Pilot FriXion Ball Eraseable Gel Ink Pen Review

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I like to write with ball point pens 99.9% of the time. The only problem is that when mistakes happen, you either have to use white out or scribble through the word and try again. Yuck. I’ve tried erasable ink pens in the past, but was never very happy with the results. Besides that, I hate eraser crumbs. That’s why I was really anxious to try the Pilot FriXion Ball Erasable Gel Ink Pen when JetPens sent me a sample. 

Note: Click on images to see a larger view.

The Pilot FriXion Ball pens are very inexpensive and come in quite a few colors. I was sent the Black ink version with the 0.5mm point.

These pens are light weight and made of plastic with a clear plastic pocket clip at one end and a rubber finger grip at the other.

The pocket clip doubles as the tip extender. It slides up and down with great clicky action. When I first looked at this pen, I noticed the opaque nub at the top and assumed it was an eraser. I was mistaken though. It’s not an eraser at all, it’s just a rubber nub that you use to make the ink disappear via friction.

This pen uses thermo-sensitive gel ink that reacts to both heat (via friction) and cold.

Writing with the FriXion Ball pen is not any different than other inexpensive ink pens. The pen is light weight, but feels balanced and comfortable in your hand. Writing across a page feels smooth and the ink flows relatively evenly. The ink doesn’t smudge any more or less than normal ink pens I’ve tried.

To erase something you’ve written, you just rub the rubber tip across the letters as you would a normal eraser. As you do this, the ink disappears like magic. And what’s even nicer is that no ink residue transfers to the rubber tip and there are no eraser crumbs to brush off your page. Nice!

The thermo-sensitive gel ink hasn’t really been removed by the ‘eraser’. The heat from rubbing the tip across it makes it disappear, but it’s really still there. If the ink is exposed to very cold temps (-14F), the ink will reappear. I suppose the opposite will happen if the ink is exposed to very hot temps (140F) – it will disappear. For this fact, it’s advised not to use these pens to sign or create important documents or to mail documents written with this ink.

I found that it’s not required to use the tip on the pen to erase the ink. Almost anything rubbed across the ink will cause the ink to disappear. That said, the rubber tip works much better than other things I tested.

See it in action

The Pilot FriXion Ball Eraseable Gel Ink Pen gets a thumbs up from me. I’ll be using one as an everyday desk pen for work and home. Now I can take notes during meetings and write in my journal without groaning when I make a mistake. These pens will allow me to keep my writing neat and tidy for less $4 each. They can even be refilled. What’s not to like?


Product Information

  • Inexpensive erasable ink pen
  • "eraser" doesn't leave crumbs
  • Ink is thermal and can reappear in certain environments (below freezing)

About The Author

48 thoughts on “Pilot FriXion Ball Eraseable Gel Ink Pen Review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
    1. @Tony We lefties have to stick together, we’re the only ones in our right minds 😉

      @Lynn I didn’t know that. That is very cool! Now I need to go shopping 😉

  2. I would have killed for this, 20 years ago. Now, I take all my notes on my laptop and have not used a pen to scribble more than a few words for a long long time.

  3. great review! this is the regular pen on my planner for editing and marking special notes. they all perform great, and I still get surprised looks when I mark copy with it and then erase it!

  4. I have a huge collection of these pens, and i love using them! Just thought i’d offer a tip: the faster you “erase” the better the ink disappears. The faster the “frixion” the better it works! 🙂

  5. Ice seen the Frixion highlighters, but this is new to me. I love the idea of a “grown up’s invisible ink pen”, though.

  6. I have always enjoyed the Gadgeteer reviews of pens and pencils its just the price of them that has been the killer! Thank you Julie this is the best yet & the price wont burn a whole in anyone’s wallet 🙂

  7. People say, the ink will not last long. After some times, say three weeks or a month, everything will be gone. Is it true? I used this pen in my examination. And the examination is kept for nearly a month to be corrected. What then will happen if everything is gone?

    1. @Sophalin Of course it all depends on how much you write every day… I am still using the pen I reviewed from October and no signs that it is running out of ink yet. I do wish you there was a see the ink level. The pen appears to be sealed.

  8. The pens are not sealed.
    You can twist them open and see the ink level and the 11mm of jelly at the top keeping the ink from running out the back of the pen.

