The Role of Ink Pigment and Dye in Canon Printers: What You Need to Know

Canon printers employ two primary colorants: ink pigment and ink dye, each having its unique attributes impacting print quality, longevity, and expense.

Ink pigment comprises minuscule solid particles floating in a liquid medium. When you print with it, these particles settle atop the paper rather than seeping in. The payoff? Prints that laugh in the face of water and time, resisting fading. Given its durability, ink pigment is especially apt for prints frequently touched or left at the mercy of the elements.

Conversely, ink dye is akin to a watercolor artist's palette. Soluble in water, it blends into its liquid carrier. Once it graces paper, the dye permeates the surface, crafting smoother imagery bursting with vivacity. An added perk? The cost of dye prints typically skews lower. But there's a catch: they don't boast the same resilience or fade resistance as their pigment counterparts.

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Puzzling over the perfect ink pick?

Your choice revolves around individual needs and spending power. For those championing durability and fade defiance, ink pigment is the knight in shining armor. But if vivacious colors and silky finishes make your heart skip a beat, ink dye wins the crown.

photo of printer dye being refilledphoto of printer dye being refilled

1. Dye-Based Ink

Dye-based inks are made from colorants that are fully dissolved in a liquid.

They provide bright, vibrant colors and smooth, detailed images, making them

a popular choice for photo printing.


High color saturation: Dye-based inks are known for their vivid, bright, and highly saturated colors.


Smooth print: Because the dye is fully dissolved in the carrier liquid, dye-based inks tend to produce

smoother, less granulated images.


Cost-effective: Generally, dye-based inks are less expensive than pigment-based inks.



Fading: Dye-based inks are more susceptible to fading over time, particularly when exposed to UV light.


Water sensitivity: Prints made with dye-based inks are usually more prone to damage from moisture.

Printer ink color pigmentsPrinter ink color pigments

2. Pigment-Based Ink

Pigment-based inks use tiny, encapsulated particles that sit on top of the paper,

rather than being absorbed into it.

They are resistant to water and UV light, making them a popular choice for documents

and prints that need to last a long time without fading.


Durability: Pigment-based inks are resistant to water, UV light, and can withstand more handling.

This makes them ideal for documents or prints that need to last.


Sharp text: Pigment-based inks are perfect for printing text, as they produce sharp, crisp lines.



Color range: Pigment-based inks generally don't provide as vibrant or as broad a range of colors as dye-based inks.


Cost: Pigment inks tend to be more expensive than dye inks.


Some Canon printers, especially photo printers, use both dye and pigment-based inks—

dye for color and pigment for black – to take advantage of the strengths of each.


Knowing the difference between the two types of ink can help you choose the right ink and printer

for your specific needs, whether you're printing color photos or black-and-white text documents.