Complete Guide to Erasable Pens

Unsure which is the best erasable pen to buy?

The complete guide to erasable pens contains everything that you need to know including, what are the different types of erasable pens, how to use them, can they be refilled, and much more.

Complete Guide to Erasable Pens

Table of Contents

Who Invented Erasable Pens?

Who Invented erasable pens

In 1979 after 10 years of research Paper Mate shocked the world with the introduction of their Paper Mate Eraser Mate Pen with the slogan “The erasable ballpoint pen, which writes like a pen but erases like a pencil”. These were an enormous success despite their limitations in the quality of the writing as they were prone to smudging and using the supplied eraser could sometimes rub away the top surface of the paper.

The Paper Mate Eraser Mate was largely unchallenged for nearly two decades until the Japanese pen manufacturer Pilot Pens introduced their own erasable pen around 2001. This was known as the Pilot Erase-A-Gel pen however it was short-lived though and its appearance has disappeared in the mists of time. Another Japanese manufacturer The Mitsibushi Pencil Company in the early 2000s launched the Uni-ball Signo Erasable UM-101ER which again was discontinued after a few years.

After decades of research in 2006 Pilot Pens launched the Pilot Frixion Ball erasable pen. It contained a revolutionary new thermo sensitive ink that would smash Paper Mates dominance in the erasable pen market forever changing the way erasable pen ink was manufactured.

How Do Erasable Pens Work?

How do Erasable Pens Work

Ink in a traditional pen is usually oil-based or dye-based and stains the paper to leave a permanent mark.

The original Paper Mate Eraser Mate erasable pen had a pressurized refill that contained a liquid rubber cement solution which gave the appearance of ink. However, when you wrote this rubber solution sat on top of the paper and semi-dried allowing it to be erased with the pens rubber. After about 10 or so hours this rubber cement solution hardened and could no longer be erased.

The revolutionary breakthrough that Pilot Pens made with their Frixion Erasable Pens was that they developed an ink that became invisible at 65°C and would only reappear if cooled to –20°C. To erase a Pilot Frixion pens ink simply use its rubber and heat is generated making the ink become invisible. So, the ink is not really erased just invisible allowing you to write over the top of it.

There are also a few gel pens where the pigment ink sits on top of the paper and can be rubbed off. An example of this type of pen is the Uni-ball Signo Erasable Gel Pen.

Last but not least some pens & fountain pen inks have a special type of “washable” ink that can be bleached using what’s known as an ink eradicator pen. It then can be overwritten by a different pen that does not contain the special ink that reacts with the bleach.

An example of this type of pen and ink is the Staedtler Blue Handwriting Pen or Parker Quink Ink Washable Fountain Pen Ink. Ink eradicator pens include the Stabilo Point 88 Colorkilla Ink eraser pen & the Lamy Ink X eraser which have the eradicator at one end that bleaches the ink and a royal blue ink pen at the other for overwriting the bleached text with.

Do Erasable Pens Fade?

Does Erasable Pen Ink Fade

Unless the ink of a pen is of archival quality then in reality nearly all pens will fade over time including erasable pens. There are many different factors which affect how fast this happens including the type of paper used, prolonged environmental conditions & exposure to light. There is currently no evidence that erasable pens are more susceptible to fading than other types of pen.

However, bear in mind if something has been written with a Pilot Frixion erasable pen & the room / outside temperature is so hot that the paper reaches 65°C then the ink will become invisible and disappear until it has been cooled to –20°C.

Can You use an Erasable Pen in an Exam?

In theory, you possibly could, although the black ink in an erasable pen tends to be more of a dark grey color. However, why take the chance of your exam paper being rejected or subjected to extreme heat. If you make a mistake, simply put a line through it and carry on. If you are unsure about which pen to use for your exams, then check out our guide The Best Pens for Exams.

