Eco solvent ink vs sublimation ink: What’s the different?

Are you a print shop owner, confused between eco solvent ink and sublimation ink, and unsure which one to use? I’ve been there myself. Having spent countless hours researching the impact, applications, durability, and cost of both inks, I discovered that each has its merits depending on the requirement.

This blog post will provide a comprehensive understanding of these two printing technologies – from their composition to environmental implications. Get ready for an enlightening journey into the world of high-quality printing!

Eco solvent ink vs sublimation ink: The main differences

Eco solvent ink vs sublimation ink: Composition and properties

Eco solvent ink and sublimation ink are two popular types of inks used in the printing industry, each with its own unique composition and properties.

Composition and properties of eco solvent ink

Navigating the world of inks can be challenging, especially when it comes to understanding the unique properties and composition of each type. Let’s shed some light on eco solvent ink, a variety that stands out due to its particular qualities.

This type of ink uses a milder form of solvent compared to others, with its base derived from mineral oil. The attributes that make eco solvent ink noteworthy are its water resistance and impressive color saturation levels – far superior than sublimation inks.

Its fade-resistant nature is another feather in its cap, making it an excellent choice for applications demanding durability – outdoor longevity stretches up to year without significant color loss! However, this high-quality performance comes with slightly steeper pricing than sublimation counterparts.

Despite these benefits, remember eco-solvent is not your everyday printing solution; they perform best for less frequent printing needs given their lighter solvency property and being well suited for indoor settings due to lower health risks and environmental footprint.

Composition and properties of sublimation ink

Sublimation ink is a unique type of ink formulated for heat transfer printing. It consists of water-based dyes that can convert from a solid to a gas without going through the liquid state, hence the term “sublimation.” This process occurs when the ink is exposed to high temperatures during printing with an inkjet printer.

The composition of sublimation ink allows it to penetrate the fibers of polyester fabrics, resulting in vibrant and long-lasting prints. It offers excellent color saturation and detail, making it ideal for creating intricate designs on various items like clothing, mugs, and phone cases.

One notable property of sublimation ink is its low viscosity, which enables smooth flow through small nozzles in printers. Additionally, sublimation inks are odorless and emit minimal volatile organic compounds (VOCs), making them environmentally friendly compared to other types of inks.

However, it’s important to note that while sublimation prints are highly durable on polyester materials due to the dye penetrating the fabric fibers, they do not adhere well to natural or synthetic fabrics without a special coating.

Eco Solvent Ink vs Sublimation Ink: Applications and Suitability

Eco-solvent ink is best suited for indoor printing applications where durability is not a major concern, while sublimation ink is ideal for heat transfer and direct-to-garment printing, offering vibrant colors on various materials.

Best uses for eco solvent ink

As a sublimation maker, you may be wondering about the best uses for eco solvent ink. Well, look no further! Here are some applications where eco solvent ink shines:

  1. Indoor Signage: Eco solvent ink is perfect for printing high-quality signs that will be displayed indoors. Its vibrant colors and fade resistance make it ideal for creating eye-catching banners, posters, and displays.
  2. Vehicle Graphics: If you’re looking to add graphics to vehicles such as cars, trucks, or vans, eco solvent ink is a great choice. It adheres well to various surfaces and can withstand exposure to outdoor elements like UV rays and moisture.
  3. Labels and Stickers: With its durability and water resistance, eco solvent ink is an excellent option for producing labels and stickers. Whether you need them for product packaging or promotional materials, this ink will ensure your designs stay intact even in challenging conditions.
  4. Wallpaper: Printing custom wallpaper requires an ink that can endure daily wear and tear while maintaining vibrant colors. Eco solvent ink fits the bill perfectly by offering long-lasting durability and excellent color saturation.
  5. Art Reproduction: As a sublimation maker with an artistic flair, you’ll appreciate eco solvent ink’s ability to reproduce artwork with exceptional detail and color accuracy. Its fade resistance ensures that your prints will stand the test of time.

Best uses for sublimation ink

Sublimation ink has a wide range of applications and is particularly well-suited for sublimation makers like you. Here are some of the best uses for sublimation ink:

  1. Custom Apparel: Sublimation ink is perfect for creating custom apparel, including t-shirts, hoodies, and jerseys. The vibrant colors and high-quality prints make it ideal for personalized designs.
  2. Promotional Products: Whether it’s mugs, mousepads, or keychains, sublimation ink can bring your promotional products to life. The ink adheres well to a variety of surfaces, ensuring lasting and eye-catching designs.
  3. Home Decor: Want to add a personal touch to your home decor? Sublimation ink allows you to print on items like throw pillows, canvas prints, and wall art. Create unique pieces that showcase your style and creativity.
  4. Sports Accessories: Sublimation ink is commonly used on sports accessories like team uniforms, hats, and socks. Its ability to withstand washing without fading makes it a top choice for athletic gear.
  5. Personalized Gifts: From photo albums to coasters and even phone cases, sublimation ink enables you to create thoughtful gifts that will be cherished by your loved ones.
  6. Signage and Banners: Need signage or banners for events or business promotions? Sublimation ink offers excellent color vibrancy and durability when printed on materials such as polyester fabric or vinyl.
  7. Photo Printing: Capture memories in exquisite detail by printing photos using sublimation ink. Achieve sharp colors and lifelike image quality on photo paper or other compatible substrates.

