Eco Solvent Ink Vs Sublimation Ink


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Sublimation and eco solvent ink possess distinct qualities that can significantly impact your printing results. If you don’t choose the right ink, it can lead to wasted materials, botched prints, and loss of time and money. So, you need to understand the differences between eco solvent ink  vs sublimation ink to make an informed decision.

The eco-solvent ink is known for being versatile, while sublimation ink stands out for its vibrant results on polyester. In this article, we will delve into the characteristics of each of these inks and compare eco solvent ink vs sublimation ink.

eco solvent ink vs sublimation ink


Can You Use Eco Solvent Ink for Sublimation?

No, eco-solvent ink cannot be used for sublimation as it is made for eco-solvent printers, which are best for outdoor signage, banners, etc. This ink is pigment-based, which makes it durable and resistant. However, it is not suitable for sublimation.

For that, you can use sublimation ink which is a dye-based ink. It can print on polyester and other materials through sublimation printing.  

Eco Solvent Ink vs. Sublimation Ink

Eco solvent and sublimation ink are two popular types of ink in the printing field with their characteristics and applications. It is crucial to understand their differences so you can make the right choice for your printing projects.

Here is a rundown of eco solvent ink vs sublimation ink based on some distinct factors.

Quick Comparison of Eco Solvent Ink vs. Sublimation Ink

CharacteristicsEco Solvent InkSublimation Ink
Printing methodDirect-to-substrateNeeds heat press
Heat and pressureNot neededNeeded
Application  & limitationsIndoor + outdoorBest for indoors
Color vibrancyLess vibrantMore vibrant
Substrate compatibilityWide range of substratesMainly polyester
WashabilityLess washableMore  washable
Environmental considerationsMore eco-friendlyLess eco-friendly
Print longevityLasts longerLess durable
CostMore expensiveLess expensive
Printing speedFasterSlower

Now that you have a brief overview of eco solvent ink vs sublimation ink, let’s dig into the details of these differences.

Printing Method

The printing method differs depending on the type of ink used. Eco-solvent ink is typically used in direct-to-substrate printing, where the ink is directly applied to materials such as vinyl, banners, and fabric. In this method, the ink adheres to the surface of the material.

On the other hand, sublimation ink is used in heat transfer printing over specially coated substrates.

Heat and Pressure Requirements

For the sublimation ink to transfer onto the substrate, you must apply a specific amount of pressure and heat. However, eco-solvent ink does not require heat or pressure when printing on a material.

Application Limitations

You can use eco-solvent ink on outdoor and indoor materials, such as banners, outdoor signs, and trade show graphics. This is due to their durability and resistance to outdoor elements. Unlike eco-solvent ink, sublimation is best suited for indoor materials.

Color Vibrancy and Image Detail

Sublimation ink delivers vibrant colors and intricate image details, making it ideal for achieving high-quality photographic and high-resolution prints.

While eco-solvent ink also offers good color saturation and image quality, it falls short compared to the superior quality achieved by sublimation ink.

Substrate Compatibility

You can use eco-solvent ink on various substrates, including vinyl, banners, fabrics, and rigid materials. However, sublimation ink is compatible with polyester-based fabrics and coated materials specifically designed for sublimation printing.


Sublimation ink forms a strong bond with the fabric or other materials during the transfer process using a heat press. This strong adherence to the ink ensures excellent washability, allowing the prints to remain intact even after multiple washes, thereby ensuring long-lasting durability.

On the other hand, eco-solvent ink usually requires additional curing or post-print treatments to achieve optimal washability. As eco-solvent ink does not become an integral part of the material, these additional steps are necessary to enhance its wash resistance and maintain print quality over time.

Environmental Considerations

Eco-solvent ink is known for its environmentally friendly composition as it typically contains fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than sublimation ink. This is achieved by formulating eco-solvent ink with natural solvents derived from renewable resources, which are biodegradable and have reduced environmental impact.

In contrast, sublimation ink contains chemicals that can be environmentally harmful if not properly disposed of. The dyes used in sublimation ink are often derived from non-renewable resources, such as petroleum, and are not biodegradable.

Print Longevity

Eco solvent ink is more durable than sublimation ink due to its ability to resist outdoor elements like the sun. Whether indoors or outdoors, it exhibits exceptional resistance to fading and damage.

On the contrary, sublimation ink exhibits optimal compatibility with only a few materials like polyester, forming strong bonds that result in high-quality images. But, for most other materials, sublimation ink print may not possess the same long-term resistance level as eco-solvent ink.


The cost of inks can vary based on the specific type and the source of purchase. Generally, eco-solvent ink is more expensive than sublimation ink. Despite sublimation ink requiring a more extensive process, it is overall more cost-effective.

Printing Speed

Eco-solvent ink enables faster printing due to its straightforward process that does not necessitate a heat press. On the other hand, sublimation printing requires a heat press, which slightly slows down the printing process.

Choosing the Right Ink for Your Projects

When choosing between eco-solvent ink and sublimation ink, it’s important to consider your specific printing needs and requirements. Both types of ink offer distinct advantages and are suitable for different applications.

You can choose the suitable ink for you based on the characteristics defined in the eco solvent ink vs sublimation ink comparison table. Generally, you should consider the project requirements and your budget before buying one of the inks.

Project Requirements and Specific Application Needs

First, you must assess the nature of your printing projects and the materials you will use. Consider whether you’ll print on various substrates, such as vinyl, banners, textiles, or specialized materials, such as polyester fabrics. Then, choose an ink that is suitable for your project type.

Consider the desired print quality, durability, and color vibrancy needed for your application.

Budget Constraints and Long-term Goals

The next step for choosing the right ink for your project is to set a budget. You must evaluate how much you can spend buying the ink. Eco solvent ink has a higher upfront cost due to the costly ink bottles and cartridges that come with it. However, this ink is durable and has better longevity, so the overall cost comes down with use.

Sublimation ink is more affordable, but it is best suited for projects on polyester. The designs will stay fresh longer, but printing results might not be as good on other materials.

Summing Up

The comparison between eco-solvent ink vs sublimation ink highlights their distinct characteristics, making them valuable and suitable for different scenarios. Eco-solvent ink offers enhanced durability and overall superior print quality, except when printing on polyester. In contrast, sublimation ink delivers exceptional results, specifically on polyester materials.

So, it’s important to note that the choice between these inks depends on your budget and the specific requirements of your project. Consider all the factors discussed and make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and priorities.


Can Eco Solvent Ink Print on Plastic?

Yes, you can print on plastic using eco-solvent ink. When printing on plastic with eco-solvent ink, it’s important to ensure that the plastic surface is clean and free from contaminants that could interfere with ink adhesion. However, different types of plastics may require specific printing settings or surface preparation techniques to achieve optimal results.

Can You Print on Paper with Eco Solvent Ink?

Yes, this is possible. While eco-solvent ink is commonly associated with printing on vinyl, fabrics, and other substrates, it can also be effectively used for paper printing.

However, it’s important to note that eco-solvent ink is primarily designed for porous and semi-porous materials, so the results on paper may differ from those you get with dye-based or pigment-based inks specifically made for paper printing.

Is Eco Solvent Ink Waterproof?

Yes, eco-solvent ink is waterproof. When properly applied and cured, prints made with eco-solvent ink can withstand exposure to water, rain, and even some mild cleaning agents.

The ink contains solvents penetrating and bonding with the substrate, creating a durable, long-lasting print. This makes the ink ideal for use in humidity as well.

Eco solvent ink forms a protective layer on the surface of the substrate, providing resistance to water and helping to prevent smudging, fading, or running of the print.

Image Source:Pexels

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