Printer Ink: How To Purchase The Right One

Printer ink is an essential commodity that is why many of us spend money on a printer to get eye-catching prints and high-quality displays, only to find that it needs all those different ink cartridges. Wait, printer ink costs how much? Don’t worry, think before you buy, and you’ll be ok.


Official cartridges for your manufacturer are the safest bet. First, make sure of the make and model of your printer. Different models made by the same company can have different ink cartridges, so be certain. In Windows 7 click on the Windows icon in the bottom-left corner, and then click on ‘Devices and Printers’. You’ll see your printer listed under ‘Printers and Faxes’, so make a note of it.

Take a look at your printer manufacturer’s website and search for your printer by model number. That’ll help you find the ink cartridge model numbers, which you should also make a note of. Your printer manufacturer may have its own store, but buying from them means paying full price. A good online store will probably have ink at a discount.


There are ‘compatible’ ink cartridges which are made by a 3rd party. These are cheaper, presenting you with the chance of saving more money. However, the quality can be lower, leading to your prints fading. This isn’t a big issue with documents, but no-one likes faded photos. Also, compatible ink cartridges can sometimes prove incompatible, with the printer refusing to recognise them. If you know someone who uses the same make of compatible ink, check with them before you buy.


If you’re buying a new printer, get one that doesn’t have cartridges holding multiple ink colours. They’re more expensive because if just one of those colours runs out, you have to replace the whole cartridge. Printers with individual colour ink cartridges also offer higher quality. You can manage your printing costs by reducing print quality for drafts or documents. Using the duplex option so you print both sides of a page is a great choice for documents because it’ll save your paper.

You can try compatible cartridges, but official cartridges are the best bet for quality prints. Yes they’re more expensive, but that’s better than low quality prints.