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Best Types Of Erasers For Artists: Which One Should You Use?

Any artist should have several types of erasers with them to help them make the best use of erasers. Art gum erasers are the best for delicate papers, whereas a kneaded eraser is best for erasing large spaces and adding highlights. An eraser pencil is best for erasing fine details, while a vinyl eraser is best for removing stubborn ink marks.

Best Types Of Erasers For Artists

Most people tend to pay no attention to erasers as a part of creating art. But making mistakes is a part of art, and so is erasing them effectively. While buying art supplies online, you might have noticed that there are quite a few types of erasers to choose from.

These different erasers are made from different materials and serve different functions, and you need to find an eraser that works the best for the kind of art you make. Read ahead to determine which would work the best for your art needs.

Best Types Of Erasers For Artists

Best Types Of Erasers For Artists
© Homesthetics - Dylla Setyadji

Every artist has their own needs and preferences. Depending on those requirements and preferences, you can choose from many different types of erasers.

1. Gum Erasers

A gum eraser, also called an art gum eraser, is a soft eraser and is popular for erasing pencil marks from traditional drawing surfaces. Generally brown in color, they don’t damage the paper while erasing since they are non-abrasive. So, if your concern is maintaining the integrity of your paper, gum erasers are a good option.

A gum eraser can be used to erase pencil marks on a variety of different papers but lacks precision while erasing. So, you can’t use it to erase fine details or points, but you can use it on many different papers.

However, gum erasers do crumble easily and leave behind a lot of residue while erasing. This is also why they don’t last very long.

You can find two types of art gum erasers in the market: oil-based and water-soluble. You might think that the oil-based one is the better option because of its longevity and flexibility. But they also tend to leave behind yellow stains. So, most artists go for water-soluble ones instead.

2. Rubber erasers

A rubber eraser is the most common type of eraser you can find. Everyone has used this since it is mainly found in classrooms and is a classic eraser. Those small pink erasers you remember from your childhood? Those were soft rubber erasers too! They come in many different shapes and sizes and can either be made of natural rubber or synthetic rubber.

You will find the texture of a rubber eraser to be firmer than a gum eraser. A rubber eraser is the best to remove graphite sketch marks and erase pencil marks from paper since it tends to smudge other mediums. They also provide more precision while erasing than gum erasers.

Rubber erasers are the kind you usually find on top of regular graphite and lead pencils. So, you can get one to ease your work.

It also leaves behind crumbs on the paper since it works by shedding itself as it removes the graphite from the paper. Also, be careful while erasing since over-aggressive rubbing can actually damage the paper.

3. Kneaded Eraser

Kneaded erasers are extremely versatile erasers that are made from rubber after vulcanization.

The unique feature of kneaded erasers is in the name itself: they can be kneaded into different shapes. This can make using kneaded erasers a bit tricky compared to other erasers. They are very pliable, meaning they can be kneaded into really fine points as well. This helps in erasing fine details, which is not possible with other wide erasers.

Not only is it perfect for erasing fine details, but it also does not damage the paper. Additionally, it does leave behind crumbs or residue like other erasers. Even more, these erasers are reusable! After they become too dirty, you can just knead them back into their original shape and use them again. They can also work on many different surfaces like pastel paper, wood, etc. 

This eraser is best for charcoal and graphite since it is too soft to be used to erase ink. But that is an advantage when it comes to erasing pencil marks from watercolor paintings.  

However, this eraser type tends to become sticky after a while of use. So, most artists don’t like using it to erase long spaces. A kneaded eraser is made from un-vulcanized rubber, which helps give it a soft and putty texture. This is why kneaded erasers are also called putty erasers.


Knead the kneaded eraser into a point and subtly lift highlights off your drawings to give them more depth and realism. It is an actual drawing tool in itself!

4. Pencil Erasers

No, I am not talking about the little pink eraser on top of your pencils. Pencil erasers look just like ordinary pencils, but instead of a graphite tip, they have a vinyl eraser tip. Also known as ‘erasil’ or ‘eraser pencil,’ these pencil erasers can be sharpened to a point and offer precision while erasing.

However, with the fine tip comes a lot of pressure, which can tear the paper. So, I recommend using an eraser pencil only for fine details. Additionally, pencil erasers are also hard to clean since the tip tends to stick to the surface you’re erasing.


Get a pencil eraser with a brush at the end so you can brush away the crumbs simultaneously.

5. Vinyl Erasers

Vinyl erasers, also called plastic erasers, are pretty hard and rigid and hence are perfect for erasing marks that are too stubborn. They are plastic erasers made of polyvinyl chloride, which is a widely used chemical substance commonly known as PVC.

Being such a firm eraser, vinyl erasers can also remove ink and pen marks. Also known as ‘plastic erasers,’ these erasers are perfect for removing any marks from paper, whether graphite, ink, or charcoal.

However, keep in mind that a vinyl eraser’s firmness can be hazardous for the paper. So, if you are working with paper that is too thin, you’re better off with a kneaded eraser.

