Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser 526 50 Review

If you use pencils, then I’m pretty sure you use erasers as well. It doesn’t seem quite right to blather on about pencils and not really say much about their important related product. So for a different type of review, here are a few words on my favourite eraser. And you know, looking at the auction websites, I think there are a fair few eraser collectors out there.

Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser 526 50 Review

The Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser 526 50 has been part of my writing equipment for a very long time. In my part of the world it’s pretty much the “everywhere” eraser, - in every stationery and office supply outlet, and every workplace stationery cupboard. Of course down here it’s still often called a rubber.

BASIC DATA

  • Dimensions: Rectangular shape, 23 x 13mm, x 65mm long (approx 1 x ½, x 2 ½ inches)

  • Material: PVC (vinyl)

  • Colour: White eraser, blue and white sleeve.
Obviously the most important feature of an eraser is its erasing power. From years of use I can say that the Mars Plastic is up to the jobs I have asked of it. It quickly erases even heavy dark pencil lead. It is less effective with coloured pencil, but that seems to be the way with most erasers. Smearing can be a problem with some erasers but doesn’t seem to be a major issue with Mars Plastic. Certainly soft lead grades like 4B and 6B do produce some initial smearing but a few extra swipes removes the smears. Equally importantly it seems very gentle on the paper - you can really be quite vigorous and repetitive in your erasing of a particular spot and the paper remains in good condition.
It is a reasonably large eraser which has some good and bad points. On the good side, you can get a firm grip on it which makes things easy if you have a lot of erasing to do, and you can erase an awful lot before you will need to buy a new one. So there’s slightly less need to panic during your exam when you suddenly realise you have to rub out half your wonderful design. On the bad side, whilst it starts out with nice square edges and a square end, you can’t really keep a sharp edge or fine point on this eraser so it is a bit of a blunt instrument. You definitely need an erasing shield if you have some fine erasing to do. Of course chopping the rounded end off the eraser is an option, and I have resorted to this every now and then.

The tight fitting sleeve is a nice idea, but doesn’t quite succeed in the real world - it tends to end up looking rather tatty. But then again, I’m not sure I have a better idea to keep the eraser compound clean. Speaking of the compound, as you erase away, the waste does twist itself up into long strands which are easily removed, just like Staedtler claim. They also claim it is good for removing scuff marks from vinyl floors, marks from light switches and wallpaper, cleaning nail files and a whole lot of other things. I can vouch for the first few – but no idea about the nail file! The compound is relatively odourless – I recall “smelly” erasers being very popular when I was a little fellow at primary school.

I can’t claim to be an eraser expert, or to have done comparative tests on dozens of different brands, but I think the Mars plastic is a good economical general purpose eraser.

Footnote: Drafts of this review were prepared with a Staedtler (Australia) Pacific 830 grade HB wooden pencil, assisted by Dux 1128-NB sharpener, and of course Staedtler Mars Plastic 526 50 eraser.

39 comments:

Rav said...

Dave,

One of the erasers that I have been using recently is the pentel clic eraser.

Generally as I use it just for cleaning up writing. Also due to it's shape it's reasonably easy to carry around. Also comes with a reasonably effective clip.

It's effective and the waste is as you describe eloquently twisted strands.

d. said...

Any thoughts on the Faber Castell Vinyl Eraser?

Thx.

kiwi-d said...

Well at the start of the year I had another bout of insanity and thought it might be a good idea to collect erasers made by the mechanical pencil companies.

Luckily this minor side-obsession didn’t last too long, and erasers are cheap, so I didn’t spend too much money. So anyway, I’ve got the Faber-Castell erasers but haven’t used them. I’ve got a few posts on stick erasers in the pipeline. I’ll get the FC erasers out and see what I think about them, but it’ll be a few months before I get a chance to post anything. Alternatively, feel free to become the first guest reviewer of erasers.

wilson said...

I grew up using the Staedtler (526 50 and their stick version) and Pentel Clic erasers. Both erasers are competent although the Pentel Clic just seems to erase better than the Staedtler stick. The mechanism is also way more convenient.

Where I grew up, I don't recall seeing a regular Pentel eraser (the Clic was very popular in my locale) although they are plentiful where I live now.

I started using the Faber Castell Dust Free eraser (18 71 20) about a year ago and I find that it works better than the other two.

The eraser itself feels softer and less "solid" than the Staedtler. When I lightly rub the erasers (no wisecracks please), I find the Faber Castell liberates eraser more easily.

I don't seem to need to put as much force into getting the eraser to do its job. Also, the Faber Castell has the interesting behaviour of erasing almost to a flat surface when you erase at the same angle for a prolonged period while the Staedtler always stays rounded no matter how long you erase at the same angle.

The shavings roll together much easier than the Staedtler or Pentel erasers especially when erasing large tracts.

I generally use a Pentel Clic when erasing a word or two (better precision) and the Faber Castell when erasing a bunch of words or lines. I'll have to buy a few of the regular Pentel erasers and do a comparison.

Also note that the Clic eraser now comes in two versions: with and without a rubber grip. The gripless version ZE21 is still listed on Pentel's website but you'll be darned to find one in the shops. The ZE22 with grip is all I can find in the shops. I hate the grip on the ZE22. It is a dust magnet and always looks shabby.

Rav said...

That's a pity about the pentel clic aquiring a rubber grip. I too like you have found that anything with a rubber grip seems to attract dirt and ends up looking mucky real quick.

Thankfully a while back I aquired a bunch of the ZE21's but unforutnately there red and not the blue or black I like. Well I still suppose that they're better than the ZE22.

I'll have a look in one or two of the office supply stores here and let you know what I find.

Don J. said...

Hey, how 'bout the "Magic Rub" eraser? It erases extremely well: no smudging and no annoying cardboard sleeve to get trashed up!

kiwi-d said...

