Tips for Buying Cheap Printer Ink Cartridges

Buying a printer is a relatively inexpensive proposition, but supplying that printer with ink can become expensive incredibly quickly. If you do a lot of printing then you may find that it is difficult to keep up with the costs. One option for saving money on ink is to use Compatible “compatible” cartridges instead of the manufacturer’s own cartridges.

brother_tn450_tonerCompatible ink cartridges are often less than half the price of standard cartridges, or even cheaper if you compare the bricks and mortar store price of a standard cartridge to the online price of a compatible cartridge. However, that does not mean that the Compatible cartridge is actually better value for money. Some disreputable cheap cartridge makers do not completely fill their cartridges or use sub-standard ink so you get fewer print outs per cartridge. The value for money comes not in the price per item but in the price per print.

Compatible cartridges have something of a bad reputation in the world of printing, and a few years ago that bad reputation was deserved, but the good news is that printer cartridges have come a long way since then. Today, the average failure rate on compatible cartridges is just two percent. However, some cartridges do still have issues.

One thing that you should research before you buy cheap printer ink cartridges is whether your printer has its own print head or whether the print head is built in to the cartridge. If the print head is built in to the cartridge then you can get away with buying the cheapest cartridges you can find and working your way up the price range until you find the cheapest cartridge that offers a good number of print outs at a quality that you find acceptable.

If, however, the print head is a part of the printer itself then you will need to be a little more careful. With this kind of printer, you have to worry about a poor quality cartridge causing the print head to become clogged with ink. Most printer manufacturers say that you must use the brand of ink cartridge that they recommend; using compatible cartridges from a Compatible will void the warranty. If your print head gets clogged and you cannot somehow clean it yourself you will need to pay to have it replaced, which would be a false economy.

It is a good idea to read reviews of Compatible cartridges and ask your friends and family what cartridges they use if they have the same printer. Look at a few printouts that they have done and see if you are happy with the quality. It is usually hard to go wrong with black ink cartridges, but you may find it harder to find colour cartridges that produce the kind of quality you are looking for. Shop around and try a few different cartridges, as well as a few different websites, until you find the best cartridges for your needs.