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This is the long version.
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Good morning, John.  Dun-da-da-dun-dun-DUN-da-da-dun-dun, John, I have done the science and the results, the results are SHOCKING!  

This is increasing in number of pages signed from left to right and then up and then left to right again, and then at the very top, we have the winner.  I will not yet reveal who you are.  I've had to sign a lot of pieces of paper for the signed edition of my new book A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor out July 7th, you can order them now, there's links in the description, so I figured this was like a once in a lifetime opportunity for some science, so I went on to Amazon and I spent an irresponsibly large amount of money buying permanent markers.  

The biggest problem is that many times to get one black marker, I would have to buy the entire rainbow, but I did it, John, and you wanna know, I actually really enjoyed this entire process.  Now, there's a few caveats here.  One, I'm going to spend way more than four minutes on this video, so there'll be a long version over on hankschannel.  Second, this is not a comprehensive collection of all the permanent markers in the world.  It's only the ones that I could find easily, and third, this isn't really scientific, I only tested one of each kind of marker, for example, and when I stopped was subjective.  It was when I felt like the marker wasn't doing well enough anymore.

So our bottom row here is sort of all not great and then our top row here were almost all about the same.  They were all within about 100, 150 sheets of the winner.  Another important thing to note, there is more than one criteria on which to judge a permanent marker, so before we even get to longevity of the marker, which is mostly what I was measuring, let's talk a little bit about the other qualifications.  

First, ergonomics and this is the Ticonderoga ReadySharp Plus.  This is my favorite feeling pen of the entire group I've got here.  Now, a couple reasons for that.  Ergonomics engulfs a huge amount.  It's  not just the actual physical feel, it's just the total experience for me.  First, it's got this little thumb divot that lets you push the cap off really easily, and it's also one of the few pens here that has a soft rubber grip.  Now, there's nothing wrong with a hard plastic grip.  I don't mind them that much, but soft rubber is slightly nicer, and the third thing that makes this pen a more pleasant experience is the smell.  It has almost none.  This pen uses a completely different chemistry than all the other pens here and it makes it less damaging to plastics, but that chemistry apparently can also hold less ink.  It signed about a third of what our leading champions here did.

As for the worst experiences, the second worst I'm gonna say is the US Art Supply, only because the cap doesn't fit well on the base and it wiggles around and falls off and if--I can't be held responsible for where my pen cap is!  But definitely the worst experience is the Pocket Shark, which is a pen that has a screw on cap and is designed to withstand like, war, which is ridiculous, because it only signed like 75 sheets of paper, so I don't need the outside of the pen to last a long time when the inside isn't going to last at all, but the biggest problem with it is that it is just extremely unpleasant to sign with, because the part you sign with is little and the part you hold on to is big and it's just, immediately made my hand hurt.

Now there's a few things that you're looking for in the actual pen itself.  The first is the boldness or thickness of the line.  Now, two of our top contenders for longevity of marker are very thin markers and in fact, number three in terms of longevity is a very thin pen, so I almost don't want to like, count this one, because of course when you have a thinner point, less ink comes out per signature, so all those have slightly less bold signatures.  Now, boldness is not always good.  For example, this is the (?~3:29) and this is the stack of these guys, so it's pretty pathetic and that's because it came out of the box just like, laying everything on the paper.

What a Sharpie does and why they call it a Sharpie is it's actually sharp at the tip and so when you first start signing with a Sharpie, you are having less ink come out per signature.  As time goes on, the Sharpie actually gets more dull and more ink comes out per signature.  At the same time, there's less ink in the pen and over time, especially when the pen is moving fast, the ink isn't being laid down fast enough and so you get these gaps in the signature, and this happens for me first on the downstroke of the 'H'.  

Another thing you're looking for is how hard you have to push and how much friction there is on the page, 'cause when you're signing a lot of things, you want it to move very smoothly and you don't want to have to push very hard, so for example, this Bic, which is Star Wars branded and has that soft rubber grip, which is the only other one that has that, this has a very dull point.  Laid down a lot of ink from the beginning, but was very smooth and did not have a lot of friction, but I was a little disappointed in a name brand marker also with the Star Wars branded, so I guess that license had to cost something.  It was about 75% worse than our top permanent marker.

