In the business I’m in there has been a lot of talk recently about ‘pigmented ink’ going into printer cartridges and although not many people actually know what pigmented ink is, it seems that everyone is being told that they want it. I thought it was time to inform people of the benefits of pigmented ink as it is a very exciting development in inkjet printer design and so it is worth knowing what it can offer you.

Conventionally printer cartridge inks have been dye based which consists of de-ionized water as the solvent, isopropyl alcohol or glycol as the drying agent, and dye base to provide the colour. There are a couple of major problems with dye based inks which we’ll discuss shortly but there is a new alternative becoming available in the form of the aforementioned pigmented ink. Pigmented inks use small particles suspended in the base solution to provide the colour and then to keep the particles from setting out of the solution the pigment particles are coated with a polymer material to generate a static charge around the particle which then keeps the particles from clumping. Those of you that are impressed by that sudden outburst of technical talk shouldn’t be; I just had to look it up on the Internet…

Technical talk over, what are the advantages of pigment based inks? I have below listed the two main reasons for buying printer cartridges that include pigment based rather than dye based inks:

- Water Resistance – Using one of our pigment based printer cartridges I printed out a picture onto a standard sheet of A4 paper and then submerged it in warm water for an hour and upon removing the paper from the sink the image was still perfect. Obviously when the paper dries it may crinkle but there is not much that can be done about that. Although many of you may be wondering what use this will have in real life it is surprisingly helpful for some that have important pictures that can’t be tainted or for those who often work outdoors.
- Fade Resistance – This is especially helpful if printing out family photos and other important pictures as you want to ensure that these pictures last for life and don’t fade away. By using pigmented ink, the quality of the photo is likely to last your entire lifetime (typically manufactures quote 80 years lightfastness) unlike dye based inks which would fade over time.

You can see that given the choice you should opt to ensure that your next printer can use pigment based inks and that if you already have a printer that can support it then you should use pigment based inks rather than the cheaper dye based counterparts.

Although pigment based inks are actually more expensive to manufacture than their dye based counterparts, we’re swapping our entire range that support them from dye based to pigment based inks over the next couple of weeks and we’re swallowing the extra cost so there will be no price increases on the cartridges we sell as a result; check out for more details!

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