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Whiteboards and Easels Buying Guide

The Basics for Making an Informed Purchase of a Whiteboard or Easel


Our whiteboards and easels are manufactured by the leading names in the industry. Brands like Best-Rite, Ghent, Marsh, Quartet, and Da-Lite have been in business for decades, selling all different types of writing surfaces. To make it easier for you to choose the correct whiteboard, we've put together a guide with important information about the various types of whiteboards and easels. For additional help feel free to give us a call toll-free at1-800-637-3181.

A whiteboard (also known as a marker board, dry-erase board, dry-wipe board or a pen-board) is a name for any surface, most commonly colored white, where non-permanent markings can be made. Whiteboards are used similarly to chalkboards, in that they allow writing or markings to temporarily adhere to the surface of the whiteboard and be easily erased. Instead of using chalk (as on chalkboards) to make the markings, a special whiteboard marker containing an erasable ink is used. Whiteboards are now constructed with many different materials; the least expensive of which, are melamine resins, high pressure laminates, or polyester coated steel. The more expensive and higher quality models are now made from glass or porcelain enameled steel. The popularity and use of whiteboards increased rapidly in the mid-1990s, as they became the preferred writing surfaces for schools and businesses alike. Since then, whiteboards have become a permenant fixture in offices, conference rooms, schools and universities.

Whiteboard Advantages

The greatest advantage to whiteboards, is that they are more cost effective than chalkboards. In comparison to chalkboards, whiteboards are less expensive to buy, install, ship and maintain a lower running cost. Another, equally great advantage, is the elimination of chalk. Whiteboards are not messy to use and do not create harmful and allergenic dust particles, such as those produced by chalk and blackboards. Whiteboard markers leave no dust on on a users hands or clothing and can be easily wiped off, if necessary. Whiteboard markings are also less susceptible to external factors, such as humidity and water, because the ink adheres in a different manner than chalk does to chalkboards.

A whiteboard can also be used as the projecting medium for an overhead, multimedia or interactive projector. This allows the person giving the presentation to fill in blanks, edit, underline and make comments by writing directly onto the whiteboard, which in turn shows through the projected image. A marker is also easier to hold and write with than chalk. Writing with a marker takes less time, effort and pressure than marking on a chalkboard. This can benefit persons with limited mobility in their hands, such as those affected by diseases and physical disabilities.

Whiteboard Disadvantages


Whiteboards require the use of only special whiteboard markers. Using other markers that resemble whiteboard markers but contain the wrong kind of ink creates markings that are hard or impossible to remove. However, some techniques have been developed, which include filling over them using a marker with the right type of removable ink and then erasing the ink; wiping the marks with acetone or alcohol; or by using board cleaning sprays or prepackaged wipes. The white background can cause contrast problems for people with vision impairment. Another disadvantage of the whiteboard is concerned with the issues of the actual usable ink remaining in a dry-erase marker. Since the markers are often tightly sealed in plastic, it is not possible to accurately gauge the amount of ink available. In contrast, blackboards, using chalk do not have this problem as the chalk visibly reduces with use.

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Melamine is a resin-mixed paper which is typically used over a pressboard substrate. This type of whiteboard writing surface is the most economical and best choice for those who plan only moderate use. A melamine whiteboard surface can be easily scratched and will show some staining (ghosting effect) as the whiteboard ages and over time. Permanent markers are permanent on this surface.

HPL or High Pressure Laminate is a laminated coating typically applied to a pressboard or particle board. This type of writing surface is also a less expensive solution, that provides a less porous and more ghost resistant surface than a typical melamine surface. Depending on the manufacutrer, permanent markers will permanently stain or ghost on this surface.

Glass surfaces are super hard, non-porous surfaces that resist ghosting and staining using standard dry erase markers. Typically frosted or white in background color, glass surfaces provide a frameless modern design. Depending on the board, some surfaces allow the use of magnets. Since the surface is glass, it can be easily cleaned with any non-abrasive cleaner, although water should be used following the cleaning to remove cleaner residue or smearing can result. For the best visibility, mount on light to medium colored walls.

Porcelain Steel is a very durable and highly scratch resistant material, harder than glass. This type of surface does not absorb dry erase or permanent marker ink. Porcelain surfaces allow the use of magnets. Because there are so many different recipes for porcelain, erasability varies on this material. Since it is glass, the porcelain surface can be cleaned with any non-abrasive cleaner, although water should be used following the cleaning to remove cleaner residue or smearing can result. Permanent marker can be removed by writing over it with a dry-erase marker and erasing it.

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Porcelain Whiteboards are a very durable and highly scratch resistant material, harder than glass. This type of surface does not absorb dry erase or permanent marker ink. Porcelain surfaces allow the use of magnets.

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Porcelain Whiteboard
Magnetic whiteboards have a porcelain enameled steel surface, which is widely recognized as the most durable of all whiteboard surfaces. This process creates a magnetic surface that is very hard and highly scratch resistant.

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Magnetic Whiteboard
Mobile whiteboards allow for an ease of maneuverability. Mobile or free-standing whiteboards can be wheeled around a classroom, conference room or building. The writing surface can be switched depending on your requirements and most often feature a dual-sided reversible writing surface.

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Mobile Whiteboard
Glass whiteboards have a very modern design featuring a frameless or edgeless appearance. The glass surface is super hard, non-porous and resists ghosting and staining using standard dry erase markers. Glass boards add an instant elegance and sophistication to any meeting or classroom. For the best visibility, mount on light to medium colored walls.

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Glass Whiteboards
Projection screen whiteboards have a specially colored and textured surface for projector presentations. These whiteboards function as a projection screen, whiteboard and as a durable surface for displaying visual aids. Projection screen whiteboards eliminate hot-spotting and blinding reflections created by normal whiteboards.

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Projection Screen Board
Graphic whiteboards have permanantly fused designs in the whiteboard surface. Graphic whiteboards are ideal for coaches and teachers alike. The most comon graphic whiteboards feature monthly or weekly planners, graphing lines and music lines.

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Graphic Whiteboard
Wall mounted whiteboards can be permanently installed by hanging or bracketing to a wall surface, making the whiteboard a fixture in the room. Most whiteboards can be wall mounted with the exception of Mobile, Reversible and Whiteboard easels.

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Wall Mounted Whiteboard
An easel is an upright support used for displaying and/or fixing something resting upon it. It is most often used to hold up a painter's canvas, whiteboard or large sketchbook. Easels come in a different shapes and sizes and are typically made from wood, aluminum or steel.

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Easel
A combination whiteboard is a board that is part whiteboard, part other material. The most common combinations include a blackboard, tackboard, or some other fabric for attaching notes, etc.

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Combination Whiteboard

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