The Ultimate Guide to Gel Highlighters: Features, Brands, and Manufacturers

Gel highlighters are rapidly becoming the preferred choice in offices and classrooms. Especially favored by students and professionals, they emphasize key information and offer numerous benefits such as non-toxicity and versatility.

What are Gel Highlighters?

Gel highlighters use a solid gel, a unique alternative to traditional water or ink-based highlighters.

Because of its greater thickness, silkier texture, and higher opacity, gel ink is an excellent choice for highlighting text on darker or colored paper.

Gel highlighters are ideal for thin or fragile pages, such as those in biographies or historical documents.

Key Benefits of Gel Highlighters

  • Quick-drying and smear-resistant, ideal for double-sided documents.
  • Non-toxic and safe for all ages.
  • Versatile, with a wide range of vivid colors and long-lasting ink.
  • Suitable for both standard and glossy paper.
gel highlighter

Traditional Ink-Based Highlighters vs. Gel-based Wax Highlighters: The Difference

Ink-Based Highlighters

Ink-Based Highlighters

The traditional highlighters are recognized as fluorescent, translucent ink that is bright and vivid in color.

  • Ink: Usually water-based or solvent-based ink formulations.
  • Solvents: Mostly water and glycol-based compounds.
  • Pigments or Dyes: The bright and vivid colors seen in highlighters are typically created using fluorescent dyes, though this is not always true.
  • Plastic Housing: Houses the ink with an applicator tip and provides the structure of the highlighter.
  • Wick or felt Tip: Made of porous material and transfers the ink to the surface.
  • Chisel or Fine Tip: The highlighting style depends on this. It can be a broad underlining to precise highlighting of individual words or lines.
Gel-Based Wax Highlighters

Gel-Based Wax Highlighters

This type combines the smoothness of gel ink with the waxy properties of traditional wax-based crayons, providing a unique highlighting experience, smooth application, resistance to smudging, and versatility on various surfaces.

  • Gel Ink: The fundamental part. Thicker and denser than the liquid ink found in standard highlighters, this formulation can be water-based or water-soluble.
  • Wax: Gel highlighters may include wax for a more substantial feel and longer wear without smudging. This also helps the gel highlighter glide on gently and smoothly.
  • Colorants: Pigments or dyes for vibrant hues.
  • Binding Agents: Integrate gel ink and wax.
  • Plastic Housing: Protects the gel-based wax with an applicator.
  • Soft, Pliable Tip: Gel highlighters are distinguished from traditional highlighters by a transparent tip instead of a felt one. This ensures a consistent and uniform application of the wax ink gel.

The Wide Applications of Gel Highlighters

Gel highlighters are versatile tools appropriate for various activities. As mentioned above, not every gel highlighter applies to all applications. You need to understand that picking the right highlighter means considering where you require it and the type of paper. Here are the different applications of gel highlighters:

Study and Note-Taking

Gel highlighters are excellent for students, highlighting important information in textbooks, class notes, and study materials. They're also useful for professionals during document review and analysis.

Books and Thin Paper

When dealing with books or documents with thin pages prone to bleed-through, gel highlighters provide a no-bleed option. They allow for precise highlighting without damaging the content on the other side.

Legal Documents and Contracts

For professionals in legal fields or handling contracts, gel highlighters offer controlled and precise highlighting. Their no-bleed and smear-resistant properties ensure accuracy in document markup.

Creative Art and Bullet Journaling

Gel highlighters are popular among artists and enthusiasts. They provide vivid colors and a smooth application for creative projects and intricate designs.

Sensitive or Delicate Paper

Gel highlighters are gentle on sensitive or delicate paper surfaces, making them suitable for highlighting in journals, diaries, or vintage documents without causing damage.

Multi-Surface Use

Multi-Surface Use: Gel highlighters are versatile enough for use on various surfaces, including regular and glossy paper, making them suitable for various projects.

Applications of Gel Highlighters

The Best Gel Highlighter Brands You Should Have

1. Sharpie Gel Highlighters

Gel highlighters from Sharpie are famous for their vivid hues. They come in various hues, so you can easily manage your notes by topic.

These highlighters have a thick, ink-free gel highlighter stick that may be used over or under pen and marker ink, inkjet prints, and high-gloss surfaces without smudging or bleeding through the paper.

Their innovative twist-up mechanism makes frequent sharpening unnecessary.

Sharpie Gel Highlighters


2. Staedtler Textsurfer Gel Highlighters

We recommend the Staedtler Textsurfer Gel Highlighter for use with fountain pens. Ballpoint ink feathered, yet it did not smear pencil lead, gel ink, rollerball ink, or fountain pen ink. Highlight large areas with the rounded tip.

However, it is not advisable to use the gel for precision work due to its inflexibility. Five distinct hues are offered with the Textsurfer Gel Highlighter.

