Choosing the Right Printer Ink Cartridge

 

Updated 5/19/2011 by SuperMediaStore Staff

We live in the computer age, and along with all these computers, we also need printers. In turn, these printers need ink. When the ink gets low, printed pages start to fade or will even get streaks and splotches. As we all know, your printer ink cartridge will always run out of ink at the worst possible time. Therefore, it a great idea to keep ink cartridge information handy (printer make and model; replacement cartridge part numbers), and even more importantly, keep a full cartridge on hand and ready to use when needed.

 

Buy the Right Printer Ink Cartridge

 

Printer ink cartridges can be purchased online or in office supply stores. As you shop, the wide selection of different ink cartridges available can be a bit overwhelming. That is why it is important to have the right information. Just buying a HP cartridge doesn't mean it will work with all HP printers. Check the package for the printer models supported. Once the package is opened you may not be able to return it if you bought the wrong type of ink cartridge.


Obviously you should know if you need an ink cartridge (for ink jet printers) or a toner cartridge (for laser printers). Plus, ink jet printers typically use a black ink cartridge and a color ink cartridge that has all three primary colors, which can be combined to form a wide range of color and shades. Some photo printers (like the Epson Stylus Photo R200) use more than one color cartridge. Replacing all of these cartridges can be expensive, so shopping for the best price can mean big savings.

 

What Type of Ink Cartridge Should You Buy?

 

Printer ink and toner cartridges are available in OEM manufacturer brand names and third party versions. The third party brands (known as compatible cartridges) are typically much less expensive, and will typically work as well as the OEM brands - as long as you buy the right cartridge. Another great way to save money is to watch for specials or sales and stock up at the discounted price. Then you will have plenty of ink or toner on hand, but don’t forget to start looking for deals again before you run out.


Also, follow the instructions when installing a cartridge, and avoid the urge to shake them before putting them in the printer. Shaking them may cause ink to splatter during initial uses. It is always a good idea to make a mental note of how the old cartridge is installed before removing it. Some printers will automatically run an alignment routine when a new cartridge is installed, if yours doesn't then manually select to run printer alignment. You can usually do it from the control panel or from the printer options window.


With the right cartridge for the right printer ready to go and correct installation, an empty printer cartridge is no reason to panic. If you shop around for a great buy, paying for them isn't a big deal either.