Eco Solvent Ink vs Sublimation Ink: Environmental impact

Eco solvent ink has gained popularity due to its eco-friendliness, as it contains biodegradable components and emits fewer VOCs compared to sublimation ink.

Eco-friendliness of eco solvent ink

As a sublimation maker, I understand the importance of eco-friendly printing solutions. When it comes to eco solvent ink, one of its key advantages is its environmentally friendly nature.

Unlike traditional solvent inks, which can be harmful to both human health and the environment, eco solvent inks are formulated with lighter solvents derived from mineral oil. This means that they have fewer environmental and health risks associated with their use.

Furthermore, eco solvent inks are known for their biodegradability and low VOC (volatile organic compounds) emissions. They have a significantly reduced impact on indoor air quality compared to other types of solvent-based inks.

This makes them particularly well-suited for applications where there is a need for high-quality printing without compromising on sustainability.

Additionally, eco solvent inks offer impressive fade resistance and durability properties, making them suitable for outdoor applications as well. With outdoor durability lasting up to one year, you can rely on your prints maintaining their vibrant colors even when exposed to sunlight and harsh weather conditions.

Eco-friendliness of sublimation ink

Sublimation ink offers several environmental benefits that make it a popular choice among sublimation makers. Firstly, sublimation ink is water-based and does not contain harmful solvents or aggressive chemicals.

This means that it emits very low volatile organic compounds (VOCs), making it more environmentally friendly compared to solvent-based inks.

In addition, sublimation ink has no odor during the printing process, providing a pleasant working environment. This is particularly important for shops where indoor air quality is a concern.

Furthermore, sublimation ink is considered to be biodegradable and eco-friendly. It does not leave behind any residue or harmful waste after the dye transfer process onto the substrate.

This makes clean-up easier and reduces any negative impact on the environment.

Eco solvent ink vs sublimation ink: Which one to choose?

When choosing between eco solvent ink and sublimation ink, consider factors such as durability, cost-effectiveness, and environmental considerations.

eco solvent ink vs sublimation ink

1. Durability and longevity

As sublimation makers, it’s important to consider the durability and longevity of the inks you choose for your projects. Eco solvent ink and sublimation ink have their own advantages in this aspect.

Eco solvent ink is known for its decent durability, offering outdoor durability that can last up to one year. This makes it a great option if you’re looking for prints that can withstand various weather conditions without fading or deteriorating quickly.

Additionally, eco solvent ink provides excellent color fastness, ensuring that your designs stay vibrant and eye-catching over time.

On the other hand, while sublimation ink may not offer the same level of durability as eco solvent ink, it has its own unique benefits. Sublimation prints tend to have longer-lasting results compared to some other types of printing methods.

This means that your designs will maintain their quality and vibrancy even after multiple washes or extended use.

2. Cost-effectiveness

Considering cost-effectiveness is crucial when choosing between eco solvent ink and sublimation ink as a sublimation maker. While the initial cost of eco solvent ink may be higher compared to sublimation ink, it offers advantages in the long run.

Eco solvent ink has higher color saturation and fade resistance, which means your prints will have better quality and last longer. This can save you money by reducing the need for reprinting due to fading or poor color vibrancy.

Additionally, eco solvent inks are known for their durability, with outdoor longevity lasting up to one year. On the other hand, sublimation ink offers low durability but has its own advantages such as longer-lasting printing results.

3. Environmental considerations

As a sublimation maker, it’s important to consider the environmental impact of the inks you use. When choosing between eco solvent ink and sublimation ink, there are a few key factors to keep in mind.

Eco solvent ink is known for being more environmentally friendly than its counterparts. It uses a lighter solvent derived from mineral oil, resulting in lower emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

This makes it a great choice for indoor environments where air quality is crucial. Additionally, eco solvent ink is biodegradable and has fewer health risks compared to other types of inks.


1. What is the difference between eco solvent ink and sublimation ink?

Eco solvent ink is a type of ink that uses solvents to dissolve and adhere to the printing surface, while sublimation ink is a dye-based ink that converts into a gas when heated and bonds with polyester surfaces.

2. Which is better for outdoor signage, eco solvent ink or sublimation ink?

Eco solvent ink is generally considered better for outdoor signage as it provides more durability and resistance to UV light, water, and other environmental factors compared to sublimation inks.

3. Can I use eco solvent ink in my sublimation printer?

No, you cannot use eco solvent ink in a sublimation printer as they are designed for different printing technologies. Sublimation printers require specific types of dye-based inks that can convert into a gas state during the heat transfer process.

4. Are there any limitations or considerations when using eco solvent or sublimation inks?

When using eco solvent or sublimation inks, it’s important to consider the compatibility with your printing equipment and substrate materials. Additionally, both types of inks have specific requirements regarding temperature settings, drying time, and ventilation needs during printing processes. It’s recommended to follow manufacturer guidelines for best results.


In conclusion, when deciding between eco solvent ink and sublimation ink, it is important to consider your specific printing needs and environmental concerns. Eco solvent ink offers higher color saturation, fade resistance, and durability for outdoor use.

On the other hand, sublimation ink is odorless and emits low VOCs while providing longer-lasting printing results. Ultimately, choosing the right ink depends on your desired application and commitment to eco-friendly practices.

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