8 Best Graffiti Markers for Different Surfaces and Effects

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

best graffiti markers

What makes street art, murals, and graffiti eye-catching even from a distance is their bold lines. On your graffiti blackbook, you’d probably need only regular art markers. But on massive walls, your markers for tagging, throw-ups, and colorful masterpieces should be able to draw opaque, thick lines.

Therefore, it’s crucial to consider the size and shape of the marker’s nib, the ink formula, and the color selection when looking for the best graffiti markers for your project. Allow me to explain:

Ink formula:

Your three main options are alcohol-based, paint-based, and solidified paint markers. For non-porous objects, alcohol-based markers are your best bet. If you want something more versatile, try multi-surface acrylic markers, but these types could only work on clean and dry surfaces. Only solid paint markers can write on pretty much any medium.

Type of nib:

Mop-style nibs, which typically feature 5mm to 30mm tips, are popular among graffiti artists as they help produce drippy tags. Similarly, wide tips and chisel nibs can produce thicker and thinner lines when you hold the markers at different angles.

The only difference is that the latter is typically smaller in size. For finer lines, graffiti artists use bullet tips. You need to factor in the dimensions of the surfaces you plan to draw on to determine the appropriate nibs.

Color selection:

Whether you choose individual markers or sets of paint pens will depend on your artistic style. While one can create tags with one or two colored markers, there is no harm in trying multiple colors.

What’s important is that you use colors that stand out against the numerous backgrounds. You can achieve this with opaque and vivid inks.

I know you can’t wait to check out my recommended products, so let’s jump right in! But if you want to learn more about the other factors to consider when buying paint markers for graffiti, or if you’re looking for answers to frequently asked questions, scroll down past the product review.

3 Premium-Rated Picks

SAKURA solid Paint Markers

Ink: Solidified oil-based ink

Nib type and size: Round 13 mm

No. of pens in a pack: 1

Krink K-60 Black Paint Marker

Ink: Alcohol-based paint

Nib type and size: Round 15 mm

No. of pens in a pack: 1

Emooqi EM13 Acrylic Paint Pens

Ink: Acrylic paint

Nib type and size: 2 to 3mm

No. of pens in a pack: 18

8 Top-rated Graffiti Markers

1. SAKURA solid Paint Markers

  • Pen design: Glue-stick style graffiti art markers
  • Ink: Solidified oil-based ink
  • Nib type and size: Round 13 mm
  • No. of pens in a pack: 1
Check price on Amazon

While there are plenty of manufacturers that make solid paint markers for graffiti art, I still think that none of them has outperformed Sakura. After all, it’s the brand that produced solidified oil-based paint that instantly became a hit among graffiti writers.

Within the community, this solid paint is known as a “streak” or “streaker”, and it works on porous and non-porous surfaces on land or underwater. Apart from using it for drawing, I can also mark trash cans, pipes, and other outdoor objects.

Since its ink is made of semi-hardened paint, it has a consistency similar to lipstick. Because of that, I never deal with drips, clogs, or dried-out ink. Needless to say, the marker renders highly opaque and vivid colors regardless of the background.

Not to mention, there’s no need to shake or pump the pens to get the ink flowing. I only have to remove the cap and start drawing just like a regular ballpoint pen.

The marker features a twist of the dial at the bottom of the barrel to push the solid paint out just like a glue stick. For me, this is the product’s “weak” point. It’s hard to turn the dial and I cannot retract it if too much solid paint is released.

PROS
  • Works on porous and non-porous surfaces on land or underwater
  • Excellent for marking objects outdoors
  • Never deal with drips, clogs, or dried-out ink
  • Renders highly opaque and vivid colors, regardless of the background
  • No need to shake or pump the pens
CONS
  • Cannot retract it if too much solid paint is released

2. Krink K-60 Black Paint Marker

  • Pen design: Mop marker
  • Ink: Alcohol-based paint
  • Nib type and size: Round 15 mm
  • No. of pens in a pack: 1
Check price on Amazon

Made especially for graffiti writers, the Krink K-60 is the perfect marker for making tags, whether on painted walls, metal, glass, canvas, or wood surfaces. From the nib down to the squeezable bottle and the ink it contains, it lets me create drippy tags effortlessly.

Even though this brand started as a DIY marker for a New York artist’s personal use, it offers opaque and vibrant ink. Technically speaking, it is not archival, although the waterproof and fade-resisting qualities help my artwork stand the test of time in both indoor and outdoor objects.

Because each marker is loaded with 60 ml ink, it would take months of constant use before this tool goes out of commission. That said, I know that most of us are not accustomed to writing with small yet chunky bottles.

Rest assured that they’re very easy to grip and control. Together with the ink, the 15mm graffiti mop style nib renders bold lines with gorgeous trickles of paint that do not require second coatings.

