Best Permanent Markers & Marker Pens in 2020

Sharpie Permanent Markers, Fine Point, Black, 12 Count Review:

I've always loved Sharpies, namely, the ultra-fine and fine point types. On some surfaces, the stuff you write/mark needs to be allowed to dry for a fairly short amount of time or else you can smear it and then not be able to undo the smeared/messed up part, but on some surfaces it's set right away. Either way, once it's set, it stays that way. I have stuff I wrote I've written on with a Sharpie many years, even decades ago, that's still good as new or maybe only with a little wear. Of course, I'm not talking about just writing on paper, in which case you'd obviously expect that. But I'm talking about surfaces such as rubber or certain types of plastic that you can't or can't easily or clearly write on with "normal" pens at all: those were easy to use a Sharpie on and what I wrote or drew on those surfaces stays there for as long as I'd ever need (probably until after I die, after decades of being very useful and reliable!).

I also haven't had any of these leak on me, as I've had many normal ink pens do over the years, sometimes ruining something like a shirt I liked a lot. No Sharpie has ever done that to me, though, I'm happy to say! I've also packed these in suitcases during not only more local, but also during long international flights, when the flying altitude is quite high and at least sometimes, I assume the baggage compartments were not pressurized. Yet, they've always survived well, never rupturing or even leaking. Maybe I've just been lucky, but if that's the case, then I've been lucky countless times and feel very safe with Sharpie products, as well as feeling like if any ink pen is going to write on a surface (without being a "paint" type pen that's much more expensive and usually unnecessary), then these will do the job, and last long enough to make me feel like I got my money's worth.

Lastly, it's worth noting that in this case, "name brand" status can really make a difference, and for very, very little money (spending a few more cents for Sharpies than a budget brand isn't like buying a Rolex!). It might be easy to forget about this if you're looking for a bargain on a minor item like markers, so I thought this worth mentioning here, even though I've never mentioned this factor in any previous review of anything else. Maybe it's partially because you can have the best name-brand item for such little investment when you're talking about markers. But mostly, it's because the Sharpie is so well-known, and for so many decades, in many professions as being THE "professional" marker (the only one, really), one that any/every TRUE pro in that given profession uses without exception. In fact, people in my past line of work never asked for a marker. No matter what company or client was involved, no matter where we were on a cross-country tour (at least in the USA, but maybe also elsewhere: I'm just not qualified to say for sure what the case is in other countries), everyone always just said, "Hey, do you have a Sharpie?" or "I need a Sharpie, please." Sharpie was equivalent to the word "marker," but was used instead as the most natural, normal thing to say instead of marker, which just goes to show how much it's the accepted standard that, when violated, stands out. That is, if someone asks for a Sharpie (meaning, marker), and you hand them something else, they WILL notice that it's not the normal, high-quality marker they expected.

Sharpies are the gold standard in multiple business worlds, I know, but the one I happened to work in had me doing production and/or tour management within various popular music genres (e.g., various types of "rock," pop, etc.). Working in various roles in the music business, many times I found myself playing roles in which I would need to be able to provide a marker to an artist (musician) so they could use it give their autograph to a fan on a very wide variety of potential surfaces that they wanted signed. I always had the production case well-stocked with Sharpies (and if I hadn't, anyone else stocking it would have inevitably and only used Sharpies), not only due to their ability to do the job and do so reliably no matter what odd things fans wanted signed, and no matter what varied surfaces the production crew might need to write upon, but also, to be honest even though it's unpopular to admit you do something due to wanting to present a certain "image," because it was the ONLY pen that a true "pro" would use.

