Sharpie Gel Highlighters

Sharpie Gel Highlighters Pack of 3

Sharpie Gel Highlighters Pack of 3

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.


sharpie gel highlighter

Three Sharpie Gel Highlighters One Uncapped – Check Out the Tip

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.


Sharpie Gel Highlighter Uncapped and Extended

Sharpie Gel Highlighter Uncapped and Extended

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.

Sharpie Gel Ink Highlighter Samples in Magazine, Levenger Paper, Book, and Printer Paper

Sharpie Gel Ink Highlighter Samples in Magazine, Levenger Paper, Book, and Printer Paper

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.

Sharpie Gel Highlighter on Levenger Paper

Sharpie Gel Highlighter on Levenger 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.

Sharpie Gel Highlighter Levenger Catalog

Sharpie Gel Highlighter Levenger Catalog

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.

Sharpie Gel Highlighters In a Text Book

Scan of the Sharpie Gel Highlighters In a Text Book

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.

Sample of the Sharpie Gel Highlighter on Freshly Printed Inkjet Print

Sample of the Sharpie Gel Highlighter on Freshly Printed Inkjet Print

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.

©2015, Brian Greene. All rights reserved.


  1. 1
    Drone says:

    Man, this new site layout is difficult to deal with. Wonky new site layout and saddling us with the hassles of Disqus – double whammy!

  2. 2

    It is interesting that Sharpie have brought out a “gel highlighter” as Staedtler also make one aptly called the Staedtler Textsurfer Gel.

    Stabilo are the market leaders when it comes to highlighters but at the moment their highlighters contain water based liquid ink.

    I wonder if their boffins in Germany are working on a gel based highlighter in their R & D department to meet the challenge from Sharpie & Staedtler.

  3. 3
    Katy says:

    I know a law student who would happily put the yellow one through its paces. :) I like the new site!

  4. 4
    Anonymous says:

    I agree, it is really nice to not see that tell tale streak of black ink behind your highlighting, and left over on the tip.

  5. 5
    Anonymous says:

    I’ll trade you some highlighters for some future legal services…although I hope to never cash in those services. :)

  6. 6
    Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the heads up there, Ill have to check out the Staedtler version, although I have not been thrilled with the majority of their products that I’ve tried.

  7. 7
    Anonymous says:

    Sorry you are finding it difficult. Any chance you can provide some specifics on what you find difficult with the layout and the Discus feature over in this thread:

    Id just like to keep all of the feedback on the new site in one place so I can do my best to address any questions, concerns or comments. Thanks in advance for any additional feedback you can provide.

  8. 8
    Sgsflyer says:

    I have been using these for about a month. I find they work well in certain situations, but poorly in others. The worst for me is when I need a lot of control with very precise highlighting. The wide gel stick does not lend itself well to precise work. I probably will not buy these again.

  9. 9
    Bri says:

    Really enjoy the Sharpie Gel Highlighters, with the same “meh” factor everyone else seems to have. A little on the wide side at times. 

    Really remind me of the Avery wax highlighter that was in existence about 13-14 years ago. Loved them and was disappointed when they were discontinued.

    Thumbs up, Sharpie.

  10. 10
    ilenyazi says:

    Are there any round tip highlighters you might recommend?

  11. 11
    Anonymous says:

    I can’t think of any, and I did a bit of searching but came up blank, I’m going to ask over on the Facebook page to see if anyone else has suggestions:

  12. 12
    Anonymous says:

    Here ya go, this is pretty close…the folks at ShopWritersBloc  shared this:–yellow.html

  13. 13
    Anonymous says:

    I didnt have much trouble controlling the highlighted area, the tips wear like a crayon so you can just keep using an edge and it works pretty well

  14. 14
    Socks says:

    I agree that these are good for certain highlighting situations, but I was wondering why they don’t have an angled, flat edge to them right out of the box (think lipstick shape). It seems to me that that would help their approval rating, no?

  15. 15
    Rodney from Canada says:

    I love them but they smear some days on the next page when I turn it. I bought them for a few months now I will continue to get them.

  16. 16
    Lora says:

    Do these work on Bible pages?

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