Masking off is a bit of a pain, no matter how you slice it. But to speed things up, I use low-tack masking tape. It comes away easier, and doesn't leave any or much residue, so cleaning up is easier. I also run a continuous piece down either side of the fretboard first (like binding). When it's time to remove the tape, you just pull those pieces off, and all the other bits come away with it.
I have some of the fret erasers, too (I have Crimson Guitars ones). I prefer using them to steel wool, as they're less messy and don't make me feel like I need a shower afterwards. But I don't think they really do a better job than steel wool, and given steel wool is easier and cheaper to come by, I can see why people might prefer just to stick with tried and true methods. If you do buy steel wool, get good stuff. You can usually see the difference between the cheap and good stuff just by eyeballing it. The good stuff is very smooth-looking.
I like polishing the frets with something called Autosol once I'm finished. It brings them shits up like mirrors, and they feel really nice and smooth. I think everyone has their own preference for this too, and I've read people saying you need nothing more than steel wool to get that, or micromesh pads, or whatever, but I found it was either quicker or more effective with the polish.