I’m sure you’ve seen Milwaukee Inkzall markers before, but just in case – Inkzall is Milwaukee’s line of construction-focused permanent markers.
Inkzall markers made their debut in 2014, and Milwaukee has been expanding the lineup ever since.
If I had to guess, I’d say that Milwaukee’s standard fine point markers are most popular. They also have paint markers, highlighters, and different marker sizes.
But, for the sake of this discussion, let’s talk strictly about Milwaukee’s fine point Inkzall markers.
I like these markers a lot, and just bought another multi-color 4-pack last week. I use them on wood, paper, metal, plastic, and all manner of other work materials.
And then there’s the ubiquitous Sharpie fine point permanent marker.
Sharpie has a huge variety of markers, including a line or Sharpie Pro markers that they say are “built jobsite tough.” But, the standard fine point marker is likely the most popular and also the style that was firmly in Milwaukee’s crosshairs from the start.
Which Should You Buy? Don’t look at me, I cannot answer that, I buy and use both, and I would quickly recommend the same.
I tend to damage both Sharpie and Inkzall markers, although not usually very quickly unless I’m marking extremely abrasive materials.
Milwaukee said they designed their Inkzall marker tips to hold up against rough jobsite materials such as OSB, concrete, and cinder blocks, and they do seem a little more durable than Sharpie markers.
Sharpie markers are less expensive, and you can always upgrade to one of their “Pro” markers if you need something more durable and potentially longer-lasting.
I have purchased more robust styles of Sharpie markers before, but I always come back to their fine point.
Inkzall and Sharpie are far from the only two brands in the permanent marker and jobsite marker game, but they’re perhaps the best-known nowadays, as well as most widely available.
Without a doubt, Sharpie has the advantage when it comes to availability, but Inkzall markers can be found at every Home Depot store, some independent dealers, and also online suppliers.
The beauty of this type of product is that you can – and should – buy at least one of each, and determine for yourself which you like better.
I have found that I sometimes do tend to reach for Inkzall markers more in work settings than Sharpie markers.
But for most of my usage, I reach for Inkzall or Sharpie, whichever is closest to me.
With all that said, I’m curious – which do you buy, and which do you reach for most?
In theory, I could say that as the Inkzall markers are designed for jobsite use, they’d be the better go-to for jobsite marking tasks. But I use Sharpies very regularly, and they’re usually just as good on most smoother materials.
My marking needs are generally very broad and varied, and so I rarely buy or pick up specialty types.
I like both brands’ markers about equally as well, and will continue buying both. What about you?
RevMark is another good brand, and I’m still using a couple from my original sampling a few years ago.
A reader recently recommended I try Markal markers, and I’ve got them on my list. Are there any other types of markers you guys would recommend?
I found the “Sharpie Pro” line when I moved a couple years ago. Smells NASTY when you open the pen but they write on damp/oily surfaces, and don’t wipe off of packing tape. They also have a separate “pro/industrial” line that holds up at high temperatures (bought those by mistake hoping they were regular pen-shaped versions of the other Pro ones) .
Milwaukee needs to make the pocket clip more durable, otherwise the standard marker holds up well for it’s intended end user. When it comes to office use, Sharpie is the winner between the two. Far superior selection with less feathering on lighter weight paper. Another brand to consider is UMark and the model M5. Super deep dark ink.
Markal dura ink is far and away the best. USA owed. You really should give them a try.
Melba Moses Wolfenstein
They’re okay, but not better than Milwaukee.
I have a few of the Milwaukees, but my wife always uses a Sharpie, and I pretty much reach for a Dixon Reach pen for everything I do in the shop.
amazon brand 24 pack is $7 lasted me 2 yrs and im only halfway through the box https://smile.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-Permanent-Markers-Black-24-Pack/dp/B06ZZ2NDZX/
Back when I was doing a lot more metal work than I do these days, I LOVED the metallic Sharpies (Copper/Silver/Gold). They wrote on damn anything – smooth, rough, clean, greasy – didn’t care. I was doing a lot of tube cutting/notching to build the roll cage on my crawler. Regular Sharpies couldn’t do it, they got thrown by the oils and coatings on the tube quite often. But not the metallic ones, they kept on going.
