Pigment Inks vs. Dye-Based Inks: Differences You Should Know

Printers are used for various reasons on all different types of surfaces. From t-shirts to regular office paper, inks are designed to fulfill different requirements for different uses. The two main types are pigment inks and dye-based inks and the ink you choose depends upon the job you’re attempting to complete.

Pigment ink consists of very fine powders that are suspended within a liquid. As such pigment ink is not absorbed by paper but instead sits on top of it. Because of this fact, pigment ink is ideal for water resistance and will dry much faster than dye-based inks. Pigment ink is also much less likely to run if it gets wet making it the more stable ink of the pair.

Dye-based ink, which is absorbed into the paper, tends to dry much slower and if wetted will result in smears and bleeds. However, because of its absorbency rate, dye-based inks are better in terms of color and contrast. Dye-based ink is also the more cost-effective of the two and therefore the most common.

It used to be that pigmented ink far outweighed its dye-based brother in terms of quality but as of late the shortcomings of both ink types has generally been dealt with. Resultantly, there isn’t a huge difference between the two inks in terms of quality. However, you should be careful to use the appropriate ink for the appropriate printer. If the printer specifies that dye-based ink be used then use it and avoid switching between ink types midstream.

Because of advances in the printer and ink industries, these two different ink types are only subtly different. In the past one clearly performed better than the other but now the chasm between the two is small. Pigment inks tend to be favored by more professional users, while the more cost-effective dye-based ink is marketed to the casual printer. Either way, you’ll get a great ink that will perform exactly the way you expect it to; professionally.

Independent Ink is a national company offering industrial ink jet printers as well as compatible Videojet inks and Citronix ink.

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