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What is the difference between Pigment and Dye Printer Refill Ink?

For the majority of printer owners, ink is just ink.  You insert a new cartridge, or refill an ink tank without taking too much notice of the ink type.

The way nozzles in printer heads cope with different types of ink determines which formulation they use. Canon commonly use a pigment black, and dye coloured ink in their Pixma range of printers.  Epson use dye ink in their Photo R1500w, but pigment ink in the R3000.  

So what are the differences with the two types of ink? Water-based dye inks are made up of small particles of colourant, while water-based pigment inks are made from larger particles which are resilient to ultraviolet rays, the main cause of fading in prints. Dye inks are absorbed more into the paper, while pigment inks have a tendency to sit on the surface.  Dye inks can fade in a short space of time if left in direct sunlight, while images printed with pigment ink can last for a hundred or so years in the correct conditions, and depending on the type of paper used.  Dye inks offer a wider colour gamut and provide more saturated yellows and reds, while pigment inks give more saturated greens, blues, and magentas.  

With dye ink you generally get blacker blacks than pigment ink. However, poor gray-balance became a thing of the past when Epson extended their range of pigment ink, adding Light Black, and Light Light Black to Photo Black, and Matte Black.  By improving the tonal scale, consistency of monochrome prints improved, solving rainbow problems.  For similar reasons Canon introduced Grey ink to their ink range, working alongside their Red and Green colours.

Premium Inks offer a wide range of compatible Non-OEM dye and pigment inks specially formulated for use with various models of Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, and Ricoh printers.  Our dye ink for Epson is most popular for business users printing office documents, and for general printing with home users.  Our pigment ink for Epson has been specially developed for use with the Stylus Photo R2400, R2880, R3000 printers, amongst others.  For Canon we offer a dye/pigment selection containing Pigment Black, and dye Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Photo Light Cyan, Photo Light Magenta, Red, Green, and Grey/Gray.  Due to their nozzle type, Brother printers generally use dye ink, while some HP printers use dye and others pigment ink.

Ink is a complicated subject and it is difficult to sum everything up inside a small article, so we will try to expand on some of these topics over the coming months.

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