Friday, October 10, 2008

Staedtler Rasoplast Eraser Review

Staedtler Rasoplast Eraser Review

I have previously reviewed the Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser, but Staedtler also have another similar eraser, the Rasoplast, which has been one of the mainstays of their product line for many years. So, time to put the Rasoplast to the test to see just how it differs from the Mars plastic.

Firstly then, at the risk of giving me preconceived ideas and thus skewing my results, I went to the Staedtler International website to look at these two erasers and see how Staedtler differentiate them. Well Staedtler describe these two erasers in fairly similar terms, but there are two significant differences in their website descriptions. Firstly the Mars Plastic description includes the claims “Practically residue-free erasing” and “Easy to remove eraser waste thanks to minimal crumbling”. The Rasoplast webpage makes no similar claims. The second key description difference is that the Mars Plastic is described as “Premium quality” and Rasoplast as “Comfort quality”.

Comfort quality? Comfort quality??? What the heck is that? Obviously we all like and need a bit of comfort, but what’s that got to do with erasers?
Other erasers are uncomfortable? Marketing mumbo-jumbo. I suppose maybe it’s some sort of counterpoint to the luxury brand concept? Staedtlers website is in many different languages, and I’d love to hear what the non-English sites say regarding this Premium and Comfort quality. For example, on the Italian language site, according to Google translate, the Mars Plastic is “premium quality”, but there’s no mention of the Rasoplasts quality, just that it's “improved formula”. Well there’s no mention of improved formula on the English site.

The Rasoplast comes in a couple of different sizes, like the Mars Plastic. For the test I bought a 526 B20 which is the larger size, about 21mm wide x 12mm thick x 63mm long. It has a protective sleeve like the Mars Plastic. On the sleeve I note “Made In Germany”, “Latex Free” and what appear to be recycling symbols in an Asian language. Latex free – said it before and I’ll say it again, fine if you want to tell us what it isn’t made from, but at least also tell us what it is made from. I note “PP” amongst the recycling symbols. That’s got me confused because that made me think of polypropylene, and I don’t think either the eraser or the sleeve are made from PP.The Staedtler Mars-head logo is embossed into the surface of the Rasoplast. The Rasoplast is definitely a harder compound than the Mars Plastic (as tested by the fingernail test method) and thus not surprisingly the Rasoplast bar is stiffer than Mars Plastic.

Right then, some actual eraser tests. All tests performed on ordinary photocopier paper. First up, woodcase coloured pencil. It’s very close, but a slight win to Mars Plastic.
Next woodcase HB, 4B and 6B graphite lead. Again, very close, but if I have to choose then I’d say Mars won HB and 6B, Rasoplast won 4B.
Lastly mechanical pencil lead, 0.5mm HB and 0.7mm B grade lead. No real difference.So, overall all then, very little difference in erasing power. As you might expect Rasoplast definitely feels harder and more abrasive in use, but it doesn’t seem to damage the paper surface. The eraser waste comes off differently, Rasoplast seems to form longer finer strings of waste and Mars Plastic definitely seems to get more graphite stains on it’s surface and thus require cleaning. Maybe Mars also tended to smear the graphite around on its first swipe a little more than Rasoplast did, but then it erased it on the second swipe. At the conclusion of the tests the amount of wear on the two erasers seemed fairly similar.

Final verdict – these two are quite close, but unless there was a significant economic advantage to Rasoplast, I’d stick with Mars Plastic.

18 comments:

Henrik said...

Hi Dave
Just carried out the experiment - comparing the quality adjective in the different languages at Staedtler's site. It seems that only German and English speakers have the comfort - the rest of us have the improved formula instead. OK - I don't really know what India gets ? I wonder what's going on in the heads of marketing people:)

Glen Mullaly said...

Thanks again for another great test Dave!
As a big fan of the Mars Plastic (it's the only stand-alone eraser I've used for 25+ years) I was interested in the Rasoplast. In fact I've never seen the Raso around these parts, but I wasn't exactly searching for it either!

jgodsey said...

great work! as always1

Germ said...

