Guide: Pilot FriXion Erasable Pens

Guide: Pilot FriXion Erasable Pens

Pilot FriXion line pens are the quintessential erasable pens on the market today.  There's a wide variety of Pilot writing instruments featuring this technology, and they're the dominant manufacturer of erasable pens. Want something cheap to try out erasable pens? You won't be disappointed by the selection of FriXion pens at your local department store. How about something more classy? Easy, there's an LX model that blends in perfectly at the office.

These pens erase like magic - one stroke and the ink completely disappears, leaving space for you to write more.

But what exactly is an erasable pen?

How Pilot FriXion Erasable Pens Work

The erasability of the pen comes down to the pen's properties. When "erasable" ink disappears, the ink doesn't magically go away. The real magic is in the ink's properties. When you erase the ink with Pilot's included eraser (usually at the back of the pen), it generates heat. This Pilot ink has "thermo-sensitive" technology, which, when heated up to 60°C (140°F), takes on a transparent color. Yes, unfortunately, the Pilot FriXion ink doesn't disappear when erased but rather becomes completely transparent.

Even though the ink doesn't fully disappear, the color-changing properties allow the text to be restored when it's cooled to low temperatures. Pilot's UK website claims that this process only takes a few minutes in a freezer, but after testing this out for myself, I'm nearly certain this process takes at least a few hours.

I got minimal amounts of color back after sticking it in my freezer for approximately 30 minutes. There's enough back for me to be comfortable saying that a full restoration would be possible, but it comes back at a near-sluggish pace.

Regardless, these pens are cool. They're very practical, and many of my peers constantly use Pilot FriXion pens. However, they're not suitable for use in formal documents or examinations due to their sensitivity to heat, so please avoid wasting hours of work!

Writing Experience

Writing with FriXion erasable pens is a hit or miss. Sometimes, the pen flows very smoothly, but other times, it's extremely hard to get a coherent line. In general FriXion pens write on the drier side, which is probably due to the chemical properties of the ink.

Another problem I've encountered with FriXion pens is that the ink refills deplete very quickly. Again, it's probably due to the special properties of the ink, but this has a financial impact. FriXion ink refills are proprietary and cost over a dollar each. It's something to keep ink mind when looking into these pens.

The Pilot FriXion Erasable Pen Lineup

The FriXion series of pens feature a wide variety of models, from very accessible ones starting at a few dollars to more premium, professional-looking ones that can climb to nearly $50. I own a handful of them and haven't been disappointed by my experiences with each one. Although I don't own the entirety of the lineup, I have nearly every type of FriXion pen and can give my thoughts on each of them.

At the bottom of the spectrum lie the standard pens made of cheaper plastic materials. The two pens I have in this category are the FriXion Standard and the FriXion Ball Clicker. They're not the highest-quality pens, but they are an excellent entry point into the famous and unique Pilot FriXion fountain pen lineup. I find that most users of erasable pens use the Ball Clicker model as it's the most easily accessible one that's available in your local Target or any other large retailer.

Pilot FriXion Ball Clicker

The FriXion Ball Clicker is the one I see the most often, and many of my classmates use this model on a regular basis. These pens are available in a plethora of colors and cost a few dollars each at most, making them a great investment for students who would like the convenience of using erasable pens.

This pen is lightweight, has a great grip section, and has a satisfying click that may annoy those around you. The body features a spiral decoration with jagged edges that, in my opinion, adds to the overall look of the pen. You'll see that these patterns appear on nearly every model except for the more premium ones for office environments.

I enjoy the use of translucent materials in some parts of the pen, such as the nib and the clicker. When clicked, the translucent X in the FriXion logo also goes from black to clear. It's clear that there was a great amount of effort put into this pen's design, and it definitely deserves its popularity.

Pilot FriXion Standard

The FriXion Standard is a capped version of the Ball Clicker up above. I find it more comfortable for daily usage as it is portable, and I generally prefer using pens posted. This pen posts securely, and I have no qualms about the cap falling off.

Something I don't appreciate is the heavy amount of branding featured on the pen. Both the Pilot and FriXion logos are printed in a bright silver color. This, on top of the spirals printed in the same color, make the erasable pen feel a little excessive in terms of branding. I love the design of the pen, but the branding is a little excessive.

Pilot FriXion Erasable Highlighters

It's impressive that erasable highlighters exist. They're actually very practical and, for the most part, work fantastically. However, I would stick to using these for non-hand-written texts, such as printed paper for notes. After I erased my highlights on text written using both fountain pen ink and ballpoint ink, I noticed smearing, which ruined the look of the page.

I expected that, given these highlighters were erasable, they would write very dry. I was wrong. These highlighters feel very close to their non-erasable counterparts, and I was impressed. The only thing I don't like about these highlighters is their disposable nature, but, to my knowledge, the vast majority (if not all) of highlighters are disposable, so it doesn't worry me too much.

Like many other FriXion products, these erasable highlighters come in many different colors. However, these colors are, from what I see, limited to lighter pastel shades. I don't mind it, but in the future, I hope to see bolder colors, such as bright red or green, but given the special properties of the ink, I'm not sure how feasible this is.

Pilot FriXion Ball LX

This Pilot FriXion is for more formal uses. Although it doesn't feel the best in terms of quality (especially given its steep $30 price), it isn't a bad investment if the situation calls for a nicer-looking pen. This pen functions essentially the same as the other FriXion pens that take the ball refill but in a different body.

The eraser is accessible at the back, but beware - I have had many "close calls" with losing it, given its small size and very low weight. In the past, I've written a more detailed review of this erasable pen. It's accessible here.

I've used Pilot FriXion pens for the longest time and, for the most part, haven't been disappointed with them. They're great instruments with unique features, and Pilot is the go-to brand when searching for erasable pens.

If, by the off chance, you've never tried FriXion pens, I'd definitely recommend looking into them. With any ballpoint model comes essentially the same writing experience, so even the more affordable models will suffice. I hope you found some value in this guide, and as always, thank you for reading.

Nathan Ma

Nathan Ma

Hi! I'm Nathan, and I'm a stationery enthusiast. I've been in love with anything regarding writing and have built up a huge collection that I can now share with others!