Have you ever reached for a permanent marker only to realize its ink has dried out? Or its chiseled tip has worn out and gone unruly? Or worst of all, it spews out way too much pigment, effectively ruining a project you’ve worked so hard on? I’ve been there more times than I can count, and I’ve learned the hard way that picking out the best permanent marker available is essential.
Finding a reliable permanent marker works wonders for art projects, office errands, and housework. It makes all the difference when your marker glides smoothly, dispels the right amount of ink (and doesn’t run out after a few uses), and, most importantly, doesn’t budge on tricky surfaces like glass or metal. Choosing the perfect one depends on how it suits your needs, so read on to see which brands of permanent markers are best for you.
- Best Permanent Marker Reviews
- 1. SHARPIE Fine Point Permanent Markers
- 2. Shuttle Art Permanent Markers
- 3. AmazonBasics Permanent Markers
- 4. Avery Marks-A-Lot Permanent Markers
- 5. SHARPIE Chisel Tip Permanent Markers
- 6. Keebor Permanent Markers
- 7. Smart Color Art Permanent Markers
- 8. BIC Fashion Permanent Markers
- 9. ARTEZA Permanent Markers
- 10. Crayola Take Note Permanent Markers
- 11. Think2 Permanent Markers
- 12. ParKoo Permanent Markers
- What to Look For When Buying a Permanent Marker
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Permanent Marker Reviews
1. SHARPIE Fine Point Permanent Markers
The Sharpie permanent marker has always been the gold standard for quality markers, and the brand’s fine point black permanent markers fit the bill. Because the tips of these markers aren’t so thick, I find that they’re effortless to work with and are useful for all kinds of writing tasks, making them very versatile.
These are great to have around the house because you can use them for just about anything—doodling when you’re bored, labeling supplies in the kitchen, or writing up reminders on sticky notes for others to see. Also, this particular set comes in a pack of 12, which is great because I can distribute them in different rooms of my house, and pocket some for the office. These are the kind of markers we can use daily.
Although the point is very fine, the indelible ink that comes out of this marker is still bold. The ink glides smoothly, and the thickness is consistent. Its jet black color makes the writing very pronounced as well. Notably, the pigment dries reasonably quickly and doesn’t smear even if you accidentally brush your fingers against the surface a few seconds after starting.
The ink itself is very resilient and doesn’t fade over time. I’ve used these markers to write on plastic, metal, and wood; after some months, it looks like I put those Sharpie marks just yesterday—still bold and distinct in its strokes.
However, these markers have a few setbacks as well. First off, they bleed easily through paper and sticky notes. Because the tip is so fine, it’s so tempting to use to write bold notes, but the surface underneath thin paper pages always gets sacrificed.
And while I loved these Sharpies, it can get quite frustrating that I can’t use these markers for any heavy labeling or shading, because the tip is so fine.
2. Shuttle Art Permanent Markers
If you’re looking for a set of basic but effective permanent markers that will give you bang for your buck, check out this 30-piece pack by Shuttle Art. It’s just as good as the markers you see in the mainstream (I would say it’s in the league of Sharpie), but at a more affordable price.
My favorite thing about these markers is how intense the pigment is. It allows me to write in bold strokes but doesn’t spit out too much ink or bleed on most surfaces. It is perfect for working on art pieces and doing errands at home and in the office, like labeling CDs or envelopes.
I also love how durable the tip is. Many fine point markers’ tips start wearing out under too much pressure. But even after using these markers for quite a while on projects, the tip holds its shape.
The ink itself is quick-drying, so I never have to worry about smearing, and it lasts forever on all kinds of surfaces, like ceramic pottery, woodwork, rocks and stones, and even on food items like eggs.
If you’re wondering why one should be comfortable using these markers near food items, it’s because they’re non-toxic. The chemicals of the ink aren’t hazardous to my health, so you never have to worry about fumes or acids.
While these markers are easy to love, the ink might oddly bleed out on metal surfaces. It may be because the ink is too wet, especially for the newer markers.
One more thing I don’t like about it is that it runs out of ink sooner than expected. It doesn’t necessarily pose a problem considering there are 30 in the pack.