Japanese Erasable Pens

If you are already using an erasable pen then the chances are that you are already using a Japanese erasable pen as the market is dominated by the Japanese pen manufacturer Pilot Pens who have reputedly sold worldwide over 1.5 Billion of their Pilot Frixion range of erasable pens since they were launched in 2006. They now have over 20 different Frixion erasable pens.

Uni-ball make a couple of erasable pens the Uni-ball R. E Erasable Gel Pen, the Uni-ball Signo Erasable Gel Pen as well as the Uni-Ball Signo TSI Erasable Gel Rollerball Pen. The latter in typical Japanese fashion they put a great deal of thought into its name TSI (Thermo-Sensitive Ink).

Also, the Japanese retail company Muji also sells its own version of an erasable pen. However, Muji is not a pen manufacturer so in all likely hood it is probably sourced from China.

Erasable Gel Pens

Erasable Gel Pens Feature Image

If you are wondering why nearly all these pens are an erasable gel pen and not an erasable ballpoint pen there are a couple of good reasons for this. Ballpoint pens use an oil-based solution that stains the paper, therefore, making it quite very difficult to erase.

Up until 2006 erasable pens were gel pens and as you wrote the ink sat on top of the paper allowing it to be erased more easily. These pens were not perfect, but the results were more or less acceptable. Then Pilot Pens introduced the Pilot Frixion erasable ball pen with its ground-breaking thermo sensitive gel ink. This was a complete game-changer as these pens erased their ink far better than anything else available.

It took Pilot Pens decades to develop this technology and naturally it is very heavily patented to protect their investment. This is the main reason why there is not a huge range of choice as the other pen manufacturers are playing catch up trying to reverse engineer the thermosensitive ink and develop their own new formulas. That been said the following is a comprehensive list of the best erasable gel pens that are available to buy. Chinese erasable pens have not been included as they are dealt with in the section cheap erasable pens.

Pilot Frixion Ball Slim Erasable Pen 0.38mm

Pilot Frixion Ball Slim 038 Black

The Pilot Frixion Ball Slim erasable pen is a retractable pen and as the name suggests has a slimline body and a 0.38mm needle point tip. It is available in 20 different colors and can be refilled with Pilot LFBTRF refills. This pen is available for sale in the U.S and Japan but not in the UK therefore if you want to try one then you will need to import it.

Pilot Frixion Ball Slim Biz Erasable Pen 0.38mm

Pilot Frixion Ball Slim Biz 038

The Pilot Frixion Ball Slim Biz is the premium version of the Frixion Ball Slim it has the same .38mm needle point tip and is usually supplied with a black refill. The main difference is that it has a stainless-steel barrel and metal pocket clip. This pen is available for sale in the U.S and Japan but not in the UK therefore if you want to try one then you will need to import it.

Pilot Frixion Point 04 Erasable Pen 0.4mm

Pilot Frixion Point 04 Erasable Pen

The Pilot Frixion Point 04 erasable pen Is a capped pen with an extra-fine 0.4mm tip. It is available in 15 colors and can be refilled with Pilot LFRF30P4 refills. This pen is available for sale in the U.S and Japan but not in the UK therefore if you want to try one then you will need to import it.

Pilot Frixion Biz Point 04 Erasable Pen 0.4mm

Pilot Frixion Point Biz 04 Erasable Pen

The Pilot Frixion Biz Point 04 erasable pen is the premium version of the Frixion Point 04 it has the same 0.4mm needle point tip and is usually supplied with a black refill. The main difference is that it has a metal barrel, cap and pocket clip. This pen is available for sale in the U.S and Japan but not in the UK therefore if you want to try one then you will need to import it.

Pilot Frixion Point Erasable Pen 0.5mm

Pilot Frixion Point Erasable Pen 05mm

The Pilot Frixion Point Erasable with a 0.5mm needle tip is a capped pen and primarily designed for the European & North American market where it is widely available for sale. The pen is available in 8 colors and can be refilled with Pilot BLS-FRP5 refills.

