What’s the Difference Between Eco-Solvent, UV-Cured & Latex Inks?

In this modern era, there are lots of different ways to print large format graphics, with eco-solvent, UV-cured and latex inks being the most common.

Everyone wants their finished print to come out with vibrant colours and an attractive design, so they look perfect for your exhibition or promotional event.

In this article, we are going to explore the three most common inks used in large format printing and what the differences are between them.

Eco-Solvent Inks

Eco-solvent inks are perfect for trade show graphics, vinyl and banners due to the vibrant colours they produce.

The inks are also waterproof and scratch-resistant once printed and can be printed on a broad range of uncoated surfaces.

Eco-solvent inks print the standard CMYK colours as well as green, white, violet, orange and many more.

The colours are also suspended in a mild biodegradable solvent, which means that the ink has virtually no odour as they don’t contain as many volatile organic compounds. This makes it an ideal choice for small spaces, hospitals and office environments.

One drawback of eco-solvent inks is that they can take longer to dry than UV and Latex, which could cause bottlenecks in your print finishing process.

UV-Cured Inks

UV inks are used quite often when printing vinyl as they cure quickly and produce a high quality finish on vinyl material.

They aren’t recommended for printing onto stretched materials however, as the print process can band colours together and affect the design.

UV-cured inks print and dry much quicker than solvent due to the exposure to UV radiation from LED lights, which quickly turns into an ink film.

These inks use a photochemical process which uses ultraviolet light to dry the inks, rather than using heat like many print processes.

Printing using UV-cured inks can be done very quickly, which benefits print shops with high volume, but you need to be careful the colours don’t become blurred.

Overall, one of the main benefits of UV-curved inks are that they are often one of the cheapest printing options due to fewer inks being used.

They are also very durable as they are printed directly onto the material and can last several years without degradation.

Latex Inks

Latex inks are probably the most popular choice for large format printing in recent years and the technology involving this printing process has been developing at a rapid speed.

It stretches far better than UV and solvent, and produces a fantastic finish, especially when printed onto vinyl, banners and paper.

Latex inks are commonly used for exhibition graphics, retail signage and vehicle graphics.

They are purely water-based, but come out fully dry and odourless, ready to be finished straight away. This enables a print studio to produce high volumes in a short space of time.

As they are water based inks, they can be effected by heat, so it is important to have the correct temperature set up in the printer profile.

Latex inks are also more environmentally friendly than UV and solvent with 60% of the ink, being water. As well as also being odourless and using significantly less hazardous VOCs than solvent inks.

As you can see solvent, latex and UV inks all have different benefits and drawbacks, but in our opinion latex printing is the most versatile option out there.

At Discount Displays the majority of our graphics are printed using latex because of the vibrant finish, environmental impact and speedy print process.

If you have any questions about the large format print process, drop a comment below and one of our experts will be on hand to answer.