3. AmazonBasics Permanent Markers
I love these AmazonBasic markers because they feel like a pen in your hand because its body is slim, unlike other markers that can be chunky and difficult to hold while writing. It writes like a pen, too, because the fine point tip makes for very sharp lines and drawings. That makes it very suitable for doodling.
You get excellent value for money for this set because one pack already has 24 markers. That means getting to have a couple of them within reach in every room of the house.
The ink is quite robust, even if the tip is very fine. That allows these permanent markers to work pretty well on trickier surfaces, like plastic, cellophane, glass, and metal. Like most permanent ink pens, these markers are non-toxic, which means you don’t have to worry about breathing in harmful chemicals when you use them.
Even if the lines these markers draw can be bold, it has to be said that they are not as pigmented as some of the other items on this list. Nevertheless, they’re still great for drawings—especially the more intricate and detailed ones. Plus, these markers don’t work as well on fabric as they do on other surfaces.
4. Avery Marks-A-Lot Permanent Markers
I’ll be completely honest with you—chisel tip permanent markers are truly the most difficult markers to work with. However, they are also the most satisfying if you use them steadily and properly. This particular one by the brand Avery is one of my favorites among the chisel tip markers I’ve tried because of how reliable it is.
With a chisel tip marker like this one, each angle you write gives you a different line thickness. That makes it great for many different things, from sketching and shading to note-taking or labeling things around your craft room.
Because the tip of this Avery marker isn’t as fine as other markers, it’s also easy to use when writing on thin, sensitive material, like plastic bags. On the rare occasion that I have to label some flimsy bags, this marker is my go-to. Because it does so well, I would go as far as to say that this is the best permanent marker for plastic.
I also loved how bold my writing is whenever I use this marker. Utilizing this marker is never streaky, even when it’s nearing the end of its lifespan. It’s also rub-resistant. As long as it dries (and boy does it dry quickly), it’s pretty much impossible to take off, no matter how much you rub.
The only thing people should watch out for when they use this marker is because it’s chisel-tipped. You need to be careful when choosing the writing angle.
5. SHARPIE Chisel Tip Permanent Markers
This set of chisel tip markers comes from a brand we all know and love in eight different colors.
They are perfect for medium to larger-sized art projects, because the thick chisel tip allows faster shading and drawing. I also use them for writing, especially when I want to add a fun touch to my boring labels in the kitchen or the kids’ area.
Anyone will appreciate this assorted colors set by Sharpie because the colors are very vibrant and attention-grabbing. The colors are strong and solid, but at the same time, they are not blinding or neon-ish. They’re just right.
Another thing that has to be pointed out is that even the lighter colors in this set are very much permanent and will not budge on any surface, no matter how much you rub or get it wet with water. It is a pleasant surprise from Sharpie, seeing how many people have their own bad experiences with colored “permanent” markers that end up fading rather quickly.
However, it is important to remember that, like most colored marker pens, you can only see the true, vibrant colors of the lighter shades (specifically yellow, lime, and orange) against a white backdrop. It should not be overly bothersome, though, as it’s something many artists have learned to accept across all color marking pens.
6. Keebor Permanent Markers
If you didn’t already know, permanent markers are sometimes fondly called magic marker pens because being indelible and water-resistant can seem like sorcery. If there is one permanent marker that I would call magic because of how permanent and budge-proof it is, it would be the Keebor permanent markers.
Don’t let the affordable price tag fool you. You don’t sacrifice quality even at a low price. It’s still smudge-proof, practically never fades, and the ink dries pretty quickly. These fine tip markers allow you to be precise with the lines and notes you create, but with bold, prominent ink each time.
One great thing about this is that you get 60 pieces in a single set. If that isn’t value for money, I don’t know what is. I liked having this set on hand because there are so many. I don’t have to run to the store and “stock up” on markers. I can just get this one set, and it lasts me months.
Another thing that impresses me about these markers is how well the tip holds its shape. It’s very fine and pointy, but even when I use them on rougher surfaces like wood or thick canvas, the top never frays. It wows me that such an affordable brand can deliver that. Magic indeed!
As always, though, even the best have points of improvement to consider. For Keebor, it’s the fact that it runs out fairly fast. I used one of these for a whole-day art endeavor and ran out of ink by dawn. But even then, for its price and ink quality, it’s still worth the money.
I also have to be wary of where I place the cap when I use these markers. I can’t have them lying around without the cap on, because I risk running them dry.