Erasers....Ya hate em but ya love em, too. :) Great testiong David. Keep it up!!!

Keiner said...

You may find answers to your questions within this pdf:

http://www.staedtler-usa.com/upload/Radierer_Spitzer_english_672.pdf

Anonymous said...

Economic Advantage - some art shops in Sydney sell Mars plastic for 5.00AUD and the cheapest is the local super store - 1.99AUD while the rasoplast is rarely priced above a dollar. Thats what I call an economic advantage. Mars Plastic gets away with it because of its excellent reputation but Rasoplast is only marginally inferior and even that is subjective judgement.

2 1/2p

Mr Alexander said...

Just commenting on the Latex Free claim. I think it's there due to the increase in children who are (or claim to be) allergic to latex.

I work as a Primary School teacher and we can't even put a plaster on a child's finger for fear of an allergic reaction and subsequent parental prosecution.

So latex free rubbers are all we can use.

kiwi-d said...

Thanks Mr Alexander - I imagine you are correct.

Mr Alexander said...

Even more stuff for you, regarding the marks on the side of the eraser packaging. Both marks are Japanese recycling marks.
The first is a general mark for containers and wrappings but put together with the addition of PP it states that the main component is PP (polypropylene)
The second mark is also Japanese and is the mark of the Japanese Paper Containers and Packaging Recycling Promotion Council, a jolly bunch of chaps. This final mark would include both paper/plastic surround and the cellophane wrapper.

From what I gather the eraser itself is made from PVC (polyvinylchloride). This component is difficult to recycle in it present form due to the Vulcanisation process, sadly nothing to do with Mr Spock or any one else from Planet Vulacan. Plus the cost or regrinding the resin is often prohibitive, hence the reason the eraser itself has no recycling mark on or attached to it.

Hope thats not all too anal for you, but thought you might find this of interest.

kiwi-d said...

Thanks Mr Alexander

Anonymous said...

Good review =D Ive been trying them both out, got too say the mars is better.

Rasoplast works fine tho.

Anonymous said...

Raso is better

Milena said...

Adding onto the comment about economic advantage; the Rasoplast does indeed appear to be much cheaper than the Mar Plastic. I say appear because I have only compared the prices in Taiwan where I am right now, but I imagine it's similar elsewhere. Here in Taiwan, the largest Mars Plastic eraser costs $35NT (1 US dollar is about $33NT- New Taiwan Dollars). The largest Rasoplast (the same size as the Mars), on the other hand, costs only $20NT. For comparison, a large Pentel Hi-Polymer eraser, which is a little larger than the Mars and Rasoplast and is also a popular quality eraser(you've reviewed the SOFT version) also costs $20NT. That's what I call an economic advantage.

Milena said...

By the way, from what I've seen at the store, the Mars Plastic erasers now also have the Staedtler logo embossed into the eraser.

Anonymous said...

in my country everyone think that both are the same eraser but with a different name, and both are priced the same! so they all stock the rasoplast, I've never seen a big sized mars plastic, I only found the medium sized one.

Anonymous said...

I found this review very useful and I decided to try the rasoplast anyway. I agree with you, they're similar, but I like the Mars better.
But rasoplast now comes in a "black edition" wich is pretty cool if you work with other people and you want to turn some heads! I use Mars but I keep a black Rasoplast around. People will come to you! :)

J Ferguson said...

I saw the erastoplast erasers in a shop today, and the package mentioned "for erasing ink." The idea may be similar to the blue end on a Pink Pearl.
That's the Canadian packaging, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Appreciate the review. I've been using the Mars plastic erasers since the 1980's & think it's the best on the planet in my experience to date. The rasoplast is not the same. I stockpile the Mars plastic when they go on sale during the back-to-school season. The quality is matchless. Love them, love them, love them!

By the way, Staedtler pencil sharpeners are fierce too. You will have the point of life!