Best Highlighter Reviews 2023

Heading back to school and in need of some great highlighters that work? Then you’ve come to the right place. We present here some of the best highlighter brands and 5 amazing options from each. Now that we’ve done the research, you can simply relax and make a choice. By the way, we also have reviews on the best markers, sharpie markers, dry erase markers, and permanent markers. It’s all right if you need them all; that’s why we reviewed them!
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Our Top Choice
BIC Brite Liner Highlighter
World-famous BIC is in business for the singular purpose of making quality everyday essentials, especially in pens and stationery.
Lasts up to 8 hours with the cap off. Chisel tip for broad or fine underlining. Super-bright colors that don't overshadow words.
Tends to run out a little quickly.
Chisel tip
5; 10 counts
Yellow, pink, blue, green, orange
ACMI approved
Best Value
Zebra Zazzle Liquid Highlighter
With a unique name, and a unique product line, Zebra hopes to take every one of its customers on the path of enlightened writing.
All-purpose chisel tip for highlighting and underlining. Water-based pigment ink. Usable on fax and carbonless paper. See-through barrel. Soft rubber grip.
Dark colors might be a little too dark.
Chisel tip
10 colors available
Water-based pigment
Staedtler Textsurfer Gel Highlighter
Staedtler has decades of research and experience in the development of standard, inventive products that customers worldwide enjoy using.
Dry highlighter with translucent wax. Ultra-soft highlighting. Doesn't bleed through. Doesn't smudge inkjet printouts. Lead diameter of 9mm for highlighting of 3mm.
A little pricey for a single marker but this is due to the type of highlighter - so worth it.
Round tip
5 colors available
Translucent wax lead
Avery HI-LITER Pen Style Highlighters
With an in-depth pool of expertise in material science, Avery specializes in manufacturing products that provide intelligent office solutions to customers everywhere.
Molded plastic tip that doesn’t fray. Comfortable grip. Great for smooth highlighting and underlining. Vibrant, read-through color. Quick drying. Non-toxic.
Does not come with see-through ink barrel.
Chisel tip
3; 4; 24 counts
Green, orange, pink, yellow
SmearSafe ink protection
Sharpie Pocket Highlighters
For over 50 years, Sharpie has been making bold impressions as an industry leader in manufacturing high-quality products, from permanent markers to highlighters..
Slim and easy to control. Slips into pockets and purses easily. Vivid, fluorescent colors. Smear guard ink to prevent smudges. Sturdy chisel tip for easy highlighting.
A few isolated complaints of bleedthrough.
Chisel tip
4; 24
Assorted colors; yellow
Smearguard® ink technology

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Watch Our Highlighter Review

What is the Best Highlighter?

Highlighters are items that everybody should have, as they almost always come in handy for studying or office work. Selecting a good one that works for you is even more important. Now that you’ve read this guide, you should know what that “good one that works for you” should look like. Proceed to the reviews now and make that selection.
Our Top Choice
Switching highlighters in one session of intensive study can be quite a distraction, and that’s why you should get the BIC Brite Liner Highlighter. It comes with an eight-hour cap-off time. How about a strictly yellow set of highlighter pens with rubberized grips for added comfort, and versatile chisel tips: the BIC Brite Liner Grip Highlighter?

BIC Brite Liner Highlighter with Chisel Tip, Assorted Colors - Available in 5 and 10 Counts

BIC is a world-famous brand known for its amazing everyday products. It's a leading maker of lighters, shavers and, of course, stationery, which is perhaps its most popular product line. BIC isn’t just about delivering quality products; it also seeks to create an amiable relationship with its customers. Its intelligent team of customer support agent connects to the customers on a personal level while attending to their needs.

BIC understands the importance of in-depth, uninterrupted study without little things such as a dried-up highlighter pen distracting you, and that’s why it has come up with the BIC Brite Liner Grip Highlighter. This highlighter lasts for a good eight hours with the cap off, so you can study for as long as you want without a break. The ink keeps flowing so you can understand your notes better and, of course, faster.

It comes with a chisel tip, so you can get fine underlining and broad highlighting with the same pen. With the super-bright, fluorescent colors, the highlighted words stand out on your page without necessarily being overshadowed by the colors. Your text remains legible, both on the page in question and on the next. There will be no bleedthrough with this highlighter. It stays on its side of the paper.

