How To Choose the Right Printer Ink for You

Choosing the right print ink may seem a simple task. However, with myriad options on the market, it can be more difficult than it looks. 

Using the wrong ink can wreck your printing device but the right printer ink brings with it many benefits. It will keep your machine running efficiently, help you save money and reduce maintenance costs down the line. 

Keep reading for your complete guide on choosing the right ink cartridge for your printer.

What’s the difference between ink and toner?

If you have been shopping around, you may have noticed both ink and toner cartridges on sale. 

Basically, ink cartridges have liquid and are made for use with inkjet printers. For example, Canon printer ink can be used on compatible inkjet printers only.

The ink inside such cartridges is either pigment based, or dye based. Most often, if you are buying an ink cartridge, it will be dye based. This is because dye-based inks are more economical. They also produce truer to life colours. However, these inks are not waterproof and are susceptible to smudging and fading.  

Toner cartridges, on the other hand, are created for laser printers. It is a dry powder that does not stain but can become messy if improperly handled. Mono toner cartridges contain only black toner. If it is the colour you’re looking for, you will need separate black, cyan, magenta and yellow toner.

What type of printing will you do?

Your printing needs will play a key role in deciding the right printer ink for you.

Black and white

Are your printing needs restricted to black text documents and other paperwork? A monochrome ink will help you get the job done while keeping costs down.


If it is colour printing, you will need to get dye-based cartridges or CMYK cartridges if it’s a laser printer. CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

Photo printing

Photo printing requires specialty cartridges. Such cartridges are capable of producing high quality output that does not smudge. 

How to find the type of ink needed for your printer

Deciding your print options is one-half of the story. The number of pages you get, size and type differ between cartridges too.

Some printers can use six different cartridges while others are restricted to just one. Additionally, different printers work with different ink cartridges.

Your first step must be finding a compatible ink cartridge for your printer. You can do this by looking for the cartridge name/number printed on the old cartridge. 

If the previous cartridge is not available, check the owner’s manual or on the box of the printer. You can also type in the make and model of your printer and find more information online.

Types of Ink to Choose from

Standard vs High-Yield 

Ink cartridges are often designed for different yields.

Standard ink cartridges have a lower capacity and can print fewer pages before drying up. These are best for home usage where you expect to see light duty. 

High yield cartridges, often designated as XL or XXL ink cartridges, offer a higher capacity. They are intended for high-use offices and other settings. With such models, you can easily see savings of up to 50% in per-page costs.

Original or Compatible Ink Cartridges

Original OEM cartridges are the highest quality equipment you can buy for your printer. They are designed specifically for your printing device so will offer premium quality results every time. Additionally, there will be no worry about compatibility.

Another little spoken about benefit is the generous warranty offered by the manufacturer. OEM cartridges are made with years of research thus every manufacturer offers warranty. In the event of any defects, returns and refunds are easy and hassle-free. 

Remanufactured Ink Cartridges

These are old OEM cartridges that are carefully repaired and refilled, either by third-party manufacturers or by the original manufacturer. Using recycled cartridges will help reduce e-waste.

The key takeaway here is that your first step is finding what type your printer is. Once you are sure if it, do look up the exact model so you can find a compatible cartridge. 

Then, consider your use case. If you don’t expect to be printing much, a standard yield cartridge is best for you.

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