Now here's a wild thing.  The Bazic, the ThinkSquare, the ShuttleArt, the Amazon Basics, the (?~4:41) and the Arteza all have the exact same cap.  That does  not mean that the pen is the same, though.  In fact, I think the Amazon Basics, the (?~4:49), and the Arteza are all the exact same pen with slightly different plastic around the outside.  However, the Bazic, which is our second-worst pen, definitely not the same as those.  It's terrible.  All three of those, the Arteza, the (?~5:02), and the Amazon Basics are great pens.  They were not the winner of the challenge, but they are all fantastic, and then I think that the ShuttleArt and the ThinkSquared are also the same pen but a different pen than those ones.  They felt the same, they laid down ink the same, and they had almost exactly the same longevity.

Now, people who talk about whether Sharpie is the best Sharpie, they really have one major contender in mind and that is the Milwaukee Inksall.  It is a thinner tip than the Sharpie, so let me compare those two directly so you can look at them together.  Because it has that thinner tip, it's going to have more longevity per amount of ink inside it.  It has the same smell as a Sharpie, so I think it uses the same chemistry, but it is also a smaller pen, like, there's less plastic total overall, and I liked this pen.  It went really smooth, it lasted a long time, and I liked the design of it, but it was not, not not, our longevity winner.

Another similar pen that did really well and I was almost sort of surprised by how smooth and fine and good it was to work with was this Crayola TakeNote.  This is an excellent permanent marker and is it as good as a Sharpie?  It's probably not quite as good as a Sharpie but it surprised me because I sort of like, associate Crayola with kids' products, but this is, this was a great marker.

Now, our least long lasting actually really surprised me.  This is the Staedtler Dual Tip.  It's got a thick Sharpie-like tip on one side and it's got a thin, more Pentel tip on the other side, and I think that this pen should only be used with a Pentel tip, because this tip just has too much ink that comes out of it for the pen to last very long at all.  Now, I didn't get a chance to try a second one of these, which would have been really easy to make sure that this was just like, not, like happened to be one bad pen, but for a longevity project where you're going for the bold side of the pen, this is not the right choice from what I can tell.

Now, John, while I was doing this, a couple of times I thought I hit pens that were just doing so fantastic that they were going to finally be the one to take the title away from Sharpie and in fact, because I had these stacks all over my house and my office and the garage, I didn't actually know until I got them all together today, just now, in the room, what the winner was going to be, and I thought, I thought that the winner was going to be the Arteza or one of these thinner tipped ones that just had a lot of longevity because they don't lay down very much ink, but John, and you've said this to me, you've said, you've tried every permanent marker there is and that Sharpie makes the best marker, and John, I am willing to say that some pen companies do better on the ergonomics, but Sharpie nonetheless, and not by a huge margin, did have the most longevity of any pen I tried.  

Just the regular old black Sharpie, and I'll tell you, every time I went back to the Sharpie after using some of these other pens, it was just better.  I just liked it more.  They start so smooth, they start so sharp, and they are nice and bold and strong for a long time and because I'm so familiar with them, I know exactly when I'm starting to approach the end of that pen's life, but John.  There is also a stack of paper here that I did not include as a final twist at the end, and it is a massive stack. It is 50% higher than the traditional Sharpie.  What pen is that, might you ask?  John, it is the metal Sharpie.

Now, it's a wider pen, so it's a little bit harder to hold on to and the tip is less sharp, but it laid down some INK.  So it's not the sharpest tool in the shed, but it definitely has the most longevity.  Now, I tried a couple of other Sharpies and it's important to note that colors do matter.  The red came in underneath all of our main contenders for the top black permanent markers and of course, metallics don't go very far at all.  They didn't even beat some of our worst performing black permanent markers, but that's completely normal and is the case for all markers.

I really thought this would be, like, super worth doing, that I might find some diamond somewhere, but Sharpie really does have it figured out, and this what am I supposed to do with this?  John, I'll see you on Tuesday.