  9. Hi, I don’t think that was quite the question of Sophalin. I think she wanted to know if the ink on the paper vanishes after a while (even though no frixion is applied to it) or if it stays on.
    I can imagine that she wonders. Especially because I’ve bought erasable markers and pens in the past and the ink of those weren’t visible on the paper anymore after some time had passed (say a year or so).

    1. @Kyra so far I’ve not noticed the ink disappearing. I’ve read that it can disappear at very cold temps, but will then reappear once the temp comes back up to normal. I’ve not tested that though…

  10. You mention that it is re-fillable (and other people have said the same thing), but I looked on the pilot website and could not find refills…plus, the pen seems pretty solid, like it won’t come apart to allow a refill. Awesome pen, though.

  11. Loved this review because a clerk at OfficeMax told me they laminated something written with it and the writing disappeared. He said, “Where did the ink go?”. Turns out the answer was nowhere!
    My next question is whether it is forever eraseable. I once used the Erasermate to mark music, assuming I could erase it, only to find out that after a couple of months it would no longer erase. Back to the pencil. I use the eraseable highlighter for music now and love it, but the same issue applies.
    One negative: it’s messy doing crossword puzzles on newsprint because the necessary rubbing to erase tears or smudges the paper.

    1. @Tanya I’ve erased things that I know are weeks and probably months old… so I don’t think that’s an issue. I’ve not done any real tests though…

  12. Hey I’ve only just bought this pen and when I’ve gone to write with it, it wasn’t working, no matter what I did. I’ve realised the ink inside the pen has gone WHITE! Is there anything I can do to make ink blue, or do I have to buy another pen? :\

  13. I can vouch for this pen, thanks to Julie:). Works great. I had thought about using it for work, but our compliance rules basically state that when “wet ink” signing any official documents (yeah, we still do that, even in 2013), it must be “indelible” ink, so this pen wouldn’t work for that. But for everyday jotting and journaling, it works great.

  14. Does the eraser run out like normal erasers or does it stay, like forever? Also what do i do if the eraser doesnt work because my friend has a friXion pen aswell but after 3 months or so the eraser seemed to have no effect.But it worked with a hairdryer^.^ but she cant take a hairdryer to work!

    1. @Ayanna The eraser doesn’t crumble like ordinary pencil erasers. It’s main purpose is to create friction / heat, which causes the ink to disappear. The only thing I can think of with regards to your friend’s pen eraser not making the ink disappear is that they were in a very cold environment when they were trying it. Or they didn’t use enough pressure and speed when rubbing the eraser over the ink.

  15. Hello,

    I was reading your comments about this pen because I recently bought one to use for my exams (I don’t have time to make a draft so I thought it would be very practical). However, I am living in Abu Dhabi and when a friend told me it can disappear under high temperature (or with time), my heart almost stopped beating !

    I did 6 exams with it. They will transport them maybe under high temperatures from here to France to be corrected. There, they will meet cold temperature and will stay a long time before being corrected.

    I am also afraid that, if u say the ink doesn’t really disappear with the eraser, then maybe with the cold temperatre, what I erased will reappear under the correct answer I wrote after ?

    Should I be that worried ?

    Thanks in advance for your reply !

  16. Just a heads up, on the ink-permanence frontier….I was cutting some signed some checks in a hurry and ran them through the copier/printer and yes my signature almost fully disappeared…

  17. For a pair of two cost about $9.00. I only use them on occasion such as writing an exam or assignments but the ink do not last long. So I am sticking back to regular pencils, pens and white outs

  18. Please help mee…
    I ve made some important tests of diploma with this pen..but when i understood that the ink dissapears i was completely shocked…I m afraid that the ink will dissapear by the hot temperature when they will transport tests by car..and this is terrible for me.bcs i m one of the best students of my school :,(

  19. i dropped my friction pen and it stop working, is there a way to get it back,
    or do i have to buy another one?

      1. I just dropped two of mine on concrete today and same thing happened they are writing like they are low on ink!

  20. I absolutely love these pens, however… I just cant use them.

    The main issue is that if you have written on both sides of a sheet of paper, erasing one side will also erase ink on the other side.

    I’ve tried different erasing techniques trying to correct the issue… but nothing works. The heat always transfers through to the other side.

    Don’t use these on anything official.. don’t use them on exams, don’t use them on anything that you need to turn in for points. Pretty much covers all of the reasons that I write 🙁

  21. I absolutely love erasable pens but where did you get that video? I’m currently doing a project on them and that video would be amazing evidence!

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