Sublimation Ink VS Pigment Ink Which One Is Better?

In the sublimation business, you work with both sublimation ink vs pigment ink. But what makes one better than the other? Of course, choosing the best for your business is a challenging factor. Nevertheless, if you have just joined the industry or you’re planning to start the sublimation printing business, these inks are used for printing purposes and transferred through the sublimation method on different materials.

Both the inks have their own way of imparting color to objects and textiles. Choosing the ideal ink will improve the product’s quality, while choosing the wrong ink can destroy your work and build a bad image for your brand.

Sublimation ink vs Pigment ink

Sublimation ink

Sublimation ink is the most used ink for sublimation textile products. It’s water soluble and made from natural and raw materials such as plants and other synthetic materials. The mixed colorant with the water provides the ink colors. Compared to other dye-based ink, sublimation ink lasts longer. It produces saturated, bright, vivid, and brilliant photo-quality shades. Prints with sublimation ink outstand, peeling, cracking, and washing away by water.

Pigment ink

On the other hand, pigment ink has minuscule particles of colored material. They are produced by combining numerous molecules, and they create super-stable chemical bonds. This makes the pigment ink less sensitive to oxidation and humidity. The encapsulated particles stay on top of printed items rather than getting completely absorbed. Pigment ink has waterproof qualities, and it can be ideal for printing on dark and light-colored fabrics with the help of transfer papers.


Sublimation ink can print on ceramic, metal, fiberboard, and other things like polyester-rich clothes, carpet fabrics, sportswear, sailcloth, and flags. Pigment ink lasts longer as compared to dye ink. As it stays on top of the surface instead of getting absorbed or seeping entirely into it, it’s suitable for printing on natural fabrics and cotton. Polyester fabrics can’t work with pigment ink. However, for printing documents, pigment inks beat all.


Both inks can last longer in different fields. They both can last up to 100 years in dark conditions without any problem. But, in outdoor lighting and bright conditions, sublimation inks can perform better.

Which one is better?

Even a decade ago, everybody preferred dye-based inks because of their vast range of colors and because they were budget-friendly. But as dye inks have water-soluble properties, one drop of water can ruin all the hard work. So, while people were using sublimation inks, they wanted something better.

Then pigmented inks were launched on the market, offering better longevity and water resistance. Still, pigment inks don’t come in as many colors and don’t completely soak into the surface.

Recently launched ink formulas have almost overcome the flaws of both inks. The manufacturer of both inks is now claiming that they are water-resistant. Even though they also claim to last for years only on recommended fabrics, papers, and other hard surfaces.

Pigment ink is for experts who don’t compromise on quality. Black and white photos always work with such inks. On the other hand, sublimation inks are for businesses that prefer cheap ink. Still, many professional printers like and are satisfied with sublimation ink prints.