Part of the fun of using highlighters, whether for note-taking or color-coordinating your planner, is getting to choose your colors. But the visual delight can easily be ruined by nibs that are too large and unwieldy for the task at hand. To foreground smaller text with more exact fluorescent lines, you’re better off using narrow, chisel-tip highlighters. These can produce either slim or superfine lines depending on how you angle the nib. Compared to wider highlighters, narrow highlighters are also more pleasing to carry around, particularly in your pocket, where they can be as unobtrusive as a pen or pencil.
1. Sharpie Chisel Tip Highlighters
These chisel-tip highlighters boast one of the smartest designs in the saturated realm of fluorescent pens: a see-through tip, which provides a clear view of the text as you glide over it. The tip is also a blade-style chisel, which enables greater precision in the choice of line width. The plastic tip is less flexible than standard ones, requiring that you hold it at a certain angle—but it makes up for that in sturdiness. This set of four highlighters comes in bright see-through colors, and the ink will not smear or bleed through paper.
2. Arteza Liquid Highlighter Pens
Offering excellent ink visibility in five vibrant colors, this 30-piece highlighter set is a great pick. The comfortable circular design and narrow chisel tips of these highlighters make them feel more like a pen than the Sharpie, and the ink is fast-drying so you can move quickly from line to line without the side of your hand getting stained. These markers offer the versatility of bold color without the problem of bleed through, even on the very thin paper of dictionaries and some religious texts.
3. TwoHands Chisel Tip Highlighters
If you find the classic highlighter colors too garish, this set offers a more subtle aesthetic. Its assortment of six delicious pastels is soothing to the eye and pretty on the page, perhaps even lending improved readability for those who find the typical hues distracting. The pens have a comfortable chunky barrel design with a larger reservoir that holds more quick-dry, smear-proof ink for a longer life. The chisel tips render lines in two widths. This set comes in a convenient clear plastic case.
4. Bic Brite Highlighters
This highlighter is a great choice for marathon highlighting sessions. It’s shaped like a pen and thus feels like one, with a slimmer body than your standard highlighter. It has a chisel tip for making lines thick or thin, and you can even leave the cap off for up to eight hours without its drying out. Although the colors are slightly duller than some of our other picks, the ink flows consistently, providing satisfying gliding strokes with low smear and little bleed through.
5. Sharpie Pocket Highlighters
In this set by marker mogul Sharpie, you get two each of six brilliant shades, from apple green to grape purple. The ink is bold and vibrant but still easy to read through, and formulated to prevent unwanted streaks or smears—even on paper that has a waxier texture, although they can bleed through some thinner pages. A pen-style barrel and narrow chisel tip give these highlighters consistency in producing even and smooth strokes.