Sharon Reid


Buying inkjet cartridges can be a minefield – have you got the right ones? If you get home to find that you haven’t, do you return them to the shop or spend even more on different ones and hope your chum will take the useless ones off you…? All this hassle can be avoided by not falling into these traps:

Not reading the manual

Your printer came with a manual for a reason – you’re meant to read it. If you read the instructions, you’ll know which cartridges it takes and which ones it won’t. You’ll be saving yourself and the shop staff a huge headache if you just take a few minutes to flick through the instructions – or look at an online PDF – before you fire your new machine up.

The manual will tell you how to change cartridges and which ones you need, which, as ink is the lifeblood of a printer, is a bit important.

Not noting down the cartridge number before you head to the store

This is a real bugbear for shop staff, as they stand there play a guessing game with clueless customers while a queue fidgets behind them. At least note down the printer’s model number, which is 90 per cent of the battle won.

If you really have no idea about model numbers, then take out an empty cartridge and put it safely into a clear plastic bag (there may be leakage) so the shop staff can perform a post-mortem.

Paying over the odds

If you’re running a business, buying ink cartridges is a constant overhead and if you’re paying too much, it’s also a constant drain. You don’t have to go straight to the manufacturer to stock up – you can get your HP ink cartridges from Cartridge People online, for example – saving money and time. Online retailers often offer great bulk deals, helping you to avoid the mark-ups that in-store retailers usually add.Office, Cartridge, Print, printer, Digital, Smudged, Business, toner-Colour, Ink, Copier, Printer, cmyk, Xerox, Powder, Photocopy Powder,

Using the wrong type of ink for the purpose

When you’re buying ink cartridges you need to match the type of ink to the project. There are dye-based and pigment-based inks and they’re not the same. Confusing the two types can lead to some painful and costly mistakes.

Dye-based inks are very stable and produce vibrant colours, but they have a longer drying time and can smudge if disturbed. Pigment inks dry almost immediately, like the inks used in printing photos. These inks are stored in individual CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black)) cartridges that work in concert to add the colours to photos.

Refilling yourself

Sounds ideal, until you look at the unbelievable mess and you realise that the cartridge isn’t even full at all. It’s a great idea – if you’re a dedicated company with the right industrial grade equipment. If you’re doing it in your kitchen…not so much.

The only reason you should use refill kits is if you have a very old printer that you can’t get new cartridges for.