where an electric eraser could be the answer.



You might be a mother that enjoys getting the kids to join in on craft projects. You need to find an eraser that is easy to use and child-friendly, is safe, non-toxic, and phthalate-free. Remember, that children are still developing their motor skills, so you need an eraser that they can hold properly and that is comfortable for them.

Child Erasers for Pencils


Eraser Dust

Most erasers leave a certain amount of dust behind, which can land on the paper, or in your lap, or even on the carpet. So, you need to find an eraser that is dust-free or leaves very little dust behind. You can usually pick this up on the label. It might also be a good idea to buy a colored eraser.

In this way, you can see the shavings easily and it makes cleaning up easier.



Some Tips When Using an Eraser

Hold the eraser in your hand for a few minutes to make it warm before you use it, this way the eraser is less likely to tear the paper. When removing the residue, try not to brush it off with your hand as this may cause some smudging. Rather lift the paper and shake it off. Below are a few more handy tips.

  • Erasers are not only meant for erasing but you can also produce highlights.
  • You can use a firm eraser to make a rubber stamp by carving into it whatever design you want.

Types of Erasers Stamp

  • If the eraser is too big, you can use a craft knife and reduce its size.
  • In the early days, soft bread was used as an eraser, and this can still be done today, try it out to see if it works.


Whether you are involved in engineering, school projects, drawing, or art, we are all familiar with selecting the best pencil eraser for projects. There are so many options available, it is easy to choose the right eraser for your particular needs. However, remember to do your research properly before you go out and buy.



Frequently Asked Questions


What Characteristics Make a Good Eraser?

A good eraser must be able to remove the markings on your paper cleanly without leaving any smudge marks. Also, the eraser should do its job without damaging the paper in any way.


What Eraser Brands Are Best?

It is quite difficult to choose one particular eraser brand, as each one has its purpose. All brands, if used correctly, should do the job. However, some of the most trusted brands available today are Pentel, Tombow, Paper Mate, Sakura, Faber-Castell, and Mr. Pen and Prismacolor.


What Are the Best Erasers for Pencils?

Any type of rubber or eraser can remove pencil marks, whether it is a latex-free block, a kneaded eraser, a plastic eraser, an art gum eraser, or even an electric eraser. They all have the same function, only some of the erasers can do more than just erase. However, if you are going to try and remove pencil marks from a canvas surface, the kneaded eraser is the best to use.


What Eraser Can Remove Colored Pencil?

Colored pencils can be wax-based or oil-based, and this makes it very difficult to remove their marks from paper. However, the kneaded eraser, hi-polymer eraser, and electric eraser will effectively remove all colored pencil marks.


What Are White Erasers?

These are erasers made from plastic, polymer, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or vinyl and they are soft and also produce a lot less dust. They are also less abrasive and do not damage your paper surface and are the best erasers for removing pencil marks.

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