In today’s digital-first world, having an effective printer is essential for running a successful business. Whether you need to quickly copy applications and reports or wirelessly print essential documents, your ink cartridges must be up to the task. But, while ink is a necessity for companies small and large, too many business owners fail to consider how to choose the best ink for their needs.
At DEC Office Solutions, Inc., we offer copiers, printers, scanners, multi-functional devices and shredders, as well as document management solutions and managed print services to help businesses succeed. But when it comes to printer ink and supplies, it can be easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of choosing the right ink. Don’t worry, though! A little knowledge is all you need to make sure your ink supply is prepared to support your business’s success.
In this article, we’ll break down the basics of printer ink. From the different types of inks and considerations when purchasing your ink supply to questions you should ask before you buy, this is your comprehensive guide to making sure you have the right ink to power your business.
What is Ink?
Ink is basically a colored liquid or powder with varying physical properties. In general, most printers use water-based or oil-based liquids, though certain types of ink can be dried, typically in an oven, for use as a powder. These inks are applied to the various materials used by printers, such as paper, film, and acetate.
The most common type of ink is called permanent inks and consists of four primary components: pigment, vehicle, extender, and additives. Pigment provides the ink its color, while the vehicle is a liquid that helps keep the other components in a consistent form. Extenders, which are also referred to as moderants, are used to adjust the ink’s viscosity, while additives help control the color as well as enhance certain properties of the ink.
Types of Inks
When it comes to choosing the right ink for your business needs, there are a number of different types and formulas to choose from. Additionally, not every type of ink works with every type of printer or printing process. Here’s a quick breakdown of the most common types of inks:
• Dye-based inks: These are water-based inks that produce vibrant and light-fast colors. They’re best used in combination with coated papers and with most printers.
• Pigment-based inks: Oil-based inks that consist of lightfast pigments and resins. They’re slower drying and more expensive than dye-based inks, but they provide better lightfastness and more durable colors.
• Sublimation inks: Specialized inks used to create prints using a heat transfer system. These inks are designed to turn into a gas when heated, making them ideal for creating images on materials like T-shirts and mugs.
• UV inks: UV inks are a specialized type of ink that are cured using an ultraviolet light. They’re used to print on materials like plastics and metal that aren’t able to absorb other inks.
What to Consider When Buying Ink
Now that you understand the different types of ink, it’s time to detangle the rest of the ink buying process. Here are a few things to consider when you’re purchasing your ink supply:
• Quality: When it comes to ink quality, look for inks that are non-toxic and low VOC. Generally, low VOC inks are better for both your health and the environment.
• Cost: Printer ink can be expensive, so make sure you research prices and look for deals to get the best bang for your buck. Also, be aware of companies that use inferior inks to keep their prices low.
• Compatibility: As noted above, not all types of ink will work with all types of printers, so you need to make sure that the type of ink you’re buying is compatible.
• Print volume: If you’re a business that prints large quantities, consider finding an ink supplier who offers bulk discounts
Questions to Ask
No matter where you purchase your ink supply, there are a few essential questions you should ask. Here’s what to look for:
• Does this company have a customer service or technical support team to help you with any issues?
• Does the company offer any discounts for regular customers?
• Does the company offer any warranty for defective products?
• Are the inks the company provides of a quality that meets my needs?
Using the right ink supply is easier said than done. But, with a bit of knowledge and the right questions to ask, you can make sure your business is always prepared to handle any printing job. Be sure to research your ink supply thoroughly and keep these questions top-of-mind to make sure your printer ink meets your needs.