Click eraser versus knock eraser. Which brand is best? All are refillable pen style erasers meant to do the same job. This is a nerdy question but a relevant one if you use these things every day. I use these for accounting type work with mechanical pencil but they are also popular with engineers, artists, students, designers and architects all over the world. I’ve seen comparisons of block erasers online by artists but never of the pen style only. They are sort of the counterpart to a mechanical pencil. So decided to write one as I have a bunch of these things on my desk. Let’s find out the plusses and minuses of each brand and how they do in a head on test.
Most of these erasers come from Japanese makers. I guess they are very meticulous people there or they make a lot of mistakes. : ) It is likely the former having been there once. It is a tidy country. Many are made in Japan but some are also made in Mexico and Taiwan. There are also European makers like Staedtler from Germany and Milan from Spain.
Pentel Clic Eraser with Rubber Grip ZE22 North America Model
This one is sold in North America but contrary to what people think there are several different types of Pentel Clic Erasers out there depending on where in the world you live. The colors are solid metallic blue, red, green, violet, sky blue, pink and black. These are made in Mexico now and they used to be made in Japan.
These erasers erase well. The eraser is soft, white and retracts easily with an audible click. They are good for annoying people with the clicking sound if you want in the library or office.
The rubber grip is very comfy and grippy. It feels good in the hand when erasing and doesn’t slip.
This eraser has two downsides in my view however.
- The new style clip has a tendency to become loose and break off eventually. Then you can’t really advance the eraser but you can put it back in until it falls out again.
- The rubber part gets loose at the bottom and slides around after some use
If either one of these things happen I usually take out the white eraser and throw away the shell and use another as they cost around $1 to $2 each. It is not worth the aggravation. Buy in 12 packs for lower price.
Pentel Clic Eraser 2 without rubber grip ZE11T Europe/ Asia Model
This model is sold primarily in Europe and Asia. You can however buy this on Ebay like I did. This model is the basically same as the old style Pentel Clic eraser ZE21 that is no longer made without the rubber grip however it has the new style clip which looks more modern. It is nice.
The T suffix stands for transparent. It comes in four colors: Blue, Black/Smoke, red and green. If you don’t like the rubber grip and prefer the old style with no grip seek this one out. Just search for Clic Eraser2. I paid about $23 USD for 12 from Europe. They are made in Japan for you purists. No need to buy vintage you can buy new in bulk for much less money.
These erasers erase well. The eraser is soft, white and retracts easily with an audible click. They are great for annoying people with the clicking if you want. The refill is the same as for the grip type.
This eraser has two downsides in my view.
- The new style clip has a tendency to become loose and break off eventually. The you can’t really advance the eraser but you can put it back in until it falls out again. This is the same issue the grip style has.
- The body is a bit harder than the grip style. So you sacrifice comfort for durability and a clear color. Life is all about tradeoffs. But if you don’t like the rubber grip this is a bonus.
Pentel Clic Eraser Old Style No grip ZE21
This is the original style developed in the late 1980s that was sold until sometime in the mid 2000s. It was then replaced with the grip style that is first on this list. This style has a solid body with no rubber grip and a square, more durable clicker. It is also louder when you click so super annoying for others. You can still find brand new ones on Ebay from time to time but they are expensive as in like $7 or more unless a bulk pack.
Colors are red, metallic blue, matte black and light gray. There was also a marbled version of several colors called Rock and Write. Some people love these because they don’t like the grip style or the new clip. I am on the fence whether this is better than the grippy new version. I have both but find myself using the new ones more due to comfort. They surely look dated in design because they are but they last.
It erases just like the others and take the same eraser refill. They all do. So all you need a body and add a fresh eraser stick inside if you come across one. But an easier solution is to but the Clic Eraser2 Europe/Asia model brand new shown above if you want a version without the rubber grip. I know a lot of people hate the new rubber grip.
Pentel Clic Eraser ZE80 & ZE81 no grip square type Asia
This version is sold mainly in Asia and maybe Mexico. The shape is square and the body is shorter in length. The eraser material is also more firm than the round shaped clic eraser. It is the same eraser material found in the triangular tri eraser. It has to be firmer to mold the corners. There seem to be many colors both solid ZE80 and transparent ZE81. They are made in Taiwan. See pictures below. There are also different colors of refill such as yellow and pink.
The eraser advances with a normal side slide click mechanism which is durable.
I found this eraser to not erase as well as the round type but it is still good. It is a bit more smudgy but feels good in the hand. The lettering on it rubbed off fast leaving a blank body.
Pentel Tri Eraser/ Ain Clic Triangular ZE15 Knock Type
This is the triangular version of the clic eraser. It uses the same harder material refill as the square one. It likely has to be to hold the triangular shape. The mechanism is a plunger/ knock type with teeth at the bottom instead of a side click. This one has lots of corners for fine erasing. However the grip being triangular is not so comfortable.