7. Smart Color Art Permanent Markers
Another set that has wowed the artist in me is this 30-color permanent marker set by Smart Color Art. It comes in many attractive shades, which is perfect for drawing and coloring pictures and graphics for more advanced crafters and doodlers.
But because the colors are vivid and the ink so bold, you can expect kids to gravitate towards this set for arts and crafts. One reason is that there’s no foul odor—not many colored permanent markers have that trait.
These are great, especially for DIY arts and crafts, because they work on slippery surfaces like plastic or vinyl. You should be careful if you plan on using these with kids, just because of how permanent they are. They’re smudge-proof even on these tricky surfaces.
It’s also very impressive how these markers can hold their shape after hours of use. When doing arts and crafts with kids, they tend to draw and color with markers quite aggressively. But these color markers maintained their fine tips and ink flow.
However, one concern with this set is that it tends to bleed on the back of the paper, similar to many other marker sets. It is a problem when we put much pressure on the makers without being mindful of the back of the surface we are drawing on.
8. BIC Fashion Permanent Markers
Another colored marker set that has captured my attention in recent months is this BIC Intensity Fashion set, which comes in 30 colors. In particular, this set is something I reserve for art purposes because they’re so comfortable to color with and have so many great qualities.
First, they have a unique “snap cap” with vapor seal locking so that the markers don’t dry out even if they have not been used in months. I usually have to check on my colored markers now and then to see if they still work, but not these BIC ones. You do not have to worry about them drying out unless you use up the ink.
The colors are very intense on an impressive range of surfaces. They work well on both normal and glossy papers, and stay very long on vinyl and wood. You can try them out on plastic too. Don’t be surprised if they work magnificently on that as well.
My favorite part about this set is the tips. They’re fine enough to draw and color in thin, precise strokes, but are also thicker than the average colored marker’s tip. It makes it very easy and enjoyable to color through shapes and sketches.
But like all alcohol-based markers, these also bleed on the back of thin papers. It doesn’t exactly make it a bad trait for this set, just a watch-out for those like me who can get a bit careless with where they start coloring.
9. ARTEZA Permanent Markers
Another good option for those who use permanent markers for art almost every day is this jumbo pack of 60 by ARTEZA. In terms of price, it’s a bit more on the premium side than other markers you can buy in bulk, but I can tell you that these won’t disappoint.
Most fine tip markers are used for notes and labeling, and while these ARTEZA markers are good for that, their strength lies more in shading. That’s because the ink glides so smoothly across any surface (even rough canvas). The pigment also stays dark for a long time. That’s why it’s perfect for art.
These come in really handy for those slick surfaces that many permanent markers have a hard time staying put in, like vinyl, glass, and glossy papers. Many people have a hard time looking for markers for those, so if you’re looking for a permanent marker for vinyl and other taxing surfaces, this might be your best bet.
Another great thing about them is that they’re non-toxic and certified by the Art and Creative Materials Institute. It means even if you use them all day, you’ll never have to worry about any toxic fumes and acids.
The only thing that kind of throws me off about this set is that they’re labeled “fine tip” when in reality, they are thicker than fine tip permanent marker pens I’m used to. They’re thicker, and while I loved that they are and have found a special role for that in my art, it wasn’t what I was expecting the first time I bought them. No regrets, though!
10. Crayola Take Note Permanent Markers
When I was a little kid, I always had my Crayola pack of crayons for my coloring books. Crayola has always meant a lot to me, so when I saw this pack of colored permanent markers from the brand, I just knew I had to get it. I never regretted it for a second.
The Take Note! colored permanent markers set comes in 12 vibrant colors that jump out of any page you’re coloring or doodling on. Unlike the crayons from my younger days, these are super permanent—they dry so quickly and never budge, even on plastic.
I also appreciate that even if these markers are fine tip, it’s still pretty easy to color with them. The color thankfully never gets streaky either. I usually only use fine tip markers for note-taking and labeling, but I loved that this set can be more versatile than that.
Like a lot of my favorite markers, these are low odor. You will not be distracted with any foul, chemical-like scent even when I use them for hours.
When it comes to the price, I’d have to say I am very happy. They’re much more affordable than you’d expect from a high-quality set of 12, and from a prominent brand in the arts and crafts world too.
