The Sharpie has become as synonymous with markers as kleenex are to tissues. It is clearly the number one permanent marker choice in offices, schools, warehouses, jobsites, pretty much anywhere. However one marker might not always be the best answer from everything from aerospace engineering to coloring macaroni noodles that get glued to construction paper. The Markal Dura-Ink markers offer similar functioning products but with some distinctive differences. Not that Sharpie doesn’t have really cool arts and craft projects on their website but there might be a better solution for your professional applications.
One big consideration that you probably don’t think about when buying markers but maybe should, are halogen levels. Those are the corrosive chemicals such as chlorides, sulfur and other low melting point metals that will contribute to unwanted corrosion, degradation, pitting, or general weakening of these sensitive materials. Probably nothing you would want to sprinkle on your breakfast cereal either.
Markal test results confirm that their standard Dura-Ink markers including black 15 ($.70 each, Ohio Power Tool) & 25 ($1.91 each, Ohio Power Tool) contain less than 200 ppm of total halogens, and 250 ppm of sulfur and each low melting point metal, meeting the MIL – STD-2041D and US Energy Research and Development Administration’s RDT F-7-3T specifications (see testing data). Not that Sharpie doesn’t make a low halogen product; it is just not a consideration in their standard all purpose markers. The Sharpie TEC (Trace Element Certified) is available that meets the same government standards but costs just shy of $7 per marker.
Since the Dura-Ink are built for use as industrial markers they feature harder tips ideal for harder surfaces of metal, wood, plastic, glass, etc. The ink inside has also been tested to dry faster, smudge less and last longer under adverse weather conditions and UV exposure. Plus the Dura-Inks have a nifty roll resistant cap.
All those features are specifically tailored to the professional trades and applications because that is the main customer for the Markal brand of markers. Not to say all Sharpie products are bad, they just have a much wider range of customers they are trying to satisfy. As we mentioned before Sharpie does offer many specialty industrial products you should certainly consider as well. The point is not all markers are created equal and there may be better suited products (even at the same price) for your industrial needs.
If you think you might need a specific marking product or just have some questions give the marker nerds at Ohio Power Tool 800-242-4424 a call and they will find you the right marking product for your professional applications.