I am not sure the triangular is sold in North America any more but the Japanese Ain version is sold at specialty stores like Jet Pens. Cost around $2.50 each. Personally I don’t care for this shape eraser and found it awkward. I prefer the square to triangular of these two.
Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser/ Radett 52860 & 52863 Click Type
This is a high quality stick eraser from Germany. The body is solid feeling and the eraser is the semi firm Mars Plastic Staedtler eraser that artists and engineers like. It is sort of the gold standard eraser that has been around for a long time. It is the successor to an even older Mars Rasor blue and black model 52730 from the 1980/1990s.
The eraser has many fine teeth and the mechanism is durable. Only the color blue with white is currently available. In the past these erasers were called Radett and they came in a variety of colors (black, white, red, yellow, black/neon, pearl colors, maybe others too). See below. I am not sure why they stopped this, maybe lack of demand. It is too bad as some of them look nice. Here are two new ones and an old pearl white one I have. They all take the same refill and are the same other than printing. Maybe the colors were a 90s, 2000s thing but they should at least have one or two other colors besides the blue.
They are around $5 each in art supply stores but worth it. Perhaps they are cheaper in bulk like $3. They are sort of the Mercedes Benz diesel of erasers. Heavy, solid, expensive, sturdy and durable. Typical German. There is no cushion here, just hard plastic to grip on. Utilitarian. The plastic is very hard and could be used as some sort of mini club to beat Smurfs or some other small fictional creature. Maybe that explains the blue and white color. : )
Uni E Knock Eraser EH205 and EH105
Uni is a brand of eraser made in Japan by Mitsubishi Pencil. No, they don’t make cars too like the Pajero or Eclipse. It’s a different company. Either way these are good erasers but hard to find here. They come in a variety of transparent colors and two thicknesses. There was the standard thin EH105 one that is thinner in diameter than the Pentel. The bigger one EH205 is thicker in diameter or about the same.
The mechanism is plunger or knock type that works well. Eventually the edge between the body and the trip cracks and then you buy a new one. That takes a while but for two dollars it’s fine. Of these I prefer the fatter version EH205 as it erases better. There also seems to be a black Faber-Castell version of the thin one.
Seed Radar Knock Eraser
Seed is another Japanese eraser manufacturer. This one has a slim eraser. Unfortunately it falls out when one hits the plunger twice and flops around. Therefore I can’t highly recommend this one over the others as it is flimsy.
Scripto Oops/ Sanford Speed Erase/ Rotring Tikky/Many Brands Knock Eraser
This eraser is a bit of an oddball eraser. It has been around since the 1990s I recall. I had this in school long ago as a Sanford brand, lost it but one can’t seem to find them in stores easily. I call this an oddball as I have seen the same eraser design sold under many brand names. These are listed below.
- Scripto Tokai Oops: I got these on Ebay. New old stock in original packaging circa late 1990s.
- Paper Mate Speed Erase
- Sanford Speed Erase
- Rotring Tikky
- Hinedowashi NM-200 Blue: Sold on Amazon 12 for $50. Still made I guess.
- Wearever Gummy
- Sakura Nocks: made with new grip and clip design. Sold on Ebay.
- Milan Jet Eraser: Europe only still made in clear. I have seen on Ebay.
All have the same plunger type knock design and are made in Japan. I am not sure if this is the same eraser sold under different brands or there are several makers. Maybe the design is licensed out. Currently the Hinedowashi and Sakura are sold online if you look hard. There is also a Xeno brand imitator from Korea. I think Scripto Tokai may have been the original maker but then sold off its writing division and tooling to others.
Either way the eraser performs fairly well for a while and is a cool design. Then the teeth that hold the eraser eventually get looser or the eraser refill gets worn by the teeth. It then starts to slide back into the body, slowly getting worse over time. The less pressure you put on it the longer it lasts.
I have no idea where one can buy a legitimate refill for this eraser but the refills are the same diameter as Pentel Clic eraser so you can just use those. The Staedtler one may work also. I am curious who the current maker or makers are of this eraser. If you know let me know. It may not last long enough to need a refill so they don’t bother selling them? Look at all the brands of the same design below. It’s the same tooling other than the Sakura. I don’t own any of these only the Scripto ones in the first picture.
Part 2: How do they erase? Show me!
Note I didn’t test the Pentel Tri Eraser but it has the same inner as the Pentel Square but less comfortable shape. Maybe it is better for small details.
Here you go from the ones I have using Pentel HB Super Hi Polymer Lead 0.5mm. I tried to be fair in scoring them on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest score. Price in USD paid by me for new.