Pilot Frixion Ball Knock Biz Erasable Pen 0.5mm

Pilot Frixion Ball Knock Biz Erasable Pen 05mm

The Pilot Frixion Ball Knock Biz erasable pen has a 0.5mm conical ball tip and is a premium all metal retractable pen. The pen is available in 6 barrel colors and usually supplied with blue ink. It can be refilled with Pilot BLSFR. This pen is known as the Pilot Frixion LX in the UK and Europe.

Pilot Frixion Ball Original Erasable Pen 0.5mm, 0.7mm & 1.0mm

Pilot Frixion Ball Light Blue 07mm

This is the original Pilot Frixion erasable pen it is capped pen available with a 0.5mm, 0.7mm or 1.0mm tip. The 0.5mm and 0.7mm pens are available in 8 colors but the 1.0mm is only available with black or blue ink. They can be refilled with Pilot BLSFR refills.

Pilot Frixion Ball Knock Retractable Erasable Pen 0.5mm, 0.7mm & 1.0mm

Pilot Frixion Ball Knock Biz Erasable Pen 05mm 1

The Pilot Frixion Ball Knock is a retractable erasable pen available with a 0.5mm, 0.7mm or 1.0mm conical ball tip. The 0.5mm & 0.7mm are available in 10 colors and the 1.0mm is available in 5 colors. It can be refilled with Pilot LFBKRF refills. This pen is available for sale in the U.S and Japan but not in the UK therefore if you want to try one then you will need to import it.

Pilot Frixion Clicker Retractable Erasable Pen 0.5mm & 0.7mm

Pilot Frixion Clicker Erasable Pen Black 07

The Pilot Frixion Clicker is pretty much the same pen apart from its body styling as the Frixion Ball Knock. It is available with either a 0.5mm or a 0.7mm tip pen and primarily designed for the European & North American market where it is widely available for sale. The pen is available in 8 colors and can be refilled with Pilot BLSFR7 refills.

Uni-ball R:E Erasable Gel Pen 0.5mm

Uniball RE Erasable Pen 05mm

The Uni-Ball R:E erasable gel pen is a retractable pen with a 0.5mm tip and is available in 8 colors. It uses heat-sensitive ink that turns invisible when exposed to heat and can be refilled with Uni-Ball URR10005 refills. This pen is available for sale in the U.S and Japan but not in the UK therefore if you want to try one then you will need to import it.

Uni-Ball Signo TSI Erasable Pen 0.7mm

UniBall TSI Black Erasable Pen

The Uni-Ball Signo TSI erasable gel pen is a capped pen with a 0.7mm tip and is available in 8 colors. It uses heat-sensitive ink that turns invisible when exposed to heat and can be refilled with Uni-Ball UFR-22-07 refills. This pen is primarily sold in the UK & European Countries if you are resident in North America and want to try one then you will need to import it

Bic Gel-ocity Illusion Erasable Pen

BIC Gel ocity Illusion Erasdable Pen

The Bic Gel-ocity Illusion erasable pen is a capped pen with a 0.7mm tip and is available in 8 colors. Its erasable ink uses thermosensitive technology. The pen has can be refilled although the pen and refills don’t seem to be widely available.

Erasable Ballpoint Pens

As we have already mentioned it is very difficult to make an erasable ballpoint pen due to the way their oil-based ink interacts with the paper, however, there are a couple of exceptions. The Pilot Kleer is definitely an oil-based ballpoint pen combined with thermo sensitive ink technology. However, the Papermate Erasermate is branded as a ballpoint pen but Papermate don’t give any details about the ink or how it erases.

Pilot Kleer Erasable Ballpoint Pen 0.7mm

Pilot Kleer Ballpoint Pen

The Pilot Kleer is an erasable disposable capped ballpoint pen with a 0.7mm tip and is available in 7 colors. Pilot state that they now bring thermo-sensitive erasable ink technology to the ballpoint pen with an advanced oil-based ink that provides a soft and fluid writing experience.