A cute little bonus from this product that can give anyone a heartwarming kick of nostalgia is that each marker has a fun Crayola color name on the side of the barrel. It brings back so many memories from my kindergarten days coloring the day away with crayons.
I wouldn’t say I have any complaints about this colored markers set, but I just wish they had more colors to choose from. Because there are only 12 basic colors in the set, I recommend it more for those who are into doodles, cartoon drawings, or making comics. You will need more colors than these if you want to create more detailed, still-life illustrations.
11. Think2 Permanent Markers
If you’re someone who isn’t exactly a beginner when it comes to using markers for artistic illustrations, but wouldn’t say you were an expert either, I’d recommend this colored markers set by Think2. It has 15 colors—more than the average 12 but not as extensive as those 36-packs. This set is well worth your money and can be your trusty partner in exploring more advanced drawings.
What I always look for in colored permanent markers is that the colors are consistently bright and eye-catching even after long periods of use. These markers do exactly that, and the colors never become dull just because the pen is overused. They stay vibrant and smudge-proof on almost anything.
If you have kids who love using markers for coloring, you might want to consider getting this set because it’s safe and non-toxic.
I recommend using these more for note-taking, because of the fine tips. But unlike other fine tip markers, these aren’t very constricting to write with. I can still thicken my strokes to make them more bold and prominent with no problem.
These markers seem to be suitable for coloring as well. The shading doesn’t go streaky even for coloring big shapes or spaces. The thing is, these markers do run out of ink quite quickly. I would say all it takes is coloring one or two letter-sized pages in their entirety for one of these markers to run out.
12. ParKoo Permanent Markers
If you’re looking for a set of permanent markers to help you let your creative juices flow, ParKoo’s fun and vibrant 36-color marker sets are perfect for you. These highly-pigmented markers come in so many eye-popping colors for your design and doodling needs. The colors make them great for kids and fun for the whole family to use.
Colored markers always get a bad rap for being smudgy and coming off quickly with water. Still, this set allows you to use rich, permanent pigment that is water-resistant, so you never have to worry about smearing. They last long on a bunch of different surfaces, like paper, wood, canvas, and more.
When I first got this set for myself, I was excited to use it for coloring and shading. I was pleasantly surprised to find that because the tips are so fine, they are efficient and effective for lines and detailed marks.
If you’re worried about running out because you and the kids use it every day, you’re in luck. ParKoo’s permanent markers have a large ink capacity, so even if you color and create artworks for days on end, you can expect the same bold, vivid color in each stroke.
But like all things, these markers have a few areas to improve as well. The first is entirely predictable for markers with such bright colors. I find that I can only appreciate the lighter colors like yellow or pink when I use them against a white and opaque canvas, like paper. The markers are also quite challenging to use on plastic—they smudge if you’re not careful, and they tend to fade after a couple of weeks or months.
If you’re like me and you tend to lose the caps of your pens a lot, then the ParKoo markers have one more thing you should watch out for: the caps don’t fit on the bottom ends. If you aren’t very mindful of where you put the caps, you could lose them.
What to Look For When Buying a Permanent Marker
There are many factors you need to consider when you’re picking out a permanent marker to buy. But it’s important to remember that your decision will essentially depend on your reason for buying them.
You need to know whether you want to use them for everyday errands (like housework or for the office) or arts and crafts projects. You could also want a set that you can use for both functions.
Your purpose for buying markers will affect many of the details of the one you end up buying, like color. For example, for markers for housework, you should probably buy a black one. But for art purposes, you could lean more toward the colored options.
Permanence And Long-Lasting Ink
First and foremost, what you should be looking for when you buy a permanent marker is how long the ink will last. Many permanent markers swear that they are smudge-proof and water-resistant on any surface. But there are many tricky surfaces like glossy papers and slippery plastics that make it easy for the ink to be washed off.
Make sure to read the reviews on this page to find which ones are best for specific surfaces you intend to use your permanent markers on.
When it comes to the pigment, you always want to make sure you get a marker with ink that is bold and prominent enough to glide easily on paper and other surfaces, but not overly wet. On the opposite end of the spectrum, it can’t be so dry either. You never want a dry, streaky marker to ruin your artwork.
