Skip to content


Epson Compatible Ink Cartridges – Pigmented Versus Dye Based Inks

Epson Compatible Ink Cartridges - Pigmented Versus Dye Based Inks

When shopping for Epson compatible ink cartridges and ink for other brands of printers in the UK, it’s important to know what type of ink the cartridge contains. The time to investigate the ink issue is before you buy a printer. Here’s some information about the two major types of ink currently available — pigmented and dye-based — that might help you make an informed purchasing decision.

Paper Type and Print Longevity

For every day printing, most people use inexpensive porous paper. For photo printing, swellable paper is recommended. Pigmented inks work with any type of paper. With dye-based inks, porous paper allows the ink to dry quickly, but the print quality is poor. With dye-based ink, swellable paper makes better quality prints, but can take days to fully dry. Dye-based inks absorb into the paper while pigmented inks remain on the paper’s surface, due to their encapsulated particles. Here’s another point that’s a bit technical but very important: The molecules that make up dye-based ink tend to spread out and because of this spreading; images produced with dye-based inks tend to fade more quickly. The spread-out molecules are more susceptible to reactions, such as exposure to sunlight, that contribute to image fading. With pigmented inkjet cartridges, the molecules are larger and less exposed to agents that cause fading. The pigment is protected by the molecules, making this ink ideal for archival printing, since pigment-based images can last for decades.

Water Resistance

The dye in dye-based inks is water-soluble, meaning that it dissolves in water. This means that if a dye-based printed image is exposed to water, the ink comprising the image will dissolve into the water and ruin the image. Pigmented inks do not dissolve completely and tend to bind to the fibres in the paper, making them more water-resistant.

Which Ink to Choose for Inkjet Printer Cartridges?

The better inkjet cartridges contain pigmented inks. In fact, superior colour cartridges use up to five inks, rather than the usual three. Pigmented inks can do dual duty for printing everyday documents and graphics as well as high-quality photographic images. The colour gamut of pigmented inks far exceeds that of dye-based inks. An ink’s colour gamut is the maximum number of colours produced by the ink. Think of gamut as a range of possible colours obtained by a pigmented ink. Colour gamut is influenced by factors like paper absorption, reflected light and ink impurities. Pigmented inks are also preferred because they are compatible with any type of paper. Add to that fast printing, fast drying and image longevity, and pigmented inks become the inks of choice for Epson compatible ink cartridges and other quality cartridges such as those from Brother and Canon.

So whether you’re buying Canon, Epson, Brother or any other brand of ink cartridge in the UK, be sure to determine whether it contains dye-based or pigmented ink.