This highlighter is non-toxic. It also comes with a slim body for easy control and manipulation, a fantastic grip and two different counts.
Best Value
If you work with fax and carbonless papers, you need the Zebra Zazzle Liquid Highlighter. It comes with a water-based pigment ink that’s safe and won’t erase text on either kind of paper. If you’d prefer something less dark, check out the Zebra Highlighter Mildliner, an affordable set with five mild-colored highlighters.

Zebra Zazzle Liquid Highlighter With Liquid Ink, Chisel Tip - 10-Pack With Assorted Colors

You might wonder what the story behind Zebra's name is. The company's owner wanted a name that was memorable and unique, and after some thought, he settled on the name “Zebra.” It was the familial instinct of zebras, which he intended to build among staff and customers in his business, and the beautiful, calligraphic, pen-like strokes across zebras' fur, that made him decide on that name. Now Zebra is an industry leader, offering a diverse product line of writing instruments from ballpoint pens, to highlighters and mechanical pencils. All its products guarantee satisfaction and the ultimate writing experience every time. Plus, with its five-star customer support system, there’s hardly a room for complaints among customers concerning this brand.

The Zebra Zazzle Liquid Highlighter is a terrific option for those who work with fax and carbonless papers a lot. Knowing the delicateness of these kinds of papers, Zebra makes its highlighter ink with a water-based pigment. Regardless of where these highlighters are used, they remain safe without erasing the content they are supposed to be putting in the spotlight. A great benefit, if you ask us!

This highlighter also comes with a see-through barrel. With this addition, you can monitor the ink flow and see if the manufacturers are honest, and you'll know when the ink is about to run out.

The Zazzle Liquid Highlighter also comes with a soft, rubber grip, so your fingers feel nice while holding on to this product. And you might not believe it, but this highlighter actually comes with temperature control, so even if you want to order this for someone in an extreme climate, this pen will work. From Antarctica to Africa, anywhere at all in the world, these highlighter delivers 24/7!
Tired of bright highlighters that overshadow your text? Then it’s time you tried the Staedtler Textsurfer Gel Highlighter. With its ultra-soft highlighting, the colors stand out on paper without being too bright or obscuring the text beneath. Would you prefer a different set of highlighter pens? The Staedtler Textsurfer Classic Highlighter comes in a four-pack, with large ink reservoirs for long use and fast drying.

Staedtler Textsurfer Gel Highlighter – Available in 5 Colors

Staedtler is currently one of the oldest companies in Germany, so it has significant headway in research and development in comparison with its competition. With decades of experience under its belt, this company effortlessly delivers products made with the highest standards to satisfy customers. Staedtler believes that every idea begins with a pencil, so it has played no small role in giving form and shape to various dreams across the globe. It strives to develop even better writing, coloring, and drawing instruments, so you can birth that genius idea.

Available in 5 colors, this highlighter is a dry one with translucent wax. This means that this highlighter will allow you see through the words beneath the color. It won’t hide your words under a blanket of dark, heavy coloring that renders the whole text invisible or hard to see. With its ultra-soft highlighting, your eyes won’t be greeted with harsh colors, and there won’t be any bleedthrough. The highlighting stays on its side of the page.

If you’re familiar with highlighters, you know that it’s not a rarity to find highlighters that ruin paper because they are heavy. With this highlighter, that possibility is largely removed. When you need to work with a print from an inkjet printer, you can rely on this highlighter to do its job effectively without muddling the whole thing up with smudges and smears.

This highlighter has a diameter of nine millimeters, so you can highlight almost anything This way, you can mark widths of up to three millimeters, and you won’t have to mark more than once for normal, broad highlighting.
You won’t want to miss its Avery HI-LITER Pen Style Highlighters. These pens come with chisel tips that are ideal for both highlighting and underlining with vivid, read-through colors that stand out boldly. There are strictly yellow highlighters that are also smear-proof, with chisel tips that highlight and underline smoothly. See the Avery HI-LITER Desk-Style Highlighters.

