Looking for the best whiteboard and wondering what dry erase material to choose? Look for a board surface that always performs at its best, cleans easily, and lasts the longest.
Whiteboards have come a long way since their initial development in the 1960s. In their early years, the boards were difficult to clean, especially since dry erase markers had not yet been invented.
Today, consumers have more options – and not only for the type of material used to make the boards. Boards can come with printed graphics and wording, with magnetic or non-magnetic surfaces, and with cork boards as part of the overall framed surface.
There are clear choices when you want to make sure your presentations are always free of background staining, when you want cleaning to be easy, and when the lowest overall cost of use is important.
Whiteboard material options include melamine, porcelain, glass, and proprietary surfaces such as that offered by EVERWhite that have optimal erasability. Which is the best? Here’s a look at each dry erase material surface type:
Melamine boards cost the least, but require the greatest amount of regular maintenance and have short lifespans, so use of melamine boards can be more costly for a school, business, hospital or other organization in the long run. The surface of these boards is very porous, leading to staining from regular use of dry erase markers. If permanent markers are accidentally used, the ink cannot be cleaned off because it has soaked into the surface pores.
Another disadvantage of melamine boards is that the material is not magnetic, so papers and posters can’t easily be displayed on them. Based on those issues, melamine boards are not the best whiteboard option for most users.
Porcelain boards are very common on the market, offering many advantages over melamine boards, but still with issues that could frustrate users. These boards are manufactured with an enamel surface with varying degrees of ink resistance. They can become stained over time with regular use, and require frequent use of whiteboard cleaners. On some of these boards, removal of permanent marker ink is difficult.
Porcelain boards have steel backing, so these boards are only available in magnetic versions. These boards have a longer life than melamine, but because they can stain, their lifespan is limited. So if you need the quality of a non-staining surface but not magnetism, porcelain boards are not the best option. (Non-magnetic whiteboards cost less, so if you don’t need to magnetically attach documents to a board, you might not want to pay for that feature.)
Marker boards made of tempered glass are another option, but have limitations. Because the surface is not white, it can be difficult to view presentations made on them. It’s also difficult to take pictures of what’s written or drawn. Words and drawings on a glass board can appear less than sharp due to the very slick nature of glass surfaces.
Glass marker boards can be made magnetic by adding a steel backing, but that can cause reflective problems. Because of the strength of glass, these boards do not need framing.
Glass marker boards tend to be more expensive than whiteboards. They are easy to clean.
If you’re looking for a board that stands up to heavy use, that always stays white and that lasts a lifetime, the best option is the EVERWhite dry erase board. Here’s what the online buying guide Galt said about EVERWhite whiteboards: “If you want a dry erase board that will last through a lot of use, whether in a classroom or business, EverWhite is the answer.” (Read more of the buying guide’s recommendation.)
These whiteboards are manufactured with a proprietary, non-porous surface that does not allow marker ink to penetrate. The material is so impervious that EverWhite offers a lifetime guarantee against ghosting and staining. Even permanent marker ink can be removed from an EVERWhite dry erase surface by writing over the ink with a dry erase marker, and then wiping all away.
EVERWhite boards are the simplest to clean because of their superior erasability. For regular use, all that’s needed is a cloth; microfiber cloths work best. For occasional cleaning, water or any standard window cleaner, such as Windex®, can be used without harming the surface.
EVERWhite boards are available with magnetic or non-magnetic surfaces, so if your presentation needs don’t require papers posted, you can save money by ordering a non-magnetic surface.
For a quick comparison of whiteboard surface materials, see our overview.
Jim Muth is general manager of EVERWhite, a US manufacturer and seller of whiteboards and tack boards used for teaching, coaching, planning, collaboration and tracking. Along with his expertise in the use of whiteboards, Jim excels in leadership, new product development, business operations, lean manufacturing, continuous improvement and product marketing. He holds a bachelor of science degree in Industrial Technology, with a focus on Product Development and Design, from the University of Wisconsin-Stout.