But given that the dribbling is intentional, I think using it can be a bit messy for beginners. Aside from that, I think the upfront cost of buying the marker is a bit steep. The good news is that it is refillable.

PROS
  • Offers opaque and vibrant ink on metal, glass, canvas, and more
  • Waterproof and fade-resisting
  • Squeezable and loaded with 60 ml ink for long-term use
  • Very easy to grip and control
  • Renders bold lines and tags that do not require second coatings
CONS
  • The price of one marker is a bit too steep.
  • It can be a bit messy for beginners.

3. Emooqi EM13 Acrylic Paint Pens

  • Pen design: Paint pen
  • Ink: Acrylic paint
  • Nib type and size: 2 to 3mm bullet nib
  • No. of pens in a pack: 18 multicolor markers                
Check price on Amazon

Emooqi is a brand that proves a low price tag is not synonymous with faulty products. In a single set, it provides 18 high-quality paint pens that can write on numerous surfaces, including wood, fabric, glass, ceramics, and of course, walls. 

Since they are equipped with medium-sized bullet nibs, I think this set is perfect for beginners who want to practice writing tags. As for me, I normally use these markers for graffiti blackbook.

The bold lines and bright colors are apt for sketching ideas as they help me imagine what my piece would look like before I start working on larger walls or canvases. Moreover, the non-toxic and odor-free ink formula makes the pens safe for children.

At any rate, I think the waterproof properties of the inks are apt for creating pieces that I intend to sell or exhibit. After all, the colors are vibrant. Thanks to the fast-drying ink, I can lay the color on any surface without accidentally smudging them or causing the paint to drip.

So far, the ink flows smoothly as long as the markers are well-primed and the surface is smooth. Unfortunately, they tend to skip on bumpy surfaces. Plus, the pink and light pink markers look similar to each other.

PROS
  • Can write on numerous surfaces (glass, ceramic, fabric, etc.)
  • 18 pens, perfect for beginners who want to practice writing tags
  • Apt for sketching ideas with bright, bold colors
  • Non-toxic and odor-free waterproof ink formula
  • Lay the color on the surface without accidentally smudging them
CONS
  • Tend to skip on bumpy surfaces
  • The pink and light pink markers look similar to each other.

4. NAWOD XMPEN BW Black and White Paint Pens

  • Pen design: Paint pen
  • Ink: Acrylic paint
  • Nib type and size: 2 to 3mm bullet nib
  • No. of pens in a pack: 6; 3 black and 3 white   
Check price on Amazon

Seeing that the packaging says “Marks on anything,” I immediately grabbed a pack of these NAWOD black and white paint pens to put them to the test. Understandably, it’s easy to assume that having only two colors to work with may pose creative constraints, but that has not been the case for me.

For starters, both of them come in handy for detailing, line drawing, and coloring. But while I can create minimalistic art out of black and white pens, I can also use them alongside other colored markers in my collection.

To get the ink oozing out, I just have to shake, release the air, and pump the nib, which is fairly easy in my experience. With bullet-shaped medium nibs, I can sketch lines with uniform widths without skipping and leaking issues. The thickness makes my writing and drawings visible even from a distance.

Because of that, these multi-purpose markers are excellent for scribbling graffiti tags on concrete walls, sketching in my blackbook, decorating different objects at home, and labeling containers in my pantry. On top of that, their non-toxic water-based formula conforms to safety standards, which is why this set is apt for kids and adults.

Based on observation, however, the white marker requires several coats before it appears opaque on a dark surface.

PROS
  • Come in handy for detailing, line drawing, and coloring
  • Create minimalistic art out of black and white pens
  • Straightforward to use (shake and pump)
  • Renders uniform, highly visible lines without skipping or leaking
  • Apt for kids and adults
  • Non-toxic and suitable for sketching, labeling, and decorating
CONS
  • The white marker requires several coats to appear opaque on a dark surface.

5. Molotow ‎ONE4ALL Acrylic Marker Set

  • Pen design: Paint pen
  • Ink: Acrylic paint
  • Nib type and size: ‎2 mm
  • No. of pens in a pack: 6
Check price on Amazon

Molotow’s near-perfect ratings on online shops should give you an idea of how well its markers perform. Whether I’m using light-colored markers on dark surfaces or vice-versa, its high-quality ink offers solid coverage and a beautiful low-gloss finish, which eliminates the need for applying multiple coats to increase color opacity.

Based on experience, I only had to shake and pump the pen a couple of times before the ink started flowing smoothly. It’s a lot easier to use compared to other markers, and this set will surely last a long time.

Even better, the barrels feature separable sections that allow quick refilling, so I won’t have to buy new pens anytime soon. Besides that, I can also mix the paints to create new colors and replace the nibs when they wear out.

