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The Best Marker Sets

Last updated on March 14, 2022

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Marker sets are not only excellent for creating a variety of art projects. They are also handy for labeling your children’s clothing before they go off to camp, listing the contents and expiration date on the leftovers you’re placing in a freezer bag and making a bold yard sale sign that will attract traffic to your yard sale.

Which type of marker set you choose is dependent on the type of project you’re using it for. Here are a few suggestions for what to look for while you shop for a new set of markers.

Begin by examining the marker’s cylinder. Large cylinders are best for tiny hands to hold, while adults would do best with a slim cylinder, as that allows for more control. Others have a triangular cylinder that keeps them from rolling off your kitchen table.

Consider the number of markers needed and how many different shades there are in the set. For example, you may come across a marker set that has 100 markers. However, some of them may be duplicate colors, and others may have shades that are more subtle. This is fine for a classroom of children, but not for someone looking to create a piece of art.

Make sure the chemicals used to make the marker set are non-toxic, especially if you plan on giving them to children. The product will either say “non-toxic” right on the packaging label or contain an AP certification symbol instead.

You’ll also want to make a choice regarding water-based vs. alcohol-based markers.

“Markers like the Crayolas you grew up with are water-based,” says artist and middle school art teacher Amy Markham. “These are inexpensive, but limited in their abilities. Most artists prefer alcohol-based markers because they blend easily, offer bright colors, dry faster and don’t leave streaks.”

Review the marker’s tip to ensure it will draw the type of line you need. “There are broad tips, brush tips and fine tips with a range of sizes and shape in each of those,” says Markham. “Broad tips are good for laying down large areas of color, where a fine tip will be best for detail. Brush tips are very versatile and can create both thin and thick lines as can chisel tips.”

Check that the ink resists bleeding through the paper you’re drawing on. Some models, for example, are water-based and designed not to bleed.

Look for any extras that the marker set may offer. You may find a package of markers that also comes scented. Another bonus you may come across in your search is a set of markers that comes with its own container. This eliminates the need for you to have to buy a storage bin.

Our Picks For The Top Marker Sets

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Product Overview
Our Take
 Top Pick

Bianyo Classic Low Odor Dual Tip Marker Set, 72-Piece

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval


Classic Low Odor Dual Tip Marker Set, 72-Piece

Each of the 72 markers in this set feature a chisel tip and a fine tip, allowing you to create just about anything. The markers are alcohol-based, making them non-toxic and free of strong odors. Artists will also appreciate that the markers are nice and bright...

Overall Take

Colored Bag IncludedWith this marker set, you'll get a complimentary travel bag in a choice of black, blue, purple, red or gray.

 Runner Up

ParKoo Alcohol Based Dual Tip Marker Set, 80-Piece


Alcohol Based Dual Tip Marker Set, 80-Piece

The 80 pieces in this marker set are water resistant and designed to dry quickly. They are an excellent buy for home or school use, as they introduce kids to shading and blending. You'll find the markers are neatly stored inside a plastic container that fits n...

Overall Take

Great for ClassroomsAs an added bonus, this marker set comes with a canvas tote bag that can be personalized using the markers.

 We Also Like

Ohuhu Water Based Dual Tip Marker Set, 100-Piece


Water Based Dual Tip Marker Set, 100-Piece

With this marker set, you'll receive an astounding 100 pieces. Since the markers are non-toxic and water-based, they can be used in preschools and homes with small children. All of the markers are neatly organized in a foldable pen case that quickly zips close...

Overall Take

Large SetVersatility is what you'll get from this marker set, as it can be used for everything from bullet journaling to coloring a mural on a canvas.

 Also Great

ZSCM Fine & Brush Tip Marker Set, 60-Piece


Fine & Brush Tip Marker Set, 60-Piece

When it comes to marker sets, you'll find this package features the most vibrant colors that last a long time without drying out. All are non-toxic and made with a fine tip on one end and a brush tip on the other. Artists can use the markers to sketch, shade, ...

Overall Take

Non-Toxic KitSince the markers in this set are quick drying, you don't have to worry about accidental smears or smudges.

What to Look For

  • Always use care when working with permanent markers, as the ink will stain any clothing it comes in contact with. If you do get a smidge of ink on your favorite shirt, spraying the stain with hairspray and blotting the area is your best bet at removing it.
  • Should any of the markers in your set dry out, you don’t need to throw them out. You can actually restore them using a few tricks. First, stick the tip of the marker in a bowl of warm water and wait five minutes before removing it. Let it air dry just enough for the water to evaporate, but not the ink. Your marker should then be ready for use. Second, drip two drops of white distilled vinegar over the tip of the marker if the water wasn’t enough. Wait a few minutes before checking that the marker is again ready for use. Third, dipping the marker’s tip in rubbing alcohol works the same as the vinegar tip above.
  • One way to recycle old markers is to find a new use for them. For example, you can take the marker’s cap off and use it to cut out small circles from a lump of Playdough, or use a bunch of caps to make a jump rope. You can also take the marker’s tip and set it in a bowl of water to create watercolors that can be used for painting.
  • Acetone can be used to remove permanent marker ink that accidentally gets on a glass surface.
  • While most markers are sold in a storage box, they aren’t always sturdy. If your box rips or comes apart, you can use an alternative storage method. They actually make marker stands and marker trays, but zipper pouches and small plastic containers work just as well.
  • If you narrow your choice of marker sets down to two, look to see if either one has a satisfaction guarantee. This way, you’ll be able to request a refund if the markers don’t live up to your expectations.
  • When shopping for markers, it is important to consider how many markers you get in each set and your budget.

More to Explore

The first markers trace all the way back to 1910 when Lee Newman sought a patent for his felt-tipped pen. By the ’50s, there were several different types of markers on the market that were used for a variety of tasks. Today, we have everything from dry erase markers that can be wiped away when used on a special whiteboard to permanent markers that leave their marks in place for a long period of time.

You may be wondering what ingredients are needed to create a permanent marker. In addition to the ink and colorant, markers require the use of a solvent. It is the solvent that moves the colored ink down the marker’s cylinder and out the tip, so that you can draw or color with it. Original marker models used a solvent, like xylene, that had a strong odor. They were also toxic. Since then, other methods have been discovered that are less harmful. Today, you’ll most likely notice a certified non-toxic label on the markers’ product packaging.

Surprisingly, permanent markers aren’t actually permanent. If you drew a mural on a piece of wood and displayed it in your front yard, for example, the ink would eventually wash away. You’d need to paint the masterpiece with a sealant to better preserve the ink.