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Crayola markers vs. Sharpie markers

Are Sharpies or Crayola markers better? 

Markers are great for coloring and drawing original artwork, no matter your age, but choosing the right markers isn't always the easiest task. Crayola markers and Sharpie markers are two of the most popular options, but which is better? 

Crayola markers are largely designed for kids with plenty of washable options available, while Sharpie markers are geared towards an older audience of teenagers and adults who are unlikely to scribble on the walls. 

Crayola markers

You probably remember these colorful markers from your childhood and they haven't changed a huge deal over the years. You can still buy larger broad tip Crayola markers that are great for young kids, but you'll also find options with finer tips on the market, as well as options designed specifically for grownups. 

While they certainly aren't the best markers for serious artists, they're decent enough if you choose the right options. Crayola markers cost roughly $4-$25, depending on the number of markers in a set. If you're looking for more art supplies for children, check out the BestReviews guide to art sets for kids

Crayola marker pros

  • Many Crayola markers are washable so you can get marks out of fabric and off walls, which is perfect if you intend to let kids loose with them. 
  • Broad line markers are great for young children while fine line options are perfect for older users looking to create more detailed work. 
  • Crayola markers come in more shades than you might remember — around 120 in total, across different types and sets. This allows you plenty of color choice when creating works of art. 
  • All Crayola markers designed for kids are non-toxic, so they're safe for even young children to use and aren't dangerous even if little ones put them in their mouths. 

Crayola marker cons

  • Because they're water-based, Crayola markers aren't blendable or suited to layering since too many layers can saturate and damage the paper. 
  • The pigments in Crayola markers aren't as vibrant as some and aren't fade-resistant so they will become more muted over time. 

Best Crayola markers

Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable Broad Line Markers

These are the classic fat Crayola markers that most kids in the U.S. have used at some point growing up. This is a basic, affordable pack containing just 10 markers. The colors are Crayola's brightest yet but they're completely washable so there's no need to worry about stains. 

Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable Fine Line Markers

The fine line alternative to Crayola's classic markers, these are the better choice for older kids who want to do more detailed work. They're also washable—from fabric, walls and skin—and come in a range of 40 colors.

Crayola Fine Line Markers

Designed for adults and teens, these markers are more vibrant than the offerings designed for kids but they aren't washable, so there's the potential to make a mess. You get 40 shades in a box, which is more than enough for most users. 

Sharpie markers 

Sharpie markers are aimed towards teenagers and adults with their vibrant alcohol-based colors. They're permanent, which can cause problems in the wrong hands, but also means users have the option to create long-lasting artwork. 

They come in a decent range of colors but the tips are firmer than you'd find on high-end art markers, so they're better for casual use and lettering than other purposes. You can expect to pay anywhere from $5-$30 depending on the package size, pen type and range of colors. 

Sharpie marker pros

  • Sharpie markers are known to write on practically anything, showing up well on materials like plastic and wood, so they're great if you want to create art in non-standard places. Some are even UV-resistant for use outdoors.
  • Sharpies are water-resistant and fade-resistant, so you can create art that will last for years in the same state as it was when you first drew it. 
  • You can buy Sharpie markers with either fine or extra fine tips, so they're great for detail work — plus you can find chisel tip options that work well for calligraphy and other fancy lettering. 
  • Twin tip Sharpie markers have a fine tip on one end and an ultra fine tip on the other end and are perfect for people who can't decide between the two options. 

Sharpie marker cons

  • Sharpies aren't available in as many colors as Crayola markers — around 65 compared to 120+ for Crayola. However, this is still plenty to create a range of artwork. 
  • Unlike Crayola markers, there are no washable Sharpies, so they're not suitable for children to use until you're certain they won't make a mess. 

Best Sharpie markers 

Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Marker

These fine point Sharpies come in 12 standard colors that are vibrant but not all that nuanced, so they're best for simple art, coloring and lettering. The ink dries quickly and doesn't fade or run. 

Sharpie Electro Pop Permanent Markers

Sharpie's classic fine point markers but in a limited edition choice of 24 colors, including ultra violet and nano blue, with some classic colors in the mix to create a versatile palette. These are great for making bold artwork but can still give you enough detail for relatively fine work. 

Sharpie Ultra Fine Point Color Burst Permanent Markers

With their ultra fine points, these markers are an excellent choice for creating drawings with plenty of fine detail. In this pack, you get 24 different colors to give you plenty of choices. 

Should you get Crayola markers or Sharpie markers?

Both Sharpie markers and Crayola markers are good at what they're designed to do, but they have different key audiences. If you're buying for a child, Crayola is the obvious choice with plenty of washable options and non-toxic pens. If you're looking to create the boldest artwork possible or draw on surfaces other than paper, you should choose Sharpie markers with their vibrant colors and fade-resistant hues.


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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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