Label Printing: Pigment vs. Dye Ink

When printing barcode labels, there are so many different options available from printer types right down to the size of the label. Well, why not add one more factor to the list of considerations and talk about ink. Aside from thermal and thermal transfer, there is the question of using pigment vs. dye.

Pigment is made of solid opaque particles that rest atop the paper, rather than being absorbed into the fibers as with dye ink. Below are advantages and disadvantages of pigment and dye inks.

Advantages of Pigment Inks:

  • Longer lasting print and a better color stability.
  • Resistant to fade when subjected to UV light (sunlight).
  • The ink is more smudge and water resistant.
  • Pigment black inks offer better print quality for printing images.

Disadvantages of Pigment Inks:

  • More expensive than dye inks.
  • Currently only available in black.
  • Slow to dry.
  • Not recommended for use on gloss paper.

Advantages of Dye Inks:

  • More vibrant colors than pigment inks.
  • Dye-based black inks offer better print quality for printing text.
  • Quick to dry
  • When used with Gloss Paper is resistant against water and oils.

Disadvantages of Dye Inks:

  • Prints can fade over time if subject to sunlight.

As you can see, there are both advantages and disadvantages to dye and pigment inks, that is why it’s important to thoroughly analyzing your needs before committing to an ink.