Whether it was so that fans would know they were dealing with true pros ("fine point" are the standard for autographs, or marking on things like boxes, btw), or so that our business associates such as the local production companies (if I was touring) or the touring crew (if I was doing local production) would know they were dealing with the highest caliber on our end as well. Like anyone taking their career and careers of those they work with, as well as their organization's success seriously, I'm sure you want to be seen as a pro for various reasons, including letting those you do business with, your customers/clients, those who you buy from, etc. feel confident that in working with you, they're working with true pros at the top of their game, providing the best products or services available in your field. It instills confidence on others' part when they see you using the gold standard tools, and in the case of permanent markers, that happens to be Sharpies. Using any other brand just doesn't say "I'm a pro" like a Sharpie does. And worse, it can make it seem like you're a "wannabe," someone who's just very new in your field and unaware of how things work, or possibly even a failure, who cares more for saving just a piddly few bucks or cents than for providing the best quality available of whatever you provide. It's not even about the pens when it comes to this issue, of course. But the impression you give off about yourself can be affected by something that's seemingly (but not really) so insignificant as the brand of marker you use. That's not true about what paper brand of staples or paper you use, imo. I'm not saying every single thing matters like this. But for whatever reason, Sharpies have long been the default marker that pros use, possibly in your field as well. And your overall presentation of yourself and your business to any who see that pen, even if you're not actually using it, can translate into more than enough additional dollars you make as a result of being seen as a reliable pro as you could possibly save buying any other brand, as odd as that seems hearing myself write these words (normally, I don't think this way, and I wouldn't say this about most stuff I'd use in my business activities).

But it's also the case that, in my experience (and I have occasionally used other brands of markers that other people gave me to use), Sharpies are as good as or better than any other marker I've ever used. As should be the case, "image" doesn't have to matter here: if you just want the best, most reliable permanent marker out there, you'd get a Sharpie anyway.

And btw, no, I do not have ANY investments in the Sharpie company, if that's what they're called, or any other possible personal benefit in recommending these pens!

Sharpie 38250PP Permanent Markers, Chisel Tip, Assorted Colors, 8-Count Review:

CORRECTION: I changed to 5 stars because my complaint about the tight cap below probably DOES NOT apply to ALL of these markers like they did to the first one I happened to use. Today it occurred to me that the one I'd been using might happen to be a "LEMON", which it WAS. I didn't test all 11 of the other markers, but tried 3 or 4 others & none of them had a problem so, in all fairness, I'm redoing my review.
The color is a rich, bright red & spreads smoothly. I like that you can write with the pointed tip if you want a skinnier line. Cap snaps back on easily & tightly to avoid drying-out the ink. BUT, on the first one I used, THE OVAL SHAPE MAKES IT DIFFICULT TO REMOVE THE CAP. Because I try to avoid accidentally painting PERMANENT red ink onto my hand or shirt as the cap finally & SUDDENLY popped off, I was careful when removing it, so it took 5-6 seconds to remove, which was aggravating. I have STRONG hands, but I think it's the slickness of the plastic cap (maybe add a smidgen of TEXTURE??) combined with the SHAPE of the cap with ALL CURVED, very smooth contours that makes it DIFFICULT TO GET A GOOD GRIP (maybe change the OUTSIDE cap contours to add an angle or two?).
UPDATE: Sharpies do write on almost anything, but be careful if you write on a non-absorbent surface----I used this one ON A PLASTIC BAG & the ink (which normally dries very quickly) took several minutes to dry, which meant the wet ink transferred onto another surface & stained it. So give it plenty of time to dry before you put it down on, or next to, something you don't want any ink on!!

Sharpie Color Burst Permanent Markers, Fine Point, Assorted Colors, 24 Count Review:

"Can I have a couple of those Sharpies? my sister asked me last week. "Absolutely NOT!" I snapped back. "What are you going to do with 24 Sharpies?" she countered. "I don't know. I just know you can't have any of them."

Yes, that was a real conversation. I am a pen and marker hoarder and I love having lots of writing options. I picked up the package of 24 Sharpie Color Burst Permanent Markers quite a while ago and I love the colors. I love that they are permanent and bold. They haven't dried out at all and i rarely use them. I just like having them. I have started to use them to label different things and I even colored a few small pictures in an adult coloring book with them. I journal so I plan to use them to write in my journal but they do tend to allow me to only use one side of the paper. They don't leak through but they leave an impression.

