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Wet and Dry Erase Markers Buying Guide

Wet and Dry Erase Markers Buying Guide

From daily specials to live entertainment, special events, and other important information, advertising in the foodservice industry relies heavily on the text we write and the images we draw. But with so many options out there, deciding on the perfect writing utensil for the job can be a little tricky.

Wet Erase vs. Dry Erase Marker

Markers make it easy to convey messages at your food service establishment. They produce bold, dark print, not achievable by pencils, pens, or even chalk on most surfaces.

Person writing

What Is a Wet Erase Marker?

  • Water-soluble dyes can only be removed with a damp cloth
  • Paste-based ink makes markings semi-permanent
  • Won't fade or bubble when used on illuminated boards or projector lamps

Person writing on a whiteboard with an Expo red dry erase marker

What Is a Dry Erase Marker?

  • Erase with a dry eraser when used on the proper surfaces
  • Alcohol-based ink makes markings easy to remove
  • Easily wipes clean during classroom lectures or office meetings

When to Use Dry Erase vs. Wet Erase Markers

What surfaces do dry erase markers work on? Wondering if you can use wet erase markers on a dry erase board? While both types of markers can be used on non-porous surfaces like whiteboards, glass, laminated papers, metal, mirrors, and plastic, each type has its own distinct advantages.

Wet erase markers' semi-permanent ink makes them better for creating long-lasting markings, while dry erase markers are better for quick-changing, temporary markings. Plus, only wet erase markers can be used on black marker boards and resist heat.

Keep your whiteboards looking like new by cleaning your whiteboards properly!

Black, blue, green, and red Expo dry erase markers lined up with their caps removed

Dry Erase Markers


Unique Advantage: easy to erase for temporary markings


  • Best for: whiteboards
  • Non-porous surfaces like glass, laminated papers, metal, mirrors, and plastic


  • Classrooms - lectures, diagrams
  • Offices and conference rooms - charts, presentations
  • Restaurants and bars - quick-changing specials and daily flavors


Blue, green, yellow, and red Deflecto wet erase markers in a line standing straight up

Wet Erase Markers


Unique Advantage: semi-permanent ink for longer-lasting markings; resist heat


  • Best for: black marker boards, illuminated boards and projector lamps
  • Non-porous surfaces like whiteboards, glass, laminated papers, metal, mirrors, and plastic


  • Restaurants, delis, hotels, and caterers - signs, display boards or windows
  • Offices - templates, calendars
  • Classrooms - overhead transparencies

Additional Types of Wet Erase Markers

Black chalkboard with pack of liquid chalk makers strewn over it

Liquid Chalk Markers

A special type of wet erase markers, liquid chalk markers come in a variety of vibrant colors and are a versatile option for the food service industry. 

  • These markers are designed specifically to write on chalkboards, with a chalk-like look when dried.
  • They're also ideal for glass, mirrors, plastics, metal, and all other non-porous surfaces. 
  • Note that not all wet erase markers are liquid chalk markers – be sure to check the manufacturer's packaging for surface compatibility prior to use.

Person writing on a black menu board with a yellow rainproof marker

Rainproof Markers

Rainproof markers are great for use on outdoor advertisements, such as sidewalk signs out front of your establishment, or tabletop signs at your outdoor eatery.

  • These markers ensure that your messages won't run or smudge in the rain
  • They can easily be wiped off with a damp cloth

Expert tip icon

To extend the life of your markers, they should be stored horizontally with the caps on tight when not in use. To revive dried out markers, place the cap on tightly and store with the tips facing down for 24 hours.

Marker Tip Styles

Markers come in a variety of tip styles for endless applications. From adding precise details to writing large letters, the type of marker tip you select determines the appearance of the text you go on to write.
Person writing with a purple Sharpie bullet tip marker

Bullet Tip Markers

  • Ensure a consistent line width every time you write
  • Can add precise details as well as make broad strokes

White erase board with the word

Chisel Tip Markers

  • Provide the most versatility
  • Can easily achieve broad, medium, and fine lines

Person writing on a black board with yellow wide tip marker

Wide Tip Markers

  • Make it easy to write large letters on signs and display boards
  • Feature a 2" wide tip that covers a lot of surface area at once

White erase board with the word

Fine Point Markers

  • Offer a consistent stroke width perfect for writing or filling in small details
  • Add small details to your drawings

Person writing on copper pipe with yellow medium point paint marker

Medium Point Markers

  • Allow you to write on small surfaces or add details and notes to whiteboards
  • Perfect for adding both precise details and broad lines

Graphic illustrating different marker tip sizes

Marker Tip Size

Both wet erase and dry erase markers are available in varying tip sizes, including mini, small, large, and jumbo. Generally, the smaller the tip size, the more detailed the work; the larger the tip size, the larger the surface area covered with each stroke, and therefore the less detailed the work.

Person writing

Mini Tip Markers

  • 1-2 mm
  • Use on small write-on chalk cards

Black menu board with

Small Tip Markers

  • 6-7 mm
  • Use on small tabletop sign boards

Person writing on white erase board with blue Expo large tip marker

Large Tip Markers

  • 11-12 mm
  • Use on write-on menu boards

Black menu board with

Jumbo Tip Markers

  • 13-15 mm
  • Use on large sign boards and a-frame sign boards

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