Paper Mate Erasermate Ballpoint Pen 1.0mm

Papermate Erasermate Ballpoint Pen

The Papermate Erasermate is a capped disposable pen with a 1.0mm tip and is available in 3 colors. Papermate doesn’t give out any details about the ink technology but they do state that it is an advanced erasable ink with a pressurized ink cartridge that allows you to write at any angle.

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Papermate Pens for more information.

Erasable Highlighter Pens

When it comes to erasable highlighters no surprises as to who the daddy is, the original innovators of thermo-sensitive erasable ink Pilot Pens with their Pilot Frixion Light erasable highlighter. However, excluding cheap Chinese erasable highlighters, there is one brand name with an erasable highlighter which is Bic with their Brite Liner Erasable Highlighter. Unfortunately, they only ship from amazon.com to addresses in the US.

Pilot Frixion Light Erasable Highlighters

Pilot Frixion Light Erasble Pen

The Pilot Frixion Light was the world’s first erasable highlighter and to this day remains the best available. It has a chisel tip and is available in 3 standard colors and 5 pastel colors.

BIC Brite Liner Erasable Highlighter

BIC Brite Liner Erasable Highlighter

There is not a lot of information regarding these apart from they are fluorescent yellow with a highlighting tip and at the other end an erasing tip. They appear to be only available on Amazon.com and generally speaking receive positive reviews.

Erasable Fineliner Pens

This may seem like it is turning into the Pilot Frixion fan club, but they are the only reputable pen manufacturer who produces an erasable fine line pen.

Pilot Frixion Erasable Fineliner Pens

Pilot Frixion Erasable Fineliner Pen

The Pilot Frixion erasable fineliner is the latest edition to the Pilot Frixon range of erasable pens. It is available in 12 colors & produces a 0.45mm line. This makes it ideal for detailed note-taking bullet journaling or simply drawing charts and tables.

Erasable Multicolor Pens

If you like your pens to have more than one color and are looking for an erasable multicolor pen, then a Pilot Frixion erasable multicolor pen is your only option. Although they are great pens available with different ink color & barrel color options with either 0.38mm tips or 0.5mm tips.

Pilot Frixion Ball 2 Biz 2 Color Erasable Multi Pen 0.38mm & 0.5mm

Pilot Frixion Ball 2 Biz 2 Color Erasable Multi Pen

The Pilot Frixion Ball Biz 2 Color Erasable Multi Pen is a premium sleek metal refillable multicolor pen fitted with 0.38mm tips and pre-installed with black and red ink.  It can be refilled with Pilot LFTRF40UF 0.38mm refills also Pilot 0.5mm LFBTRF30EF refills for those who prefer a wider written line. It is available in several different barrel colors.

Pilot Frixion Ball 3 Slim 3 Color Erasable Multi Pen 0.38mm & 0.5mm

Pilot Frixion Ball 3 Slim 3 Color Erasable Multi Pen

The Pilot Frixion Ball 3 Slim 3 Color Erasable Multi Pen is a refillable multicolor pen fitted with 0.38mm tips and pre-installed with black, blue & red ink. It can be refilled with Pilot 0.38mm LFBTRF30UF refills also Pilot 0.5mm LFBTRF30EF refills for those who prefer a wider written line. It is available in several different barrel colors.

Pilot Frixion Ball 3 3 Color Erasable Multi Pen 0.38mm & 0.5mm

Pilot Frixion Ball 3 3 Color

The Pilot Frixion Ball 3 3 Color Erasable Multi Pen is a refillable multicolor pen fitted with 0.38mm tips and pre-installed with black, blue & red ink. It can be refilled with Pilot 0.38mm LFBTRF30UF refills also Pilot 0.5mm LFBTRF30EF refills for those who prefer a wider written line. It is available in several different barrel colors.

