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InkJet Buying Guide

Inkjet Ink Buying Guide

Although versions of the Inkjet printer have been around since the early 1950’s the modern inkjet printer really began to become more widely used by consumers in the United States in the early 1980’s. Today’s modern inkjet printers provide an economical alternative to the more expensive laser printers without sacrificing image quality. Most inkjet printers produce images that are almost as sharp their laser counterparts but are more economical for lower volume printing. As with any printer, you will need to replace or refill the ink or toner that produces the image on the page.  Each inkjet printer manufacturer produces brand and or printer specific replacement cartridges for their printers and there are many 3rd party companies that either remanufacture or refill recycled cartridges so you will need to understand the type of replacement your particular machine requires. ForMyDesk.com has developed this buying guide to help you understand your options in buying replacement inkjet cartridges.

The Basics:

Can I use any inkjet refill in my printer?

The short answer is no. All ink cartridges, whether they are OEM products built by your printer’s manufacturer or refilled or remanufactured cartridges produced by 3rd parties they are all designed to be used with a specific printer model or a series of printers that a manufacturer produces. In order to use the correct cartridge that will fit your specific printer, you can use our Ink and Toner Personal Assistant.  In addition to the ink recommended by the manufacturer of your printer, there are often compatible options that can save you money. Check your printer's user manual for a compatibility chart that lists which ink cartridges it can use. You can buy ink cartridges and toner cartridges made by your printer's manufacturer or from a third-party manufacturer. This buying guide and our ink and toner Personal assistant should be all you need to find the right replacement for your printer.

What are the different types of inkjet cartridges?

First, the type of inkjet cartridge that came with your printer when you first purchased it is known as OEM which stands for “Original Equipment Manufacturer”. Many printer manufacturers want you to believe that this is the only option for replacing your inkjet cartridges. The positives of this type of replacement are that they are completely new and manufactured by the same company that produced your printer so they will be the more likely to produce similar printing results that you have seen from the original cartridge that came with your printer. The negative is they are almost always more expensive than, compatible, remanufactured or refilled options.

A second option for purchasing inkjet ink is to use what’s known as “compatible” replacements. The difference between an OEM and a compatible cartridge is that the original is produced by the same company that produced your printer.  A compatible cartridge also completely new, is manufactured to the similar specs as the OEM, BUT is produced by a different company than your printer.

Another option for replacing your inkjet cartridge is with remanufactured products. The main benefit of using “reman” ink for your inkjet printer is quite simply cost.  Depending on the manufacturer of your printer you can save anywhere from 50-20% by using re-manufactured cartridges. Another very significant reason to use reman cartridges is the environment.  Because the cartridge itself is made from plastic it takes significant energy to produce them not to mention when you use them once they usually end up in a landfill. Simply by using a remanufactured cartridge you reduce waste and reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the landfill because a remanufactured cartridge begins life as an OEM cartridge that has been used once, cleaned,  reconditioned by checking to make sure the working parts are in good order, and then refilled with ink.

Finally, you may find that a refilled inkjet cartridge is an economical option that is worth pursuing. Refills also start out as OEM cartridges but they undergo a simpler remanufacturing process in that they are only cleaned and refilled without undergoing a reconditioning process.

Which ink cartridge do I need?

There are several ways to tell which inkjet cartridge you will need to replace an empty. The easiest way is to use our Toner and InkJet Personal Assistant. All you have to is put your printer’s manufacturer name, series, and model number and it will tell you exactly which cartridges you will need to get printing again. Additionally, you can often find the part number for the replacement cartridges printed on the inside of the compartment where the cartridges reside inside the printer. Finally, you can also look to see the number printed on the empty cartridge that needs to be replaced.


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