Equipped with 2mm nibs, these permanent graffiti markers help me draw ideas for wall murals in my blackbook. At the same time, their UV-resistant acrylic-based pigments suit outdoor surfaces.

To be honest, I can’t think of anything to criticize about this set as it gives me everything that I need. However, the hefty price tag can be a bit discouraging for some folks. But in my opinion, it’s all worth it—I never have to deal with the problems that I encountered with other brands.

PROS
  • Its high-quality ink offers solid coverage in one coat.
  • A lot easier to use compared to other markers
  • The inks are refillable, and the colors are mixable.
  • The nibs are removable.
  • UV-resistant acrylic-based pigments suit outdoor surfaces.
CONS
  • A hefty price tag

6. POSCA  Paint Markers

  • Pen design: Paint pen
  • Ink: Acrylic paint
  • Nib type and size: ‎Reversible (1.8mm and 2.5mm)
  • No. of pens in a pack: 8
Check price on Amazon

A true all-arounder, these Posca markers can work on a myriad of porous and non-porous surfaces. In my case, I find their non-toxic water-based acrylic ink suitable for paper—specifically when I’m sketching ideas—and for adding details to the final piece on the wall.

Thanks to the fast-drying waterproof ink, I can overlay two to three colors without smudging. As long as the ink is still wet, I can create smooth gradients by blending different shades.

With eight colors to play with, the possibilities are endless! Even more impressive is that the acrylics come off as opaque, so I typically only need one or two coatings on dark backgrounds. Plus, they resist fading quite well, making them the perfect coloring tools for commissioned pieces.

Each marker has a reversible nib that lets me draw thick and thin lines. All I need to do is pull the nib out and flip it. As far as ergonomics are concerned, I think the design of the barrel is comfortable to grip. Despite its chunky appearance, it’s surprisingly lightweight.

That said, these markers have a reputation for being a bit leaky when activating the ink. After priming them, however, the ink would flow with better consistency. For me, it’s not a huge problem. To get around it, I would pump and test the marker on a spare cardboard.

PROS
  • Can work on a myriad of porous and non-porous surfaces
  • Non-toxic, fast-drying waterproof ink
  • Require few coats to appear vibrant
  • Create smooth gradients by blending different shades
  • Comes off as opaque, ideal for sketching and detailing
  • Each marker in the set of 8 has a reversible nib and a comfortable barrel.
CONS
  • A bit leaky when activating the ink

7. ARTISTRO  Jumbo Colored Markers

  • Pen design: Paint pen
  • Ink: Acrylic paint
  • Nib type and size: ‎Rectangular nylon nib (15mm and 5mm)
  • No. of pens in a pack: 10
Check price on Amazon

Formulated for mixed-media applications, Artistro’s multi-surface acrylic markers work well with other types of paints and inks, which include aerosol paints, watercolors, pencils, and gouache. The ink dries within a minute, which is why they are ideal for color overlays. On top of that, their non-toxic formula makes these pens safe for kids.

Beyond that, I love that these markers can easily be activated with a few shakes and pumps. Once primed, the ink flows out very evenly—no blobs, skipping, or leaking.

But perhaps the most useful feature for graffiti artists is the rectangular nylon nib. It allows me to draw 15mm lines and 5mm lines by holding the barrels at different angles. This way, I can create tags or colorful masterpieces.

Generally speaking, the colored markers are highly pigmented and opaque, while the gold and silver inks give off a gorgeous sheen. However, the white acrylic pen requires multiple coatings to look more visible.

The other issue that I had was that the caps were a bit hard to remove. But on the bright side, I guess this can be a good thing! At least I won’t be worrying about the ink drying up while in storage!

PROS
  • The multi-surface acrylic markers work well with other types of paints and inks.
  • Non-toxic, ideal for color overlays
  • Activate without problems, no leaks, clumps, or skips
  • Draw 15mm lines and 5mm lines by holding the barrels at different angles
  • The colored markers are highly pigmented and opaque.
  • The gold and silver inks give off a gorgeous sheen.
CONS
  • The white acrylic marker requires multiple coatings to look more visible.
  • The caps are a bit hard to remove.

8. Montana Cans Acrylic Paint Marker

  • Pen design: Paint pen
  • Ink: Acrylic paint
  • Nib type and size: ‎15mm rectangular nylon nib
  • No. of pens in a pack: 1
Check price on Amazon

Specializing in graffiti and murals, Montana offers top-tier products to help artists create vibrant spaces. Although this particular acrylic marker is recommended for indoor use, I could still use it for street art, as long as I seal it with the brand’s GOLD varnish.

So far, I think its acrylic ink gives the best coverage out of all the graffiti markers I reviewed. I never need another coating to make the color more opaque. Apart from that, the smooth-flowing ink allows me to sketch more accurately.