Pilot Frixion Ball 3 Wood 3 Color Erasable Multi Pen 0.38mm & 0.5mm

Pilot Frixion Ball 3 Wood 3 Color Erasable Multi Pen

The Pilot Frixion Ball 3 Wood 3 Color Erasable Multi Pen is a refillable multicolor pen. It has a grained wooden grip and fitted with 0.38mm tips with black, blue & red ink pre-installed. It can be refilled with Pilot 0.38mm LFBTRF30UF refills also Pilot 0.5mm LFBTRF30EF refills for those who prefer a wider written line. It is available in several different barrel colors.

Pilot Frixion Ball 3 Metal 3 Color Erasable Multi Pen 0.38mm & 0.5mm

Pilot Frixion Ball 3 Metal 3 Color Erasable Multi Pen

The Pilot Frixion Ball 3 Metal 3 Color Erasable Multi Pen is a refillable multicolor pen. It has a metal body, rubberized grip and fitted with 0.38mm tips with black, blue & red ink pre-installed. It can be refilled with Pilot 0.38mm LFBTRF30UF refills also Pilot 0.5mm LFBTRF30EF refills for those who prefer a wider written line. It is available in several different barrel colors.

Pilot Frixion Ball 4 4 Color Erasable Multi Pen 0.38mm & 0.5mm

Pilot Frixion Ball 4 4 Color Erasable Multi Pen

The Pilot Frixion Ball 4 4 Color Erasable Multi Pen is a refillable multicolor pen fitted with 0.38mm tips and pre-installed with black, blue, red & green ink. It can be refilled with Pilot 0.38mm LFBTRF30UF refills also Pilot 0.5mm LFBTRF30EF refills for those who prefer a wider written line. It is available in several different barrel colors.

Erasable Pen for Coloring

What is the point of an erasable coloring pen? is a question I was recently asked. The answer is quite simple, coloring is a great past time for both adults and children alike. However, some of the adult coloring templates can be quite intricate so do you really want to be unable to erase a mistake after spending some time carefully coloring in that design. Help is at hand with Pilot Colors erasable coloring pens.

Pilot Frixion Colors Erasable Coloring Pens 1.0mm

Pilot Frixion Colors Erasable Coloring Pens

The Pilot Frixion Colors Erasable Coloring Pens are a disposable erasable coloring pen with a broad 1.0mm tip. The broad tip is ideal for producing solid color and they are available in 24 different colors.

Erasable Pens for Crossword Puzzles

You could use any of the Pilot Frixion erasable pens for crossword puzzles, but I would recommend The Pilot Frixion Point Erasable Pen 0.5mm. The Pilot Frixion 0.38mm tipped pens may be too small for some people and the 0.7mm with their conical ball slightly too big. Whereas the 0.5mm has a needle tip that produces nice sharp lines.

Erasable Pen for Drawing

It depends upon what you are drawing but a combination of the Pilot Frixion Fineliner pens which produce a 0.45mm wide line and are available in 12 colors. And the Pilot Frixion Colors Erasable coloring pens with a broad 1.0mm tip and available in 24 colors. Will probably be a good starting point for most people looking for erasable drawing pens. If you wanted to add even finer lines to your drawings, then any of the Pilot Frixion 0.38mm erasable pens could also be used.

Erasable Pen For Fabric

MG iErase fabric marker

Surprisingly the best erasable pen for fabric is not a Frixion erasable pen made by Pilot Pens. The best erasable pen for marking fabrics is the M&G iErase Friction & Heat Erasable Pen. For those not familiar with the M&G brand they are a huge Chinese stationery manufacturer.

The best place to buy the M&G iErase fabric marker pen is from Amazon. The pen has received rave reviews particularly about how easy it is to erase from fabric and quilts with either a hair dryer or hot iron.