I had no inkzall markers at the time and the 3-4 I have now really haven’t been used for anything intensive for me to compare. At this point I grab whatever comes out of my marker bin, but do see the inkzalls as slightly more heavy duty (probably purely because of marketing). One day I’ll be able to make the comparison – if inkzalls perform like the metallic Sharpies, they get my vote!
For me, the Inkzall markers were more durable and lasted longer than the Sharpies. I was doing a lot of marking on concrete and metal stud work. Also marking on industrial carpet.
Inkzall I hate how the inner cap can come off from the main cap and stick to the marker on the sharpies.
Ryobi makes markers also as a friend gave me a few to try. He got them online so I don’t know if Home Depot has them in-store. Price wise I buy the sharpie all the time and I love their metallic line of silver, gold and bronze. Makes marking dark items easy! Also use the silver to mark electrical adaptors so I can be sure to know which adaptor goes to which item quickly and effortlessly! Haven’t tried the Milwaukee but have seen them hanging on hooks at the Depot. Also have developed a liking to the old wax markers or China markers recently. Tag your items location and easy to rub off!
That’s news to me!
Back in my Navy days, we called those wax/China markers grease pens, and used them to mark constantly changing info on clear plastic boards. I’m sure I still have one or two hidden around; they’re refillable (a bit like a lead holder) unlike the pencils shown for the wikipedia article.
I find the standard Sharpie cap fits better (it has a longer contact area with the body) than the Inkzall and thus it doesn’t seem to dry out even if you’ve worn both of them down to a nub. As long as you put the cap on tight.
Since getting lost/borrowed is more often the result than wearing out/drying out, the cheaper Sharpie is more economical, and I find the larger size fits nicer in gloved hands.
The Inkzall has a longer felt, so I find that it wears longer, and writes better once the initial point has been lost.
Sharpie all the way, just because the retractable ones are so convenient. If Milwaukee comes out with one, I’ll switch.
I have and use both, but generally sharpies are cheaper. Not a whole lot different in use. I like the “super” sharpies; they’re the same as regular fine tip sharpies, but have a bigger body to hold more ink.
Your name necessitates me to say kupo, to find out if we’re on the same page lol
I’ve switch to Revmark and never looked back.
I like the sharpies just because they are cheaper and I can get them everywhere. Never really had an issue with them, I would try the Milwaukee but I don’t go to the Depot very often.
If that’s the only reason, you could just order a 4-pack online for $3.48 with free shipping. Check the link above.
When I was buying them for myself I bought the Inkzall, it helped when getting them back off people i work with. I was the only person in the group with Milwaukee tools. So everything red must have been borrowed from me. Also i like how you can snap two of the cap clips together so you can have two different pens stored together and you cant lose the cap easily as its still attached to the other pen. Worked on different sizes too, except for the fine point marker with the different cap.
Inkzalls ink dries faster from my experience. So marking wires when running circuits and home runs can be done faster. I prefer the inkzalls.
Sharpie for me, but mainly because that’s what’s usually lying around. Haven’t really felt like there was much of a difference.
On a separate note, Stuart, you wrote “Inkzall and Sharpie are from the only two brands” but I think you meant “are far from”, right?
Thank you! *fixed*
Used lots not markers, prefer the Inkzall over the Sharpie mainly for its ability to mark surfaces that aren’t perfectly clean. For something where you truly want permanent mark, nothing beats an ear tag pen, Allflex preferred with Y-Tex a close second. These pens are made for writing on plastic livestock identification tags, and the writing is usually visible the life of the tag, maybe 10 years of being outside in the elements.
We have a few of each around for marking stuff indoors but normally use PAINT markers. So my vote is neither as both will fade when outdoors.
We use the felt-tipped paint markers on rough surfaces and the ball-point paint markers on smooth surfaces. The ball-point ones will outlast the felt-tipped ones many times over.
I use Inkzalls more, mostly because the clip sits further away from the body and it perfectly slides over the top leather edge of my toolbelt. A Sharpie has to have the clip bent too much for that to work. I also don’t use a marker that often, frankly, so I treat myself to the more interesting red one that fits the belt better. They seem to hold up in use pretty well, but I’ve never really done any side-by-side testing. Inkzalls also seem like they smell less, but that may be due to other factors. That’s what works for me!
