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It can be fairly frustrating, having to run to the store halfway through a project because your printer has run low on ink. Not only is it expensive, it can be time consuming.Hp-ink However, if you are able to accomplish several tasks all while purchasing your ink at a traditional office supplies store, it may remove the sting of inconvenience.

Now would be a great time to stock up on paper. Imagine getting back home, revving up your printer again, filled to the brim with new ink, only to find you are out of paper. Avoid this by purchasing a few reams while at the office supply store. Also think about any upcoming projects. Will you be needing any special paper in the near future? Grab it while it is nearby.

You can buy yourself a planner while you are at the office supply shop. This means that once you have finished the current project, you will have a place to jot down notes and schedule your next bit of work. Look for a planner that offers refillable calendar space so you can use it year after year. You may also want an address book and note-space, which will be a great place to jot down “get printer ink” before you run out the next time.

Some people do not realize this, but you can purchase snacks and coffee at office supply shops. This is meant as a convenience for those who are in charge of their office workroom. However, if you are planning on a late night, you might as well have some sustenance. You may even be able to pick up a new coffee pot if yours is on the fritz.

You can purchase all of your office furniture at the same time you buy printer ink. Granted, it may not be high on your list if you are trying to make a quick run to the store. But if you have been thinking of upgrading your home office space, there is no harm in taking a few minutes to browse. This way, you will know what this store has to offer and it may save you a trip in the future.

Think of a few of the necessities you may need in addition to printer ink. Are you running low on batteries? Will you need to save your work on disc or CD? Will you be mailing any part of your important project and will you need padded envelopes or mailing labels? All of these materials can be found at the office supply store.

Nothing would be more awful then having a computer crash because of an electrical overload. It could mean you will lose all of the hard work you have been doing. While at the office supply store, pick up a surge protector. This can protect your computer, your printer, and various other technological gadgets from electrical harm.

When your project is complete, you will want to clean up your workspace. If you are working with sensitive material, be sure you have a paper shredder handy to dispose of the material. Finally, the office supply store sells various cleaning supplies like air cans and glass wipe so you can leave your workspace in good order. The next time you find yourself making a special trip to the store just for printer ink, consider how you can make things more efficient. Shop for all you may need to complete your project in a comfortable, clean environment.



Printer ink isn’t cheap. To avoid getting hit with a huge ink cartridge bill at the local office supply store, many people turn to online 3rd-party ink sellers to score cheap ink. These cartridges can cost significantly less than original ink-sometimes 50% or more off the standard price. This makes third party ink worth it to many, but there are a few questions you should ask before buying.

Recycled or compatible? There are two basic types of 3rd party ink cartridges: recycled and “OEM-compatible.” Remanufactured cartridges are essentially recycled; sellers collect used, empty original cartridges and refill them with their own ink.  With OEM-compatible cartridges (“OEM” stands for “Original Equipment Manufacturer”), companies reverse-engineer cartridges based on the specs of the original design. The cartridges themselves, as well as the ink, is created by a third-party vendor based on the original ink and cartridge specifications.

There are benefits and drawbacks to each type. Compatible cartridges tend to have a higher quality overall than recycled, but due to patent infringement issues, they’re not as widely available for some brands as recycled cartridges are. Recycled cartridges can have a slightly higher failure rate, but they’re easier to get for most brands and they cost less.

What’s the company’s quality control process? If you’re going for recycled or compatible cartridges, do your best to find out what process the company uses to make sure their cartridges work. With recycled cartridges, choose a company that does more than simply refill old cartridges with new ink. They should also check cartridges for cracks in the casing, failure in electrical components and other quality-compromising issues, and repair or replace cartridge components that need it. Both recycled and compatible companies should test their cartridges before selling them.

What’s your printer’s warranty? Warranty issues are difficult to judge. Almost all manufacturers have warranties that say they won’t cover damages caused by third-party ink. However, the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act, enacted at the Federal level in the U.S., prevents companies from attempting to control which consumables customers use.  In general, if you use a third-party cartridge it won’t automatically void your warranty if the cartridge didn’t cause the damage-but if it did, you may be stuck paying for repairs or replacements out of pocket. It may be worthwhile for you to find out whether the third-party ink company you choose will repair the damage to your printer in case of a problem caused by their cartridges.

What are you planning to print? Not all third party ink cartridges are of equal quality, but according to consumer reviews, many look just as good as the real thing coming off the printer. However, not all third-party ink cartridges are as durable and long-lasting as originals; if you’re printing pictures, you may get better results with name-brand ink that will last longer without fading.

Are you really saving money? Check the pricing on the third-party cartridge with that of the original manufacturers’. With shipping costs, sometimes the cost difference isn’t very much-and you might want to look into recycled cartridges for deeper discounts.

What’s the store’s reliability? Branded ink products typically have some sort of guarantee. Third-party ink cartridges don’t, and while many have proved reliable and high-quality, it’s not unknown for third-party ink to clog print heads and fade more quickly than original inks do. The best third-party cartridge stores offer some sort of written guarantee that stands behind their products.  In addition, the longer a store has been in business, the more likely that it offers a high quality product. Look for a store with good online reviews and a strong guarantee.

Buying printer ink from a third-party vendor can be hit or miss. But if you find a reliable source of high-quality recycled or compatible ink cartridges, you could save a significant amount of money on your printer consumable costs. Do your research and make sure you know what type of third-party cartridge you’re getting, your store’s reputation, and the original manufacturer’s prices-just to make sure you’re saving money in the deal. If you do, you’re likely to be able to save money on ink.

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How to Choose an Online Third-Party Ink Vendor

July 22, 2009

Buying third-party ink online can save you considerable time and money. But with third-party ink, you don’t get a manufacturer’s guarantee-so it’s important to find a dependable seller.  Not all third-party ink sellers are as good as they seem. Here are a few things you can do to guarantee that you find a reliable seller [...]

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