In the sublimation business, you work with the sublimation and pigment inks. But the question is Sublimation Ink vs. Pigment Ink? Choosing the Best is a tricky factor. However, if you are new to the industry or plan to start a new sublimation shop on a street corner, these inks are used in printing and then transferred through the sublimation process on different materials.
Table of Contents
How To Distinguish Sublimation Ink Vs. Pigment Ink
Sublimation ink and Pigment ink are both used in the sublimation printing business. People use them according to their printer requirements and their usage etc. However, both are different based on their preparation and application over versatile materials. The inks produce vibrant and bright colors, but their exposure can differ on different materials.
Home-based or inkjet printers for small businesses require sublimation and pigment ink to produce photographic quality prints for heat transfer. However, choosing the wrong one for specific material can lead to dull colors and poor image quality. Thus, it is necessary to understand their application to produce excellent color prints. We have discussed Sublimation Ink vs. Pigment Ink in detail to provide you with broad knowledge of both inks.
Sublimation Ink vs. Pigment Ink: Which One Is Better?
What Is Sublimation Ink?
Sublimation ink is suitable for inkjet and dye-sublimation printers. It is not the final product as an ultimate product; the main objective of the Ink is to generate transferable photographic prints. The Ink is a durable substance that stays fresh for a long time.
Its strong ability against UV rays and other harsh environmental effects gets the printed image protected and keeps it bright. Ink often comes as a set of CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and key). Key is generally said black, but it provides extra coating against the harsh environmental effects.
Sublimation Ink Application:
Sublimation ink has a wide range of applications covering most materials. You can use sublimation ink in dye-sublimation printers as well as inkjet printers. The basic purpose of the Ink is to transfer high-quality printed images from transfer paper / orienting paper to the fabric, ceramic, metal, wood, and many other substances.
All the processes involved become hassle-free with the help of a heat transferring machine: an inkjet or dye-sublimation printer prints photographic images to the paper, transforming the image into the required material. Sublimation ink turns its form from solid to gas and transfers permanently to the synthetic fibers (fabric) or other materials for a longer time.
The durability time for sublimation ink is quite high, and some brands offer durability of up to 100 years. That durability ensures protection from the damaging ultraviolet rays, washing, and other harsh weather conditions. The vibrant colors and their brightness on the transferred material stay fresh for a long time. Read More: Best Sublimation Ink For Epson
Major Brands of Sublimation Ink
Following are some excellent sublimation ink brands available in the market right now. These brands are selected on strict criteria by our team.
Epson EcoTank Sublimation Ink:
The Epson EcoTank series is known for its great results in sublimation printing. It comes with basic four 100ml bottles of CMYK compatible with EcoTank series printers.
Printers Jack is another fine brand that is available on Amazon. It is probably the best-selling and reviewed sublimation ink brand on the Online Webstores. It is available for almost all kinds of inkjet printers from different companies.
Like Printers Jack and EcoTank sublimation inks, Hiipoo is a great American brand that offers ink products on different online markets. It is almost equal to the Printers Jack’s quality and quantity. That’s why it is equally popular as Printers Jack.
PJ Anti-UV Sublimation Inks:
It is another great brand specifically graded as a professional heat transfer ink. Its durability is something to talk about that stays firm for a longer period.
INKXPRO is known for its quality 4 ink system. Based on this system, the company offers sublimation, dye, and pigment inks in the market. But their sublimation ink comes with four basic CMYK colors that produce photographic colors for a long time.
Merits of Sublimation Inks
- A perfect combination allows producing much brighter prints
- These are inexpensive against traditional ink cartridges
- They are structured as waterproof
- The perfect combination produces vibrant colors
- Color consistency remains the same even after heat transfers
- Expect High durability due to great chemical engineering
- Produce any color combination result
- Most of the ink brands are based on anti-UV ability
- Easily available in the online and physical market
- Most brands offer harmless inks to the environment
Demerits of Sublimation Inks
- Results aren’t great on a darker surface
- The polymer coating is required if you are sublimating on material other than fabric
- Some low-quality brands have clogging issues on print heads
Key Features of Sublimation Ink Are Mentioned Below:
- Compatible with almost all inkjet printers
- DIY gifts or demand printing
- Vibrant color
- High Page Yield
- Economical Cost
- 180⁰ to 195⁰ transfer temperature average
- Transfer time 30 to 45 seconds average
What Is Pigment Ink?
