Here at Magnatag, we are constantly evaluating dry erase surfaces to determine the best materials for use in our boards. Given that there are so many surfaces to pick from, we have taken an extreme amount of care in examining every possible surface to ensure our customers receive the best-possible product for their dollar. For instance, we choose to use a porcelain-like material (a hybrid of porcelain and proprietary-coated steel) when it comes to the production of our whiteboards; this material gives our production team an opportunity to print anything our customers request, directly on the dry erase surface! To give you a better estimate of what other types of whiteboards you may find on the market, we have put together a list of the most popular materials manufacturers use when producing dry erase surfaces!
Porcelain (or Enamel-on-Steel):
Porcelain surfaces are considered to be a top-tier product when it comes to dry erase capabilities. Due to in part to its glossy finish, porcelain boards are not suited for projection and cannot easily be printed upon. Difficulty with machining porcelain puts a limit on the sizes available. This paired alongside difficulties with machining, limits porcelain surfaces to simple note taking functionality.
Melamine is one of the most inexpensive dry erase surfaces. However, melamine is generally considered to be of the lowest quality dry erase materials.. Melamine boards are prone to ghosting, warping and degrading early in their shelf life. The warping of the dry erase boards can be attributed to the thinly painted wood structure that is utilized in melamine products. Since melamine surfaces are non-magnetic, these boards are not compatible with common magnets that are required to help post external documents.
Tempered glass is known for its outstanding dry erase capabilities. Dry erase surfaces made of tempered glass tend to be one of the more aesthetically pleasing surfaces to write upon given their unique build. Although they can be very attractive, these types of boards are extremely heavy and can be difficult to ship. This is something you will want to keep in mind when making an online purchase, as in-hand delivery may not always be a viable option. Another important thing to know about tempered glass is that it does not lend itself to printing; due to its reflective qualities and its translucent nature, tempered glass surfaces are limited to providing functionality for note taking. In addition, much like the melamine surfaces, tempered glass magnetism is weak which means you cannot use standard whiteboard magnets with them.
Laminate (Paper & Film):
Paper and film laminates produce a high-quality print on paper that is then covered by a thin film lamination. This process is extremely easy to replicate, making it popular amongst many local sign manufacturers. Because of the adhesive plastic coating on the board, exposure to sunlight and repeated writing and erasing can cause the surface to yellow and the pens to ‘ghost’ over a short period of time.
Proprietary Steel Coatings:
Proprietary coated steel boards offer the best compromise of price and value on the market today. The modern coatings available today enable manufactures to match the dry erase quality that can be found on the likes of porcelain and tempered glass surfaces, while simultaneously ensuring the integrity of the board’s magnetism and durability. Some manufactures utilize a silkscreen-printing process to produce lines and letting on the board, which if not done properly, can be problematic from an environmental standpoint. Some manufactures (including Magnatag), have found a way around this issue by developing a proprietary printing process involving high temperature and pressure. This process enables them to custom-print boards on an individual basis, producing photographic-quality color images, lines, and custom letter templates. The net result is a high quality board with a moderate price.
If you find yourself in the market for a new dry erase surface, be sure to check out our collection of whiteboards and other dry erase systems.