Avery HI-LITER Pen Style Highlighters, Assorted Colors – Available in 3 Different Packs

Avery set out to make its mark in the labeling industry starting in 1935. With a few materials and a big idea, Avery transformed how brands deliver information via labeling. Since then, this brand has gone on to manufacture and distribute labeling and packaging materials to over 50 countries worldwide. Sustaining a spirit of curiosity and research, it has honed its expertise in management and high-speed manufacturing to deliver a wide array of items to the public. Its products are everywhere you look from labeling and packaging materials to retail graphics embellishments, to RFID tags which brands use to engage their customers. It’s obvious that Avery stays a step ahead.

How does a highlighter with a one-week cap-off time sound? That's what you get with the Avery HI-LITER Pen Style Highlighters. They will still work after one week with their caps off. These highlighters also step things up with molded plastic tips that do not fray. The tips last without breaking down for as long as you use the highlighters.

Whether you're underlining or highlighting, these pens are made to work smoothly, and with their vibrant colors, your marked text stands out on paper effortlessly. Since the ink dries in a snap, there won’t be any reason for it to smudge or get smeared.

All the highlighters in this pack (also available in 2 other different packs) come with comfortable grips. This point is important, since the more comfortable you feel using a tool, the longer you can work at optimum capacity. So score another point for these highlighters!

These highlighters are absolutely non-toxic, and a pack comes with green, pink, purple, and yellow colors. That’s enough color to go around!
Enjoy a great and comfy grip on your highlighter with the Sharpie Pocket Highlighters. These bright highlighters have slim bodies that are easy to manipulate, and also fit into your pocket without a fuss. Would you prefer an eight-count set of retractable highlighters that require you to just click to use them? Try the Sharpie Retractable Highlighters.

Sharpie Pocket Highlighters With Chisel Tip – Available in Assorted Colors and Yellow, 4 or 24 Packs

Sharpie is one of the largest writing brands in the whole of North America, thanks to its many years of excellent service and delivering some of the best writing products possible. A huge feather in its cap is its introduction of the first pen-style permanent marker in 1964. Since then, this brand has beefed up its product lineup to include even more products made with innovation at the core of their design. These products include permanent markers, highlighters, and pens. Testimonials about the Sharpie brand are overwhelming and not difficult to find, as its products are the type to keep people going on and on about them.

A great grip is almost as important as the function of the highlighter itself, and that’s why you must get a highlighter that has one. Thankfully, you don’t have to search too far, as Sharpie already helps out with its Sharpie Pocket Highlighters.
They have slender bodies that are really easy to control, in addition to the fact that they feel wonderful to hold. In fact, they actually look like pens, so you won’t be experiencing any discomfort with the use of this product. These highlighters fit into your bag, purse, or pocket easily.

Although these highlighters are really bright, they won't obscure the writing underneath. One pack comes with pink, yellow, orange, and blue pens. Now you can color-code everything and help yourself or your kids get better organized.

The Sharpie Pocket Highlighters have an easy glide, so they can slide smoothly over paper without being tacky. With the chisel tips, you can always highlight or underline interchangeably. The ink comes with a smear guard to keep your highlighter from smearing.

If you want more highlighters, don’t forget that you can get these ones in 24 packs, as well as in yellow.

How Do I Choose the Best Highlighter?

It’s inexplicable really, but there’s always this strong urge to want to mark important things in a book while we’re reading for pleasure or studying for a test or an exam. People love to mark parts of a text while they study, so that they can always spot info easily when they need to go over it again. Thankfully, there are colorful highlighters to help us with this.

A highlighter doesn’t just come in handy for the student preparing for GRE, or a religious person reading daily devotions. If you want to get organized by having things color-coded, you need lots of jars, lots of dry erase markers, and lots of different colored highlighters. Thankfully, someone with good sense decided to take highlighters beyond the monotonous yellow to include some pinks, and purples, and greens.

Besides color coding and putting important text in the spotlight, highlighters can also add a lot of fun to an otherwise boring textbook, and even help you understand it better. For instance, you could highlight similar principles and systems with the same color, different from what you’d use for a different system. This helps you find links and, hopefully, gain better understanding of the topic in question.

