During back-to-school season, you see hundreds of highlighters at stores like Target and Walmart. It can be almost impossible to choose a pack, especially when you’re looking at so many bright, fun colors!
This guide is here to make your shopping a little easier. You’ll learn more about the different styles, how they work, and just which brands are best for your notetaking needs!
What Are the Different Types of Highlighters?
You know there are many different types of pens like ballpoint, fountain, rollerball, etc. Highlighters are in the same boat! They come with different inks, colors, and tip shapes.
The different types of highlighters include:
- Highlighter pens
Think of this style as the big kahuna! It’s got a thicker barrel with an equally thick felt tip on the end. The big size makes it easy to find in your bag, but a little more cumbersome to hold.
You can’t go wrong with the ultra thin pocket highlighter. It’s shaped just like a regular pen, making it very comfortable to use. You can also easily pinpoint certain sections of the text without worrying about highlighting anything extra.
The ink in gel highlighters is very viscous, which means it might take a bit longer to dry. It’s worth the wait, however, since you will get a very bright, easy-to-see mark. You can also use this highlighter for a long time as the ink doesn’t dry out quickly.
Make your notes sparkle and shine with a little bit of glitter! This type of highlighter is more style over substance, but it’s definitely pretty and fun to use.
Sometimes you want to use a ton of colors in your notes. That’s the beauty of multicolored highlighters! They have everything in one marker, making it easier for you to switch between colors.
An erasable highlighter works just like a pencil, allowing you to get rid of any mistakes. You can also hide marks in your textbooks, making them look brand new when it’s time to return or resell them!
Do you love clicking and unclicking your pen? You can get that same satisfying click noise with a retractable highlighter. As an added bonus, you also don’t have to worry about losing a cap!
Do your part for a greener Earth with eco-friendly highlighters. The barrels on these highlighters are made from recycled paper and can be recycled again once the ink dries out!
Highlighters usually have fluorescent, neon colored ink. A pastel palette looks more elegant, especially when used in your personal journal, or on your wall calendar at home.
You probably have both highlighters and pens in your supply cabinet at home, school, or the office. Combine them both together into a highlighter pen and save a little space in the process!
What Highlighters Last the Longest?
Gel highlighters will generally last the longest and won’t dry out quickly. You can get this type of highlighter from many top brands including HI-LITER, Sharpie, and Bic.
What Are the Different Highlighter Tips?
The tip can make a difference in how well the highlighter works for your notetaking.
There are four main styles:
Window: A window tip is thick and flat. You can easily see the text as you’re highlighting it.
Chisel: This is the most common type of highlighter tip. It’s just as flat as a window tip, but a little shorter.
Bullet: Highlighters usually have a rectangular tip, but this style is more rounded. It’s great for not only highlighting, but also circling and underlining information.
Dual: Why just stick with one color when you can have two or three? Dual tipped highlighters allow you to switch between colors without picking up a new pen.
What Colors Are Available for Highlighters?
Your notes are supposed to stand out and be easy to read. This is why highlighters come in bright, fluorescent colors rather than more subdued or neutral tones.
The most common highlighter colors include:
You probably think of yellow when you think of highlighters. This is because it was the first color ever created when highlighters first came out in the early 1960s.
Be pretty in pink! This shade is created with a mix of chemicals and stands out just as well as other warm colors like yellow and orange.
Do you gravitate toward cool tones? Then you’ll want to pick up a blue highlighter. This color is calm and relaxing, which will be a lifesaver before a big test!
A green highlighter tends to be darker than other colors. It will stand out on the page, but it might make it difficult to read the text underneath. Use this color for underlining or circling for the best results.
Just like green, purple is also a bit darker in tone. Stick with underlining or circling when using this color as you might have a hard time seeing the black text underneath.
Orange is a fun color that will add personality to your notes. Pick it up if you’re tired of using the same old yellow or pink highlighter!
If you’re having a hard time choosing between these colors, don’t worry! Most of the time they’re all included in the pack.
What Are Popular Highlighter Brands?
You’ll find knockoff highlighters at almost every store, but there are a few tried and true brand names out there. This includes:
Every single one of these brands has their own special standout feature. Here are the highlights (pun intended)!
Standout Feature: You’ll find this brand at every store. It’s a household name that’s been around for over 50 years! The thick barrel is particularly great for small hands.
Standout Feature: The chisel tip is smooth and glides over the page with ease. You can also get a ton of Bic highlighters at one time if you pick up a 24-pack box.
Standout Feature: Sharpie offers highlighters in every style and color imaginable. This includes jumbo, pocket, and retractable options.
Standout Feature: Stabilo is best known for their BOSS line, which is a set of pretty pastel highlighters. The flat shape makes it easy to carry a bunch of these highlighters in your pencil case.
Standout Feature: Move over crayons! Crayola also has a line of highlighters that are very colorful, kid-friendly, and totally erasable!
Standout Feature: The Pilot Frixion is one of the most precise highlighters out there. Its best feature is the ability to create both narrow and wide lines.
Standout Feature: If you’re familiar with Uni-ball pens, then you know what to expect from Uni highlighters. The tip is extra fine and precise, allowing you to both highlight and write with this marker.
Standout Feature: The Textsurfer from Staedtler is awesome in that it comes in many bright, neon colors. It also has a nice, flat barrel that won’t take up too much room in your bag.
Standout Feature: Go for a professional look with Zebra highlighters! The elegant design is particularly great for important meetings and presentations at work, or if you work in a formal industry like law or medicine.
Standout Feature: You’ll feel like a kid again with Ohuhu highlighters! These alcohol-based highlighters come in boxes with multiple colors and feature both a thin and thick tip on either end.
What is the Best Type of Highlighter?
The best type of highlighter is one that won’t smear, or cause the ink underneath to smear. When looking for highlighters, try to check off all of the following boxes:
Color that stands out on the page
The whole point of highlighting text is for it to stand out. With that in mind, you’ll want to choose only the brightest colors!
You want the highlighter tip to glide across the page without any snags. You should also never have to push down too hard to create the mark.
Highlighters have an insanely long shelf life. There’s no reason why yours shouldn’t last you for at least a year.
Doesn’t bleed through the paper
Markers tend to show up on both sides of the paper, but highlighter ink should never totally bleed through.
Comfortable to hold
Now’s not the time for an arm workout! A good highlighter will be easy to grip without causing any strain on your wrists.
Make sure you buy highlighters with ink that dries relatively quickly. After all, you’re busy and have plenty more studying and work to do!
Above all, you should look for highlighters with a fair price tag. Stick within your budget.
Why Do We Love Highlighters?
We love to use highlighters because they help keep us organized, make our work and tasks easier, and above all, just look pretty on the paper!
And that’s not all! A study published in the International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications found that highlighting allows students to correctly answer questions and look at keywords without straining their eyes. Colorful notes made them better learners, and ultimately, allowed them to study much more efficiently.
The Bottom Line
It’s worth being picky when shopping for new highlighters. The right tip or color could make all the difference in your notes, and studies show that this effort can be helpful when learning or interpreting new information. So choose your next highlighter with care!
Enholm, M. (2020, October 2). The Best Highlighter Pens for 2020. Retrieved from,
Best Viva. Best Highlighters for Students in 2020. Retrieved from,
Blue Summit Supplies. How to Choose the Best Highlighter Pens. Retrieved from,
Nishimura, H. (2017). A Study on the Effect of Learning Strategy Using a Highlighter en on Gaze Movement. Retrieved from,
are experts on all things printed and promotional. Let our team of awesome, incredibly good looking, and fun promo nerds help you select awesome promotional swag today!