Sunday, June 12, 2011

FriXion Pens: A Review

A few months ago, some enablers (who shall remain nameless—you know who you are) suggested I try the Pilot FriXion pens. If you’re on Twitter and follow the Philofaxy group, you know that this is a topic of many discussions.

I checked them out and thought about making a purchase but decided against it for the time being. But I happened upon JetPens one day and came across retractable FriXion pens (I see now I was lucky, as they are once again sold out). It happened to be my birthday and I said, What the hell. The pens were added to my cart, the cost was paid for, and they were in my mailbox less than a week later.

I have to say that the hype was true—these pens are awesome!

For anyone unfamiliar with these pens, they are erasable gel pens, something I’ve never come across with any other brand. Apparently, heat from the friction (hence the name) of the rubber eraser takes away the ink. If you put the paper in the freezer, the pen markings will reappear. I haven’t tried this, though I have read that other people have and found it to be true. Maybe someday I’ll test this.

Prior to the FriXions, I was using Sharpie pens for my various planner entries


Sharpie pens: Red, Blue, Black, Orange, Green, Purple

These are great pens—they’re colorful, they don’t bleed through the paper (though you can see the writing from the other side), and they’re easy to use. But they’re not erasable like the FriXions. Also, they all look the same—the only way you can tell what color each pen is, is by the band at the bottom of the pen, and when they’re all stuffed into a pen bag, it’s not so easy to tell. I found that I had to constantly take them all out to find the one that I needed. When using pens in general, I find that retractables are so much easier. What’s the point of “quickly jotting something down” if it takes forever to find the pen you need and then have to remove a cap before the actual writing commences? Since the Sharpies have caps, they are not ideal for my use.

The FriXions pens are great for all the reasons that the Sharpie isn’t—each pen barrel is the color of the ink, making it super easy to find the one you need; they’re retractable, making it an actual “quick jot” of a note or two; and, oh yes, did I mention that they erase? A wonderful tool when adding appointments in my planner. I have yet to find that they bleed through the paper, though I do have to let the ink dry before turning the page; otherwise, there can be some markings on the opposite page from the still-wet ink.

Here is my FriXion collection:


FriXion pens: Black, Purple, Green, Blue, Orange, Red, Light Blue, Light Green, Dark Blue, Pink

I bought additional Black FriXion pens for journal writing (this is not retractable, but for journal writing, that’s okay)

The last pen is my Uniball JetStream pen, which I love—it stay in my planner at all times

Here is how I use my pen collection:


If you read what I have written, you can see what each color is used for. Though not erasable, I still use the Uniball Jetstream pen for all planner to-dos and general writing, both at home and at work, because I absolutely love this pen—it’s gel ink but writes like a ball point, and it’s so smooth. I just couldn’t give up on this pen, no matter how great the FriXions are. So I’m using it in conjunction with the FriXions.

I have two pens bags that I’m currently using.


The top bag is a Vera Bradley Tie Cosmetic Brush bag (forgive me if this isn’t accurate—I couldn’t find the bag on the website to give it its proper name) in Mesa Red, a retired pattern. It holds my colored highlighters, which I use to highlight certain things that I have written down during the day:

Pink - doctor/health information
Orange - any medication taken during the day
Green - exercise that I have done
Blue - hobbies (writing, knitting)
Purple - media (books read, movies watched)
Yellow - random notes I want to remember

This bag stays at home because there is an opening at either end of the zipper, where the tie appears. If I put this into a bag and it gets jostled around, the contents tend to spill out through one of the openings. The bottom bag is a pencil case I bought at Borders. I am using this to hold my FriXion pens, a second Uniball Jetstream (should the one in my planner run out of ink), and some pencils. Since this bags closes nicely with no spilling of contents, it will travel with me in my bag of choice.

In conclusion, though I haven’t been using the FriXion pens for very long, I highly recommend them for anyone who uses various colors in their planner. I have heard you can get some of the colors at office supply stores or all-in-one stores like Target. I have yet to find the assorted colors in a store here, but thank goodness, there’s always the Internet.

