0 Items
Types of Markers and Marking Surfaces: A Quick and Easy Overview

Are you a company owner that's looking to ship certain supplies to a client? Are you currently in the process of moving from one commercial or residential property to the next? Are you a crafter or artist? If so, then you need to learn all about the different types of markers you can use for labeling.

Doing so will ensure that you purchase the right types of markers for your needs. For example, there are only certain types of markers that will write on certain types of materials.

See below for an in-depth guide on the different types of markers and which one would fit the bill for your needs.

How Many Types of Markers Are There?

First things first, how many different types of markers are out there? In other words, what are the different markers made out of, and how does that affect their usage? There are water-based markers, alcohol-based markers, and solvent-based markers. See below for details on each.

1. Solvent-Based Markers

We realize you might not be familiar with markers based on their ingredients, so we'll give you a point of reference for each. For solvent-based markers, think of the big, bulky markers, such as UMark M-15.  

Solvent-based markers, as their name would imply, are created with a blend of ink and solvent such as xylene. The solvent makes their ink virtually waterproof, although they will smear across certain wet surfaces, such as paper. 

Many experts will tell you these are the most versatile of the three marker types since they can be used on both porous (like cardboard, paper, etc.) and nonporous surfaces (such as metal, glass, plastic, etc.).

Be cautious, solvents such as xylene can be hazardous to your lungs and skin with prolonged exposure. 

You can opt for our xylene-free markers if you prefer. 

2. Alcohol-Based Markers

For alcohol-based markers, think Marsh M-88 markers. As you might assume, these are markers that are—for all intents and purposes—permanent. They contain a combination of alcohol and ink and are commonplace for those wanting to label items. 

They're waterproof and leave a noticeable mark on any surface. They can be placed on porous surfaces but don't take as well to nonporous surfaces, such as duct tape. 

They also leave behind significant streaks, so we advise using a water-based marker for crafting purposes. That said, many artists enjoy mixing the ink of alcohol-based markers because the colors blend beautifully.

Alcohol-based markers are incredibly useful for packing purposes and can withstand UV radiation, water, high heat, and any other factors without wearing out.

3. Water-Based Markers

Lastly, we have water-based markers. Think UMark EZ Off, for a prime example of water-based markers and their usage.

These are easily the safest markers for young ones to use since they don't carry an odor and they contain only two ingredients: water and ink. They are only to be used on cardboard, paper, or untreated wood since they won't take to nonporous materials at all. 

Water-based markers are primarily used for crafts and drawing. Many people enjoy mixing them with alcohol-based markers (such as a sharpie) to create definitive contrast in their art. Many water-based markers also have paint mixed in for a more vibrant and prominent look.

Does the Surface Matter?

Yes, the surface plays a factor. Unfortunately, there are some surfaces that certain marker types won't take to. This is why determining whether your surface is porous or non-porous is so important.

Porous materials have small holes (pores) that allow the liquid to seep inside them, such as cardboard. Non-porous materials do not have pores and will not allow you to use certain markers.

For moving purposes, we recommend you stay with cardboard as much as possible. It's durable, cost-efficient, and can easily be written on with all three types of markers. If you do have a nonporous moving item (like a plastic box), then invest in labeling tape that's made of a porous material.

What Tip Should I Choose?

Now that you have seen the different types of markers and how they can be used, there's something else you should consider: what type of tip should you use?

In other words, should you use a thick tip or a thin tip? Let's start with thick-tipped markers. They are primarily used to write prominent letters that are readable from a further distance. That makes them perfect for situations such as moving, shipping, stocking inventory, etc.

Thin-tipped markers are mainly used for craft purposes. One example of this would be how cartoon artists use a thin-tipped permanent marker to trace the outline of an object they're drawing, then fill it in with either thick-tipped or thin-tipped colored water-based markers.

What Are the Different Tip Shapes?

Lastly, we have the tip shapes. There are three primary ones, including bullet tips, chisel tips, and brush tips.

All three are relatively self-explanatory.

Chisel tips have a slanted shape to them, giving you the option to create thin lines or broader lines, depending on what you're using them for.

Bullet tips are rounded at the top and are primarily used for writing.

If you're looking to fill in a space with color, then you might want to use a brush tip. These resemble the tip of a paintbrush and can be made to create thin or thick lines depending on the amount of pressure you place on them.

Use The Different Types of Markers to Your Advantage

There you have it, everything you could want or need to know about the different types of markers that are available.

For more inquiries, please be sure to reach out via our contact us page and we will be happy to assist you further.


We focus on speed, quality and accurate shipping


We are an authorized distributor for many top brand manufacturers


Our Customer Service, Sales, and Tech Support teams are here to help


Support is offered on all of the machines that we sell

Customer Reviews