6. Glass Erasers

Glass erasers mainly come in the form of a plastic barrel with a glass fiber tip. The tip uses stiff bristles that help remove tough spots that standard erasers cannot remove. It can be used to remove graphite and India ink.

Since the eraser is so firm, it can be too harsh for normal papers. So, I suggest using this for small areas that require small details to be erased.


You can also use this glass eraser to remove rust spots from everyday household items.

7. Sand Erasers

Sand erasers are a combination of rubber and fine sand particles. As you might know, sand particles can be pretty abrasive. So, you can use this eraser to remove ink, graphite, pastel, colored pencil marks, etc.

Additionally, these erasers don’t leave behind any crumbs or residue. They don’t smudge or smear the paper. Everything about them sounds great, so what’s the catch?

Well, being so abrasive, they can damage delicate and thin papers. So, you can only use them on thick and rough surfaces.

Top Types Of Erasers In The Market

Here are some best erasers for you to get the creativity started.

1. Best Gum Eraser - Prismacolor Art Gum Eraser

Prismacolor Design ArtGum Erasers, Beige, Pack of 12
  • Quickly removes graphite and other dry media
  • Dual-purposed, acting as both a non-abrasive eraser and dry...

The Prismacolor art gum eraser is perfect for soft papers and delicate surfaces. Whether it’s graphite or charcoal, you can easily remove it using this gum eraser. Additionally, it leaves behind only a little residue. The pack contains 12 erasers, so rest assured they will last you a long time for your art and craft projects.

2. Best Rubber Eraser - June Gold Rubber Erasers

June Gold Kneaded Rubber Erasers, Gray, 6 Pack - Blend,...
  • 6 Pack of Gray Kneaded Rubber / Gummy Erasers
  • Absorbent Material Erases and/or Lightens Charcoal, Pastel,...

There is no artist toolbox without a rubber eraser. This pack of June Gold rubber erasers is a pack of 6 erasers. It erases charcoal, pastel, chalk, graphite, and colored pencils. Since these are kneaded rubber erasers, you can knead them into any suitable shape. You can also easily clean this eraser by kneading it between your fingers.

3. Best Kneaded Eraser - Faber Castell Kneaded Erasers

Faber-Castell Kneaded Eraser with Case, Grey
  • VERSATILE ART ERASER: Perfect kneaded eraser for artists...
  • ABSORBENT AND EXTREMELY CLEAN: Kneaded erasers for artists...

The Faber-Castell kneaded erasers are the best-kneaded erasers you will find in the market. They are ideal for removing graphite pencil marks, charcoal, and pastel. Its ergonomic shape makes it perfect for soft and smudge-free corrections.

This eraser comes in an easy-to-carry plastic case, which enables easy storage after use. It helps prevent any dust from accumulating on the eraser and also makes it a perfect part of your travel art supplies.

4. Best Pencil Eraser - Faber Castell Pencil Eraser

Faber-Castel Eraser Pencils, 2-Pack, 2 Count (Pack of 1),...
  • FABER-CASTELL-Eraser Pencils
  • These pencils are perfect for erasing unwanted marks fine...

Having another Faber-Castell eraser on this list comes as no surprise. These eraser pencils are literally erasers in pencil form. So, they are perfect for removing pencil marks and fine details. You can actually use a regular pencil sharpener to sharpen the pencil and create a fine tip. This fine tip can be used to erase the tiny details and make corrections in your drawings.

Not all erasers can be held like a pencil and be used like a pencil. So, eraser pencils are definitely a unique option.

5. Best Vinyl Eraser - Staedtler Plastic Erasers

STAEDTLER Mars Plastic, Premium Quality Vinyl Eraser, White,...
  • Premium quality white vinyl eraser for first-class erasing...
  • Erasers individually packaged with protective cellophane...

The Staedtler plastic erasers are the best vinyl erasers an artist can use. Coming in a pack of 4 erasers, the sharp edges are perfect for cleaning up small areas with a bit of water. You can use it to erase graphite, charcoal, colored pencils, and pastel from many different surfaces.

Additionally, the vinyl eraser has minimal eraser dust and does not tear the paper.

6. Best Glass Eraser - Faber Castell Glass Eraser

Faber Castell Glass Eraser Pen 30103 Drawing Ink

The Faber Castell glass eraser is an eraser pen that can be used to erase fine details and tiny mistakes in your drawings. The plastic barrel makes for an easy grip and hold. The soft eraser also does not cause damage to your paper during the erasing.

7. Best Sand Eraser - Tombow Mono Sand Eraser

The Tombow Mono Sand eraser is a pretty abrasive eraser that can be used to remove many kinds of marks from all kinds of surfaces. Made up of rubber and fine sand particles, this eraser is also environmentally friendly.

It comes in a pack of two erasers, so the pack will definitely last you a long time. Additionally, this eraser is also great for blending different colors in your work.

