Printing Technology Explained

Tuesday May 26th, 2015


In recent years consumers have had their fair share of questions about printer technology. A common misconception is what printer type is best for home, office or photo printing. Even though there is not always a perfect match between print tech and features, it is safe to say that learning the differences between ink-jet, toner, and dye sublimation will help you decide which printer is best for your needs.


Ink-jet printers are most commonly found in the home / home office setting. The printers themselves can have a wide range of features, and they lend themselves to good quality photo prints. Ink-jet printers have become extremely versatile in recent years combining new technology and easy to use features. The standard ink-jet printers offer adequate speed for most, while still producing sharp print quality. Some more expensive ink-jets are built for special uses for professional photographers and graphic artists. While anyone can enjoy great printing, we see ink-jets being used for more domestic needs and mainly not at the professional level. Traditionally, most ink-jet printers use dye-based inks in their formula, however, recently many of the higher end printers are using pigment-based inks. There are many reasons for this, but mainly pigment inks are best for archiving and color stability, while dye-based inks are great for their lesser cost and usually have a better brightness and color range.


You have probably seen those huge hulking copy machines in an office or business – those printers use toner to print. Toner, or as it is commonly called “Laser Toner”, is completely different than its ink-jet counterpart. Toner is best when used for high efficiency / high volume printing. The cost of the equipment can start around the same as an ink-jet printer but you will quickly see the differences. Toner is a powder that during the print process is transferred on to the paper electrostatically and then fused to the paper with heated rollers. Normally these printer units have various components that make them slightly more complex than an ink-jet, which “sprays” micro sized droplets of ink on the page. Toner cartridges can be more expensive, but also have a higher duty cycle, can print more pages, and usually cost much less per page. For these reasons, laser printers can be found in business environments and office buildings.

Dye Sublimation:

Unless you only want to print photographs, you wouldn’t be in the market for this type of printing. Dye sublimation technology shrank in size and became affordable enough for consumers to print high quality photos at home. These printers rely on “ribbons” with the “CMYO” (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Over coating). The over coating makes the print resistant to UV light, water, and smearing. This printing technology offers superior photo quality and is great for that purpose alone.

The local printing experts at Cartridge World can help you find the best ink type for you or your business. We can help save time, save money, and print great! Guaranteed! Of course, no matter how you decide to print we can offer you a great product.