What To Know: Pigment vs. Dye-Based Inks

imagesA printer uses either pigment-based or dye-based ink cartridges. What is the difference between these two types of inks and which one is better?

Dye-based ink is water soluble while pigment-based ink absorbs water but isnon-soluble. This means that when the print printed with dye-based ink comes into contact with liquid, the prints becomes blurred and “dissolves” with the liquid. Prints printed with pigment-based inks are likely to stay on the paper.

Dye-based inks are cheaper than pigment-based inks. They are the most common printer ink choice for printer manufacturers since dye-based inks are easier to produce. Dye-based inks can also give more vivid color prints since they have brightener components. Brighteners, as the name implies, are responsible for making the colors brighter and more vivid. They are mixed with the dye through a dye dissolve-in solution. Because of this, dye-based inks can give more colorful prints that also have better color balance. However, the colors may fade faster especially when exposed to UV light. Dye-based inks also take time to dry so the clarity of the prints may vary. Since dye-based inks give better colors, they are frequently used for printing photos and graphics.

HP inkjet cartridges

Pigment-based inks, on the other hand, are combined with resins and chemical-based polymers. The resins are water-suspended especially if the ink will be used on inkjet printers. The unique process and components make pigment-based inks less responsive to UV light. These also allow them longer shelf-life as compared to dye-based inks. However, the main drawback of pigment-based ink is that the colors of the prints are less bright and vivid. The color pigments in the ink also tend to clog so pigment-based inks are not usually used for color printers. Color printers that utilize pigment-based inks are more expensive because they come with specialized software that can help prevent the clogging and dense printing. Hence, pigment-based inks are more recommended and more often used for text documents.

Pigment-based inks are the top choice for printing files intended for archiving. For one, the prints can last for several years even if they are exposed to chemicals or light. Also, as mentioned, pigment-based inks absorb water but they do not dissolve in water so they are more resistant.

In terms of which type of ink is better, the choice will vary based on the type and purpose of the documents that you are printing. Technically, both types of printer ink are eco-friendly and are not alcohol-based.

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