12 comments:

  1. Retractable FriXions are on my to-buy list. Your set has been out-of-stock, so I need to wait and order when they return to Jetpens. I bought my capped FriXions from Target and *love* them.

    Color coding has been something I have resisted--maybe it's the setting up of categories--but I may try this to help make better sense of my cluttered up PPD inserts.

    Cute pencil cases--I use one my daughter was tired of using. Am looking for a smaller, barrel-shaped one to pop in my new VB hipster. New blog posts to follow this week! :)

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  2. The retractables seem to be very popular. They don't keep them in stock for very long. I like color coding because it helps me to visually break up what's in which realm of my life - it helps me to see what I need to see and block out what's not necessary at any given moment. I did notice that VB has the "slim case." It could work for you, though I know it's very small (my friend bought it for small knitting needles) - you might only be able to get a few in there. Worth looking into though.

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  3. I love the Vera Bradley bag! It is very cute. Thanks for the great review of your Frixions. I dont have the retractables and I wont be buying anything soon but I love the ones that I do own.

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  4. I got the slim Frixion it's perfect for my Malden.

    BTW the tip isn't rubber but a soft plastic so that nothing comes off it when you want to rub something out.

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  5. From Polish and Powder (somehow this ended up on a different post):

    ooh, love the retractable ones. I just got the point (0.5mm) version of frixions yesterday in 7 colours and I am loving them, a must have for every filofax owner. My filo looked a bit drab but now looks lovely with all the colours. Hope you love yours just as much, would love to see the retractable ones in the UK.

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  6. CP - The ones you have, are they Frixion as well? I thought I might get another set to keep at work, but (thankfully) they are all sold out at the moment. This will keep me from buying things I shouldn't.

    Steve - A few people have the slim, yes? Sounds great, especially because it fits in the pen loop. I was tempted but I'm going to stick with my current JetStream for the moment. It doesn't fit in the pen loop, but the metal part does, so that's what goes in the pen loop.
    Forgive me for the misrepresentation of the eraser. I didn't read the product description on that part, just went by what it felt like to me, so thank you for for the correction!

    P & P - I didn't mention it, but mine are the .7 mm - I like the thicker tip. I agree that my Filo looks a little more upbeat than it does with just one color.

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  7. I just have the capped black Frixion; good thing I'm on a no-buy, because you have me jonesing for the multi-coloured set rather badly. I wouldn't even require the retractable type, so ... as I said, I need to hold off for the no-buy reason. Too bad ... I'm a sucker for a beautiful red pen...

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  8. Roanne - Don't you just hate it when you want something at a time you cannot buy? Oh well. I do love the variety of colors. I sometimes have a hard time finding all the colors I require in one pack, so this worked out well for me.

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  9. These look great! Haven't seen them in Albq, but to be fair I haven't been recently.
    I LOVE color coding! It helps me break things up and see what I need to see right away.

    Where is the eraser on the retractables? On the clicky bit?

    Thanks for the review!

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  10. Yay, enabling complete! Although now you have me wanting the retractable set... thankfully they are out of stock!

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  11. I find that the writing from my frixion pen (I only have the turquoise) tends to come back a bit, no matter how hard I rub it out! Does anyone else find this?

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  12. Rori - the eraser is at the top of the pen, the little nub thing, which is actually not the clicky bit. It took me a few minutes to figure out that the clasp part (I'm not sure what the official name is, but the part that hooks on to papers and such) is actually the clicky retractable bit.

    J - Yes, thanks to you and Zoe for enabling effectively. I will probably order another pack myself when they are back in stock, you know, for backup purposes.

    PerpetualStudent - I have not yet found that the ink comes back, though I haven't erased tons yet. In fact, I keep forgetting that the pens erase and so when I make a mistake, I cross out and then remember I can actually erase. For the most part, everything rubs out.

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