Common Types of Printer Ink

There are different factors that you need to consider when shopping for the right printer that will best suit the specific needs of your business. As if it is not yet enough that you need to mull over all these considerations, there are also manufacturers that offer printers that make use of different kinds of printer ink.

Just like other factors, there is no clear-cut winner when it comes to the intense battle for ink supremacy. Therefore, learning about the different available inks and setting them side by side to the specific printing needs of your company will help you reach the right decision when shopping for printer ink.

Liquid Ink
An inkjet printer uses liquid ink for producing images and text as it sprays microscopic droplets on the paper where it will soak in. There are typically two forms of inkjet ink. A dye-based ink is more affordable but the images it produces can end up fading after some time or once it gets exposed to the ultraviolet light.

The second type, the pigment-based ink, comes with a higher price tag, but it can deposit tiny color particles on the paper surface and can also resist fading better. Ink-based printers let you print colors that are more vivid compared to other kinds of printers and are ideal for the production of graphics and photos.

Dot matrix and impact printers use inked ribbon systems for delivering pigment to the paper. This kind of printer cartridges features a long fabric ribbon that is wound on wheels and passes through an ink reservoir. Once installed, this ribbon will fall between the page and the print head. The head will strike the page through the ribbon to leave an ink impression behind in the character’s shape.

Ink ribbon cartridges tend to be a bit bulky because of the amount of the ribbon wound within. Most of them are also only available in red and black or monochrome varieties that can limit the available color palette.

Solid Ink
One more type of printer makes use of solid ink or wax-imbedded pigment particles similar to crayons. These machines use a heated print head for melting the wax and depositing this on paper that will form the image in several layers. Solid printer ink is non-toxic and requires the most minimal packaging. This is formed into solid sticks and all you have to do insert these into the receptacles of your printer. One downside of solid ink is that the wax and pigment leave a visible texture on the page that you might accidentally scrape off when you handle the document.

LED and laser printers use a dry type of ink called toner that is composed of small pigment particles. When printing a document, the printer will use intense light for charging a spinning drum that will then attract the toner particles in the page’s image. The drum will then fuse the toner to the paper using heat to embed the particles on the surface. LED and laser printers are faster compared to inkjets, and they can produce the same color quality as liquid ink units.