Magnetic pincushions are extremely helpful if you tend to toss pins on your work surface. The magnet helps in keeping pins located or corralled and can pick up a spill in seconds. The drawback is that if the pins are left on the magnet for an extended period of time, they will become magnetized and eventually you are apt to find them on your scissor blades and other places that you do not want them. Because they will "collect" pins, if you like keeping all your types of pins separated, this may not be the tool for you.
The standard tomato pincushion seems to have been around forever. A good pincushion is filled with sawdust and wool roving. The wool roving contains lanolin and prevents the pins from rusting.
The strawberry that is attached to most pincushions (but also available separately) is filled with fine sand or emery. The abrasive action of these fillers, remove dirt and rust, keeping the pin or needle sharp and smooth.
You must take the time to place the pins in the tomato type of pincushion for it to be useful but it does more to maintain your pins than a magnetic type of pin holder.
Use: Pincushions may stay in your sewing area and just be handy by the sewing machine.
Care & Maintenance: With magnetic pin holders you must be cautions around electronic equipment and data storage devices to prevent the magnet from damaging them.
Prevent tomato type pincushions from getting holes. The spill out ic very messy to clean up.
Available Options: There are pincushions that have been in sewing boxes for generations and many new options available. Some can be worn on a wrist to have handy when pinning alterations or hand sewing. Small decorative options are also available. There are also elaborate decorative pincushions available at many sewing stores (not pictured here).
Expense: Prices vary widely depending on the quality of the filling and the novelty of the type of pincushion. Look for a tight weave on any fabric type of pincushion to prevent leaking of the contents.