The click type is likely more durable than the knock plunger type but not as much fun as the latter is like a mechanical pencil. It after all has more moving parts and is more complex. Also on the click type you the user hold the eraser part when you push the section at the bottom that says push or press. This takes the pressure of the eraser body and mechanism making it last longer.
On the knock plunger type there is no section where you push to hold the eraser core. So that means all the pressure of erasing is on the body, joints and mechanism. Due to the extra wear on the mechanism it wears out faster. It sort of like an athlete with a knee brace. The one with the brace is less likely to get injured and will last longer in the league. We see exactly this in long term durability.
Top Rated Choices in my humble view based on performance, feel and cost
- Pentel Clic Eraser with rubber grip ZE22 with rubber grip North America version: score 19
2. Pentel Clic Eraser no grip ZE11T transparent Europe and Asia version: score 18.5 basically same as top score. It is down to personal preference on whether you like the rubber grip or not.
3. Staedtler Mars Plastic Stick Click Eraser blue and white color: score 18 lower score due to cost not performance. Durable design and materials.
4. Uni E Knock Stick Eraser thick version EH205: score 18. Erases well. I can’t seem to find Uni refills but the Staedtler one fits so I guess I will use that one next on this shell.
5. Pentel Square ZE80 click eraser: score 16 good overall but not as clean erasing as the four round type above
6. Uni E Knock Stick EH-105 thin type: score 15. Works well for small erasing areas not big areas. If you press too hard the eraser tip will break as it is thin. So for bigger areas you would need to supplement with a different one or a block eraser.
7. Scripto Oops: score 13 mainly driven by cost. The performance was acceptable and it erased well enough. This is very hard to find which in turn drives high costs. Price will be $6 to $10. That’s hard when the others are around $2 to $5 tops.
8. See Radar Knock: Score 13. I wasn’t impressed by this one for erasing or functionality. I am sure it is like <$2 but still not worth it compared to the others. More novelty than anything.
The others are worth checking out too. If the Sakura could be had for $3 or $4 brand new in your area that would be ok too. It is unavailable here and I am not willing to pay $20 to $25 for one shipped to me.
Other Eraser Types
There are other brands of eraser and types too. See below. Perhaps I can test these later as I don’t currently have these on hand.
Tombow Mono Stick
Tombow is a famous Japanese stationary company that makes a good block eraser. I don’t really like block erasers for accounting but this pen/ knock style one is nice. The eraser is soft and leaves no crumbs. It works well. My only issue with this plunger style eraser is the awkward drafting pencil style lower grip. It is uncomfortable to hold for long. It should be tapered or have some sort of grip for those of who like to hold a pencil or eraser lower sort of like the Scripto. They do have cool promotions. Only in Japan!
Tombow Mono Knock 3.8 and Zero
There is a mono narrow 3.8 and a zero type for drafting. The material is more firm so likely not good for general writing erasing unless very detailed. I found this eraser a bit scratchy, stiff and not smooth. It has to be to hold the thin shape.
Tombow Mono One Twist Type
This is the same eraser material as mono stick but in a shorter chap stick or lip balm type package. It advances just like a lip balm by twisting up. I found this rolled off the table at times and got easily lost due to the small size. It performed well when it wasn’t on the floor underneath my desk but my desk is not totally flat either. My bad. The little nub is holds it most of the time.
Pentel Clic Eraser Pro / Hyper Eraser Rectangular Click Type
This one is for fine drafting work and made of metal not plastic. The eraser is hard for small erasing jobs. It has to be or it would bend. This isn’t something for homework or general writing. It also around $10-$15 so don’t lose it.
Note there are similar competitors from other firms like Mono and Seed. Look around.
Pentel Minic Mini Eraser ZE82 Click Type
This is a small lip balm sized eraser sold in in Asia with a click detent advance and hi polymer eraser. They don’t sell this here but I have seen it on Ebay. Lkely it is the Mono One competitor. It might be good for small hands but it might roll off your desk just like the other one.
Paper Mate Tuff Stuff/ Factis B2 Knock Eraser
This is another slim eraser made of a harder eraser material for fine work. I don’t think the Paper Mate one is sold any longer. It was made in Japan. Another version like the Factis BM2 is still sold online so shop around. If you like this kind you can also get the narrow Tombow Mono stick. The Tombow 3.8 mm refill might even fit this one so if you have one it may be worth a shot.
So I hope this post was helpful for you to determine what is available and how they do. It all comes down to personal preference. They don’t cost much so you can buy all the types and figure out what works for you. In general the click type will last longer than the plunger type. Finding refills can be a challenge.
So it appears some folks did a study on this type of knock erasers. No joke. I found this online by accident when searching for the Scripto Oops and Sanford Speederase refills which don’t appear to exist. It is a bit dated but has examples and data you might like.