Evaluating the quality of ink is a topic that has for a long time puzzled better screen printers who appreciate that there is much more to choosing between inks than checking price tags. The market offers printers a number of brands of ink and ink systems and, like just about any other consumable, they vary in quality and price.

So, how do you choose? Essentially, there are five characteristics to consider in the selection of an ink: aesthetics; regulatory compliance; performance in the bucket; performance in the screen; and performance on the garment.

In considering the five characteristics, you should ask the following questions:

  1. What is required for the final look and feel on the garment?
  2. Does the ink meet all regulatory requirements with regard to such things as lead content, Phthalates, PVC and so forth? Nowadays all inks should, but check anyway.
  3. How will the ink perform in the screen with regard to ease of use and speed?
  4. How stable is the ink when stored in the bucket and how easily will it mix after a period of storage?
  5. What are the wash requirements and will the ink meet those requirements?
  6. What sort of support are you going to receive form the supplier if you need advice or help with a tricky printing issue?

Your risk in all of this lies in the fact that the ink you choose might not meet your quality requirements. For a few pennies (sometimes a fraction of a penny per print) why compromise on quality and put return business at risk? It is best to choose wisely. Selecting on price alone is not smart business.`

This is one of those topics that the Stanley’s’ staff can help you with. Don’t hesitate to ask.