Buyer’s Guide Of Erasers For Artists

Whether it’s watercolor supplies or sketching supplies, you should always know what to look for. The same goes for drawing erasers. As you have read, there are actually many different types of erasers you can choose from. It totally depends on your needs and preferences. But what are the factors you should look out for when choosing one? Read ahead to find out.

1. Eraser Abrasiveness

Abrasiveness means the roughness of a substance. You should keep your drawing surface in mind when figuring out the right abrasiveness of your eraser. If you intend to draw on soft paper, get a gum eraser or a rubber eraser for the best results. Or, you can get vinyl or sand erasers for the removal of stubborn marks.

2. Eraser Shape

Erasers come in many different shapes, like rectangular, round, etc. Some even come in the form of a pencil or pen. The eraser shape and diameter you choose will depend on the type of work you are doing and your required precision. For small areas and precision erasing, an eraser pencil is a good option. For large areas, you can buy rectangular or gum erasers.

3. Dustiness

Some erasers leave behind more residue on your drawing paper when compared to other erasers, like gum or rubber erasers. If you want an eraser that does not leave behind much residue, you should get a kneaded eraser. Art gum erasers are the dustiest.

4. Art Medium

The type of eraser you choose also depends on the drawing medium you are using. Different erasers are suitable for different marks. For removing graphite, vinyl, kneaded, and gum erasers are the best options.

To remove charcoal and avoid smudge marks, a kneaded eraser is the best eraser. Kneaded erasers are also suitable for drawing mistakes done by pastels since they don’t leave behind much residue. For the removal of pen and ink marks, vinyl erasers are the best options.

5. Graphite Vs. Colored Pencils

Standard regular pencils are mostly graphite pencils. Usually used for writing and sketching, they are sourced from carbon, leave a characteristic gray mark, and have their own unique properties.

Colored pencils, on the other hand, are a combination of a color pigment, some wax/oil, and other resins (usually gum Arabic). They are used for drawing, coloring, and watercolor painting and are available in a variety of different colors.

Both these pencils require different erasers for their removal. Sand erasers are the best for colored pencils, whereas vinyl, kneaded, rubber, and foam erasers are the best erasers for erasing graphite and removing pencil marks.

Types Of Erasers FAQs

  • How should I clean a plastic eraser?

    You can use some dishwashing liquid and cold water to clean plastic or vinyl erasers. If that doesn’t work, use some white toothpaste to sand the surface of the plastic eraser and then rinse the eraser really well. Let the eraser air dry for at least an hour before you use it again. Don’t use hot water, as that would soften the plastic in the plastic eraser. 

  • Do kneaded erasers dry out, and how can I prevent that?

    Well, yes. Kneaded erasers tend to dry out over time and lose their pliability and flexibility. You can protect your kneaded erasers from drying out and storing them in a plastic bag whenever you are not using them. Revive the eraser’s softness by heating it up with a hairdryer. 

  • What are black erasers used for?

    Black erasers are used for erasing graphite, charcoal, and other drawing media from black-colored papers. Unlike white erasers, these erasers don’t leave behind marks on the drawing paper. They also don’t leave behind their color on the paper. 

  • When should I stop using my kneaded eraser?

    It would be best if you threw out your kneaded eraser after it starts to leave behind too much residue and smudges on your drawing paper.

  • What are pink erasers?

    Pink erasers are just colored rubber erasers that can be used to erase pencil marks, charcoal, and graphite from regular paper. It works exactly like a rubber eraser by shedding itself as it lifts off the graphite from the paper. 

  • What are the two broad types of erasers?

    Erasers can be broadly categorized into two types: putty rubber and erasers that make crumbs. A putty rubber absorbs the marks and does not work by shedding itself. Examples of putty rubbers include kneaded erasers. On the other hand, erasers that leave behind residue include rubber erasers, vinyl erasers, and gum erasers. 

  • What is an electric eraser?

    Electric erasers are battery-powered drawing tools that spin the eraser on your paper, helping you with precision and gentle erasing. Hence, you can use this as an eraser pen and erase fine details. Electric erasers mostly contain plastic erasers. 

  • Tips For Using An Eraser

    1. If your eraser tears the paper too much, hold it in your hands for a few minutes to warm it.
    2. Avoid brushing the eraser crumbs off with your hands since that can smudge the graphite pencil or ink stain. Instead, gently shake the paper to get rid of the residue.
    3. Use a craft knife to cut your eraser into the shape and size you require.
    4. You can carve a stamp onto a firm eraser and use it as a rubber stamp.
    5. Knead the putty erasers before first use to expose the inner porous surface.


    No matter your drawing skills, every artist deserves the very best. I have described to you the different types of erasers that an artist can use. With the help of this guide, I am sure you will be able to decide which types of erasers would work best for you.

    Whether you like the softness of the gum eraser or the hardness of the vinyl eraser or you prefer the kneading ability of the kneaded eraser, you can buy however many erasers to help you make the best art possible.