Pigment ink is more like commercially used Ink with a wide range of applications. Unlike dye ink, it has Pigment color technology on tiny particles that collectively formulate the color. Unlike the dye ink absorbed into the fabric and other substances, these colors form a colored layer on the top of the paper.
Pigment inks contain eight colors that provide extra vibrant color accuracy and consistency on the paper and the fabric or other materials. These colors include light magenta, light Cyan, light grey, medium grey, yellow, magenta, and black. If you also want to read more about sublimation ink you can visit this article: What Is Sublimation Ink
Pigment Ink Application:
Pigment ink has a wide range of applications on almost every type of fabric, PVC, ceramic, wood, bags, shoes, and many other materials. The Ink stays on top as a layer on all the materials other than the fabric. In fabric, the Ink gets completely absorbed and stimulates the natural colors in the fibers. You can transfer the image through the sublimation process, but you need an inkjet printer to take the required print before the heat printing.
Top layered patterns and different vivid color results make it possible to stay fresh on paper or transferred material for longer than the sublimation inks. The pigment ink is equally good for printing on light and dark surfaces. The results will be excellent regardless of the surface shade. That makes pigment inks different from the sublimation inks.
In addition to it, the anti UV and the waterproofing ability in pigment inks are stronger than the sublimation inks. That’s why the durability of pigment ink is greater than its other counterpart. Some brands offer durability for almost two hundred years with some extra care.
With all these benefits, there are some drawbacks to the pigment ink. The technology is based on tiny particle formulation to generate colors, so the clogging on the print head issue is stronger than the sublimation inks. Additionally, a narrower color gamut than the sublimation inks makes people prefer sublimation ink. However, that is not a big issue because its stability, in the long run, is more than the sublimation inks.
Major Brands of Pigment Ink:
Numerous brands offer pigment ink in different quantities, packing, and quality. However, picking the pigment ink from trusted sellers or trusted platforms is highly recommended by our expert team. Here are some of the best brands according to our experience.
DuraBrite is an American-based brand that offers high-quality pigment ink. Although they specialize in the dye, pigment, and water-based ink producers, their pigment inks provide excellent sublimation and printing results. Their key feature is that their Ink isn’t harmful to the environment and nonflammable and comes at affordable prices. Furthermore, DuraBrite Ink dries very fast and is very easy to use.
Atlas Screens Supply Company:
Atlas Screen Supply Company is another American-based company specializing in making pigment inks through its different brands. Their brands are GEO, Hydra, Perfetto, QCM, Rhino Clean, Wow, and Virus. The company offers an eight-color set under the pigment ink set and offers longer durability for over 100 years. The company is a bulk producer, and most of the sublimation business people in America rely on it.
Hewlett Packard / XAAR:
Hewlett Packard produces and supplies good quality pigment ink across the USA. They are pro in producing pigmented oil-based and solvent-based inks with extra UV-protected and UV recoverable inks. Big factories and workshops order from them in bulk quantity. The company offers a range from 350ml to 800ml in different bottle packs.
BCH Premium Bulk Refill Pigment Ink:
BCH is a brand that offers pigment inks in different bottle sizes on the Amazon. They are specialized in pigmented Ink and provide it in bulk quantities. The brand is probably the high reviewed on Amazon, with a rating of 4.8/5. Although they offer the Ink in different packing, their trademark set comes with 3 x 100ml black pigmented bottles and Cyan, magenta, and yellow 100ml bottle for each.
ND Pigment Ink Refill:
ND pigment ink is a high-quality ink-providing brand that operates through Amazon. They offer Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (CMYK) color inks in bulk quantities. Their Ink has below 0.5-micron level particles that formulate excellent color results. The drying time for the Ink is very low, and the Ink dries quickly within seconds.
Merits of Pigment Ink
- Pigment ink is highly resistible against UV and other environmental effects.
- Water and stain resistance ability is pretty strong than the sublimation ink.
