Whiteboard, whiteboard on the wall, which is the best one of them all?

We get a lot of questions about whiteboards. How do you pick the right one? There are so many styles. Why do some cost so much more than others? What’s the difference? How can I tell which ones are the good ones? The truth is there aren’t bad ones and good ones. It’s just that they’re meant for different purposes. As experts, we’re here to break it down for you. If you’re thinking of using a board to enhance your work flow, check out this handy chart:

Surface Material Typical Use Magnetic? Warranty Installation Budget
Melamine Occasional No 1 year Easy $
Painted Steel Medium to Frequent Yes 1-5 years Easy $$
Porcelain on Steel Frequent to Heavy Yes 1yr – lifetime Medium $$$
Glass Frequent to Heavy No 15yrs – Lifetime Medium to Hard $$$
Glass on Steel Frequent to Heavy Yes 15 yrs – Lifetime Hard $$$$



Melamine boards are made of a plastic film over a hardboard backing, usually with an aluminum or oak frame. They’re lightweight and budget-friendly. If you’re only going to be using the board occasionally and you don’t have a lot to spend, melamine is a great option. Just keep in mind that the plastic film is porous, which means it will ghost or stain more quickly. With proper cleaning and care, it should last several years, but it will need to be replaced more often than non-porous boards like porcelain or glass.

Painted Steel

Painted steel is, well, exactly what it sounds like. It’s a sheet of steel coated in a heavy duty acrylic enamel. It’s more expensive than melamine, but you do get some extra perks. Enamel is more durable and less porous than melamine, so you won’t see ghosting as quickly. Plus, the steel base means the board is magnetic so you get a notice board as well as a writing surface. Painted steel boards work well as personal office boards for people who use their white boards all the time. They’re also good for smaller conference rooms or employee notice boards. One note of caution: the enamel can be scratched or chipped, but it’s pretty hard to do. Make sure not to go at it with any abrasive or sharp metal objects and you should be fine.


With porcelain, you’ve reached official heavy hitter status. Porcelain is a durable ceramic. To make the board, they bond the porcelain to a steel sheet. (So bonus! It’s magnetic, too.) Porcelain isn’t completely non-porous, but it is much tougher than painted steel. As long as it is cleaned regularly, it should stay ghost- and stain-free for many years. Hang porcelain boards in high-traffic, high-use areas, like classrooms and conference rooms. Porcelain is also a good choice for very bright areas, like rooms with lots of large windows or bright lighting. You’ll get less glare off of a porcelain board than a glass one, so it’s easier to read even at a distance.


Glass boards are the strongest, longest-lasting option. You will pay more for the board, but you’ll get your money’s worth in the end. Glass boards are made of tempered glass with steel supports. Tempered glass has been thermally or chemically treated to make it stronger – about 4 times stronger than untreated glass. It’s also completely non-porous which means it won’t stain or ghost, regardless of how often you use it. Glass boards are the best choice for areas where you want to make an impression. The frameless style is clean and sleek, and there are options to match any décor. You can choose from clear, frosted, or colored glass, and even custom order them with your company logo or other graphics.

Cleaning and caring for your board

Regardless of which board style you choose, you can prolong its life by caring for it properly. Here are some things to remember.

  • If you buy a new board, make sure to clean it before you use it the first time. Boards may have a light coating of dust from the manufacturing plant. Writing on top of the dust makes it harder to erase the marker.
  • Thoroughly cleaning your board after every use will help resist ghosting.
  • Make sure to choose the right cleaner for your board. We’ve seen lots of people just grab a multi-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, or disinfecting wipe to clean your board. We may even be guilty of it ourselves from time to time. But those cleaners can damage the board’s surface, especially melamine and painted boards. Whiteboard cleaners are specially formulated to clean board surfaces, so they’re the best choice for most boards, although you can use glass cleaner on glass boards.
  • Use a clean eraser or microfiber cloth to wipe off your board. A dirty eraser can spread ink residue to your board. Replace your eraser often or choose a washable cloth instead.
  • If you plan on leaving messages on your boards for long periods of time (24/7) without erasing, that will count as heavy use. Make sure to choose a more durable board.

If you need help choosing a board for your office, contact your account executive or give us a call. We’re happy to talk to you about options for your workplace.