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Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Top Tips when Purchasing Ink and Toner Cartridges

Use high yield, or “XL” options for your ink and toner printer cartridges. The initial outlay may be more expensive, but the cost per page is much better. For example, some high yield versions will cost 40% more, but have double the page yield.

As well as being up to 60% cheaper, compatible cartridges often have a much higher yield. So if you are choosing a new printer you may want to check with us that refilled or compatible versions are available.

All inkjet printers will have some sort of print head to transfer the ink onto the paper, whether they are attached to the ink cartridge, or built into the printer itself. When not used the ink inside the print head will begin to dry and can cause the print head to become blocked. Many printers now come with a ‘print head clean’ option, however this can use up a lot of ink. We recommend printing a very small amount at least once a week in order to prevent this issue from occurring.

When choosing a printer, ask yourself “do I really need colour?” Mono printers are up to 6 times cheaper to run.

Some inkjet printers have separate colours that can be replaced individually, as opposed to the “tri-colour” versions. If you print one colour predominantly check that you can replace that colour only, as opposed to having to replace all three.

Do not change your cartridge at the moment your printer tells you it is running low. Quite often the cartridge will continue to print perfectly for many more pages. Change the cartridge only when the print quality becomes unacceptable.

If in doubt, ask the experts. We offer free, impartial advice on the best printing solution for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. This is a printer cartridge produced by the manufacturer of the printer. For example, a cartridge manufactured by Epson, designed for use in an Epson printer. 'Original' cartridges cost more than 'Compatible' or 'Refilled' cartridges. 

OEM’s often sell their printers at cost, or even a loss. They then have to make their profits from the sale of the cartridges, or consumables, over the life of the printer. This is known in marketing terms as the “razor and blades” model. Compatible and refilled printer cartridges are traded in a much more competitive marketplace, which keeps the costs low for the consumer.

Absolutely not, and this is clearly stated in your warranty statement. European fair trade laws dictate that no one manufacturer can have a monopoly on consumables. To use an analogy, if I sell you a car then I cannot dictate which parts you use when you get it serviced, or whose petrol you choose to fill up. If, in the very unlikely event, that any cartridge you purchase from us is proven to damage your printer, then we will repair, or replace it free of charge.

With some inkjet cartridges the ink level management function is embedded into a fixed printhead. Unfortunately you cannot “tell the printer” that the cartridge has been refilled. Rest assured we always fill our cartridges with the maximum amount of ink, and can always match, or often exceed, the original yield.

All inkjet cartridges will contain a small amount of ink left in them, even when they register as being empty. This leftover ink is there to prevent overheating and damage to the print head. All stated quantities of ink will be the useable amount, and will not include the leftover ink.

Most modern printers do not physically measure the amount of ink or toner left within a cartridge; instead they simply count down the number of pages being printed with page coverage of 5%. Due to this if you are printing on average more than 5% page coverage you will find the cartridge will not reach the stated page yield. Alternatively you will get more than the stated yield if printing less than 5% coverage.

This is the industry standard used for yield measurement and testing. It is thought to come from the days of a standard letter, or memo. If you double space a capital Z all the way down an A4 sheet of plain paper, this equates to approximately 5% coverage.

Single cartridges will often do more than just one model number. Therefore, manufacturers can’t always get all the printers associated with the cartridge to fit onto the box. 

Due to patent issues that the original manufacturers have, the compatible cartridges will often look slightly different to the original cartridges. However, the basic outline of the cartridge will be similar and will any compatible cartridge purchased from us is guaranteed to fit and perform like an original cartridge.

You can get better prints by using non-original ink cartridges and papers, and make huge savings. Printer manufacturers often give ominous-sounding warnings about compatibles, but don't be afraid to try them

Which Consumer Magazine