Want to learn more about our markers? Our Marker U Section is the right place where you can get some expert advice. Just click on the category of markers you are interested in:
Valve Activated or Capillary Action ? Ink Markers or Paint Markers?
Or, view our
Marker Application Chart.
If you're still unsure, ask us a question via e-mail!
Valve systems designed to dispense liquid ink or paint through markers have been around for more than 50 years . They are sometimes called valve action*, pump action, press tip, valve control markers etc. In these systems, liquid paint or ink is dispensed through a valve mechanism.
When the tip is pressed down, it pushes onto a spring loaded plunger which opens the valve, letting the liquid through to the tip and allowing the user to regulate the quantity of liquid dispensed. When the cap is left off, the tip can be re-primed, so you can use all the liquid inside the marker.
Valve activated markers usually hold up to 12 times the quantity of liquid than capillary markers, and are able to dispense thicker, more viscous paints. When the tip is worn out , it can be replaced ( in all U-Mark valve activated markers: some brands do not offer replacement tips.)
Not all valves are created equal: U-Mark holds two patents for significant improvements in valve technology, which allow for faster priming of the tip and leak-proof operation (for more information see Innovations)
* “Valve-Action Paint Marker” is a registered trademark of Laco-Markal Corp.
Available Valve Activated Markers: 100P, 130P, 300P, A10, A20, A30, Dr Mark, AP-1, Tekmark
Capillary Action Markers
Less expensive than valve activated markers and also known as “permanent markers” , capillary markers (such as Sharpie®*) are generally designed for school, home and office use, with limited durability and performance.
They have an internal reservoir made of porous material soaked with ink. The ink is fed to the tip by capillary contact with the reservoir. If the marker is left with the cap off, they often dry out.
U-Mark capillary markers are specifically designed for demanding industrial and professional use and contain a larger quantity of ink than ordinary capillary markers.
* Sharpie® is a registered trademark of Sanford Corporation.
Available Capillary Markers: AP-2, No 3, AP-4, M15
What’s the difference between Ink and Paint Markers?
Ink is made with a colored dye dispersed in a solvent, and usually includes a resin to help the ink adhere to a surface. Paint is made of heavier, pigmented colors which are suspended in a solvent/resin solution. Inks are generally thinner than paints and dry faster, while paints make heavier, more opaque marks. which show up well even on dark surfaces. Paint markers have to be shaken vigorously before use, while ink markers don’t need it.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Use ink markers such as AP-1, AP-1 fine line, Tekmark, AP-2, No.3 and AP-4 for marking on porous surfaces such as cartons, wood and carpet, or wherever a faster drying time is needed. Good on clear or white plastics, clean metals such as galvanized, ceramic tiles, glass etc.
Use for surveyor, engineering, shipping, warehousing, carpet laying, and construction applications. Use paint markers on non-porous surfaces, such as metals, plastics and glass, and on oily surfaces. Paint markers are particularly good for marking on dark surfaces.
Available Ink Markers: AP-1, AP-1 fine line, AP-2, No 3, AP-4, M15, Tekmark
Paint Markers: oil-based or xylene-free?
Oil-based paint markers contain Xylene, an aromatic solvent which helps mark through rust and grease (i.e. 100P, 130P, and 300P.) Xylene’s by product, ethylbenzene is on the California Proposition 65 ingredient list and is considered hazardous by various domestic and international organizations. It is also listed as a hazardous air-pollutant by the EPA .
Some paint marker manufacturers have elected to go around this issue by calling their xylene markers “non-hazardous”, based on their own, special interpretation of the law. U-Mark developed the greenlabel® series of Xylene-Free paint markers to resolve these issues both from the compliance and from the performance point of view.
Greenlabel® xylene-free markers dry faster and perform better than oil-based paint markers. If you are using markers on clean metals, plastic or glass, there is no performance reason to use xylene- based markers.
Try greenlabel® paint markers, and do your employees, your safety manager and the planet a favor..
Available Oil Based Paint Markers: 100P, 130P, 300P Xylene-free Paint Markers: A10, A20, A30, Dr Mark