Best Dry Erase Boards

Updated April 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.
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How we decided

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

60 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
180 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 dry erase boards

Last Updated April 2019

They’re not just for professors anymore. Walk into almost any office, school, factory, or home and you’re likely to find a dry erase board somewhere.

And it’s no wonder. Dry erase boards are much more convenient than their chalkboard ancestors. Dry erase markers make much less of a mess than chalk – in your room, on your floor, and on your hands. These boards can be cleaned weekly instead of daily. And you can choose different colors of markers to make charts and other data more clear.

The variety of dry erase boards is about as diverse as the ways to use them. It can be hard enough to guess the size and weight you need, let alone other features. Let BestReviews help you find the best dry erase board for your space and budget. Read on to get a better grasp of what you’ll need. When you’re done, be sure to check out our recommendations for the best products on the market.

Cheap board construction – not cheap markers – is usually responsible for damage to dry erase boards.

Key considerations

Since most dry erase boards will be mounted to a wall, two of the most important factors to consider are the board’s size and weight.

Size

Dry erase boards are made to be seen, so you want to make sure you get one that’s large enough to be read easily. At the same time, larger boards are more expensive, so you want to make sure that you aren’t paying for more board than you need.

Small: Dry erase boards that measure two feet by three feet or smaller should fit most household applications quite well. If you’re planning to put one on your refrigerator, make sure it fits the available space on the door. Very small, handheld dry erase boards are also available if you’re in a field where it would be helpful for one-on-one use.

Medium: Boards measuring two to three feet tall and three to five feet wide should be large enough for most office settings. Most dry erase boards for the office don’t need to be seen from far away. Most are used for notes to other employees, messages, and scheduling information.

Large: The dry erase boards found in classrooms and meeting rooms typically measure about four feet tall by six feet wide. This size provides enough space to write letters that can be easily read from across a large room.


Weight

Although there are exceptions, in general, the larger the dry erase board, the more it weighs. When choosing a board, make sure you consider how much weight the wall can hold, whether it can handle the board’s mounting hardware, and how much help you’ll need attaching the board to the wall.

Some of the highest-quality dry erase boards are made of glass and are very heavy. Other boards roll up when you’re done with them and are much lighter in weight. Consider what quality of board you need and how frequently you expect to use it.

DID YOU KNOW?

Board conditioners are slightly oily and help prevent a marker’s oily polymer ink from soaking into the board’s slightly porous surface and leaving ghost marks.

Dry erase board features

Now that you’ve chosen the size of dry erase board you want, it’s time to consider some other features.

Material

Melamine: Some dry erase boards are made of melamine, a kind of resin-covered pressboard. Melamine dry erase boards are usually the least expensive and lightest in weight, but they wear out more quickly than other surfaces. Markers can leave residual marks on the surface, called ghosting, so a melamine board may require more cleaning and conditioning than a board made of other materials. Melamine boards are good if you need to have a dry erase board available but don’t need to use it frequently.

Porcelain: Ceramic dry erase boards usually have many layers, so they more resistant to ghosting, dents, and scratches in the material. They also need less cleaning. Porcelain boards are better than melamine boards for high-use areas, although they’re more expensive and heavier.

Glass: The highest-quality and most expensive dry erase boards are made of glass. These come in a variety of colors or no color at all. You can use several types of drawing media on them, and markers won’t leave ghost marks or streaks. Glass is also easy to clean. Glass boards can be mounted on a colored wall for additional style and visibility and lend an office a contemporary feel.

Other: The benefits and drawbacks of other, proprietary dry erase board surfaces vary by manufacturer.


Magnetism

Not all dry erase boards are magnetic. Melamine boards aren’t magnetic unless they’re placed on a magnetic backing. Porcelain boards baked onto a steel backing are magnetic. Glass boards are only magnetic if they’ve been treated with a special backing. Consider whether you’ll need this feature as you shop because it’s not one that can be easily adjusted after the fact.


Special markings

Some individuals need dry erase boards with specific markings, such as musical staffs, days of the week, calendar outlines, grids, or other special features. These markings are available on a variety of materials, so consider your other needs when choosing your board type. Generally, people looking for boards with special markings plan to use them frequently for a specific application, so it may be worth the investment to skip the melamine board and look for a porcelain board or a board made of a proprietary material. 