Hi Don J.
I've not heard of the Magic Rub eraser. Can you you point me to a website detailing it?

Don J. said...

Magic Rub erasers are widely available in the U.S.A.

http://www.misterart.com/store/view/001/group_id/7505/SANFORD-Magic-Rub-Eraser.htm

Anonymous said...

Dave, do you know if these erasers harden with age? Here in the USA we can only seem to get these Mars Plastic Erasers in packs of 4, and I wonder if they'll harden while I use one and keep the rest away..

Anonymous said...

Let me rephrase that question, if I may...do you know if this eraser hardens, deteriorates or degrades with age..and if so what time spans are we looking at ?

Thanks

Wilson said...

I have Staedtler erasers from high school (almost 20 years old) that erase as good as new.

kiwi-d said...

Well I can't compete with Wilson on that one! I guess being PVC they must have some sort of life span, but its obviously pretty long. I've found some in the back of desk drawers etc that must be many years old and they still seem OK.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Wilson and Dave !

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen the Stabilo "Exam Grade" eraser --- it is black!

Never seen a black eraser in my life -- bought two!

Heth.a said...

I'm a huge fan of this eraser. Here's a tip to help with those tatty ends. Simply cut a small insision on the sides and also cut some of the end off (if needed). Then fold the ends in, glue of sticky tape them together and tada! you have not only protected the bottom of the eraser, the tattiness of the cover is significantly decreased!Just snip a bit off the top of the cover as the eraser gets smaller.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dave,
I am a pencil collcecor myself. For many years, I have looked for a really good eraser that was better than all others. I have now found it. I just went to a local office supply store and piced up a 4-pack of the erasers. They are awesome!! I have finally found "that" eraser. Thanks for all the work you do and may God Bless you!!

quattro98 said...

These used to be available in other colors (I have one in black plastic & white plastic). I like them because the feed mechanism ratchets & locks, so the eraser doesn't slide around. The compound is nice too.

http://www.staedtler-usa.com/Mars_plastic_stick_us.Staedtler?ActiveID=24149

Andrew said...

Dear Dave,
I was wondering if you could do a review on the Mars Plastic Stick Eraser. I you don't have time I might could do a self review for you

kiwi-d said...

Hi Andrew - the answer is maybe. Contact me direct on the email address in the blog hearder.

Andrew said...

Is your E-mail davespencilsATxtraDOTcoDOTnz
just checking thnx

kiwi-d said...

Yep, just replace the ATs and DOTs.

Andrew said...

Sorry Ihavenent e-mailed u in a while ive had a lot to do. Maybe in a while when I get some free time!

kiwi-d said...

No worries. Take your time.

Jean-Bernard said...

Hi Dave,
I was wondering if you had ever tried the steadler Rasoplast eraser. I have seen it and I would like to know what the difference is between this one and the Mars Plastic.
thank you
Jean-Bernard
BTW, I was in taiwan all summer, but I live in Quebec City, Canada.

kiwi-d said...

Hi Jean-Bernard
Well Staedtler's website implies Mars is the good stuff, and Rasoplast the ordinary quality. I have thus far resisted actually testing them myself, but give me a few weeks and I might just get around to it.
OK, I understand the Taiwan reference.

Anonymous said...

I`ve used an eraser called sakura foam eraser and it is the best eraser I have seen.

Bill said...

Hi,
I have one of the lighter blue-sleeved Staedtler Mars Plastic (52650) erasers, but i've also seen the darker blue-sleeved one. What's the difference? The Darker blue one's eraser looks whiter, but other than that, i can't really tell much else different? Is the lighter blue one an older model? Just curious! :)

kiwi-d said...

Don't know, but I think light blue sleeve is old, dark blue new.

Milena said...

"Of course down here it’s still often called a rubber."

If you're ever in the United States and you need to borrow an eraser, don't ask for a rubber- because you'd be asking for a condom. :P

Anonymous said...

Try the Sanford Magic Rub Eraser it is pretty good

The Venerable said...

Does anyone know why they call it "Mars"?

Anonymous said...

The Staedtler logo is the head of Mars, Roman God of War.

shalu said...

I would always go in with the Mars plastic. But then i recently discovered Steadtler Triangular eraser. I found that it had a better erasing power than the mars plastic but it produced finer dust ( lots of them actually). If you could try it, it would just too good!!

Kiwi-d said...

Thanks Shalu - yea, I've got one...just got to get around to a review...probably 2012 at the rate I'm going :-)

Leonardo Pinheiro said...

I bought this eraser 2 days ago, for the first time, it's the best I've seen so far!!

But unfortunately it's not available everywhere... only on 2 store in my city (in Brazil). And it's kind of expensive. That's why I like eBay.

Brazilian erasers are nice too, and extremely cheap, but not as nice as Mars.

Kiwi, I guess that an eraser you reviewed (half blue and half red) is Brazilian. The model is 'BR', isn't it? I used this kind of eraser when I was a child, and it is still somewhat popular here. I didn't know the blue side was to erase pen ink.

Nice blog, please keep reviewing nice products!

Carlos said...

I like the Faber Castell Vinyl eraser. For me, it is more effective and less aggressive with the paper than the Staedtler Mars plastic.

J Ferguson said...

My favourite eraser, too. Reliable, cheap, available everywhere--it just can't be beat!

Anonymous said...

It's possible to keep a sharp point without cutting the rubber, and to keep the sleeve neat.

I cut the sleeve about 4mm from the bottom, this leaves a sharp point for detailed erasing (so long as you use the other end for heavier erasing) and means that the sleeve doesn't scuff up.

Keep up the good work,
Joe

Anonymous said...

Pentel Tuff Stuff is great for erasing tiny areas.