Difference between Sublimation Ink and Pigment Ink

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People have used an inkjet printer both at home and in the office. When it’s about laser printing t-shirts and other textile clothing, most people go with dye sublimation and pigment ink. Both inks offer stunning colors to fabric, depending on the type of stuff.

Pigment ink and sublimation ink are both usually used in the printing industry. The difference between them is how they are made and their way of application to the material! You need to choose the one depending on your needs, printer, and materials.


It is essential to know which ink suits the printer’s surface and is unacceptable to the customers. So this article will guide you to identify the difference between sublimation ink and pigment ink.

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Sublimation Ink

Sublimation printing converts subjects to various materials such as T-shirts, ceramic mugs, and transporter materials. Some special sublimation inks are currently in use for this purpose. Sublimation ink has a bit higher start-up cost, but it has a better option than others printing inks.


The sublimation ink is not water-soluble, and it has been made from raw and natural materials like plants or some artificial materials. The ink gets entirely absorbed into the fabric and stays there

Use of Sublimation Ink

Sublimation ink is mainly used for heat printing, allowing a design to imprint on the textile from paper. The heat press machine provides heat, and dye turns into gas, then synthetic fibers receive the gas when it cools the color sticks properly on the fabrics. Sublimation ink is used for ceramic mugs, fireboard, printing metals, and many other materials.

  • The Pros of sublimation Ink
  • Produce bright prints
  • Waterproof
  • Work better for full-color prints
  • Create lively and dazzling colors
  • Cost-effective
  • Long-lasting
  • The Cons of sublimation Ink
  • Requires special printers to dying
  • Lower lifespan

Pigment Ink

Pigment ink is usually in the form of tiny particles, and these partials provide the color and do not use dyes. The ink is more vibrant, stable, with more expensive, usually operating in high-quality commercial printing like magazines.


Pigment ink looks more vibrant than sublimation ink and does not last long when you put it into direct sunlight or expose to heat. This ink comprises colored pigments suspended in either water or oil with flavors like mastics and waxes that fix them together.

Use of Pigment ink

Pigment ink stays on the top of the surface, and it completely absorbs into the characters, such as cotton and natural fabrics. It is best with them, but on polyester fabrics, it is not a good choice. When you apply pigment ink onto the material, you require an inkjet printer because it will help print any documents.

  • The Pros of Pigment ink
  • More stable than others dye inks
  • More efficiently
  • Looks fabulous on natural fabrics
  • Long-lasting
  • Waterproof
  • It offers more variety in subtle colors
  • The Cons of Pigment ink
  • Less vibrant
  • Not good for polyester

Difference between Sublimation ink and Pigment ink

  1. Sublimation ink works well for full-color prints than pigment ink because pigment ink may not work well with inclines of colors.
  2. Both inks are water-based.
  3. Sublimation ink is a newer technology and has a more vibrant and saturated look than pigment inks.
  4. Sublimated ink is cheaper as compared to pigment ink because sublimation ink is eco-friendly, and you can use it with recycled paper without adverse results.
  5. The color value of pigment ink is better than sublimation ink or other dye inks.
  6. Pigment ink smudges and fade with time, but sublimated ink is more durable as long, and it does not crack or damage your print to direct light.
  7. Sublimated prints will not fade over time, unlike dye inks.
  8. Sublimation ink is a good choice if your company wants to save on expense and color quality for a long time.

Which ink is suitable for a T-shirt?

It depends on the fabric of your shirt. If you use cotton, silk, and other natural fabrics, pigment dye is the best choice. Pigment ink is long-lasting because its excellent quality will remain good with an inkjet printer and biological material. Sublimation ink is better if your printing material is synthetic or blended because it is waterproof, peel-proof, and economical.

Final words

It depends on your working requirements; you need to decide which printing ink is better for you. It is tough to tell which best ink between sublimation inks vs. pigment ink is because both have different qualities.

Sublimation ink is the best choice with high-quality prints if you are running a T-shirt business. Pigment ink will be your best option if you are looking for something cheaper with minor irritation.

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