I have a long-held faith in the classic, black-capped Sharpie permanent marker. When I was a child, they were the darkest, heaviest, and more reliable pens in the house and were therefore much coveted for labeling toys and clothes as well as making semi-permanent tattoos when you’re bored. Sharpie has become synonymous with “”permanent marker” in my mind, making it a name brand I actually believe in for once. I make many compromises and buy many generic brands in pursuit of thriftiness, but I do not skimp on my Sharpies. Accept no substitute.
In my pursuit of Sharpie perfection, I have found two specialty Sharpies that are extremely worthwhile. Between these two markers, you can write on almost any object of any color and leave an unmistakable impression. These are unusual enough that you won’t always find them at all-purpose retailers like Target, but you can find them at Staples or any other major office supply store.
♦ Industrial Sharpies: Easily spotted by the beefy red letters on the barrel, the Industrial Sharpie boasts “super permanent ink” and the ability to withstand steam and chemical exposure. I don’t get to test all of those properties very often, but I will say that it is the blackest marker I have ever used. Compare the blackness and consistency of the lines from the Industrial Sharpie to those made by the standard model. Industrial Sharpie ink also remains darker for a longer period than normal Sharpie ink, which slowly bleaches to a a dark gray.
♦ Metallic Sharpies: In an off-putting start, the Metallic Sharpie includes the warning to “Store Tip Down” (presumably the lack of a clip on the cap is meant to remind us of this requirement). That makes it hard to find the marker if you store it in a mug or pencil cup. Regardless, this marker shows up bright and clear on all colors, making it invaluable for labeling dark or transparent surfaces like glass or the black plastic found on so many consumer electronic devices. The shiny silver ink is highly reflective, making it easy to locate with a flashlight or lamp. The ability to write over any color lets you turn any piece of scrap paper into an extremely visible note.