Highlighter Round-Up


You know you’re an office supply nerd when you think a good way to spend the weekend is to do a highlight head-to-head. Yep. That is me. I pulled out all the highlighter tools I have to see which ones I liked best.

In the pile:

Highlighter Writing Samples

The industry standard for highlighting is the yellow so first I wanted to see which yellow looked the best. I was a little disappointed by how light the NPW neon pencil was. I really want to embrace pencil highlighters but I’ll definitely have to keep looking in regards to yellow pencil highlighters as this one left me wanting. Poppin’s Thin Highlighters had a bright clean neon yellow I was quite happy with. The Sanford Accent looks more like a yellow orange but I have to wonder just how old the marker is. The Sharpie Accent mini was an acceptable yellow but the Platinum Preppy and Poppin Thin Highlighters had the best yellow color, IMHO.

When I started looking at the colors (and I did not have a full range of colors for every brand) I ended up really liking most of the colors in the Poppin set. I still think purple is an awfully dark color to highlight but it would work well for underlining or otherwise marking a passage in a book or notes.

In the NPW pencils, I think the orange was the most effective highlighter color. The pink and green work pretty well too. I definitely prefer the other colors in the pencil highlighters to the yellow.

Highlighter Writing Samples

When tested over various writing tools, using highlighters with pen or pencil is a fine balance. Ink that dries to a water resistant finish work best with the marker highlighters. The reason I’m so keen to find a good pencil highlighter set is that they can be used over less water resistant inks like fountain pen ink and they are less inclined to bleed through in books or textbooks.

Surprisingly, Marvy Le Pens, which are not particularly water resistant, held up well to the highlighters.  The Sakura Pigma Micron and Uni Jetstream also did well with all the various highlighters. The Staedtler Triplus did well with everything but the Sharpie and Stanford Accents. And pencil performs with wet and dry highlighters. My Retro 51 Rollerball is not highlighter-friendly.

NPW Neon Pencils

The NPW neon pencils (from Target) came in a set of four in an acetate box. I found them on clearance for a few dollars.

Sharpie Accent Minis

The Sharpie Accent Minis came in a set of four on a blister pack at my local Office Depot. This particular set was in their clearance bins up front so I got them for about $3. While I love the idea of being able to attach them to a keychain or something, I never do so they just end up being really short highlighters that fall to the bottom of my pen box.

Platinum Preppy Highlighter

Platinum Preppy Highlighter

The Platinum Preppy highlighter is a refillable highlighter. It uses the Platinum ink cartridges and I believe the tip can be replaced as well. I like that its reusable and refillable and I could probably even use my bottled Noodlers Firefly ink an syringe fill the cartridge. Its one of my favorites because of this. Highlighter is $2.50, set of three refill cartridges is $2.50  and replacement tips are $1.65 for a package of two. The Platinum Preppy Highlighter is available in five colors: yellow, green, orange, red and blue.  A set of all five available highlighter colors is $12.50.

Poppin Thin Highlighters

The Poppin Thin Highlighters are available in boxes of 12 for each color or an assorted box with 2 of each color. $10 per dozen.

For more about highlighter options, check out the Highlighter Round-Up, The History of the Highlighter, Office Max Liquid Highlighters and the Kaweco Highlighter Pen.

Now, for the giveawayI have a set of six Poppin Thin Highlighters — one of each color — available to one lucky reader. Just tell me what you like to highlight to be entered to win.

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Friday, October 25, 2013. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Saturday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 30 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping via USPS first class is covered. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. We are generous but we’re not made of money.

DISCLAIMER: Some items were sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens and Poppin for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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37 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I highlight in non-fiction books I read and when I am going back over notes that I want to commit to memory. Great post!

  2. I’m a graduate student with a serious love for stationery, pens, and office supply products– it’s a hidden perk to working tirelessly on a PhD. I often highlight books and journal articles, but as I prep for my comprehensive exam I find myself highlighting MY OWN NOTES because I have clearly gone insane and even my notes are not concise enough.

    Anyway, would love to win a set of fancy highlighters!

  3. I’m also a highlighting fool, but I tend to lean towards yellow more than the other colors I have close by. For some reason, green and purple are too dark. I highlight my daily “to do” list for client work and sometimes highlight tasks or things I need staff to read. I always have a highlighter with me. Geek.

  4. Ahhh, I love this blog! Highlighters have always been one of my favorite things to pick up at the office supply store, and I’ve long been searching for what I consider the best. Lately I’ve been using a set of highlighters by Foray (all 5 colors are equally rich and bright), but those pencil highlighters have definitely caught my eye. It’s a real shame that the yellow pencil wasn’t brighter.

    As for what I like to highlight… Um, everything? I love using highlighters to color-code my notes and things when I’m in meetings. I also use them to highlight my paper calendars when I have to update them for work, because I have to do different types of updates, for several months all at once.