While some people choose to make notes on their notebooks, experts say that linking information with strong visual images like color or other stuff helps with your memory. So whether you're studying for the almighty GRE or the invincible GMAT, you could actually fare better and remember a huge part of what you studied with the use of a common highlighter!
Highlighters are affordable, people! There’s no reason to buy cheap highlighters, considering the many ways they could go wrong, especially with smearing, smudging, bleeding through, and toxicity. If they are cheap, they were made from cheap materials, and cheap materials can never work together to create anything good. Great highlighters go for as low as $1! And the only time they may cost as much as $15 is when you’re getting a pack of many highlighters. Without a doubt, cost won't be the thing stopping you from getting a good highlighter.
As simple as a highlighter might look, there are some really fundamental features you need to look at before you make a decision to purchase one. Consider:
  • Ink type
  • Tip
  • Colors
  • Bleedthrough
  • Cap-off time
  • Drying time
Let’s get into the details already!
Construction and Design
In many ways, a highlighter closely resembles a marker or a felt tip pen in function. There are different types of ink usable in a highlighter. Let's look at them:
  • Liquid Highlighters - With these you can get a wide range of colors. In fact, of all the types of highlighters, these have the widest range. They come in a broad tip or wet ink flow. The only problem with liquid ink is that, as you might have guessed, the possibility of bleedthrough is quite high.
  • Gel Highlighters - These types use a gel stick instead of liquid to mark paper. They fare better on your paper when it comes to smearing or bleeding through. Gel highlighters have far lower chances than liquid highlighters to get messy with smears or bleedthrough. However, they can be a little less precise when compared to liquid highlighters. They may even leave some bits of gel here and there on the paper. But then again, they don’t dry out so fast when uncapped for a while.
  • Pencil Highlighters - These are basically brightly colored pencils. They are fabulous because they won’t require the drying time of the other two types, and they don’t bleed through. But you will have to mark multiple times for a complete line of words to get highlighted.
The most common tips you’d find on highlighters are chisel tips, which are really good because you can highlight a full line without having to run over again. There are also other kinds of tips, including extra-broad and fine tips.

Some brands include unique features, such as windows to the tips so you can see what exactly you’re highlighting. Pretty cool, huh? You might want to get those so you don’t go shading the topic sentence, instead of the definition of the topic that you actually need.
Performance and Ease of Use
The traditional color for highlighters is fluorescent yellow, which is why many people won’t even spare a pack of highlighters a second glance if it doesn’t come with a yellow. For those of us who love a variety of colors, highlighters thankfully come in many other colors besides yellow. A touch of pinks, purples, and greens are totally welcome.

Some people find that bright colors hurt their eyes. For these folks, there are soft color highlighters. They come in subtle hues, but still show well on paper.

Generally, the materials that cause the most smearing issues with highlighters are inkjet printouts, gel pen ink, and fountain pen ink. They react highly with highlighters, sometimes even getting erased altogether when marked. Whether your highlighter will cause smearing is dependent on its constituent formula, that of the writing medium (such as ink), and the kind of paper in use. Always test out your highlighter on a small, irrelevant portion of the text to be highlighted. If it’s okay, you can use the highlighter on the main text, and if not, you know what to do.

Most highlighters will bleed through in at least some situations. Thankfully, there are some that are specially formulated not to pour out so much ink and consequently bleed through, and they are getting more and more popular. We don’t need to tell you to get those ones now, do we?

Get highlighters that dry quickly, so they don’t create smudges all over the page and your hands. Most highlighters come with wet formulations, so drying isn’t always exactly fast. But there are still fast-drying markers out there in abundance. You could check them out and see how you enjoy them.

Cap-off time is the period of time your highlighter can stay wet with its cap off. Any good highlighter should be able to last up to four hours with its cap off without drying out. Really good ones can push eight hours. But there are some exceptional ones that will still work after up to a week with their caps off, usually the gel types. You'll want a highlighter with long cap-off time, especially if you intend to study with it.

Get the Best Highlighter of 2023!

It was fun putting this review together for you, and hopefully it was every bit as insightful as we hoped it would be for you. Go ahead and shop like the savvy shopper that you are!

Our Top Choice
BIC Brite Liner Highlighter
Best Value
Zebra Zazzle Liquid Highlighter
Staedtler Textsurfer Gel Highlighter
Avery HI-LITER Pen Style Highlighters
Sharpie Pocket Highlighters