What markers are best to use on a lightboard?

Markers used on a lightboard should have fluorescent dye to glow brightly on the internally lit glass of a lightboard. We've tested many markers and we've found 3 standouts which we'll analyze in greater detail below. 

Quartet Neon

Quartet Neon Green

Pros:

  • Fastest to dry (~10 seconds)
  • Easiest to erase, like a typical dry erase marker.
  • Built-in Ink Gauge (transparent marker body) clearly shows the amount of ink left in your marker and writing quality is consistent until the ink is gone.
  • High contrast/full colors

Cons:

  • If studio lighting and camera are very sensitive to smudges on the glass, the residue from this marker may require more frequent scrubbing.
  • A little more squeaky (keeping tip well saturated minimizes squeak)
  • Markers need to be shook well and primed by depressing the spring loaded writing point before the first use, then occasionally during normal use. Press and hold against a surface for 3 seconds when you notice the tip is getting dry.  

Expo Neon

Expo Neon Orange

Pros:

  • The easiest marker to use: markers are ready to use right out of the box like a typical dry-erase marker, no need to shake or press the tip as required for the other fluorescent markers (and no internal ball bearing rolling around making noise)
  • Wider Line Markings than the other markers.

Cons:

  • Markers don’t ever fully dry. Writing is a little greasy to erase.
  • Writing colors aren't quite as bold as other markers
  • Since they use a wick construction, brightness tapers off towards the end of their life. It's not always clear when they should be thrown away. 
  • (SLIGHT) markers make a faint “paint-brush” sound when writing

      Expo Bright Sticks (honorable mention)  

      Expo Bright Sticks Blue

      Pros:

      • Markers are nearly silent when writing.
      • Once marks dry, they are by far the most smudge-proof of all the markers
      • These markers make even, highest contrast colored and finest lines.
      • Technically a wet erase marker, these markers erase well with our standard recommended glass cleaning procedure. (a little more time & effort is required)
      • For studios shooting with smudge-sensitive light/camera settings, these leave the least residue after wiping off dry.

      Cons:

      • Writing takes about 45 seconds to fully dry.
      • Markers need to be shook well and primed by depressing the spring loaded writing point before the first use, then occasionally during normal use. Press and hold against a surface for 3 seconds when you notice the tip is getting dry.  
      • No Ink Gauge, but writing quality is consistent until ink is gone. 

         Score Sheet (1 = best):

        Quartet Neon Expo Neon Expo Bright Sticks

        Color

        1 2 1

        Ease of Use

        2 1 2

        Ease of Erasing Dry

        1 2 3

        Drying speed/Smudging

        1 3 2

        Marker Noise

        3 2 1

        Line Type

        Medium Medium-Wide Fine

         

        There isn't a best lightboard marker for all situations. Based on your specific needs or preferences of an individual presenter there are good choices.

        Want a marker which gives great color, dries quick, erases fast and easy for minimal downtime? Quartet Neon markers should be your choice. 

        Need an easy to use marker to keep your presenter focused on their content instead of being annoyed by the marker? Expo Neon markers will do the trick.

        If eliminating a squeak or having pre-drawn figures that won't smudge easily is important, the Expo Bright Sticks will be best.

        A Note on Marker Squeak:

        Markers squeak more as their tip dries out, and as you press harder.

        If using self-inking markers like the Expo Neon, you will hear more squeak as the ink is used up. Markers are cheap, replace them when you start to notice more squeaking. 

        If using markers with a tip you need to periodically push to get more ink like the Quartet Neon or the Expo Bright Sticks, shake them and then push on the tip for a few seconds for each marker before a presentation. A quick check we use to ensure this type of marker is sufficiently inked is to make a dot on a surface and inspect. You want to see a visible liquid wet dot to know you're ready. If monitoring like this, you can quickly discern what is appropriate.