Waterbased Ink VS. Plastisol Ink

We often get asked lots of questions in this area like “whats the difference in quality, hand feel and longevity in a print?”ect.

Here is the blog to end these questions and allow you to move forward with your print knowing exactly what ink you want to use!

The first thing to take into consideration when deciding which printing method to use is knowing that we do offer both methods of printing, as not all printers do. While more are starting to learn how to work with water-based inks they are still used far less than the industry standard plastisol inks. This is generally because they’re harder to work with, however we use water-based all day every day and are so confident we don’t charge any extra in the printing price.

Printer logistics out of the way what’s the difference between these two and why use one over the other?

Well, it gets a little complicated here because like many things dealing with apparel there isn’t any right way to do things; It’s really a case by case basis (dependent on your design, market, personal preference). Some designs will do better to be printed with one method over the other and even a combo of inks could give you the best outcome. so lets break down the pros and cons.


Pros – best colour accuracy (based off pantone colour match), most resistant to fading, a glossier and heavier print, vibrancy and popping colour.

Cons – creates a heavier print, less ideal for creating faded or ‘vintage’ looking designs, not very ‘green’ (how important this is to your company could weigh heavily in your choice)


Pros – creates little to no hand feel, an in the shirt look to the print, environmentally friendly, can print over seams better since the ink seeps into the shirt itself, great for creating distressed or worn out looking designs, able to layer plastisol over it without any problems (water-based over plastisol however won’t dry on the shirt)

Cons – are more translucent making it harder to print onto dark garments without a base (look at discharge ink to create a soft feel base), fades gradually when washing resulting in what could be duller colours than expected, not as vibrant and colour popping


Now there are a few myths in the industry that plastisol inks are expected to crack or peel over time. This is not true as there are additives we can add to the ink to prevent this, as we believe that the print should outlast the shirt itself. We can use different additives depending on the job, for instance we can add spandisol to allow the plastisol to stretch avoiding cracking and pealing. Also if you want a plastisol print but don’t want it to be so thick on the shirt we can use a reducer to thin the ink and allow you to meet somewhere in the middle of the two ink choices. Here in lies the value of getting your job printed with us here at Omen as other companies will not advise or use these solutions.

Please also continue to read below about DISCHARGE printing as this is a specialty ink allowing you to print a soft feel print onto dark garments.