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The Best Dry Erase Markers

Last updated on October 5, 2023

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Our Picks For The Top Dry Erase Markers

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
  The Best Overall

Shuttle Art Wipe Clean Magnetic Dry Erase Markers, 25-Count

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Shuttle Art

Wipe Clean Magnetic Dry Erase Markers

In addition to dry erase boards, these dry erase markers work on glass, mirrors, whiteboards and even paper. The set includes 20 different colors, all of which are bright and vibrant. Although the markers aren't suitable for kids younger than 3, they are eco-friendly and made without a strong offensive odor.

Overall Take

Most VersatileSince these dry erase markers have both a felt backing and a magnetic cap, you can attach them to a variety of surfaces.

 Most Colors

Arteza Washable Chisel Tip Dry Erase Markers, 52-Count


Washable Chisel Tip Dry Erase Markers, 52-Count

Thanks to its non-toxic, odorless ink, these dry erase markers are a top choice among competing brands. With 52 markers made up of 12 different colors, this set is perfect for classrooms and conference rooms. Users will love that the ink is smear-proof but also easily washable.

Overall Take

Best for ClassroomsThese dry erase markers are nontoxic and easily washable.

 Also Consider

Amazon Basics DryGuard Clean Erase Dry Erase Markers, 12-Count

Amazon Basics

DryGuard Clean Erase Dry Erase Markers, 12-Count

This dry erase marker set includes two black markers and 10 colored markers. Each is vibrant and designed to produce both thick and thin lines. The best part about the set is that it won't dry out, even if you leave the caps off for a full 48 hours.

Overall Take

No Strong SmellTeachers and students alike will appreciate how these dry erase markers wipe clean without leaving any marks behind.

  The Best Value

Volcanics Non-Toxic Streak-Free Dry Erase Markers, 12-Count


Non-Toxic Streak-Free Dry Erase Markers, 12-Count

Whether you're teaching a class or decorating ceramic tiles to give as gifts, these dry erase markers are an excellent choice. They include 12 different colors that are non-toxic and quick to dry. The points are fine and the ink is bold, so you'll be able to see the color clearly at a distance.

Overall Take

Affordable Price TagIf 12 dry erase markers aren't enough for your project, you'll find this set is available in a count of 30, 80 and even 125 pieces.

Buying Guide

While whiteboards are most commonly used in classrooms and in business offices to give important presentations, they can be used just about anywhere. You can place them in the kitchen to keep track of grocery items that need to be restocked or in the garage to keep your spouse apprised of the current to-do list. Of course, you’ll need a quality set of dry erase markers to go with your whiteboard.

Amy Markham, an artist, middle school art teacher and the host of a creativity podcast, says: “I recently replaced the chalkboard in my classroom with a whiteboard and love not having to use chalk anymore, although finding the best dry erase markers has been a challenge. Some are streaky, some are too transparent and some dry out too quickly.” It helps to know exactly what you’re looking for before you make a purchase.

Start off by verifying that the dry erase markers are non-toxic. One way to know for sure is to spot the Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc.’s certification label. It will say “AP Certified.” You definitely don’t want to take a chance using markers that may contain toxic chemicals when working with children.

Next, examine the marker’s tip. You may want to go with a model that has a fine tip. Fine tips are a better choice if you need to be precise. There are also models that have a thick tip for wider coverage, as well as versions that allow you to write and draw with both a fine tip and a broad stroke.

Don’t forget to keep colors in mind when shopping for dry erase markers. “You can purchase these in color sets or individually. Most people want to have multiple colors so that they can differentiate points or color code ideas,” says Markham.

Finally, determine what extra features you’d like the dry erase markers to have. For example, some models have a handy visibility window that reveals when your ink is getting close to running out. Markham points out that “some brands have an eraser on the end of the marker.” She does go on to warn that the erasers “tend to fall off and are often more trouble than they are worth.”

Our Expert Consultant

Amy Markham  
Artist and art educator

Artist and educator Amy Markham is the creator of Starling, a podcast dedicated to helping artists develop depth in their creative practice. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, Amy has been an art educator since 2001. Today, she teaches middle school art at a school outside of Memphis, Tennessee. Her personal artwork explores myth-making and symbolic understandings. Through her brand, Starling Creative Living, she leads others to explore art production as a method for enriching their life experience.

What to Look For

  • When it comes to price, keep in mind that you tend to get what you pay for. “The inexpensive dry erase markers tend to use cheap materials for the tips, which results in fraying that makes the marker less effective.  It is worth it to spend more for a stronger tip that will withstand repeated use,” says Markham.
  • It is important to be careful while using dry erase markers, as the pigment in the ink will stain clothing.
  • You can use dry erase markers on glass, plastic storage food containers, metal file drawers, plastic sheet covers and even the windshield of your automobile.
  • If the tip of your dry erase marker dries out, you can revive it, so don’t toss it just yet. First, try turning the marker upside down with the cap on for a 24-hour period. If that doesn’t work, remove the felt tip and re-insert it with the moist side facing out.
  • Never use a dry erase marker on a surface like paper or cardboard. This will damage the tip of the marker, resulting in the need for a replacement much sooner than if you stuck to using the marker on its intended surfaces.
  • Use care when storing your dry erase markers. According to Markham, “Most brands will tell you to store them horizontally, although a few will tell you to store them vertically with the tip down. So, make sure to check what the brand of your choice suggests for storage. And, of course, make sure you hear the snap when you put the cap back on the marker. Keeping the cap on when not in use always adds to the lifespan of a marker.”
  • When comparing prices, you must first divide the cost of the dry erase marker set by the number of markers in the set. Even though sets with 52 markers appears to cost more than models with less markers, their cost per marker may actually much cheaper. Don’t forget to take into consideration any special features. For example, some models command a higher price, thanks to their contoured shape that keeps them from rolling off your table.

Dry Erase Marker Rankings

More to Explore

The first whiteboards were created by a photographer named Martin Heit back in the 1950s. Heit was marking his photo reel and noticed he had used a permanent marker. Immediately, he attempted to remove the marker from the negatives. To his surprise, the marker actually wiped right off. This gave him the idea that resulted in the creation of the whiteboards we use today.

While markers were able to be cleaned off a whiteboard with a damp cloth, it wasn’t until 1975 that Jerry Woolf invented special dry erase markers that disappeared with the wipe of a dry medium. These markers are made using an oily silicone polymer that causes the ink in the marker to dry quickly after landing on the surface of a whiteboard. Since the ink doesn’t penetrate beyond the top layer of the board, it doesn’t leave any stains behind once removed.

You may be surprised to discover that you can actually use dry erase markers for much more than just writing on a whiteboard. You can use them to help children practice their numbers and letters on a Styrofoam plate or use them to create a seasonal masterpiece on your windows and sliding glass doors. You can even leave yourself words of affirmation on your bathroom mirror.

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