Friday, July 25, 2008

Pentel Hi-Polymer ZES-08 Eraser Review

Pentel Hi-Polymer ZES-08 Eraser Review


I have always used the Staedtler Mars Plastic as my everyday eraser, and I don’t think there is any question that it is a very good eraser. However, since in my view Pentel dominate the world of mechanical pencils and mechanical pencil leads, it seems logical to give their erasers a try.

Staedtlers history is with woodcase pencils, and I get the impression woodcase pencils are still very important to them, maybe more important than mechanical pencils, and thus I have always assumed that if there was any choice required they would optimise their erasers for woodcase ceramic leads rather than polymer leads. On the other hand I don’t think there’s any argument that Pentels mechanical pencils are more important to them than their woodcase pencils. Not to imply their woodcase pencils aren’t important, but their mechanical pencils are a worldwide force whereas their woodcase pencils are basically Japan-only. Thus I am tempted to think that Pentels erasers would be optimised for mechanical pencil polymer leads, should there be any conflict between eraser requirements.

The Pentel Hi-Polymer ZES-08 measures 43mm long x 24 x 12, which is smallish by my standards and in comparison to the Mars Plastic. Surprisingly it is made in Taiwan. I don’t recall any Pentel mechanical pencils being made in Taiwan.Like many erasers the Pentel Hi-Polymer has a sliding cardboard sleeve. The eraser compound is white, and soft, noticeably a different white to Mars Plastic and definitely softer. Perhaps this softness might be an important consideration on thinner or more fragile papers, but in general use I found the softness a little annoying as it made the whole eraser flex and bend more when under pressure, and thus it felt a little less under control. As claimed, the eraser waste sticks together. I tried to compare the amount of waste produced and how well it stuck together with Mars Plastic but gave up. Too hard to be objective, but I am tempted to think the Pentel eraser wore down a little quicker than Mars Plastic.

Time for some comparison tests. Below are 4 tests series, Hi-Polymer in comparison to Mars Plastic.

Mechanical Pencil polymer lead, HB hardness.
Mechanical Pencil polymer lead, 2B hardness. Woodcase Pencil HB and Mechanical Pencil HB.Woodcase Pencil 4B hardness. What did all that testing tell me? It told me that it’s pretty hard to tell these two erasers apart when it comes to erasing performance. Both do a great job on both woodcase and mechanical pencil leads. As expected, although still good, their worst performance was on the woodcase 4B lead. Smearing is always a little bit of a problem with such dark soft leads. This 4B test was the only one where I thought there was a little bit of a difference between the two erasers - it’s very close, but I did feel that Mars plastic did a slightly better job than Pentel Hi-Polymer on the 4B test. But very close, as I say.

Overall then, the Pentel Hi-Polymer is an excellent general purpose eraser, a worthy competitor to Staedtler Mars Plastic.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great review, as usual. I've been around the world (ok, down to the art supply store) in search of the perfect pencil eraser, and I can say without hesitation that the Sakura SJ-100 is the best pencil eraser made.

yoyoguy2 said...

how about the pentel Hi-Polymer (not soft)? I have one labled ZEH10, rather than ZES-08 as yours is. It's in a blue and white box suspiciously similar to the mars plastic.

Amazon.com link

kiwi-d said...

No comment from me. The ZES-08 is the only Pentel eraser that makes it into my country.

Mike said...

Thanks for reviewing the Pentel, it's one of my favorite erasers. However, I think the Pentel AIN eraser significantly outperforms the Hi-Polymer: have you tried it out?

--
www.newsbreaktimes.com/article

kiwi-d said...

Nope. The ZES-08 is the one and only pentel eraser I have ever seen. In real life that is.

stephen said...

Looking at both new and old ZEH-05s in my posession - the old one (not quite sure how old) does say "Made in Japan", while the newer one is from Taiwan.

The Pentel website does show a few eraser varieties. Like kiwi-d, I've never seen them in person.

Germ said...

seems to me the Pentel does better on the Hi-Polymer stuff than the ceramic lead. this oculd be due to reading that b4hand? or i'm just imagining it.
Kiwi, Didn't I send you a couple of Pentel erasers? Maybe they went to Gunther. Hard to remember everything. :)

kiwi-d said...

Hello Germ - no, no Pentel erasers sent down this way. If your comment about Pentel doing better on polymer lead than ceramic is based on my photos, then they are misleading you and its purely an effect of my limited photographic skills and editing software. However, if you are testing them yourself then I think they are similar and probably 1/3rd would say better like you, 1/3rd say worse and 1/3rd say the same like me.

