Business, Career, Tech/Software

How to save money on printer cartridges

Printer cartridges

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This guide outlines several ways you can obtain printer cartridges at less cost — and some of which are helpful for the environment!

The printer industry has one frustrating paradox — some cartridges cost almost as much as basic models of office equipment. What’s more, original ink is one of the most expensive liquids in the world. It is pricier than wine, oil, or human blood. Fortunately for savvy consumers, it is possible to save money without sacrificing the quality of printing. Discover the best options below!

How to save money on printer cartridges

Low cost is not the only advantage of third-party products. Independent stores will also help you print sustainably, as they sell recycled printer cartridges alongside the compatible product range. The 902 ink cartridge replacement from Smart Ink can let you save up to 50% per purchase and reduce your carbon footprint. Follow the tips below.

1.   Research Your Options

Cheaper printer cartridges are divided into two categories. First, there are compatible cartridges, which fit popular models of printers but come from independent brands. Unlike Canon or HP, these companies do not have to invest billions of dollars in R&D, so they can offer highly competitive prices.

The second category includes ‘remanufactured’ printer cartridges. These are refilled OEM (original equipment manufacturer) products. They are cleaned and tested before ink injection. Providers also replace any worn elements to ensure smooth performance, and they check all products before shipping. Thus, you get original cartridges with new ink, save money, and reduce plastic waste. 

Importantly, both types of products are legal. In the past, printer manufacturers have attempted to outlaw them — they claimed it was for quality reasons, but you would have to think it may have been about trying to protect their revenue streams — but their campaigns failed. You can choose any printer cartridges you like, as they will not null the warranty for the equipment. By law, manufacturers have no right to punish you for saving on ink. Of course, this does not mean you shouldn’t be wary of shady firms. Some of these cheaper printer cartridges are substandard. 

2.   Find Local Stores

Both types of printer cartridges are sold online, sometimes with free shipping. Choosing a store, however, can be tricky, as there are so many websites. Pay attention to reputation, guarantees, and genuine feedback — not only testimonials shared by the companies themselves. 

Read comments from real customers on sites like Trustpilot. Feedback is not always objective, but recurring issues must raise suspicion. For example, if several customers complain about product defects or delayed shipments, you have a valid cause for concern. 

3.   Identify Trusted Providers

Well-established businesses have transparent policies and comprehensive guarantees. Ideally, customers should be provided with the following advantages:

  • Products of excellent quality in compliance with such standards as ISO, Reach, and CE;
  • Only updated chips (older versions may prevent products from being recognized);
  • Ink level tracking (awesome models of cartridges show you when it is time to order a replacement);
  • Two-year warranty (this should cover defects as well as transportation damage);
  • Reliable packaging (multi-layer);
  • Sustainable products and policies;
  • Free shipping;
  • Support 24/7.

Although cheaper printer cartridges are perfectly legal, this does not mean that subpar products may not hurt your printer. Do some due research to find a store with a proven track record of success. Steer clear of suspicious sights. An absence of feedback is a red flag. 

How to install printer cartridges correctly

Replacing inkjet printer cartridges may seem simple. Yet, they have sensitive electronic components that must not be touched. The process can become difficult and messy if you do not know how to perform it properly. 

Follow these instructions to make this procedure foolproof. Note that you should not take your old cartridge out of the printer until you have a replacement on hand. Otherwise, the nozzles on the print heads may dry out.

1.   Remove protective covering on the new cartridge

Some models come with a yellow tape seal or plastic red tab. Some come with a cap and protective tape. Others have an additional piece of plastic that works as an adapter. Follow the instructions on the package to connect it to the cartridge properly. Never touch the microchip, which is a copper or green element. 

2.   Turn on your printer

Wait until it wakes up and open the cover.

3.   Take out the old printer cartridges and install the new ones

Make sure you place them in appropriate carriages. For instance, a magenta cartridge will only work in a magenta carriage. If you install a remanufactured product, it may clip from underneath. Some printer cartridges may not clip in where they should fit but they still work.

4.   Check recognition

You may discover that the new cartridge is not recognized by the machine. In this case, leave it in place and disconnect the printer from the socket for around 10 minutes. Then, hold the power button down for half a minute and plug it back in. These actions clean the printer memory, so it can resync with new cartridges.

Sometimes, printers do not recognize compatible products due to firmware updates. This is the only way for printer brands to prevent the use of third-party products. However, there is a simple solution. Just deactivate these updates, and use any products you like.

5.   Close Printer Cover

At this stage, you can see your printer’s lights flashing. Do not do anything — just let it complete the operation.

Ink Settling Times

Some inks are thicker than others. They may need to settle for around an hour after installation. Try printing a test page or perform a head cleaning. If the results are undesirable, wait for a couple of hours and try again. Do not clean your print heads too often, as this will deplete the ink.