Stand​​​​​​​

To get around any wall-mounting limitations, some dry erase boards come on stands. This saves you from drilling holes in your wall and having to calculate weight limits. A stand also makes it easier to place your board where you want it. A board on a stand takes up more space than a wall-mounted board, though, and stands for large boards are not easy to move.

 

EXPERT TIP

Chisel-tip markers make it easier to write neat, legible letters on your board.


Staff  | BestReviews

Dry erase board prices

Inexpensive: Small dry erase boards for home use that are smaller than two feet long cost less than $25. These are usually made of melamine or another coating painted on a magnetic backing. At this price point, the surface is likely to be low in quality and subject to ghosting or marring relatively quickly.

MId-range: Most of these dry erase boards are at least three feet long and cost $30 to $60. Most of the boards in this price range are made of porcelain or proprietary materials. Most should be magnetic and come with a marker tray. They may also have coatings to protect them from damage.

Expensive: High-end dry erase boards can cost $80 or more. These boards are made from glass, high-quality porcelain, or a proprietary material. These should be magnetic unless they’re made of unbacked glass and treated to protect against damage if they aren’t made of glass. Large, high-end dry erase boards can cost several hundred dollars depending on size and customization, so be sure to get a clear picture of your needs to avoid overpaying.

CAUTION

Many dry erase markers have a strong smell. If you have allergies or are sensitive to chemicals and perfumes, try looking for low-odor markers.

Tips

  • Use the right markers. You need to use dry erase markers on melamine and porcelain boards, but wet erase markers – which use a water-soluble paste – may work better on glass boards. You can’t remove wet erase marker with a dry eraser, but it can easily be wiped away with a damp cloth.
  • Try magnetic markers with a magnetic board. Some dry erase markers come with magnetic caps so they can be easily attached to a magnetic board.
  • Consider all the factors, not just price. Between cleaning products and more frequent replacements, a cheap board may cost you more in the long run than a more expensive board.
  • Look for a board with capped corners. You can avoid injuries caused by sharp edges.

Other products we considered

Not everyone needs a huge dry erase board. For those who need a small board for notes, menus, and other household uses, we like the Quartet Magnetic Whiteboard. This 17 x 23-inch board is inexpensive, comes with a marker and magnets, and it can mount to your wall with adhesive picture-hanging tabs. If you need a larger board, the U Brands Glass Dry Erase Board made us take a second look. The tempered glass board isn’t magnetic, but it comes in a variety of sizes and is a good value for the price.

Dry erase boards with a high-gloss finish can look attractive up close, but glare may make them difficult to read from a distance.

FAQ

Q. How long should a dry erase board last?
A.
When it comes to dry erase boards, you get what you pay for. Inexpensive melamine boards will probably last one to five years before they’re so marred or ghosted that they’re impractical. Many mid-range boards have a ten-year warranty, so it’s expected that they’ll last at least that long. Well-made glass dry erase boards can last several decades. 

Q. How should I clean my dry erase board? Do I need a special cleaner?
A.
Most manufacturers recommend cleaning your board about once a week with an eraser, following up with a soft, lint-free cloth. If your board is melamine, you’ll also want to clean it weekly with a dry erase board cleaner and conditioner. Consider similar care to preserve a porcelain board, although it isn’t quite as important. Many manufacturers create proprietary products that both clean and condition a board to maintain a clean, smooth surface. You should never use standard bathroom, kitchen, or alcohol-based cleaners (except to remove permanent marker) because these can break down the board’s surface. Coarse paper towels or toilet paper can also damage the surface. Glass boards can simply be wiped with standard glass cleaner.

Q. Is it possible to remove permanent marker from a dry erase board?
A.
It’s a mistake most of us have made – accidentally grabbing the wrong kind of marker and scribbling away. If you catch the mistake quickly, there’s hope. Some say that writing over the marks with a fresh dry erase marker and cleaning them both off with a whiteboard-safe eraser can help. Others advise that you wipe the writing with a paper towel or cloth doused with rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, or non-acetone nail polish remover. Be sure neither your cleanser nor your cloth has any grit on it, or you may permanently damage the board.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Kristin
    Kristin
    Writer
  • Linsay
    Linsay
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer

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