These are great for crafts, coloring, school projects, making posters, labeling different items, and almost anything when you want pretty colors that are permanent. The ink doesn't fade for a very long time. They can even be used on fabric.

I felt bad that I wouldn't share with my sister considering we're in our 50's and no longer squabbling teenagers so I bought her a whole package. That way, she won't come near mine. Ha! The price is great for 24 long lasting, beautifully colored Sharpies.

Sharpie 15661PP King Size Permanent Marker, Chisel Tip, Black, 4-Count Review:

I bought the Sharpie Pro King Size for labeling boxes, equipment and crossing out shipping labels. I believe this Sharpie is the most versatile Sharpie when compared to the Pro Chisel and the Pro Magnum. You can write fine and thick with this marker on all surfaces.

The King Size is a little bigger than your standard sized marker. It has a plastic top and an aluminum body which adds to the durability of the marker. If you were to step on this marker you may dent it but you won’t likely break it like you would a plastic version. The only downfall is that the aluminum will get colder than the plastic if using in cold temperatures and it may get more slippery when wet or oily but that is just my thoughts on it as the finish is very smooth when dry. What I like is that if you were using this outside and dropped it you could easily see it because it is shiny.

Because of how the Sharpie Pro King Size is designed you can stand it up on its end as it has a flat bottom. You can also write as thick as 1/4 of an inch or as thin as 1/16 of an inch if you are precise. The Pro King Size chisel tip looks like a standard felt tip marker unlike the Pro chisel tip that has a more refined and precise chisel tip. The ink is nice and dark. It covers up text and anything else well. I did have issues getting the ink to write on wet items but it did work best on wet porous materials than wet non-porous and wipe off any excess water on the item you wish to mark for best results. The ink dries quickly both on dry and wet applications. I even tried rubbing the ink off of glass and plastic and it holds up well to abuse.

The Sharpie Pro King Size is my favorite sized chisel tip marker. It can be used to write notes or mark items in thick or thin text as well as blackout sensitive material. I was not happy with the performance on wet surfaces so I deducted a star. The size, shape and performance is what you expect from a permanent marker. If you need larger coverage I would suggest getting the Sharpie Pro Magnum.

[Photos: #1 shows the thickest and thinnest writing that the Sharpie Pro King Size can perform, #2 is a comparisons of thickest writing between Sharpie Pro Chisel, Sharpie Pro King Size and Sharpie Pro Magnum, #3 is a size comparison between all three Sharpie Pro markers and #4 shows the size and shape differences between the three Sharpie Pro Markers writing tips (Left:Magnum; Middle:King Size; Right: Chisel Tip)

Sharpie Twin Tip Permanent Markers, Fine & Ultra-Fine Points, Black, 4 Pack (32175PP) Review:

The pens are amazing. So amazing in fact that my wife and daughter stole them almost immediately upon arrival, leaving me with nothing. Once again, I am penniless and penless, broken and depressed. Hopefully one day again I will attempt to purchase another package of these pens, but will do so in a much more stealthy manner. Honestly, the product description should have had a disclaimer. I won’t hold it against them.

Sharpie Extreme Permanent Markers, Black, 4-Count Review:

These have replaced "Industrial" sharpies for my purposes. "Industrial" used to be UV resistant and great for garden tags, but about a year ago I noticed that my newly purchased ones faded pretty quickly. Then they came out with "Extreme" and touted their UV resistance, causing me to look closely at the "Industrial" sharpies label and note that they had been reformulated. So far, I like the "Extreme" ones for outdoor use... I'll report back in a year when I know if my plant tags have faded!