I love using it for the final rendition of my artwork, since it is lightfast, abrasion-resistant, and waterproof. Meanwhile, the brand’s cap system enables me to draw lines with varying widths.

Here’s my favorite part: I can buy ink refills and mix the colors myself. It’s easy to know when to reload the marker with fresh ink, since the barrel is transparent. Plus, I can replace the tip if it starts to wear down. This, in turn, extends the lifespan of the marker.

Just a heads up: Shaking the marker too hard can make the ink squirt in the cap. Maybe it’s my fault, but I wish the manufacturer provided instructions on how to activate it properly to prevent mishaps.

PROS
  • Gives the best coverage out of all the graffiti markers I reviewed
  • Compatible with varnish products for outdoor use
  • The smooth-flowing ink and different nib widths allow accurate sketching.
  • Lightfast, abrasion-resistant, and waterproof
  • Users can buy ink refills and mix the colors.
  • Has replaceable tips
CONS
  • Shaking the marker too hard can make the ink squirt into the cap.

Factors to Consider When Buying Graffiti Markers

Factors-to-Consider-When-Buying-Graffiti-Markers

Drying time and durability

By nature, acrylic-based ink takes a minute to dry, but if you can learn how to take advantage of this, you can create interesting effects. With POSCA, for instance, you can blend and layer colors to add some depth or gradients while the ink is still wet.

It’s also possible to opt for oil-based formulations rather than water-based acrylics. Compared to their counterpart, oil-based ink dries a lot slower but offers higher durability against outdoor conditions, making them more suitable for artworks that require longevity.

One way to retain the colors of acrylic-based creations is to seal their ink after finishing the pieces.

You can also consider alcohol markers, which are waterproof and vibrant.

High opacity

Even though most graffiti markers use acrylic-based inks, each brand concocts unique formulas. As such, some paint markers have high coverage, while others are a bit sheerer.

If you need to apply multiple coatings to achieve solid opacity, you will likely run out of ink sooner or later. Opting for markers with high vibrancy can make your illustration pop out and help you work more efficiently.

Lightfastness

Essentially, the term “lightfastness” refers to how fast the color of a paint or ink fades when it is exposed to light. Given that several graffiti tags and pieces are made on outdoor surfaces, ensure that the markers you are using have ink that can stay vibrant for a long time, even if it is constantly subjected to the elements.

Nib type

Graffiti markers come in various nib sizes, from 2 or 3 to 15 mm. Suffice it to say, extra-fine nibs make for easier detailing and highlighting, while bigger ones suit coloring and shading better.

Some brands will also produce markers with variable or changeable tips, allowing users more freedom to customize their artwork.

The replaceable tips often come with refillable ink as well, which is excellent for buyers who want long-lasting markers without spending money on new tools often.

Surface compatibility

Graffiti markers are compatible with multiple surfaces, namely paper, canvas, glass, and ceramic. Before making your purchase, see if the ink works on your chosen medium. You don’t want to buy a cheap pen that bleeds or creates streaks every time you draw.

Color range

Last but not least, consider whether you want one or multiple colors. Graffiti pens are available both as single-hue pens and as sets. A pack of ten or eighteen will provide more possibilities for artistic creation than a tiny black or white pen.

Are Graffiti Markers Permanent or Removable?

Graffiti-Markers-can-Removable

Graffitis can stay on your wall for a long time. So if you want to clean up the surface, you may need different products, depending on the type of material that you painted on.

Besides solvents and mineral turpentine, you can also try specialized products like So-Safe Graffiti Remover or MAX Strip All Purpose Remover. But in some cases, painting the graffiti over can be the easiest solution.

How Do I Prevent Clogging in Graffiti Markers?

Although clogging is more common among spray paints, acrylic paint pens’ nibs can also jam due to the clumps of dried inks forming around them. To prevent this, it is recommended that you re-prime your marker every now and then.

If your marker gets clogged, wet the nib with warm water and remove whatever it is that’s causing the blockage. Alternatively, you can buy new nibs and replace the old ones.

Are Graffiti Markers Refillable?

Some types of graffiti markers are refillable while others are not.

POSCA markers, for instance, cannot be refilled. The MOLOTOW and K-70 Krink graffiti markers, on the other hand, are refillable, even though the brand does not sell ink replacements. You can reload the pens with other paints like Ironlak Fluid.

How Long Do Graffiti Markers Typically Last?

Again, the answer varies from one brand to another. POSCA and other types of acrylic pens can be used for up to 2 years after opening. Meanwhile, refillable markers like Krink can last a long time.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for the best graffiti markers, always make it a point to check the nib size, the quality of the ink, and the color selection. Feel free to try and test different markers, so you can identify the ones that suit your preferences. After all, reading reviews can only get you so far!

5/5 - (3 votes)
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