Sharpie is out there innovating in the office supply world again with this follow up to the Sharpie Liquid Pencil. This time they give us the Sharpie Gel Highlighters that they claim resist smearing on multiple surfaces and resist smearing on multiple different inks including inkjet printer ink. How do the hold up to those claims? Well read on and lets find out what the deal is with this Sharpie gel highlighter.
Before we get to the performance of the highlighters, lets take a close look at their design. These highlighters are a bit on the small and thin side, with a slightly oval shape to them. The caps post nicely on the back, and when you open them up, that is your first exposure to the unique Gel highlighter tip. The tip reminds me a bit of a stick of deodorant, although it smells much more like Play-Doh, and not a mountain fresh stream. The back of the highlighter has a small knob that the cap easily and firmly posts onto that also twists to extend the stick of highlighting gel out as it is needed.
Here is a picture of the highlighter with its gel ink fully extended. It is a pretty solid stick of gel that is somewhat translucent and kind of waxy feeling. It’s not quite as dense and waxy as a crayon and its a bit more slick feeling too. Extending the highlighting gel to the full extent several times like I did when I was photographing it here did not seem to break it or make it not want to retreat back into the plastic body. You will also notice from the photo above, that the tips of these gel highlighters are quite wide and blunt. Personally I found that this did become a little bit cumbersome, but it was not the worst experience. Eventually you can get yourself adjusted to the mindset that these will wear down kind of like a crayon. You have to make a mental note to keep adjusting the angle and position of the highlighter tip as you highlight with them.
When I finally got down to writing with the Sharpie Gel Highlighters, I had some interesting results, and mixed feelings about the performance. The photo above shows the highlighter results on magazine paper (back left), Levenger paper (center), printer paper (front) and regular paperback book paper (back right). Each of the different sheets of paper above have a sample of each of the three different color highlighter inks marked on them. I’ve got some scans coming up for you to get a different look at the results, but Id have to say that the best results seemed to come in the text book and on the printer paper.
The first thing you will notice about the scan is that the orange and yellow versions of the Sharpie gel highlighter ink do not show up. If you scroll back up a bit in the picture, you will see that they were actually used on this page though. If you take a close look at the scan, you can see that the pink color leaves behind a somewhat spotty line, but does an excellent job of making the text stand out. A close look of both pictures will reveal that there is some smearing of ink in certain situations when you highlight with it. When no time was given for the ink to dry, the ballpoint, gel ink, and rollerball seemed to smear, with the rollerball being the worst offender. If you look a bit to the right I did a “dry test” where I gave the different inks about 3 minutes to dry, and the results were vastly different, with none of the inks smearing. I also conducted similar tests with some inks that Sharpie doesn’t claim resist smearing, but to my surprise, fountain pen ink, and a sharpie pen resisted smearing, while the Pilot V5 RT liquid ink that I used smeared in both the fresh ink and 3 minute dry time samples.
Next, I tested the Sharpie Gel highlighters on magazine type paper, or in this case, a Levenger catalog. The scan only shows the pink highlighting marks, but if you look at the photograph up higher you can see that I did in fact use the orange highlighter on the first paragraph here and the yellow highlighter on the last paragraph. The highlighting went on smooth and easy on the magazine paper, although the yellow and orange are pretty faint to the eye when looking at it in person.
Next up is a sample of the three color highlighters in the newspaper-like paper of a text book. Again, the scan does not show the orange or yellow that well at all, but the first photo above does show it very well. I think that the ink performed best on this type of paper. There was absolutely no smearing and the contrast of the colors against the paper and ink seemed to be the most vivid here. I think it might be because of the somewhat rough texture of this kind of paper that helps to grab more particles of the wax-like highlighter gel ink.
I think the last sample here was the most impressive when it came to sticking to the claim of not smearing. I printed this page of the Sharpie website showing the new highlighters, and immediately after printing, I passed the gel highlighters over some of the text multiple times. The yellow and orange highlighter gel ink don’t show well here but the first photo shows the results very well. There was definitely no smearing in sight on this freshly printed inkjet page, which is always a big challenge, so kudos to Sharpie for that!
Sharpie Gel Highlighter Review Summary
These Sharpie Gel Highlighters are definitely a very good option for several specific writing scenarios. Go check them out if you are interested in some cool new highlighting options, but just take note of what type of pen and paper you might also be using with these. Another job well done by the smart people over at NewellRubbermaid and Sharpie. Don’t forget to check out our other highlighter reviews if this one doesn’t satify your needs though.