2 years later, and these are still the my choice for outdoor use. Labels (written on pieces of vinyl window blinds) that have been outside in sun are still fine. They get good reviews from fellow gardeners, too (I buy in bulk and offer them at our swaps). I'd like to add that the silver metallic sharpie markers are also really good for writing on dark surfaces, including plastic nursery pots. The silver lasts pretty well for a year, and you can still make it out after 2-3 years.

Sharpie Electro Pop Permanent Markers, Fine Point, Assorted Colors, 24 Count Review:

This pack is exactly like you would expect it. Most people probably wouldn't need so many colors of Sharpies, but hey, life is better with color! I bought these because my daughter was doing a craft project where she designed and colored a mug. In fact, she did one as part of a group activity but didn't seal it quite right so most of the colors came off. Now that we have all the colors we could want, she went back and remade her cup. It was even better this time because she fixed a misspelled word from the first time. So far, the second time has been the charm and the color has stayed.

The markers have a standard fine tip to them; not really thick or thin, just standard. All of them worked as you would expect them to down to the point that they even had the correct caps on the correct colors. That may not be a big deal to some of you, but I figured I'd put that in just in case. ;)

Sharpie Permanent Markers, Ultra Fine Point, Black, 12 Count Review:

I am a Sharpie devotee. I use them for my artwork that is mostly pen and pencil drawings. I do a lot of fine detail work and use these ultra-fine point pens. What is nice about Sharpie is their consistency for color, with the exception of these special 24 packs they put out every once in a while. This particular order was the “80’s Glam Color”. When they do these specialty series (for lack of a better name), they basically give you nineteen of the traditional color of pens and trade out five of their normal colors for five brand new color introductions. With the “80’s Glam Color” series the specialty colors are as follows:

- Power Pink,
- Racy Red,
- Super Sonic Yellow,
- Jet Set Jade, and
- Brilliant Dove.

Since I started with Sharpies, I have just stuck with them over the years. There are still a few issues I have with the Sharpie Brand. I wish they would code their pens with either a color name or number. Because as you change from one pen type it another (i.e., fine point to ultra-fine point), a few of the colors are so close, you cannot go by the color of the cap to match colors. Since there is no name or number, you end up going to a scrap piece of paper to ensure you are picking the equivalent matching color. This taking your eyes off of the art piece you are working on. I also wish there was one more level of pens smaller than the ultra-fine point. The ultra-fine point still leaves a lot of ink on the paper. If your pen rests for even a moment in time, the ultra-fine point pen will puddle. They are really only good for drawing, -- as they simply bleed through standard college rule paper.

Sharpie 39108PP Fine Point Metallic Silver Permanent Marker, 1 Blister Pack with 2 Markers each for A Total of 2 Markers Review:

I recently reviewed a power strip on Amazon, and attached a photograph as part of the review. A kindly Amazon customer saw from the photograph that I was using Kableflags Kableflags KFA001 Cable Identification Tags (DIY Blank Pack) to label my multiple cords that were plugged into the powerstrip. He recommended I use this product to label my power-bricks instead. Brilliant. Mind you, which I still Kableflags for cords that do not have power bricks, but these markers are GREAT for those that do (since the Kableflags, while great, CAN migrate up power cords sometimes, or get turned around such that they are not as easy to find/read). So, thank you kindly reviewer who took time out to contact me. These are great.

AmazonBasics Fine Point Tip Permanent Markers, Black, 12-Pack Review:

 To start off this Product is great for the amount you pay in all honesty. You get 24 different colors of permanent markers and cost half as much compared to brand names.

The colors and vibrant and true 99% of the time.
The only problems I had for color accuracy were the hot pink and light brown. Those two colors didn’t appear to be what the colored marker caps showed. The hot pink was alright but, the light brown was really washed out like it almost looked grey to me. In my opinion, the pros outweighs the cons.

It dries fast compared to sharpie which I do like and smears less. It can still be scratched off plastic easily compared to the sharpie which still better when you try to scratch it off plastic.

I also did a color swatch on sketch paper for reference.