It is important to note that bleeding is common across almost all permanent markers, so adjusting to this will be in the artist’s hands. When writing and coloring on paper with these markers, always make sure to place an old magazine, so you don’t ruin your tables and floors.
Permanent markers come in different types of tips, depending on what they are best used for. Fine tip markers are best for note-taking, doodling, and drawing. Thicker and more rounded marker tips are better for coloring and shading. Chisel tips are most suitable for labeling and marking bigger items, like for the house or office.
Colors bring to life any art project. If you choose a colored permanent marker set for your artworks, make sure to find one that has bright and attractive colors that don’t go dull over time. Watch out for color markers that look bright and radiant at first swipe, and then start getting darker once they dry. Markers like these can make your art projects look quite dreary.
Note that many colored markers only look good if used against a white background. Try your best to look for a brand that promises vivid colors on a range of different surfaces, not just white paper.
Try to look for markers that are non-toxic and have little to no acid in its formula, especially when you share a house with pesky yet creative children. Many marker brands pride themselves for being AMCI-approved, so you should look for that seal whenever you’re shopping for markers.
Finding a low-odor permanent marker also assures fewer chances of inhaling any harmful chemicals. Many prefer markers without a foul smell because you don’t get too distracted or get dizzy when using markers all day.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can a Marker be Classified as “Permanent”?
A permanent marker is characterized by having indelible or very long-lasting ink pigment. The dye of the markers is water-resistant and smudge-proof after drying, so it is very hard to remove.
How Long Does Permanent Marker Ink Last?
Ideally, any writing or marking made with a permanent marker lasts forever. But in some cases, when the formula for the dyes or pigments isn’t very high quality, the ink can start to fade in just a couple of months or years. That’s why it’s important to choose a brand that prides itself on bold pigment that endures through the years.
Who Benefits From Using Permanent Markers?
Essentially anyone can benefit from using permanent markers. Among those who will use them more often than others are artists who use them for art projects, and people who do a lot of house and office organization.
What Kind of Projects are Permanent Markers Used for?
Permanent markers are one of the staples in any arts and crafts station for illustration and journaling. They’re also the key art instrument in creating murals and doodles to last a lifetime. They also come in handy for tasks like home organization, marking items for construction, or labeling items in the workspace.
What is The Right Way to Store Permanent Markers?
Never leave your permanent markers in a place that’s too hot and can expose them to direct sunlight. It’s best to find a cool, dry place where they can rest when you’re not using them.
How do You Erase Indelible Ink?
If you decide to remove any marks you made with a permanent marker, you can very easily erase them with rubbing alcohol. Some oils are also effective in breaking up and dissolving the ink. Hydrogen peroxide is also something you can try for the stains or marks that are tough to remove.
However, you should always be careful not to rub these solvents on surfaces that can be ruined by doing so, like wood or some types of canvas.
Is there a Way to Stop Permanent Markers From Bleeding?
Permanent markers are infamous for bleeding through pages, especially when the ink is used in journals and bond paper. It’s something that you can’t really avoid when working with permanent markers.
If it’s very bothersome and you’d like to minimize the bleeding, you should opt for markers with finer tips, as thicker bullet points will always almost mean more intense bleeding.
How do You “Save” a Permanent Marker that Looks Dried Out?
If your marker isn’t dispensing any ink even if you’re positive you haven’t used it that much yet, then it’s probably just dried out at the tip.
One trick to help “restart” your marker is dipping just the tip of the marker into a bowl or puddle of alcohol. Let it soak for a few seconds until you see some ink start to dispense into the alcohol. Put the cap back on and wait about half an hour before you start using your marker again.
Where Can You Buy Permanent Markers?
Most artists buy their permanent marker collections from local arts and crafts stores or office supply chains. However, buying them online on shopping sites like Amazon can be way more convenient and hassle-free. Buying them online gives you way more options to choose from. The best part is you get them delivered right to your doorstep.
Finding the best permanent marker may be a grueling task, considering the number of options available online and in your local art stores. I hope with these stories and experiences, I’ve helped in your decision-making.
The key thing to remember when picking out which ones you’d like to try out is that each set of markers has its strengths and weaknesses. Selecting a marker is dependent on what you’re buying it for, whether it’s for art, housework, or more office purposes. Choose wisely!