Those in the market to purchase a new printer should consider the type of ink they will be using in their printer. Ink types can determine cost, quality, and ease of shopping, so be sure you understand your options. Keep in mind that regardless of the ink cartridge you purchase, the paper quality will effect the appearance of your document as much, if not more, than the ink.
There are two main options when choosing the type of ink that you will use. Dye-based inks are sometimes the best choice cost-wise, but have some disadvantages. They fade with exposure to light, and do not hold up if wet. For this reason, they are a terrible option for those wishing to use their printers for scrapbooking. These inks are slow penetrating and they take a long time to dry. This means the edges of the color can leak into one another, creating a distortion in color. Dye-based inks are best suited for monochromatic printing.
If you plan to utilize both black and white and color printing, choose pigmented ink. Your cartridges may cost more, but it will be well worth the price. These inks are waterproof and more fade resistant than dye inks. They are fast drying, which means you will not experience the color bleeding of dye-based inks. They are a better option for color printing for this exact reason.
Once you have determined the best type of ink for your needs, there are three cartridge options. The most common and widely chosen option is the original manufacturer replacement cartridge. This is the most expensive choice, but is obviously the most reliable. Printer companies make their money by selling replacement cartridges, so over the life of your printer, you will end up spending more on ink then you did on the printer. Purchasing manufacturer replacement cartridges is your safest and easiest option, but will cost you a great deal of money over time.
Those that are willing to do a bit of research in order to save money should consider compatible ink cartridges. These are manufactured by a company different than that of your original printer. Using these will not void your warranty. Their quality depends on the quality of the ink in the cartridge. They are generally reliable and usually perform just as good as the manufacturer replacements. However, there are a lot of options, some not as reputable as others, so taking the time to research ahead of your purchase will save you a great deal of headaches.
Keep in mind that manufacturers are not thrilled with compatible ink cartridge sales. They are doing everything in their power to disable printers from accepting these compatible cartridges, including creating printers with computer chips. These chips prevent compatible ink cartridges from performing. The chipped printer refills are cheaper than non-chipped options, so you are basically agreeing to a discount if you commit to only using the manufacturer’s print ink.
Your final option is the remanufactured ink cartridge. This is a cartridge that has been refilled with ink. It can be refilled by hand at home, but this method is often messy and time consuming. There are also printer refill locations that will fill the cartridge for you. The advantage of this is the guarantee a cartridge fits back into your computer. You just need to be sure the ink is of high quality. Manufacturers such as HP, Lexmark, and Canon all offer refillings of their cartridges. The next time you question why you are paying so much for ink refills, consider additional options for replacing your ink cartridge.