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The Best Ink Cartridges for Printing Beautiful Photos

The Best Ink Cartridges for Printing Beautiful Photos

Feb 6th 2020

The Best Ink Cartridges for Printing Beautiful Photos

These days, you can do almost anything from home. From getting your groceries delivered to running an online business—convenience is at an all-time high. Printing high-quality photos from home is just another one of these amazing conveniences. All you need is the right printer and ink cartridges to get started.

How To Print Beautiful Photos

Not all printers or cartridges are made equally. With hundreds of options out there, you may not be sure how to make the right choice.

To find the right printer and cartridge combination, you should determine your personal printing needs. If printing photos is your top priority, then you’re in the right place. We’re going to explain everything you need to know about making your printer set up photo-ready!

Inkjet Printers vs. Toner Printers

Before you even think about cartridges, you need to decide between getting an inkjet printer versus a toner printer. These two printers require different types of cartridges. They also offer distinct advantages and drawbacks:

  • Inkjet printers:If you want to print high-resolution images, inkjet printers are the clear winner. They offer superior vibrancy, color-blending, tonal depth, and a wide range of ink colors. Due to their use of liquid ink, they also work with many types of paper. As a photographer, you’ll appreciate their versatility.
  • Toner printers: Toner printers are the preferred choice for offices since they produce sharp-text and are less prone to smudging. They cost more upfront, but their cartridges end up being cheaper over time. However, toner printers can’t compete with inkjets when it comes to printing beautiful photos.

Choosing the Right Ink Cartridges

Once you’ve purchased your inkjet printer, you need to stock up on some cartridges. Your photo’s quality will have a lot to do with which ink cartridges you use. Below, the different types of ink and ink cartridges will be outlined so you can know what to look for.

Dye-Based vs. Pigment-Based Ink

Inkjet printers are compatible with two main types of cartridges: dye-based and pigment-based. In general, most inkjet printers use dye-based ink. However, higher-end printers may require pigment-based ink instead. Both of these inks have benefits and drawbacks, depending on your priorities.

Dye-Based Ink Cartridges

As the standard for inkjet printers, dye-based ink cartridges are easy to find. They contain liquid ink that’s made of 95% water. Due to this, they are significantly cheaper than pigment-based inks.

Though they’re cheap, dye-based ink cartridges still boast many significant advantages over their pigment-based counterparts, such as:

  • A wider range of colors
  • Better color quality
  • Blacker blacks
  • Superior saturation and vibrancy
  • Greater versatility
  • Lower cost

Despite producing a more vibrant image, there are also a few downsides of dye-based ink cartridges to consider. Firstly, they’re more prone to smudging and smearing, especially if your photo gets wet. Another disadvantage is that they fade faster than pigment-based ink. Even so, a dye-based ink print can last up to 20 to 25 years, which may be good enough for your purposes.

Pigment-Based Ink Cartridges

Pigment-based ink is made up of a solid powder mixed with water inside the cartridge. Pigment-based ink cartridges are more expensive than dye-based ink cartridges. As a result, they’re primarily used by professional photographers.

Due to pigment-based ink’s unique characteristics, it’s much more resistant to fading from UV light and other natural elements. In turn, pigment-based photos can last over 200 years, which is nearly 10 times longer than dye-based photos. Some other advantages of pigment-based ink cartridges include:

  • A faster drying time
  • Crisper finish
  • Greater color stability over time
  • Greater water resistance
  • Greater fade resistance
  • Better overall longevity

Despite these benefits, pigment-based inks produce a poorer color quality and are much more expensive than dye-based inks. However, if longevity is important, they are a great option.

Dye-Based Ink vs. Pigment-Based Ink: Which Should You Choose?

To determine which type of ink is better for you, consider what matters most for your photography projects.

If color quality is your top priority or if cost is a significant concern, choose a dye-based ink cartridge. If your photo’s longevity is critical, choose a pigment-based ink cartridge. Also, keep in mind that the differences between these inks have decreased as ink formulas have improved.

Note: Not all inkjet printers are compatible with both types of ink. Pigment-based ink can clog up an inkjet printer that’s only meant to be used with dye-based ink cartridges.

Print Your Own Professional Photos

In summary, beautiful photos are all yours with the right printing tools and materials. All you need to do is find an inkjet printer and stock up on some new ink cartridges. Choose dye-based or pigment-based based on your personal priorities.

In addition, to save money on your next cartridge purchase, check out Supplies Outlet’s compatible and refurbished ink cartridges. With their lifetime warranty, you can trust that you’re getting quality cartridges at an affordable price.


Wilhelm Imaging Research. The Permanence and Care of Analog and Digital Color Photographs.

WIRED. What’s Inside: Inkjet Cartridges.