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Tips on Choosing a Whiteboard

Updated on July 10, 2015

How do I buy the Right Interactive Whiteboard?

There are plenty of interactive boards in the market today. They are as diverse as numerous user needs. Everyone has unique requirements to cater for. So how do you choose the right whiteboard that suits your needs? You need to determine why you require the whiteboard. You should also factor in the mounting and mobility of the whiteboard, and pick out an interactive board with the right surface.

Picking the Whiteboard with the Right Surface

When it comes to the surface, you're main concern is staining. There are 2 questions you should ask:

  • Can the surface prevent staining?
  • How often can you clean your whiteboard?

Cleaning the whiteboard was probably the last thing on your mind. But the fact is any marker residue that's left on your board without cleaning will result in staining. Many of the dry erase surfaces tend to retain marker pigments. This is what results in the staining or "ghosting". The whiteboard will have unsightly remnants of past writings. The contrast will also reduce, making it difficult for your students to read what's on the board. So you'll have to clean it daily. That's unless you go for a whiteboard with an exceptional surface. Now that depends on your budget. There are 3 common types of whiteboard surfaces:

i. Melamine/plastic surface construction

There are the non-magnetic surface options, and those that have a steel backing that can accept magnets. Melamine whiteboards will inevitably stain. They can also scratch easily. You'll have to carry out some daily cleaning to extend they're life. Their main advantage is in the pricing. They are the budget- friendly option. They are designed for light usage. They are also easy to mount. Hence, they are common for home or office use.

ii. Porcelain/ ceramic surface construction

Majority of the whiteboards used in classrooms are of this type. They are more expensive, but they make up for it in durability and resistance to scratches and stains. They are also heavier than their melamine/ plastic counterparts. They are easy to write on, and most of them are magnetic. You'll get them at different prices- this is because there are various methods for manufacturing the porcelain. Some whiteboards have minimal surface pores, others have prevalent ones. The surface pores determine the rate of staining. The general rule of the thumb is: the glossier the surface, the less the staining.

iii. Glass surfaces

These carry the crown when it comes to stain-resistance. They are not porous. It's easy to erase the markers, and you can do so with no smudging. They also have a sleek design- they are frameless, giving them the edge in terms of looks. The glass marker board surface is easy to clean and sanitize. However, these enhanced features means you'll have to dig deeper into your coffers. Don't use them in poor lighting, as you'll get double imaging. The glass boards can have powerful rare-earth magnets, which doubles up as magnetic bulletin boards. That means you can use them for various functions such as posting notes, memos and much more.

Stain resistance and surface construction are important factors for you to consider as they determine how much time and effort you'll need to maintain the whiteboard.

Whiteboards: Know Why you Need One before You Buy It

Pick the right whiteboard by considering the users, usage and location. For example, if you need the dry erase board for your classroom, the preferable option is a heavy-duty dry whiteboard that you can mount on a wall. Interactive whiteboards are also great for classrooms. They integrate your computer with the interactive board's projector, enhancing the learning experience. If you want to stick one onto your refrigerator at home, you should consider a whiteboard that can be stuck with magnets. In case it's for an office, a wall-mounted whiteboard can work, or a portable one with a stand for use in presentations. And since you don't use the interactive boards for business everyday in your office, the enclosed whiteboards are a viable option. They come in cabinet form so you can conceal them when not in use. In a conference room, it will be used as a writing surface as well as a projection screen. In such a scenario, a board with a matte finish is better than one with a high gloss finish- the latter will have a glare and will be difficult to read.

Before you search for a whiteboard, first define its intended purpose. Some whiteboard features can make them more functional as well as fashionable. Not all whiteboard surfaces are magnetic. However, those ones that are make for great presentation boards. A couple of magnets allow you to use the whiteboard as a bulletin board for hanging charts and images. Your taste also factors in. For instance, mahogany and oak frames give formal impression and tend to convey the importance of a professional presentation. On the other hand, graphite, titanium and aluminum finishes give a businesslike look and fit nicely with the touch and ambience of most office spaces. People's aesthetic needs are different; hence what matters is how you feel the whiteboard matches your space.

How Mounting and Mobility Affect your Whiteboard Choice

How often will you need to move the interactive board? Be careful with your selection. Otherwise you'll be stuck with a large and heavy product, which will bring you problems in shipping, unloading, and transporting to your classroom or office.

Most whiteboards are very wide. Hence, it's important ensure that you can transport and install the interactive boards in the classroom. There are various factors to consider, such as the stairwells and doorways that the board would have to be transported through. In case the transportation factor is a problem, you can always order the whiteboard in two separate sections which can fit through narrow spaces.

Where you mount the whiteboard also matters. Is it a classroom, office, conference room or perhaps a training room? Classrooms usually opt for wall mounted boards that can remain stationary in one room. There are the framed and frameless options of the wall-mounted whiteboards. Interactive boards for business places are usually mobile and can be easily transported from one presentation room to another. You can alter the height f the mobile whiteboards to cater for different user needs. You should also consider the ease of installation. For instance, if it's a classroom installation, you probably don't want to go through the dismantling, wall patching and cleanup process that goes with removing the old chalkboard or whiteboard. You can avoid this by going for the dry erase resurfacing panel option. There are even self-adhesive resurfacing panel options that will simply adhere to the surface of the old whiteboard or chalkboard. For the mobile whiteboards you don’t even have to be concerned about the mounting.

Remember to fix your budget before you purchase the whiteboard. You want an interactive board that will enhance the efficiency and productivity of your activities. You don’t want to break the bank.


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    • VationSays profile image

      VationSays 2 years ago

      Hi Haley!

      Quartet whiteboards are actually of good quality and easy to handle. No trouble cleaning at all too. My only issue with them is the magnetic component. Most of their whiteboards that I've come across are not magnetic, except the ones with a porcelain surface and some of the glass ones. The glass boards that are magnetic are advertised as such, so one should look out for that.

      For best porcelain brands, I'd go for DuraMax.

    • profile image

      Haley 2 years ago

      Hi, Thanks for all of the great information. It was really helpful to see which different surfaces there are, and why there are so many. I was wondering what brand you recommend to be the best for each type of board? Like which is the best glass or the best porcelain? I know cost plays a lot into all of these things. Here they recommend Quartet and I was curious to see if you agree, or just what you think about that. Thanks again for the help.