The Truth Behind Solid Ink

ink sticksSolid ink printers from Xerox are beginning to appear in more and more office environments, as buyers start to see the benefits of this new technology. This method of printing has been shown to deliver quality that rivals laser and inkjet technologies.  It has also been rated one of the more environmentally friendly methods of printing, as it uses no cartridge, and over 300,000 cartridges occupy landfills around the United States.

Despite the advantages, many buyers have some false impressions about solid ink printing, and this is often caused by misinformation and even myths about this technology. Here are a few of the most common myths surrounding solid ink printing.

Quality and Resolution

Many competing manufacturers claim that the quality of solid ink printers is not up to par with inkjet and laser models, and that it cannot provide the same high resolution. The truth is that solid ink creates an image using very different methods. While the drops of solid ink are not as small as those of laser toner, for example, they can be placed more accurately, and solid ink doesn’t require as many drops per inch. A SpencerLab report showed that solid ink printers produced competitive print quality to other technologies.

Solid Ink Melts During Storage

Because solid ink is designed to melt within the printer, there is a myth that ink sticks may melt in hot weather, or during storage. In reality, the melting point of solid ink is close to the boiling point of water which should never be reached in proper storing conditions and normal use.

Wasted Ink

When air is trapped in the printheads or they become clogged, the printer may eject some solid ink through the printheads in order to clear them. This ink is then emptied into the waste tank. The common myth surrounding this issue is that solid ink printers waste more ink than other technologies, however, laser and inkjet printers both have a similar procedure for cleaning and clearing printheads, which also results in wasted ink. The question of which type of printer wastes more ink may be debatable, but it is unlikely to have a big impact on an office budget.


There are many myths surrounding the durability of solid ink prints, including poor resistance to smudging, scratching, or fading. While the technology does tend to be more susceptible to certain types of damage than laser and inkjet printing, a 2009 test showed that the Xerox ColorQube 9201 and other similar printers ranked on the same level as high-end laser printers in these four categories: smudge resistance, document-feeding, offsetting and write-ability.

While some of the issues surrounding these myths are somewhat valid, it is important to remember that every type of printing technology has its pros and cons. Xerox does an adequate job of highlighting the advantages, but you should also consider the the drawbacks of solid ink printers. By cutting through some of the myths and marketing speak, you can start to get a clearer picture of whether this technology will meet your specific needs.

Robyn Warner
Robyn Warner has been writing since she learned how to hold a pen. She wrote her first book of poems before the age of 10. Though creative writing is her preference, she is enjoying life in the technical blog world. Robyn’s goal in her 30s is to use her writing to inspire fellow cancer survivors and have a job that gives her the flexibility to live anywhere and never wear shoes.

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