Oliver Fjellvang - CEO
The 5 best redaction markers for 2021
Even in Denmark, one of the world´s most digitalized countries, we predominantly swear to the old-fashioned redaction method by hand. Hence, Cleardox tested the top-five best black markers for professional use.
A good redaction software tool can speed up the redaction process.
However, if you don’t have one, a good redaction marker is your second best alternative! Redacting documents can be a tedious and time-consuming process, so a good redaction tool – like a marker – is quite the pain relief.
Admittedly, you might find yourself a bit old-school using a black marker in the 21-century to remove sensitive information in papers. But remember: You are far from the only one doing it!
Manual redaction in a hyper-digitalized country
In a recent study, Cleardox spoke with no less than 30 Danish government authorities. It turns out that seven out of 10 public institutions (schools, local political offices, social care and law enforcement etc.) in Denmark still redact by hand. They print out official documents and remove sensitive and personal information with a black marker.
Quite surprising, considering how Denmark is one of the most digitalized countries in the world. A 2020 United Nations E-Government Survey confirms that the Danish public sector has a very high EGDI (E-Government Development Index)-score due to a successful collaboration between municipal, regional, and State governments on an intense public sector strategy for digitalization.
Imagine the overload of health records, housing registrations and historical figures etc. figuring in the public databases. All needs to be protected cf. the European data regulative. Now, take into account the number of workers, who have to redact the documents by hand. That is printing, redacting, scanning, and repeating the process (yes, they print twice!). You wonder why these people don´t use a professional and automated redaction software tool.
The answer we often hear is: Caseworkers are afraid that the black boxes can be removed afterward if they don´t mark them physically. A valid concern, yet most modern redaction tools can (and should) produce an irreversible version of the document.
The result: It is impossible to remove the black boxes in the redacted document to see the original content.
What to look for in a high-quality redaction marker?
Since you read this article, you are probably familiar with/interested in the redaction process. If you have to take on manual redaction or equip your staff for the task, it is not irrelevant what kind of redaction marker, you choose. Here are some solid selection criteria:
Darkness of ink: A very important attribute. The ink should have a paint-like and thick quality. Otherwise, you risk having to repeat the redaction process. If the quality of the ink is poor, it is possible to hold the document up against the light and see the original content. Thus, look for a redaction marker, where you only have to make the redaction once, before you scan it.
Ease to use. Your marker should be easy and convenient to use. After all, you are spending precious time manually redacting a document, so the marker better feels good in your hand! Pick one with an easy and thick stroke, so you don’t have to spend too much time getting the ink out at the tip.
Ink volume: We all know the annoying feeling of our precious marker running out of ink. If it happens too quickly, we become annoyed and risk missing an important deadline, if we don´t have a spare redaction marker. Choose a juicy marker with a lot of ink!
Chisel tip: Marker nips come in different shapes. Chisel is the best one for redaction purposes, as it allows you to cut edges smoothly. At the same time, it has a wide flat side, so you can completely paint over the confidential information. You can also get: Brush, fine and bullet-shaped nips.
With those pointers in mind, let's get to it. At Cleardox, we have done some serious pen-testing. We have selected pens that match different redaction needs. Here are the five best redaction markers right now:
Top-5 best redaction markers on the market
1. Artline Secure Marker Redacting Pen
A perfect gift for your office co-worker or friend. This redaction pen is pretty juicy with a paint-like ink giving a solid black color. As a result, you can't see through the ink. If the writing is in normal black letters, one round of crossing out should do the trick. Are the letters colorful, you might need to redact twice before the letters are completely gone.
The Artline Secure Marker redaction pen stands out because it works well on other surfaces like glass or even wood. It also has a wide tip, so you don´t need to worry about redacting the same line twice (unless you work with very large letters of course).
On the downside, it appears to lack a bit of juice. And you sometimes have to press a little hard to make the ink come out. Otherwise, a great redaction marker for the price!
High-quality black ink and great coverage
Nice touch and feel
No bad smell
Not enough ink
Can get clogged
Buy it here.
2. ExcelMark Redaction Marker
A relatively good fit for the price. The nip on this redaction marker is finer than average, which comes in handy when you need to redact a small text or have limited space to redact on. You can go over the text without having to twist the pen too much.
The pen works best on regular paper but also shiny and glossy paper. However, a general issue is the ink quality. Sometimes, you can still see the original text, when you hold the redacted paper up against a light source. So, make sure to always redact the text a few times before you move on. Another bummer is that the ink doesn´t dry up fast, i.e., you need to wait a few seconds, before you can redact it again without any risk of saturating the paper.
In terms of grip, ExcelMark Redaction Marker ranks very high. The nib is durable and works on for example stickers on prescription bottles. It glides easily with minimal snagging. We experienced no nasty issues such as accidentally ripping paper by applying pen pressure. Finally, the ink volume is good, and it doesn’t run out quickly.
Good for redaction on small letters
High ink volume
No clogging and a good flow of ink
Low-quality ink (need to redact twice)
A small nip is not ideal for redacting big text bits
Takes time to dry
Tendency to leak
Buy it here.
3. Artline Secure Marker 4.mm Chisel
This low-budget redaction marker won't rip you off… And it is a good fit if you have a pretty limited redaction need.
The Artline Secure marker has a big nip, and it is great for redacting bigger text areas. Plus, it dries up pretty fast. A neat feature, since the redacted text sometimes needs a second layer of coating. With other markers, you would have to wait a bit longer in-between the two redaction parts. When working with official documents, it is quite important to have a marker that doesn’t “bleed”.
A third advantage is the paint-like consistency providing really good coverage.
The biggest con here is the low amount of ink. Should you have a bigger redaction need (lots of documents), you need to buy a few extra markers. One simply won’t suffice.
The overall verdict: A good redaction marker for the price.
Dries up fast
Small ink volume
Nip can be too broad for small letters
Needs shaking before use
Buy it here.
4. Secure ID and Secure Marker Combo
You don’t have to deal with your noisy shredder ever again! This combo pen features both a marker and a stamp. The marker is from Artline, so you can expect similar features and qualities to the ones described above. It has perfect coverage.
The Secure ID and Secure Marker Combo comes with a stamp, which is a neat feature. Though not ideal for redaction, it is a great alternative, should you run out of ink. Use it for slightly bigger text areas. The issue is that you sometimes need to redact again because the ink fades.
Both stamp and marker will last a long time - even with frequent usage. So, are you a redaction performer by profession? Then this is a good purchase!
Efficient and easy to use
Stamp needs refilling occasionally
But it here.
5. Sharpie Permanent Markers
The marker provides a great alternative if you are looking for a less expensive redaction marker. Considering the price, the Sharpie Permanent Marker does a pretty good job redacting your sensitive information.
The tips are chisel, which is optimal. At first sight, the ink dispense looks quite promising, yet after a while, it unfortunately tends to wear out. The marker hides black ink easily, and it is also useful for colored text, although you sometimes need to redact twice.
Another quality is that the ink dries up easily, which is nice when you want to keep a fast work pace.
Compared to the most professional redaction markers out there, this one does not rank in the top for concealing text. If your job is to redact, I would choose another redaction marker. But for small redaction needs, it is a good buy.
Dries up fast
Easy to use
Not very juicy
Buy it here.
If a marker doesn’t cover your redaction need
We all love a solid marker with a firm grip, a good nip, a quick dry, and great flexibility. Yet, you might be ready to take a step back from physical markers and instead consider an automated digital tool. Try out redaction software for free!
Interested in getting a closer look at our product? Sign up for a demo here!
The Cleardox team.