Pilot Frixion Eraser

Pilot Frixion Remover

Pilot Frixion pens usually have a built-in eraser into the cap or at the end of the pen in the case of their retractable pens. The eraser in the more expensive multicolor pens can be replaced if it ever wears down. But what if you want something bigger and more robust this is where the Pilot Frixion Remover comes into its own right. Resembling a traditional rubber eraser in size the Pilot Frixion Remover is a specially designed eraser for erasing writing drawing or coloring created with their Frixion erasable pens.

Left-Handed Erasable Pens

Stabilo Easy Original Blue
Stabilo Easyoriginal Handwriting pen

The Pilot Frixion Pens gel ink is reasonably fast drying so a left-handed writer should be able to use them without too much fear of smudging. This allows left-handed writers to choose from a great range of colors and tip sizes.

If you are looking for a left-handed erasable pen with a specially designed grip for a child or young adult, then the Stabilo Easyoriginal handwriting pen is a good alternative. It does have a few limitations though the only erasable ink color is royal blue.

Also, the ink is not erased by Frixion but by bleaching the paper with an ink eradicator pen and then rewriting over the bleached paper with the ink eradicators built-in pen. Another thing to bear in mind is that you can only erase once with this type of pen whereas with a friction pen you can erase, rewrite and erase again as many times as you want to.

Cheap Erasable Pens

There are some cheap Chinese erasable pens starting to appear especially in the U.S on Amazon.com. brands such as Parkoo and Vanstek are becoming more prominent. Would I buy them? probably not. Yes, you will save a few dollars compared to the Pilot Frixion Pens but are they really all that. I may do a proper full in-depth comparison to find out if it’s worth spending your hard-earned bucks on these cheap erasable pens.

Best Erasable Pens

What are the best erasable pens? is probably one of the most searched for phrases online If you have read the Complete Guide to Erasable Pens then you will already know the answer. If you are looking to cleanly erase pen ink from paper that has been written on with a non-erasble pen then check out our guide How to Cleanly Erase Pen Ink From Paper

If on the other hand you have clicked on the link at the top of the guide and jumped to the bottom to read this part shame on you. Ok everybody’s busy and time is precious I get it.

The best erasable pens are any of the Pilot Frixion range of erasable pens. Pilot Pens are the original innovators of thermo-sensitive erasable ink. They first introduced it to the world in 2006 and have continually improved the ink formula and its ability to be cleanly erased ever since.

This is proven to be the case by the lack of a serious alternative option available from any of the other major pen manufacturers.

9 thoughts on “Complete Guide to Erasable Pens”

  1. The amazon reviews of the Frixion pens say that the quality has declined, especially in the ink: it runs out very quickly and dries up quickly if you don’t use it up and it skips and doesn’t write well anymore.
    Have you found this change?
    thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Rahel

      I have not noticed any noticeable change but they are gel pens so they will run out quickly compared to a ballpoint pen.

      Reply
  2. I am delighted to read that there’s a fix to my faded ink! I was just about ready to toss out my Frixion pens, because I was horrified to find things I had written faded away. Do you know if there has been any product created to “fix” the ink once the writing or coloring has been done?

    Reply
    • Hi, Jennie the whole point of the pens is that they are erasable it is impossible to change the properties of the ink and not sure why you would want to. If you need a permanent mark then use a different type of pen.

      Reply
  3. Based on what you have said there are not any good options for folks who do NOT want thermo-sensitive ink and do want a reliable writing experience (talking about Papermate) and for the ink to eventually become permanent.

    Reply
    • Hi Donna Thanks for your observations, The early Papermate erasable pens were not very good, which is why the Pilot Frixon dominates the market. I would be amazed if the new Papermate pens do not use thermo-sensitive ink. And in all likelihood, the refills will be made by either a 3rd party Japanese or Chinese manufacturer.

      Reply
  4. Great! I am looking for an erasable pen for studying. Your post is so easy to understand and clear, you explained clearly to readers to better understand the product and help them easily choose what is right for them. I really like it. Hope you will have more good post

    Reply

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