Since delving into using a paper planner this year, one of the tools frequently mentioned in conjunction with a paper planner is the Pilot Frixion erasable pen. I’ve acquired a couple Pilot Frixion Color Markers and an 04 gel pen on my travels in Hong Kong but I didn’t really understand why someone might use one. In a standard notebook, I’m fine just crossing something out something. However, in the limited real estate of the week-on-two-pages format, having a meeting move from Monday morning to Tuesday afternoon to “no, let’s meet Tuesday morning” means that crossing out might not be the best solution. So, I’m starting to understand why folks are such loyalists to the Pilot Frixion gel pens.
Pilot offer the Frixion line in gel pen, “point” pens which seem more akin to a needlepoint rollerball like a Pilot V5 Precise or Morning Glory Mach 3, markers and even highlighters. I’m probably missing a variation but this covers a lot of pen needs. Pilot also offers Frixion colored pencils but erasable pencils are not as novel as a good erasable pen, IMHO.
(Please ignore my misspelling of “erasable”. I do know how to spell it and I could have erased this but I didn’t notice the mistake until after I had already photographed the pages. Mea culpa.)
The Frixion erasable pens work because the heat caused by the friction of “erasing” makes the ink vanish. I received a letter this summer from a friend that was almost completely unreadable. It turns out it was written with a Frixion pen and must have either been left in the sun or out in a hot delivery truck that caused the writing to almost completely vanish. So, there’s the rub (pardon the pun). I would recommend keeping any writing done with Frixion pens to ephemeral data like calendar events and make sure that you don’t leave your calendar in a hot car.
I was worried that I might have to give up the convenience of a multi-pen if I switched to the Frixion gel pens for my planner but lo-and-behold, no. I can have my cake and erase it too with the Frixion 3-color Gel Ink Multi-Pen ($9.90).
I also noticed that Uni makes their own erasable pens called Fanthom, so I bought the 3-pack of 0.5mm with red, blue and black pens in the set ($10) to compare the quality. Both the Frixion 3-Color Gel Multi-Pen and the Uni Fanthom 3-pack use a conical rollerball-style pen tip. The Frixion pens feature a translucent rubbery “eraser” where the Uni Fanthom have a hard rubber cap that is supposed to be used to erase. The Fanthom caps just didn’t seem like an eraser to me but they worked.
The Uni Fanthom 0.5 pens had similar color in writing but erasing with the hard rubber cap left more residue and the black ink left a distinctly brownish haze on the paper. I can see why the Frixion pens are much more popular than the Fanthom.
I discovered that there are refills that will fit into the Frixion Multi-Pens that are available in a myriad of colors and some smaller tip sizes. So, I bought those too. While red, black and blue are good basic colors, the great thing about multi-pens is the array of ink colors available and I’m glad to see that the Frixion line is well-represented here.
I also tried out the Frixion 04 Point line available in a 5-pack ($18). When compared to the conical gel refills for the Frixion multi-pen, I liked the color intensity better with the Point pens. They more liquid ink left a slightly more contrasty color on paper which made the colors more legible, even in the lighter pink and orange colors.
I really liked the idea of erasable highlighters too so I grabbed a 3-pack of the Frixion Light Soft Color Highlighters, 3-pack for $4.95. Using the erasable highlighter over erasable ink leads to a completely erased page, so be warned. Using the erasable highlighters over standard gel ink (I used a Uni Style Fit Multi-Pen) left a smudgy mess. The highlighters might perform better with other types of pens for erasing so more testing is probably in order if you want to try these out. Using the erasable highlighters with text books, printouts or other documents would be a great option though. And the mild colors are bright but not blinding. I like the set a lot.
Overall, I like using a specific ink color in my planner for specific activities (purple for work, green for personal, blue for general events and holidays… etc) and there are enough Pilot Frixion pen options to keep color-coding my planner while allowing for erasing as activities change, get cancelled or need to be moved.
Maybe one of our scientifically inclined cohorts will put the Frixion pens to the test? I’m thinking of Ms. Fountain Pen Physicist specifically who can put a more scientific spin to her test than I can.
Jeff over at The Pen Addict recently wrote his own write-up about the Pilot Frixion Ball Knock Series if you need more erasable pen impressions.
For more information and detailed information about all the myriad forms that Frixion pens are available in, check out Pilot Frixion Erasable Pens: A Comprehensive Guide on Jet Pens.
DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.
16 comments / Add your comment below
I haven’t used erasable ink in a long time. Probably because with whatever pen I was using at the time, I was more likely to create a hole in the paper than erase what was written.
Thank for the review!
If the writing has disappeared because of heat, you can put the paper in the fridge or freezer to bring it back. But that will of course also bring back intentionally erased writing…
Did that once, put intentionally erased writing in the freezer. Didn’t come back. It was on a greetingcard, does that matter? There’s a nice movie of the heat-cold trick, I believe it was @ Jetpens.
I had never actually tried it myself, I had just been told it would work… But I tested it out today: I wrote with a turquoise Pilot Frixion pen on Filofax paper, erased it, and put the paper in the freezer. When I checked it after 1h the erased text had reappeared, just slightly fainter than before!
Quilters use these pens to mark fabric and then iron away the ink! Cold weather sometimes makes the lines reappear (quilt in the trunk in Wisconsin) so your friend’s letter might have become legible again if you had popped it in the freezer…
As a leftie, I despise erasable inks due to the fact that as I write, I erase them with my hand. Would the Frixion’s pose the same problem?
I’m a leftie too and had no issues with smudging when I write with Frixion pens. The pens erase with the heat from the friction of erasing so its unlikely that the warmth of your hand would cause the ink to vanish either. But I mostly use the Frixion pens for notes, scheduling and the like and not longhand journaling so results may vary.
I’m a fan of Pilot FriXion in general but the color-pencil-like pens are my favorite. They’re shaped like pencils but they are actually gel pens. And they come in 24 beautiful, juicy colors. My favorites are the two browns – tawny and tea. The dark green is pretty nice too.
How do you get free pens from jetpens? Did you ask from them or did they go to you?
We are the manufacturer for FRIXION ERASABLE GEL INK PEN AND WATER-BASED INK PEN.
1. Write, Remove and Rewrite.
2.The writing trace disappears with friction using the rubber tail tip on the pen with no residue and no
tearing of paper.
3. Smooth writing gel ink/water-based ink
4. This product is not recommended for signatures, examination papers or official documents.
5. If pen is exposed to extreme temperatures (60C) , the ink will disappear.
6. To restore color, cool to at least <-10C in freezer and ink will reappear
Company: XIAMEN LIVIYA CO.,LTD.
Contact: Lisa Chen
Add: NO.153 Tongan Area Tongan Centralized Industry Zone XiaMen 361100 China
I have recently purchased the erasable pens in several colours and loved them. When I went to use them recently after carrying them with me in warm weather and sometimes leaving them in a hot car, most will not write at all. This is very disappointing as no where on the packaging does it mention temp affecting them . Please let me know if this was from the heat,. Thx
I’ve heard that sticking them in the refrigerator or freezer can restore written pages, maybe that would work for the pens themselves?
I’ve been using these pens for many years. I absolutely LOVE them. I especially love that they come in fine points as I won’t use anything that is thicker than 0.7. I also love the different colors as I also color code my work.
Will the multi pen take normal frixion refills or is there a special kind only for the multi pen?
I have found the highlighters erase fine when used over sharpie pen.