Both Copic and Spectrum Noir markers are popular among artists, crafters, and DIY enthusiasts.
But although they might both be alcohol-based markers, they are definitely not the same.
Let’s take a thorough look at how these markers differ, and which one you should buy.
What are Copic markers?
Copic markers are one of the premier quality alcohol markers available on the market. These markers were originally designed for the Japanese manga industry, but are now used by artists and illustrators around the world.
These markers are ideal for cartoons, illustration, art, and design and is the first choice for many professionals.
Copic has maintained a good reputation over the years due to their high-quality markers. But many new markers have entered the marker recently.
Which leads many people to wonder if Copics are still the best bang for their buck.
What are Spectrum Noir markers?
Spectrum Noir markers are relatively new, but they have already gathered a large base of fans.
They are much more affordable than Copics, while still performing very well.
These markers can be used for all kinds of coloring, art, and design.
Copic Vs Spectrum Noir: Similarities
Let’s see what both markers have in common first, so you know what to expect when buying one of these markers.
I already mentioned it before, but both the Copic markers and Spectrum Noir markers use alcohol-based ink.
This type of ink is blends exceptionally well and allows for smooth gradients, and the ability to create darker shades by layering.
Moreover, alcohol-based inks are non-toxic with little odor, and they don’t damage the paper you are working.
Although you do need to use the right paper for markers to prevent the ink from bleeding through the page.
Wide range of colors
Both brands offer markers in a lot of different colors.
This makes it easy to find exactly the color you want and make a balanced set of markers to begin with.
The Copic Sketch, Ciao, and Classic markers are available in 358, 180, and 214 colors respectively.
While the Spectrum Noir markers come in 216 different colors.
Both markers are dual-ended, which means you can use both ends since each end has a different nib.
Although the nibs differ from marker to marker, normally you have a small nib on one end for details and a bigger nib on the other side for coloring large areas.
Both the Spectrum Noir and Copic markers are refillable and have replaceable nibs.
This is super important if you want to use your markers for a long time.
Moreover, refilling your empty markers is much cheaper than buying new markers.
Spectrum Noir vs Copic: Differences
Knowing what both markers have in common is nice.
But when deciding which marker to buy, knowing the differences might be more important.
These are the most important differences:
Types of markers
When choosing which Copic markers to buy, you quickly realize that there are actually 3 different types of Copic markers to choose from: Classic, Ciao, and Sketch markers.
They differ in terms of the colors that they come in, which nibs they are compatible with, and the shape of their barrels.
However, the ink in all three of these markers is the exact same.
Spectrum Noir markers are also available in three types: the original coloring system, Illustrator, and Graphic markers.
These three markers are pretty similar but the Illustrator and Graphic markers are meant for more intensive use since they contain roughly 25% more ink.
To beginners the type of nib might not seem very important.
But your nib will determine what lines you can make.
So it’s not very surprising that most experienced users have a favorite nib.
For me personally, I love the brush nib and use it more than any other nib. Mainly because a brush nib lets you make both thick and thin lines depending on the pressure.
So let’s take a look at which nibs come standard with each marker.
For Spectrum Noir the original coloring system and Graphic markers both have a chisel nib and a bullet nib. While the Illustrator markers come with a brush nib and fine nib.
For Copic, the Sketch and Ciao markers both come with a brush and chisel nib. And the Classic Copic markers come with a chisel and bullet nib.
Although you can buy markers one by one, you will probably buy a marker set to start off with.
Copics can be bought in sets of 36 or 72 markers. These sets contain a wide variety of colors, so they are great for beginners.
Unfortunately, Spectrum Noir markers are normally sold in packs of 6 markers that are all similar colors.
I’m not sure why they choose for this approach, but it makes it really difficult to buy a well-balanced set.
I wish it wasn’t the case, but there is a pretty big difference in price between Spectrum Noir and Copic markers.
Roughly speaking, Spectrum Noir markers cost $2 per marker, while Copic markers are around $4 per marker.
This makes Copic markers twice as expensive.
Of course, sometimes you can find a nice sale and buy Copic at a discounted price.
Overall, both of these brands are good options.
There are some differences between both markers, but what really catches the eye is that Copic markers are almost 2x as expensive.
In my experience, the Copic markers perform a little better than Spectrum Noir markers. But I wouldn’t say that they are twice as good.
So if you want the best bang for your buck I would recommend Spectrum Noir markers.
You can buy your Spectrum Noir markers on Amazon by clicking this link.
If the Spectrum Noir markers aren’t exactly what you were looking for, you can also check out some other cheap Copic alternatives.
If you are looking for the best art markers and the price is not important to you, then you might want to go with Copic markers.
In that case, you can read our article on which Copic markers to buy first.