Best permanent marker

Office Supplies

The Sanford Ink Company first introduced Sharpie markers in 1964, with Johnny Carson and Jack Paar the first celebrities to endorse the brand.

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Which permanent markers are best?

When you want your writing to last, you need permanent markers, which  come in a variety of colors, tip sizes and tip shapes. Although they can be used on paper, they are most often used on materials such as metal, stone, plastic, ceramics, wood and cardboard. Whether you use them for artwork or labeling, they are an essential part of any office-supply collection. 

When you want permanent markers that look beautiful and last long, the Sharpie Permanent Markers Ultimate Collection has the “write” stuff. 

What to know before you buy permanent markers

Different tips

The sizes and shapes of the tips change the way permanent markers color and write. There are several tips from which can choose:

  • Brush tips can be used to draw thin lines or color larger areas, depending on how you hold the marker and press on the tip.
  • Chisel tips have two differently shaped edges. One side is thin and has a point for writing thin lines; the other is wider and flatter to color large areas.
  • Fine tips are thin and pointy, so you can draw details more easily. They are also perfect for writing on things such as personalized gifts. 
  • Ultra-fine tips are very thin, so you can use them to make delicate details on your projects. They are ideal for when you have to be very precise.
  • Twin-tip permanent markers have one tip on each end of the marker, in the same color. You might find a fine tip on one side and an ultra-fine tip on the other. These markers are convenient for when you need variety in your drawing and writing.  

Variety of colors

When writing with a permanent marker, many people reach for basic black, but they come in a rainbow of colors that can brighten any project or presentation. From vibrant reds to majestic purples, cool blues and warm yellows, the colors in these markers truly pop. Some brands have neon and metallic varieties, which can add awesome artistic touches to your work.

Material you are working with

Permanent markers write and stay on virtually any surface, but some are specially formulated to write on specific materials. You can find permanent markers that are best for materials including paper, cardboard, glass, stone, wood, plastic and metal. For coloring and writing on clothing, permanent fabric markers are your top choice. 

What to look for in quality permanent markers

Long-lasting ink

No one wants markers that dry out quickly. Look for brands that are known to have long-lasting ink. Similarly, you want markers with a reputation for not fading or rubbing off after they have been applied.

Retractable tips

You won’t have to worry about losing the caps when you buy markers with retractable tips. Simply click the top to write, then click it again when you’re finished.

Low odor

Permanent markers have a reputation for having strong smells, and these odors are more than just an inconvenience. The fumes can be dangerous as well — breathing them for too long can cause you to get a headache or upset stomach, or to become dizzy. Opt for permanent markers with “low odor” in the descriptions to make your experience as pleasant and safe as possible.

How much you can expect to spend on permanent markers

Permanent markers tend to be more expensive than magic markers. Depending on the size of the pack, you might spend anywhere from $10-$130.

Permanent markers FAQ

How do you remove permanent marker ink from surfaces and clothing?

A. Alcohol-based cleaners and sanitizers are best for removing permanent marker ink.

How do you remove permanent marker ink from skin?

A. Makeup-remover wipes are great for removing permanent marker ink from skin. If you can stand it, rubbing alcohol works well, too. Less harsh options are sunscreen or vegetable, olive or coconut oil.

Are Sharpie permanent markers nontoxic and safe for young children?

A. Sharpie markers are certified as AP, or Approved Product, by the Art & Creative Materials Institute. Still, the company does not recommend you use them on any surfaces that may come into contact with food or the mouth. Therefore, permanent markers are not really safe for young children, and older children should be supervised when using them.

What are the best permanent markers to buy?

Top permanent markers

Best permanent markers

Sharpie Permanent Markers Ultimate Collection

What you need to know: This set of 115 markers has everything you’ll ever need with its variety of tips and colors for all of your projects. 

What you’ll love: This set includes original, neon and metallic colors that work on paper, plastic, metal and most other surfaces. With 40 fine, 42 ultra fine, 5 neon, 8 metallic, 12 twin-tip and 8 chisel-tip options, you will always have the perfect marker at your fingertips. These markers dry quickly and resist fading and water. They are AP-certified nontoxic.

What you should consider: The price is a bit high.

Where to buy: Sold by Staples 

Top permanent markers for the money

Tru Red Twin-Tip Pen Permanent Markers

Tru Red Twin-Tip Pen Permanent Markers 

What you need to know: This pack of four twin-tip markers contains black, red, blue and green options.

What you’ll love: With both fine and ultra-fine tips, these markers give you two convenient options as you write and draw. With a square design, they won’t roll away while you work, but are still comfortable to hold while writing. They are low-odor and AP-certified nontoxic.

What you should consider: The fine point tip can be fragile if you press too hard.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Staples 

Worth checking out

Bic Intensity Permanent Marker 18-Pack

Bic Intensity Permanent Marker 18-Pack

What you need to know: This pack of 18 brightly colored fine-tip markers has low-odor and acid-free ink.

What you’ll love: The markers have a textured rubber grip for comfort and control while writing. They have unique Snap Caps with a vapor-seal locking mechanism, so you can feel the cap snap closed and be sure your markers will stay fresh and last longer.

What you should consider: A handful of reviews stated that the markers were out of the packaging when they arrived.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Lorianne Palinkas  writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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