Time Waster said...

I have a couple of these the packaging is different though cost about 1.50 for 3 I'm staying away from Pink Pearl too much smudging once it smudges you can't get rid of it :) so I've been using Black Pearls which are of a different compound and last fairly long I'm still on the frist one.

JiBi_AI said...

Have you ever seen Monami's rubber.
I tested it once and I do love it.
I think the qualitiy is near Mono, with the price 4 times cheaper ^^

Anonymous said...

Yes, I do think that the Ain Pentel erasers are a bit better than the original series. But there's the Pentel Super-Hard eraser, which claims to erase pen and such, but when I tried it, it didn't do anything but smudge my paper. Another few tries and 'rip!' That had been the worst Pentel product I have ever bought. :(

Pawel said...

A variety of Pentel erasers is available cheaply on eBay, among them there are soft, light and standard versions of AIN erasers. All of these are very good erasers easily comparable in my opinion with Pilot Foam eraser, Tombow Mono, Mitsubishi BOXY and Seed Radar.

Comparing all these erasers (I didn't try Sakura yet) I think they all are comparable in erasing power, therefore secondary characteristic are becoming a deciding factor: Mitsubishi BOXY I like very much but it is easy to break it if pressed to much from the side, Tombow Non-Dust requires much pressure and doesn't smell very good (Tombow Mono does not have this disadvantage), Pilot Foam leaves a lot of small debris (similarly to Pentel AIN Light)... Currently I am using Pentel AIN (all three models) and Pilot Foam depending on the mood - it is fun using different erasers! :-)

Mike said...

I love the Pilot Foam eraser, but it just wears out so quickly. It's like I buy it one week, and the next week it's gone.

-- www.newsbreaktimes.com>

Germ said...

Kiwi - Bug Gunther to send you the Pentel erasers I sent him. :) hehehe

Stuart said...

The Pentel ZEH10 is what I'm using currently. It's shaped like the Staedtler eraser shown, has the typical cardboard sleeve, is made in Japan, and I feel it performs about the same as the Staedtler ones.

It's made of a firm, dense vinyl or vinyl-like material, erases well, and the shreds that come off when erasing are fairly large.

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a nobud said...

The ZEH10 is the only one I see

Bob the Builder. :) said...

Just a small political thing, do you personally consider Taiwan as part of China?

Anyways, this eraser is great, i think it snaps a bit easily though, i used it for a week without the holder and the thing started to split.

Then again, i hold my erasers extremely tightly, sooo...

Bob the Builder

Kiwi-d said...

Bob, well that's a surprisng question for a pencil blog :-) Anyway, since you ask, it is my understanding that both Taiwan and China agree that they are both part of the same country, they just disagree as to who the legitimate government is. So, I see no reason to disagree with them that they are one country. On the othr hand, one government bans this blog, and the other doesn't, so as a graphite person I currently prefer the pencil-blog friendly government.

Bob the Builder said...

I suppose it is a strange question for a blog like this, but whatever.

I went and got a pack of four Pentel High-Polymers, (original), and i still prefer Staedler.

I feel like here is my rundown of things:
Best Eraser- Staedler Mars Plastic
Best Pencil Company- Pentel
Best Pen company- Pilot

I know it is really opinionated, but i am way too cheap to buy 20+ dollar pencils, so those work for me.

Which government bans pencil blogs? Its not like its filled with scantily clad ladies or the sort. Pencils are harmless... right?

Bob the Builder

Kiwi-d said...

Hi Bob. Your list is no more opinionated than mine.
The Great Firewall of China bans all Blogger blogs (amongst others), or at least attempts to. The Wall has a few small holes in it now and then. At other times various ISP's and governments (of primarily Mid-Eastern origin) try to temporarily or permanantly ban Blogger (and other) blogs, with varying degrees of success/failure. To be fair rather than trying to ban pencil blogs in particular they are just blanket banning all blogs.

Bob the Builder said...

I see. Never heard of the firewall before, maybe no wanting what happened to the US with the wikileaks issue to happen to China i guess? :/

(If you didn't know, wikileaks is a website that "leaks" a bunch of info and opinions on political stuff)

Chino said...

I bought my Pentel Hi-Polymer in Singapore and brought it back with me to the Philippines. I loved it.

Say, have you reviewed Faber-Castell's new Exam Grade eraser? Pretty good stuff too. I also might check out Stabilo's.