“Inkzall and Sharpie are from the only two brands…”
I think this should read “Inkzall and Sharpie are far from the only two brands…”
Thank you! *fixed*
When I take the cap off a marker I always put it on the other end until I’m done using it. With Sharpie markers, the cap is there when I’m done. With Inkzall markers, frequently the cap has fallen off. Until Milwaukee fixes this, I’ll stick with Sharpie.
Clicky sharpies only. Open to any brand that has a click open, but caps aren’t for me anymore.
I end up with Sharpies accidentally taken from work. Still have some branded ones from a company I stopped working at 12 years ago that work fine.
I do need to get a white/silver one to label our trash can and recycling bin and I’ve thought about the Inkzall ones but will probably end up with more Sharpies.
IndianaJonesy (Matt J.)
I really like the ultrafine Inkzalls. The normal fine is too bold and feathered for my uses, but even then they are so much better than sharpies for me. Of course, I’m probably the target market since I leave my cap off and forget about them all the time, but it’s genuinely worth the extra few cents for me. Normal fine vs fine, sharpies are more accurate, but the ultra-fine is better than both and way more durable than the ultrafine sharpies. I also really like the revmark ultrafines (probably more than inkzall even if just for the cap), but availabilty hurts them for me.
Sharpie for now. Until I can get in-store to Atlas Tools and figure out which of their Pico Pens is the black-ink fine tip marker. I already have a set of Pico Pen Dry Pencils, with various coloured Leads. I was hoping the pack I got was the markers, but it was the pencils. Once I opened them I was disappointed, then I saw how well the white pencil marked on fabric, and said to myself “Nope, these are awesome. No regrets!”
But until I can get the Pico black marker, whatever its code name is, I settle for Sharpie.
Like Adam Savage uses? It’d be these- https://www.amazon.com/Pica-150-46-SB-Deep-Hole/dp/B07KPM27HN/
Hope this helps!
I’ve not tried an inkzall – so I’m curious who makes this for Milwaukee.
But I also keep seeing such 50/50 reviews on them I can’t justify the extra price for me. So I use Sharpies which as far as I know are still USA made. But more importantly I get them so cheap I don’t worry about them. I keep black and green on hand (no I don’t recall why green but I bet it was a freebie) and If I mark on something dark like walnut I use a white grease pencil. Open to suggetion there too. I have the ultra fine point and the fine point.
If I did more metal work and metal marking I might be inclined to get one of those paint pens. At work on the planes we use something else but I forget what it is – but we also use sharpies there too.
Inkzall have worked well for me, I agree the tips seem a bit more rugged
I like inkzalls better by ooks and fee but use sharpies due to reliability. Sharpies fare better vs water in my experience
Inkzalls by a country mile. I write on dirty rusty steel, concrete, and all manner of rough dirty surfaces. It’s no contest. The inkzalls just work. Any time I have a sharpie I throw it out put off frustration halfway through the day. It won’t write on half the surfaces I need to write on.
I use the Kincrome markers which are excellent – i dont think that they’re available in the states but they are very popular in Australia now
I use many versions of both.
My favorite is the oval-bodied chisel-point inkzall. It fits just right in many pockets. Wide line when you need it.
-The inkzall fine point caps have brittle clips that break easily.
-The inkzall jumbo rounds lose their caps too easily in the pocket and have messed up a couple of my jackets.
-Sharpie pros are possibly more rugged but also lose their caps easily and have a worthless clip.
-The revmark clip seems like a great concept but isn’t a quick draw in my use. Needs a revision similar to the pica clip.
I frequently use Pilot Super Color Jumbo Markers for marking crates and pallets. They are very opaque and refillable.
The original version has a moderately strong smell and writes well even in cold temps. They also make a less-stinky version.
This is the opposite of fine point, terrible for small text, but good when your label should be legible from 10-20 paces.
I find Milwaukee dry out quick. They sit in my center consul cubby cap on tight. I agree with poster above fix the cap from coming off so easy.
I frequently use Markal PRO-LINE Fine paint markers for general marking applications on a variety of substrates. While the 1.5 mm stroke width of the PRO-LINE Fine is larger than a fresh fine tip Sharpie, the nib is more durable resulting in a more consistent stroke width over the life of the marker. Being a paint marker, it does take longer for it to dry.
We probably sell 20 to 1 Markal of various types, silver streaks and silver streak pro being the main mover.