Everything you need to know about bulk ink.What is bulk ink?
Bulk ink is bottled liquid ink without the cartridge. It is ink in its basic raw form that can be used in continuous ink systems (CISS), refillable ink cartridges (RIC) and even to refill some original cartridges.What is a continuous ink system? [Click here]
What are refillable ink cartridges? [Click here]Why use bulk inks?
The biggest advantage of buying and using bulk ink is the huge saving in cost.
By using a CISS or RIC set with bulk ink you can cut your printing costs by 80% and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.

As an example we will look at the Epson T18 ink cartridges that fit a range of Epson XP series printers:
Each cartridge holds on average 3.8ml of ink.
An OEM Epson T1802 cyan cartridge costs £9.95. That works out as £2.62 per millilitre of ink.
An alternative compatible T1802 cyan cartridge costs £3.50, making a millilitre of ink 92p.
A 100ml bulk ink bottle for RIC or CISS costs £3.00. This cuts the cost of ink to 3p a millilitre!
Multiply these figures out and 100ml of ink from Epson Original cartridges costs £262, and compatible 100ml costs £92. Multiply this by 4 to get an entire cartridge set and original cartridges would have cost you £1048! Compatibles would have been £396.
An entire 100ml set of bulk ink for this model? £12!

Not only are you saving a huge amount of money but you are also saving the environment.
By using this ink you will have saved 15 cartridges from going into landfill reducing your carbon footprint 10 fold.

What inks do Ink Express supply?
Ink Express supply alternative inks for the majority of printer manufacturers; including Brother, Canon, Epson, Hewlett Packard and Kodak.

Our inks are developed to match OEM inks in quality and longevity. This means you will get the same colours and life from your prints that you would were you using originals.
All of our inks are tailor made for the machines they are meant to be used in. We only sell Epson inks for Epson’s, Brother ink for Brother’s and Canon ink for Canon’s.
No universal ink will ever touch our shelves.
Not only that but we will only sell the ink made specifically for your machine. If your machine takes a dye based Epson ink, we supply a dye based Epson ink, if it takes a pigment Canon ink, then a pigment ink for Canon is what you will receive.
Special exceptions can be made if you seek a custom finish. In these situations we recommend calling our offices to discuss your needs.
The reason behind this is not only to ensure your machine operates as it was meant to, but also to ensure the quality of your prints stays high.
In the cases of high quality photography printers, ICC profiles are provided with our RICs to get the best out of the printer and its inks.

Are all inks the same?
There are multiple types of ink used in inkjet printing.
The 3 main types used by manufacturers and supplied by us are;
Dye based inks,
Pigment inks,
and Sublimation inks.

What are dye based ink?
Dye based inks are the most commonly used ink in desktop printers. They are water based which gives them a few advantages for use;
The price of dye based inks is very low due to their small manufacturing costs.
The colours produced by dye based inks tend to be very vivid as light can easily pass through them.
Being water based also makes them environmentally friendly.

They also have a few disadvantages;
Prints made with dye inks fade more quickly. As light can easily pass through them it makes the ink more susceptible to UV damage. Fading can occur in as quick as 6 weeks if the ink has prolonged exposure to sunlight.
Being water based they have no water resistance, meaning the inks will smudge should they get wet after drying on page.

What is pigment ink?
Pigment ink is created with resin encapsulated raw materials making it a thicker ink that tends to be used in higher end professional printers.
The advantages of this ink are;
Longer lasting prints. As light cannot penetrate the surface of the inks they become far less susceptible to UV damage. Our pigment inks have been laboratory tested and can last up to 80 years without fading.
Pigment ink is water resistant due to the resin encapsulation of the raw materials. Should your image be exposed to water the inks will not smudge or bleed as easily.

Pigment ink has some drawbacks;
The price of pigment ink is often triple that of dye based ink because of the production costs.
Due to the inks viscosity it often dries out quicker leading to more blockages in your print head should the printer sit without use for a prolonged period of time.
As light cannot pass through the ink the amount of colours that can be reproduced using only 4 inks is cut down. This is often why printers that tend to use pigment inks have 8 or more colours in order to expand the colour range.

What is sublimation ink?
This ink is specially designed to allow printing on ceramics, textiles and other sublimatable surfaces.
It works by transferring ink printed onto sublimation paper to another surface when placed under high heat and pressure.
You won’t find this ink in your average home printer due to the nature of its use but for more information on sublimation see our sublimation guide.

What inks do I need?
Each of these inks has its own unique properties, and which ink you are supplied is denoted by the printer model you have.
Should you buy cartridges or ink on our website found under your printer category we guarantee the ink supplied is the same type of ink the printer manufacturer has specified for your model.