For many years, whiteboards have been used as a communication medium in a broad range of areas — be it as visual aids in schools and universities, to assist with meetings or presentations in a company's meeting rooms or as organisational aids in home offices. Viking has put together a small guidebook to assist you in selecting the right whiteboard.
Whiteboard Buying Guide
Thinking about the answers to the following three questions is a good way to help you find the right product:
Areas of use
The applications can be very versatile, as can the different products. If you have free wall space in your meeting rooms, training rooms or office areas, a whiteboard, glass board or wall rail system will serve you well. They are ideal for recording thoughts and notes during a meeting, for using during presentations or for writing down ideas during a brainstorming session with colleagues. You can also use whiteboards to create rotas and plans of action, as well as for project approaches, such as scrum methodology. You can customise your individual whiteboard surface using magnetic tapes.
A good alternative to a regular whiteboard is a mobile whiteboard, also called a swivel writing board. These do not require any free wall space and are set on castors, making them even more flexible. You can set them up and use them anywhere in the room, rather than being tied to one place. Another benefit is the double-sided magnetic surface, which can be rotated 360 degrees.
Whiteboard films are ideal for brainstorming sessions and are the perfect solution for workshops. The self-adhesive whiteboard film can be cut to suit your needs, and will adhere to horizontal surfaces, such as desks and tables, as well as to vertical surfaces where a traditional whiteboard cannot be mounted. The electrostatic whiteboard film can simply be stuck to a flat surface (concrete, glass, wallpaper, metal etc.) without the need for adhesive, and is ready for immediate use.
In areas where the available work space is somewhat limited, smaller glass and combination boards can provide the ideal solution. The advantage of combination boards is the dual surface. One half features a whiteboard surface that can be written on, and the other half features a cork or felt pin board, to which important information can be attached using pins. Magnetic glass boards are another extremely eye-catching option that will fit into any modern office with their elegant, frameless design. The magnetic writing surface is suitable for attaching notes, business cards and photos in the office or at home.
As digitisation has advanced, interactive whiteboards and smartboards have established themselves on the market, transforming the traditional whiteboard into a large touchscreen. Whether used in meeting rooms, training rooms or conference rooms, interactive whiteboards are the perfect solution for developing, recording and sharing new ideas in meetings or workshops. They also facilitate flexible working in different locations, as mobile employees can connect to the board using their PC or smart device. At the end of the meeting, any meeting notes can simply be saved, sent via email or printed out.
When choosing the right whiteboard, the first step is to establish how frequently the whiteboard will be used — a whiteboard that will only be used occasionally does not need the same features as one that must withstand daily use. This depends primarily on the surface of a whiteboard.
The board surface consists of a melamine resin coating, which is partially scratch and pressure-resistant. It should be noted that this surface is much more vulnerable than others due to the abrasion of the melamine, and that a ghosting effect can occur over time. This means that previous marks may not be fully erased, or stains may be left behind. It is also important to note that whiteboards with a melamine coating are not magnetic. They represent the most cost-effective solution and are a good option for occasional use. However, if you are going to be using the board regularly, we recommend opting for the variant with a painted steel surface as a minimum.
- Extremely good value
- Lightweight design
- Suitable for occasional use
Painted steel whiteboards
The painted steel surface has a special coating and belongs to the next class of whiteboards. The board surface is smooth and glossy, meaning that the colours of the whiteboard markers stand out well and can easily be wiped off again. It also has a magnetic surface, so it is easy to attach notes using magnets. Whiteboards made from white painted steel are suitable for long-term, regular use.
- Good quality at a good price
- Magnetic surface
- Suitable for long-term, regular use
Enamelled-surface whiteboards belong to the premium category. The enamel is burned into the surface at approximately 800 degrees Celsius, creating a ceramic material bond. Compared to the other versions, the surface is extremely resistant and virtually shock, impact and scratch-resistant. In addition to these special properties, the surface is smooth, matt, magnetic and acid-resistant. Enamelled whiteboards are especially suitable for long-term, intensive use.
- Highest quality whiteboard surface
- Easy-to-clean surface
- Suitable for long-term, intensive use
Magnetic glass boards
Glass boards are made from tempered safety glass and have a glossy, magnetic surface, which boasts superior cleaning properties for removing pen and ink marks. They can be written on using chalk markers or special glass board markers, which can be removed easily using a damp or dry cloth. To attach notes to the board, we recommend using only neodymium magnets, which are extremely strong. Glass boards are suitable for long-term, intensive use.
- Eye-catching in any room
- Magnetic and resistant surface
- Extremely easy to clean
- Suitable for long-term, intensive use
An interactive whiteboard is a digital board that is connected to a computer. The individual functions of the board depend on the technology used in each case. Notes or sketches can be made on the board surface using a special pen or using the touchscreen function. You can also remove what you have written quickly and easily using the delete function. This is the most expensive solution, but offers many advantages in today's digital world. The glass surface means that interactive whiteboards are suitable for long-term, intensive use.
- Allows flexible working
- Can be used for video conferences
- Saved board images can be called up at any time
- Suitable for long-term, intensive use
What else should you consider when buying a whiteboard?
Choose the correct size of whiteboard
The size of whiteboard that is best for you will depend first and foremost on the intended purpose and the available space. If you want to use your whiteboard for meetings or brainstorming sessions, a larger board will be most appropriate, while for a private mind mapping exercise, a small board would be sufficient. Make sure, in particular, that all areas of the board are easily accessible.
- Smaller whiteboards are mainly used as memory aids, for noting down tasks or appointments. Their dimensions range from approximately 40 x 30 cm to 90 x 60 cm.
- Medium-sized boards are particularly popular and are often used in meeting rooms. Their dimensions range from 120 x 90 cm to 180 x 120 cm.
- Larger whiteboards or fold-out boards are mainly used in schools, universities and larger companies. The dimensions range from approximately 180 x 120 cm to 240 x 120 cm.
Tips for clean whiteboards in the office or home office
To ensure that your whiteboard stands the test of time, it is important to make sure that only whiteboard markers are used when writing or drawing on the board. Whiteboard markers contain a special writing fluid that dries quickly on the surface and forms a wipeable film. This makes it much easier to clean the surface. A dry cloth or special board eraser can be used to remove the writing. In addition, we recommend that you clean the board surface periodically to prevent ghosting, ink stains or a dull grey appearance. For this purpose, we recommend using specific whiteboard cleaners. These contain special ingredients that dissolve the dirt and ink residue but do not attack the surface of your whiteboard.