Best Chalkboards

Updated May 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

50 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
170 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Shopping guide for best chalkboards

Last Updated May 2019

Everything about a chalkboard, from the rough texture of the board to the smell of chalk dust, has a nostalgic feel. But despite the rise of alternatives, such as whiteboards and smart boards,  they still have a place in the modern world. While you might occasionally find them in classrooms, they’re now more popular as a decorative feature for the home or a business.

Easy to use and made to last, chalkboards come in a wide range of sizes and shapes with frames, chalk holders, and predesigned imprints on the surface (such as a weekly calendar to keep you organized). You’ll also need to consider the shape and size of the board and how you want to display it, with options ranging from easels to hanging frames. 

To learn more, read our handy shopping guide, which has all the information you’ll need to choose the best chalkboard. When you’re ready to buy, consider one of our top picks.

Ready to organize your family? Choose a chalkboard with a calendar printed on it, and all you have to do is fill in the information for the week to keep the gang on track.

Key considerations

Display style

Hanging frame

Probably the most common, the hanging-frame chalkboard comes in almost any style to fit your décor. Typically made of wood or metal, they can be thick to add drama or thin to maintain a minimal style. Frames may be round, square, rectangular, or oval. Some are decorated with a floral motif while others are strictly utilitarian. To hang them up, they often come with a hook, hanger, or jute cord on the back.

Sticker

Sticker chalkboards revolutionized decorating. They can be made in almost any shape or size, and they stick to pretty much any flat surface. Need a cute car decoration for your son’s room or a butterfly for your daughter’s? Yup, there’s a chalkboard sticker for that. Though they’re not the most durable option, they’re certainly one of the most versatile.

Stand

Chalkboards with a stand are typically used in a classroom setting. Stands made of wood or aluminum (with or without wheels) work well for multipurpose areas. These models take up a fair amount of space, but if you don’t have the wall space to hang a chalkboard, they’re a solid option.

Easel

When it comes to kids, a chalkboard easel is a fun addition to any play area. These models are often double-sided with the opposite side being a whiteboard. They may have a tray for holding chalk and an eraser or other art supplies. While they do take up some floor space, many can be easily folded for storage.

Magnetic

Magnetic chalkboards attach to your refrigerator. They often come with a blank calendar or numbered list printed on them, so you can keep your family’s schedule where everyone can see.

A-frame/sandwich boards

What sidewalk café is complete without an A-frame chalkboard? These models are ideal for announcing menus, putting up a daily quote, or keeping customers up to date on your latest merchandise. They may also be the perfect welcome at your front door. They’re usually large but can be folded for storage.

Size

Chalkboards can be found in almost any size, from the 120” x 48” model that you would find in a classroom to mini 4” x 3” models that make great wedding favors. When choosing your board, think about it as a picture frame. How would you like it to look in the space you have? It should be both proportionate to the room and compliant with your décor.

EXPERT TIP

Tired of being asked what’s for dinner? Small hanging chalkboards are an easy way to display your dinner menu.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Chalk tray/holder

What’s the use of a chalkboard if you can’t find the chalk? Chalk trays keep everything you need at hand. They come in several forms. Large hanging chalkboards may have a tray or shelf on the bottom of the frame, while smaller chalkboards may have a cup attached to the frame.

Frame materials

Frames typically come in wood or lightweight aluminum. You’ll find wood frames in a wide range of widths and finishes. The larger and thicker the wood frame, the more massive and heavier the chalkboard, which can limit where you can hang it. Aluminum, on the other hand, is incredibly lightweight even when the chalkboard and frame are large.

Design and style

Chalkboards give a charming nostalgic feel to any home or storefront. The design and style depend on the frame choice, shape, and color. Models with imprinted designs, such as a weekly menu, monthly calendar, or basketball court, provide an excellent reusable writing surface. As for color, you can find chalkboards in a wide variety of shades, including black, brown, green, gray, and blue.

