Staedtler Textsurfer Gel Highlighter Review

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter.)

Where were these when I was in school?

The Textsurfer gel highlighters from Staedtler come in packs of five (yellow, orange, pink, green, blue), or three (pink, orange, yellow), or as individual units. The bodies are plastic, cylindrical, with a snap cap and sturdy clips. The bottom portion is a wide, textured twist mechanism that raises or lowers the gel stick.

The gel is super smooth, like a soft crayon. It glides over the paper like warm butter. It is semi-transparent and almost seems to glow, as if it possesses some neon school supply magic. It even smells good. It's formulated to perform well on thin paper without bleeding through--so it's excellent for use in novels, planners, bibles, or textbooks. They would have been perfect for my Complete Works of Shakespeare with onionskin paper.

The gel works well over a variety of inks and is inkjet safe. The only ink type that smudged under the application was gel pen ink. Even fountain pen and rollerball ink stayed put.

On the down side, the wide rounded tips wear unevenly--so they do not produce a precise line, and the line width can vary quite a bit. They also leave a waxy residue on the paper that adds weight to the page and feels slightly sticky to the touch for a little while. But the lines do go down dry, so there isn't the slow dry time that standard highlighters have, even on coated textbook paper.

Because the gel is so soft, it wears down very quickly. Even coloring a small area leaves a noticeable flat edge on the tip. If your textbook pages look anything like mine did--with nearly everything highlighted but the pronouns and adverbs--you're going to go through these pretty fast. The gel stick is a good length, so I do think they are useful and fairly priced--but I would have needed quite a stockpile of these to complete my coursework. Like Smaug on a hoard of highlighters.

I'll use these for the occasional research project, for marking knit and crochet patterns, and for highlighting interesting quotes in the books I read. All the while homesick for my student days. I think these would be a great gift for any scholar, and I personally prefer them to the standard highlighter marker.

I remember the days of smudged highlighter lines, lines that bled through the page, or wet lines that transferred to the facing page, making it look like I'd marked something I hadn't. Exam weeks might mean the sides of my hands were permanently stained in a neon rainbow. I tried colored pencil highlighters, but they required too much pressure on the page and were rough on thin paper. These smooth gel sticks are a fantastic solution to these common student ailments that went unchecked for decades. I'll file these under "brilliant solutions you didn't know you needed for problems you hadn't thought too much about".

Sometimes it's the little things.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

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Posted on November 24, 2016 and filed under Staedtler, Highlighter, Pen Reviews.