Staedtler Textsurfer Gel Highlighters


3. DiverseBee

DIVERSEBEE is a popular brand of highlighters made exclusively for use in religious literature like the Bible. Most Bible highlighters are made so that the ink doesn't bleed through the paper and dries rapidly so that it doesn't smudge.

Highlighters designed for the Bible, branded as DIVERSEBEE Bible Highlighters, are available in a spectrum of colors, enabling readers to categorize and emphasize different sections of the Bible for easy reference.

In addition, they include a chisel-like point at the end to aid with pinpoint highlighting. You can twist the barrel once the gel highlighter is worn out.

DiverseBee Bible Gel Highlighter


4. Mr. Pen Dry Highlighter

These highlighters are excellent for Bible highlighting because they offer affordability and non-bleeding performance. If you're looking for a cost-effective option without compromising quality, these highlighters are the way to go.

Their rounded bullet tips perfectly enhance and emphasize larger surface areas without needing a second application.

Another noteworthy benefit is the long-lasting coloration of the ink. Unlike many other highlighters where the ink changes color as it dries out, these maintain their original hue over time.

Mr. Pen Dry Highlighter


5. Interwell Custom Gel Highlighters

Interwell stands out as a leading manufacturer in the gel highlighter industry.

With 20 years of expertise, Interwell produces custom gel highlighters that are vibrant, long-lasting, and tailored to specific customer needs. Interwell's range of gel highlighters promises precision, quality, and affordability.

Their factory pricing further ensures that you get the best value for your money. If you're in the market for custom gel highlighters, Interwell is your go-to source for quality and reliability.

Interwell Custom Gel Highlighters

6. Ohto Rouge Gel Highlighter

Ohto Rouge Gel Highlighter produces a clean, bright line. This highlighter's wide, crayon-like tip dulls with usage, so it works best for outlining huge spaces.

This highlighter is not good for pinpoint work. The Ohto Rouge ink is completely paper-safe.

Ohto Rouge Gel Highlighter


What to Consider in Choosing a Gel Highlighter?

Choose the Right Color

Select a gel highlighter color that contrasts with the text. Consider your usage (e.g., formal documents, color-coding) and personal preferences.

Smear Resistance

Choose a gel highlighter with good smudge resistance to maintain the professionalism of your documents. Gel-based highlighters typically smudge less than ink-based ones.

Gel Tips

Select a gel highlighter with the right tip size for your needs, whether for underlining or annotating. Some even offer sharpenable tips for greater precision.


Gel highlighters vary in price. While some expensive options offer extra features, affordable alternatives like Interwell's custom gel highlighters also ensure quality and value.


Consider the highlighter's lifespan. Longer-lasting options can be more cost-effective.
Gel Highlighter Pen


1. Do gel highlighters dry out quickly?

No, most gel highlighters are designed with snap-on caps to prevent drying and extend usability.

2. Are they smudge-proof?

Yes, the quick-drying ink minimizes smudging and ink transfer, making them ideal for various applications.

3. Can I use gel highlighters on different types of paper?

Yes, gel highlighters are versatile and can be used on various paper types, including standard notebook paper, printer paper, and even glossy or coated paper.

4. Do gel highlighters come in different colors?

Yes, gel highlighters are available in various colors, including traditional fluorescent shades, pastels, neons, and metallic or glitter options. This variety is useful for color-coding and creative projects.

5. Are gel highlighters suitable for use in textbooks or library books?

Due to their minimal page bleed, gel highlighters are often preferred over traditional ones for textbooks, library books, and especially for delicate pages like those in the Bible. However, use caution when applying them and avoid using too much force.

6. Can I use gel highlighters for art and crafting projects?

Yes, gel highlighters can be used for art and crafting projects. Their smooth ink flow and vibrant colors make them suitable for adding accents and details to artwork.

7. Do gel highlighters have a strong odor?

Gel highlighters can vary in scent. While many are odorless or have a mild scent, there are scented gel highlighters available in the market that are infused with fragrances during their manufacturing process.

Brands like Scentco and Scentos offer these aromatic options, providing users with a pleasant and fragrant highlighting experience.

8. Are gel highlighters non-toxic, and are they safe for children?

Gel highlighters are generally safe for all ages. Their ink typically poses no health risks. However, always keep them out of children's reach. If accidentally ingested or there's contact with eyes or skin, seek medical attention immediately and follow the manufacturer's guidelines.

9. Are there custom options for gel highlighters for promotional purposes or branding?

You can get gel highlighters with your company's logo and colors from some factories, like Interwell. Associations, schools, and enterprises can use this to their edge when developing promotional materials and stationery.

👉 Searching for Custom Gel Highlighters? Your brand deserves the best.

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