I’m about to show you just how ridiculous it can be to be me. Pen bloggers, at least, will understand… I hope…
About a week ago, the Office Supply Geek posted a fabulous highlighter refilling tutorial which reminded me that I have been saving up a post about highlighters for a while now. This is because I found my holy grail of highlighting. I am interested to see if the pen nuts out there agree with me.
At my office, I found a pack of the middle guys – the Bic Brite Liner Z4 – sitting around in a conference room. They’d been there a few days, and I needed highlighters, so I snagged them. I do a great deal of document review at work and these are an essential tool in my arsenal, so it was to my delight that I found that these puppies behaved like no other highlighter I’d ever used. When they were all getting close to empty (and I love being able to see that happen as I use them up!) I went looking in stores for replacements. Nada. Couldn’t find ’em. But I saw Bic Brite Liners (on the right) and thought maybe they’d just changed the form.
Nope. There are big differences between a Brite Liner and a Brite Liner Z4, it turns out, not the least of which is the see-through business. I also picked up these Sharpie Accents because I have a great deal of faith in that brand, and because I have a disease that causes me to not be able to walk out of a Target without spending at least $60. I know, it’s tragic. So let’s see how they stack up:
The two on the right, the Bics: this is like night and day to me. See the clearance above and below the letters that you get with the Z4? I’m pretty sure this is 12 point typeface. Some might be put off by the tendency with the Z4 to overlap the line below with the line above, but I prefer that. Once you’ve taken in the fact that you can’t clear the tops and bottoms of letters with the ordinary Brite Liner, note the wimpyness of the colors as compared to the Z4. The orange and the green seem close-ish, but why accept less than the brightest? If you’re me, that is.
The Sharpie seems to straddle the middle. The chisel tip lays down a slightly taller line, but nothing like the Z4. The brightness is merely OK. I think it would do, if I didn’t know how lively the Z4 ink can be. But now let’s get into the real nitty gritty – what happens when you press that tip to the paper. To be kind, I’ve put the rest of this behind a cut – including chisel tip pictures.
First off, the Sharpie. There’s not any movement, and give to the tip. It is nice that the liquid ink doesn’t pool under the tip the way some others do. But you can clearly see from this image that while you might clear the tops of the tall letters, you can’t also clear the bottom of the small letters. Probably this bothers no one else in the world but me, but I find it distracting when the line is narrower and it’s harder to keep it over the whole letter.I should also note that these have a convenient ring at the end for putting in binders or on a keychain – that’s a nice touch.
Now let’s look at the Brite Liner Z4. This picture shows why this thing is my holy grail of highlighting. You can see that the ink is flowing very fast. You can see how wet the chisel tip is before the thing even hits the paper. And you can see that it has movement – it settles on the paper and fans out a little, not unlike a stiff brush. I know this feature isn’t for everyone but I love it! There is clearance above the tall letters, and below the letters as well. You’re probably not going to miss and highlight only half the letters with this, something that irritates me when I do it. The only down side: You leave it sitting in one spot for any length of time and it WILL soak right through the paper. Doesn’t bother me, but will certainly be an irritant to someone else.
Finally, the Brite Liner which I mistakenly bought. This is the wimpy, generic form of highlighter line. Not very tall, not very bright, very stiff chisel tip. The ink looks really dark in this picture, but it fades on drying. Plus it’s pretty unsatisfying to see the dark ink laying down when you’re trying to draw attention to something. I plan to continue to use these at work to use them up, but I wouldn’t buy them again.
I will say this: the Office Supply Geek is right. It is a far better option to refill than to keep throwing away more plastic pen bodies. Having not realized this was an option, I might have done that. Since I plan to enter nursing school soon enough, I’ll probably be using up quite a bit of brightly colored ink, and I hate the idea that I might be adding even more crap to the pacific trash gyre.
You can also check out this review of the Frixion highlighters over at the Pen Archives. For now… I have a LOT of highlighting to do to use these up.