- Equal results on dark as well as the lighter surface
- Color stability is great against its other counterpart
- Low priced Ink when we look at its packing size and prices against sublimation ink
- A huge variety of colors are available against the sublimation ink 4 colors
- Wide range of applications on a variety of materials and substances
- Long-lasting Ink that stays fresh for almost 100 to 200 years
- Perfect combination with the natural fabric
- Higher efficiency in colors and durability against the sublimation ink
Demerits of Pigment Ink
- Dries slower than the sublimation ink
- The clogging issue is greater than the sublimation ink
- Hard to refill the cartridges
- Less vibrant color results in some fabrics
Key Features of Pigment Ink Are Mentioned Below:
- Highly Anti-UV.
- Strong waterproofing feature.
- High tinting strength.
- High color stability.
- Economical against other ink types.
- Higher color efficiency.
- 175⁰ to 190⁰ transfer temperature average.
- Transfer time 25 to 30 seconds average.
Major Differences In Sublimation Ink And Pigment Ink:
- Sublimation ink produces a result with more vibrant colors than pigment ink.
- Sublimation ink is eco-friendly that protects the environment from chemical harshness.
- The pigment is particles based, whereas the sublimation ink is dye technology-based
- Pigmented is old technology, and sublimation is a newer form.
- Pigment ink gets clogged on printer print heads because of particle-based texture. Sublimation ink also gets clogged on print heads, but the chances are slightly lower than the pigment ink.
- Sublimation ink comes with 4 color set, whereas the pigment ink comes with 8 color set.
- Pigment ink’s waterproofing and ultra UV features are stronger than the sublimation printers.
- Sublimation inks are inexpensive, and pigment inks are economical.
- Color accuracy and stability are better in pigment ink than in sublimation ink.
- Sublimation inks are more durable than pigments when we talk about image transferring on fabrics.
Which Is Better?
Answering straightforward is quite hard, though, both the inks are great performers in heat printing. Both types of inks are excellent in their sub-department. However, one is better at producing vibrant colors on one material and less effective at producing on others. Similar is the case with others.
Sublimation inks are slightly more expensive than pigment inks. But that doesn’t mean sublimation inks are not usable in this modern printing business. Sublimation inks are more solid due to their modern technology and are great for personal use. In DIY gifts, personalized and on-demand prints, sublimation ink proves to be more valuable and adds great utility.
Similarly, sublimation ink is great for fabric, ceramic and other textile product sublimation as it absorbs the fibers perfectly. However, it is slightly expensive due to additional sublimation or heat printing.
Similarly, pigment ink has more value in bulk printing due to its wide range of colors and economic features. Most bulk printing businesses use pigment ink for their wide range of applications. However, pigment ink is a bit older technology but produces almost similar results to the sublimation inks.
It is not valid if pigment ink is made for industrial use, so you can’t use it in your small business. However, our experience would restrict you from doing that because there will be a greater chance of ink waste for your small business. Pigment ink can print directly on the substance through heavy-duty sublimation or inkjet printers.
Pigment Ink Vs Sublimation Ink performance in Heat Transfer Process
The heat transfer process happens when Ink changes its form from solid to gas, and the image is transferred from paper to the required material, i.e., fabric, ceramic, metal, wood, etc. Both types of inks are great for the sublimation process as the features and the texture allow them to transfer quickly and easily. However, some limitations are there to check before getting started.
Sublimation inks are suitable to use in the heat transfer process. All of the major brands offer high-quality sublimation ink, and that’s why finding the best sublimation ink is not a difficult task anymore. Sublimation ink is very suitable and useful in small sublimation businesses and home use. Their printing and transferring quality are unmatchable against its other counterparts.
Similarly, pigment ink has great transferability to the substance through heat printing. That is because pigment ink stays on top of the substance, and that’s why it becomes easy to transfer to materials like fabric and other textiles.
Sublimation ink Vs. Pigment ink? The answer is quite difficult, but not after reading the article. The blog is all about the performance of both inks during heat and pressure applied in the sublimation process. Both inks are unique and have different qualities, applications, and worth. However, we concluded that Sublimation ink is best for personalized or small business use, whereas pigment ink is great for mass printing or factory-level printers.