Pigment Ink Vs. Dye Ink – Let’s Explore the Difference

When it comes to printing, any printer user experts perfect output. True, apart from checking on the size and stock, one must be sure of the ink to use. Why? Because the type of ink you use on your printer will determine the output. Most printers use pigment and dye-based inks. Read Pigment Ink vs Dye Ink.

However, choosing the correct ink for your printer is advantageous. These water-based inks are trending as you can use them in photography, billboards, artwork, and many other areas. Though they work the same way, it is vital to know the difference and which works better.

Many entrepreneurs find it a challenge to differentiate these two types of inks. It would help if you weren’t wary, as we will sample up everything about pigment and dye inks to help you make a sound decision. Keep scrolling down!

Pigment Ink vs Dye Ink

Dye-Based Ink

Inventory of dye-based inks was a result of inkjet printers. But, some of these inkjet machines (HP &Epson) can use both dye and pigment inks. Dye-based ink is a colorant that is usually in liquid form. This colorant can be water, alcohol, or other chemical products.

Also, this liquid substance comes in different colors in case you need colorful and vibrant prints. Dye-based ink is also for sharp text fronts. Moreover, this ink tends to fade away when exposed to too much sunlight. Why? Because it is highly affected by some external factors like.

Again, be ready for smudging because the water-based substance takes time to dry on paper.

Benefits of Using Dye Ink

  • Produces soft, and quality prints
  • It is easy to find around the market
  • It is easy to print while using this ink
  • Multi-color printing
  • It’s cheaper compared to pigment ink


  • It fades out fast when exposed to sunlight

Pigment-Based Ink

Pigment-based inks are from pigment power that is broken into small particles. These particles float on a liquid that can be alcohol, water, or other chemical compounds. Then, the liquid gets absorbed on paper, or any other surface as the small particles adhere to paper fibers.

With this ink, you will not experience smudging. Also, and it doesn’t fade away so quickly. The reason is, pigment ink is never affected by external factors, and so you can keep the prints for a decade. It is the best ink for photographers as it contributes to color blends. Further, this ink works best on glossy paper.

Benefits of This Ink

  • This ink is never affected by external factors
  • It doesn’t fade so easily
  • Can dry fast while on paper
  • Last for many years while on paper


  • It doesn’t produce vibrant color prints
  • More expensive than dye-based inks

Factors that Differentiate Pigment and Dye-Based Inks

Though it can be a challenge to distinguish these two inks, you will note a few differences. Moreover, due to technology improvements, it is becoming harder to differentiate. Let’s get to the factors that separate pigment ink and dye-based ink.


When it comes to costs, there is a vast difference. Do you need cheaper water-based ink? Then, dye ink should be your first choice. Taking the entire pallet won’t cost you much.

On the other hand, pigment inks are more expensive. This is because of its pricier components and the hectic process when making it. So, if you are on a tight budget, you can consider dye inks. Besides, if money is not a problem, you can have pigment ink to blend colors during printing.


There are a variety of ways you can use dye ink and even pigment ink. Sure, there are some temporary projects whereby you can use any of the inks. Well, you may require celebration cards, presentations, portfolios, label prints, and more. 

Dye ink is ever resilient, and so it can work best on sturdy paper for a lasting print. These kinds of papers always hold ink for a long time-increasing quality and durability of the prints.

Nevertheless, the pigment ink works perfectly on any paper, not forgetting metals and plastics. Indeed, it sticks well on any paper. Pigment inks can hold color for many years without a sign of fading-best for archiving purposes. For temporary tasks, you can have dye ink and pigment inks for long-lasting prints.

Overall Printing

When it comes to quality prints, none wins. You can note the difference through color prints.  For text fonts, you can have dye-based inks. The reason behind this is, the black printing techniques while using dye ink contribute to more sharpness and darkness of the output.

Again, you can use dye ink if you need vibrant and colorful prints. This is the best ink for complicated prints that require an array of colors. Still, on quality prints, pigment inks are the best for blending colors. Best for photography business, using this pigment ink assures one depth colors and mix.

Though this ink is not for vibrant and color prints, you can still have your decent photos. Thanks to technology because you can use both inks for standard printing.


Dye-based inks are not so durable compared to pigment inks. The reason is, dye ink gets absorbed quickly, and it can’t hold on to page fiber so a long time. And so, in case the paper breaks, smudging and fading happen. So, pigment inks win.

Besides, dye ink is not resistant to UV rays, and so if exposed to sunlight, the color can fade away. This can mess everything up. In comparison, pigment inks can perfectly hold on paper. During printing, pigment particles float on top as the water gets absorbed into the surface.

Pigments inks are resistant to external factors, so UV rays can’t bring any effect on prints. They are also water-resistant, so you will never doubt about durability. Though pigment ink colors are not that bright, they hold better than dye-based inks. You know what to go for if you need prints that will be inexistent for decades.

Water Resistance

Make a good choice between pigment and dye inks to avoid messing up with your work. As you know, dye ink is ever in liquid form-easily absorbed on paper. A slight mistake of a water spill can turn your document into artwork. With this, nothing can go back to normality.

Pigment inks are more resistant to water. This ink is celebrated for sticking more on paper because it’s thicker. It is never a doubt when it comes to sticking on the page fibers.

Conclusion (Pigment Ink vs Dye Ink)

This article has armed you with intensive knowledge about pigment and dye inks. Selecting your preferred one won’t be a daunting task anymore. Always ensure you have the best ink for unbeatable output during printing. If you find it a challenge to pick the right one, check this. 

For vibrant, clear, and colorful prints, don’t hesitate to run for dye-based inks. Also, for great text fonts, that can be the best pick. But, if you need stable output that can’t be affected by external factors, you can buy pigment inks.

Remember, technology is advancing, and so, you can print using both dye and pigment inks. When choosing your preferred printer ink, you must consider durability, overall costs, water resistance, UV rays exploration, and smudging. What’s your pick? They both perform excellently.

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