No matter what kind of chalkboard you choose, be sure that it fits with the décor in the rest of the room or home. For instance, a chalkboard with a simple metal frame may fit in an office but may be too cold for a kitchen. On the other hand, a refrigerator magnet chalkboard might be too informal in an office break room. Take each design element — the size, shape, and frame style — and balance it with the location and purpose of the room.

The first chalkboard, which was patented in 1823 by Samuel Reed Hall, consisted of a piece of wood that was painted black. As time went on, a combination of lime, plaster of paris, and black soot was used in place of the black paint.

Chalkboard prices

Inexpensive: Chalkboard prices are primarily based on size and display style. Mini hanging chalkboards start at less than $10 and some wood-frame models as large as 8" x 10" may come in at under $5. Colors include classic black, blue, or green.

Mid-range: In the $10 to $50 range, the chalkboards are larger (around 24" x 36"), though you'll find smaller models in pedestal or easel styles. Unframed models often come in multipacks in this price range. For $50 to $100, you’ll find large classroom-size chalkboards and A-frames that are large enough for use outside a storefront. Metal frames with chalk holders or trays are common at this price. Models with wood frames may be thick enough for the chalk to be stored on the lip of the frame.

Expensive: The priciest chalkboards go for $100 and up (some run well over $300) and are large hanging or standing chalkboards meant for a classroom or instructional use. They have chalk trays and a reverse side with either a whiteboard or corkboard on it.

DID YOU KNOW?

Today’s chalkboards are typically made of porcelain enamel over a steel base. The base thickness varies from small, thin hanging models to large standalone classroom chalkboards with a thick, heavy base.

Tips

  • If you want to make decorative lettering and designs on your chalkboard, a yardstick is your best friend. You can use it to keep your letters straight and evenly spaced. Keep cotton swabs close by so you can clean up any small mistakes.
  • Before you erase your chalkboard, be sure your eraser is clean. To clean erasers, clap them together, wipe them with warm water, or vacuum them with a hose attachment.
  • Look for cloths that are specially made for wiping chalkboards. They're designed to reduce streaks and spotting while picking up the maximum amount of chalk dust.

Other products we considered

At 7” x 10”, the VersaChalk Tabletop Chalkboard Sign is the ideal size for a motivational quote or weekly menu. It's small enough to use as décor and has a small chalk tray. When not in use, the easel leg folds down for flat storage. If you're trying to save on kitchen space, the Loftstyle Magnetic Refrigerator Chalkboard has spaces for every day of the week plus boxes for groceries and notes, so you'll no longer have to hear, "What's for dinner?" The Ilyapa Wooden A-Frame Sidewalk Chalkboard has a solid wood frame with a chalkboard on each side. It's large enough for sidewalk advertisements or announcements in the office. Its magnetic surface is perfect for holding notes, too.

If you’re feeling crafty, you can make your own chalkboard using chalkboard paint or chalkboard wallpaper. While neither of these has the durability of a thick chalkboard, they’re a fun project and can be tailored to any shape or size.

FAQ

Q. How do you clean a chalkboard?
A.
The first step is to wipe the chalkboard down with a clean eraser. Most of the time, this should be enough. However, if chalk dust has built up, you can use a chalkboard-safe cleaning solution and lint-free cloth. Be sure to spray a small area first. You want to wipe off the solution before it dries on the chalkboard, as it can leave a stain that won't hold chalk.

Q. Does the kind of chalk I use matter?
A.
All chalks are relatively similar with little variation between manufacturing methods. However, some colored chalks have pigments that can leave a stain on the chalkboard. If you want to maintain the chalkboard's surface, opt for white or yellow chalk, as it's least likely to leave a mark behind.

Q. Are all chalkboards magnetic?
A.
Some chalkboards are magnetic due to the metal sheet underneath the porcelain enamel surface. But if a chalkboard has a wood or other non-magnetic backing, it won’t be.

The team that worked on this review
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer
  • Stacey
    Stacey
    Writer

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