Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Faber-Castell Eraser Pen Review

Faber-Castell Eraser Pen Review

I was recently browsing the pen aisle at a local office supplies store and noticed something new - the Faber-Castell Eraser Pen, article 183998 in its blister pack form.
Faber-Castell Eraser Pen
Look at the pocket clip, the grip…it’s classic Faber-Castell styling. Since it was on special, and I have a bit of an interest in stick erasers I decided to hand over the necessary coins and become the owner of one.

As noted above, the visual styling is classic Faber-Castell and I find it quite appealing. The grip is hard plastic and despite the grooved rings is somewhat slippery, but you usually only hold a stick eraser for a few seconds at a time so that’s not a major concern.

The Faber-Castell Eraser Pen has two uncommon features. First, you extend and retract the eraser core by twisting the tip. No push top button or slider mechanism like many other stick erasers. This does have an advantage in that unlike some stick erasers the core doesn’t push back inside the body under heavy hand pressure. The second unusual feature is that the eraser core is only short, about 29mm (1 and 1/8th inches) long, and three spare eraser cores are stored inside the body. You unscrew the body to get to the replacement cores, and then feed them in through the front of the tip.
Faber-Castell eraser pen dissassembled
Well, that’s the first negative point in my book. You can twist out about 20 mm of the eraser core, the last 9mm being gripped inside the mechanism. So, that’s about 30% wastage of your eraser. The 9mm wastage might be similar to many other stick erasers, but they usually have cores that extend their full length, not a measly 29mm. Still, I imagine this wastage is good for replacement eraser core sales, if you can find them for sale anywhere.

The eraser core is about 6.5mm (1/4”) diameter. The packaging does not say anything about the composition of the eraser core, but it appears to be a plastic rather than a natural rubber compound. The packaging does state “Made in China”.

Right then, let’s put the Faber-Castell Eraser Pen up against my test bench standard, the Staedtler Mars Plastic. The first thing I noticed is that the Faber-Castell eraser is hard and abrasive. It feels it, and it sounds it - completely different to Mars Plastic, and not in a good way. The eraser waste is somewhat crumbly compared to Mars Plastic – it doesn’t twist up easily into long strands.
Staedtler Mars v Faber-Castell eraser pen
Here is a test card of the two erasers attempting to erase various woodcase and mechanical pencil leads. For wooden coloured pencil and wooden pencil HB lead Staedtler Mars Plastic was slightly but clearly better. For wooden pencil 6B and mechanical pencil HB lead Mars Plastic was significantly better.

So then, no matter what the price, in my opinion this eraser pen detracts from the Counts considerable reputation and I don't understand why Faber-Castell would apply their brand and signature styling to a product like this.

Expectation and outcome?


jgodsey said...

i have noticed that after the invention of the original 'stick' eraser: plastic holder with a good sized diameter eraser, every company has been trying to save money by sabotaging it. either they decrease the diameter of the eraser (sanford's tuff stuff), or in this case having short cartridges instead one the length of the holder.

why can't they leave well enough alone?

che pablo said...

6.5 mm is on the large end of the spectrum. I usually use the eraser sticks for electric erasers but place them in a 5.6 mm holder.

@jgodsey: There are many different diameters of the stick erasers. I personally prefer the smaller diameter of the Tuff Stuff erasers (3.8mm) since they are more precise than the typical eraser pens. I find the Tombow Mono erasers a bit small at 2.3 mm and rarely use them. I suppose it matters whether you are using them to erase writing or to erase a drawing.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of eraser sticks, I acted on your advice and got the Tombow Mono Zero. It's only good for precise corrections not for bulk erasing but it's really perfect for precise jobs!

Daniel said...

I was planning on reviewing the staedtler version of this sometime soon. Hopefully I can come up with something as comprehensive as this :) As usual, a nice read.

Anonymous said...

When school started I got 2 3-packs of Mars Erasers and they are great. But I do have one question; After handling it often since I am using it at school, what do you guys do to fix the sleeve on it? Do you tape it or what?

Time Waster said...

I feel sorry for the souls who buy replacement erasers for this device only to have the eraser last two or three days.

memm said...

Thanks for this review. I haven't seen the Faber-Castell eraser pen before. Do you know how it compares to the Rotring and the Mars plastic eraser pen?

Kiwi-d said...

Rotring no, Staedtler answer coming soon. Staedtler eraser core = same composition as Mars plastic block eraser.

memm said...

Oh, thanks for this useful information. I always thought the the eraser core and the block eraser are different, as my eraser core is harder, but now that I think of it this is probably because the block erasers I have were sealed when I got them, but the eraser pen was not sealed and might have been lying in the shop for ages...

Gunther said...

Regading the composition of the Staedtler erasers: They are different since the stick eraser must withstand bending and is therefore a little firmer – if it was the same as the Mars plastic eraser it would break.

Kiwi-d said...

Oh well, looks like I'm wrong on that Staedtler eraser core statement.

Germ said...

Tombow mono pushbutton. good stuff

jay said...


Great blog! Wondering if any of you might be able to help me. I lived in Taiwan for a couple of years and fell in love with the Pentel S475 - great weight and size. Problem is that I cant seem to find it online or in any store in New York. Have any ideas?


Unknown said...

I really like eraser pens, there easy to carry around, i have a few of them, the best one is got to be the Staedtler 528 55, Its very consistent erasing all degrees of graphite, spare cores are not hard to find, the design is not the prettiest but the core doesn't go back in under pressure like most others, perhaps the traditional mars plastic does a better job erasing but it's probably because of the eraser area surface, but the 528 is still the eraser I use the most. A eraser pen shoot out would be awesome