  5. I like to use highlights to underline key things I want to remember. I also like to use highlighters when I talk to clients that indicate do these steps.

  6. I am a medical student, so I do a lot of highlighting in my studies. Different colors help me organize different topics, not to mention make studying much more fun. But what I’d really like to do with highlighters… decorate mail art!!

  7. I like to use highlighters to color in sketches of flowers on greeting cards. Everyone wants to know “Did YOU draw that?” Ha, ha — just swipe a few highlighters over a black ink sketch. So easy, but big impact.

  8. Has anyone tried highlighter inks in a fountain pen? Pelikan sells a yellow HL ink. Not quite sure how that would work, though the online reviews at Levenger are very positive.

  9. I knit a lot. Knitting patterns often have instructions for many sizes in one pattern. I would use the highlighters to discern the instructions for the size I’m knitting.

  10. I highlight in books, it makes it easy to jump back to key points and statistics later. I jot notes in the margins too. I wonder how much these bleed through, the sharpie ones usually bleed through too much. I might have to investigate the pencils.

  11. I love highlighters! i just bought a Staedler Textsurfer…but having more color options is always fun to make studying more interesting.

  12. I tend to highlight sparingly, but my usage calls for various types of highlighters.

    Because I use fountain pen, I always have a dry highlighter (a clutch pencil version from Levenger, perhaps over a decade old!). I also prefer pencil highlighter for books, since there’s no chance of bleed-through. Lately, though, I’ve been printing out a lot of essays and articles and prefer wet/marker highlighters for that (soft/pastel highlighters, to be specific, available at Jet Pens). As for my MoMA monthly calendar, I like to highlight the movies and special events I’m interested in attending and a true fluoro stands out better. Oh, and I always keep a fluoro marker highlighter in my knitting bag for patterns.

    Thanks for another great giveaway, the Poppin highlighters look great.

  13. I need to highlight my endless list of to-do tasks to match with my calendar categories. Also, like many other patterns (though for cross stitch, not knitting.)

  14. As a lawyer, I highlight papers, cases, briefs, and memoranda all day long. I like to use several different colors depending on whose argument or position I’m highlighting.

  15. When I hear a song on the radio or in a TV ad that I like, I jot it down on a notepad. Every so often I go through the list and highlight ones that just have to be downloaded. The Poppin Thins look really neat!

  16. I usually highlight my own handwritten notes. I’ll take several pages of notes on a particular topic, then go back with different coloured highlighters to organize my notes into subtopics.

  17. As a student in school, I believe highlighters come in handy when it comes to note-taking. For vocabulary, I highlight the word with one color. For important people, I highlight the name in another color. For important dates, I highlight the date in a third color. For important places, I highlight the place in another color. I like using different colors!

  18. My most common usage of highlighters are for marking missed entries when I balance my checkbook, and working from handwritten notes and lists. They’re fun to use when they have a smooth, liquidy feel.

  19. Highlighters! I use my highlighters on my lecture notes and handouts, but nowadays are primarily used on textbooks. I wasn’t big on highlighting textbooks before (I used to think it ‘destroys’ the book), but after entering medical school I found it’s much easier to quickly find the things I need if I just highlight straight on the book instead of writing it all down again–saves time too!

  20. Just got the Beetle Tip highlighters from Jet Pens. They’re great! I use highlighters when reading journal articles because it helps me quickly skim back through the article to find what I need later. Plus I like adding color to otherwise kind of boring black and white pages of text 🙂

  21. I am a writer, so I often print out hard copies of my work to edit. Highlighters and colored pens are essential to the process.

  22. Awesome! I’m undergrad student who reads plenty of novels and journal articles daily. I would simply use these to highlight my readings! Thanks!

  23. I highlight the heck out of my art history readings for grad school! For a pencil highlighter I usually just go for a plain old Prismacolor pencil in ‘lemon yellow’

  24. I like to highlight headers of documents so that it will be easier to find if i am reviewing or glancing through it for a second time !

  25. This post is such a lie, i just tested my Muji gel 0.38 mm, pigma micron 0.35 mm and Staedler fineliner 0.3 mm with highlighters and they ALL smudge. BAD. How long are you waiting between writing with the pen and highlighting over it? Because I am not getting the same results. I can’t figure out if the pen is the problem or the highlighter, but I desperately need something to write with that won’t smudge when highlighted.

    1. The Muji Gel pens and the Staedtler Fineliners are water soluble so they are going to smudge with most highlighters. You might want to try the Sharpie Gel highlighters. I recently reviewed those. They kind of have the consistency of lip balm. They don’t smear as much but are harder to write over them. Sakura Pigma Microns are permanent pens so you should be able to highlight over them but again, it can often depend on the paper you’re using and the highlighter. If you are highlighting copies from color copies, they can often leave a film on the paper that might resist inks or slow drying times. Maybe some of the pencil highlighters might work better for you? Finding the perfect highlighter is as tricky as finding the perfect notebook. I’m right there with you in the struggle!

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