In general, inkjet printers use dye-based inks, but some printing jobs prefer pigment-based for some other reasons. Let us look into different types of ink available in the market and then the advantages and disadvantages of each.

A very commonly asked question about inkjet printer is the type of ink that comes together with the printer. Dye-based inks are the standard ink type used in inkjet printers. They consist of colorant that is fully dissolved and suspended in liquid. Pigmented ink consists of a very fine powder of solid colorant particles suspended in a liquid carrier.

Pigment vs Dye Ink

Until a few years ago, the main advantage of dye ink was a wider color range and with a lower cost. The main disadvantage of dye ink was easily soluble in water (a drop of water might ruin the print) and the print tends to fade faster as compared to Pigment ink. In contrast, Pigment inks create longer lifespan and are more resistant to water, but have lower color depth and are more expensive.


However, today, there is almost no difference between the current pigment ink and dye ink, and pigment ink has a slight advantage. The continuous improvement of ink formulations solves these two types of shortcomings. Contemporary inks produced by well-known brand manufacturers usually claim to have fade resistance when used with paper and can last a lifetime. For professional users, low-cost dye-based inks are sold for hobbyists. Black and white photographers tend to prefer pigment inks. However, looking at these photos side by side at random will only reveal subtle differences that only serious professional amateur photographers can appreciate. Nevertheless, many professional printers are very satisfied with dye-based prints.

What is pigment ink?

Pigment ink consists of a series of solid particles derived from pigment powder. Compared with dye-based inks, the solid particles in pigment-based inks can reduce smudges and last longer. Therefore, pigment inks are very suitable for documents (especially photos) that will be stored in files for a long time. In addition, pigment inks are less hazy, so they can be printed perfectly on smoother surfaces such as glossy paper. However, like any fancy thing in this world, pigment inks are more expensive than dye inks. Unfortunately, their colors are not so bright.

What is dye ink?

Since the existence of inkjet printers, dye inks have always been used as a primary ink. Using dyes dissolved in water and various optical compounds, dye inks can create bright, vivid colors on the page. They also produce clearer text fonts. However, because dye inks are thinner and less durable, they will fade quickly when exposed to too much sunlight. There is also the problem of dyeing, because the water-based ingredients take longer to dry on the paper. Although this may rule out dye-based inks for those who want fast, high-quality printing, dye-based inks have improved significantly over the years and are quickly catching up with pigment-based inks. Manufacturers such as HP and Epson even use pigments and dye-based inks together to create the ultimate combination of durability and color.