Ink Cartridges vs. Toner: Which Should You Buy?

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It isn’t just good business sense knowing which cartridges to put into your printers; it can cost your company hundreds of dollars or at least merit an inconvenient trip to the nearest supply store if you get it wrong. There’s a big difference between these two types of cartridges, so knowing which one to buy is crucial to running a solvent business. Continue reading “Ink Cartridges vs. Toner: Which Should You Buy?”

How to Change Ink in an HP Printer

Changing the ink in your home or office printer seems like a hassle, and it’s easy to put off this important task. However, it’s easier than it used to be, thanks to improvements in printer and ink cartridge design.

Waiting for too long to change the ink can result in a noticeable drop in print quality. In severe cases, ignoring notifications to change a dried-up or expired ink cartridge can even cause damage to the ink nozzles, which require expensive repairs or replacements.

With a stash of ink cartridges on hand, you can change your printer’s ink without any hassle or delay. Here’s how to change your HP printer’s ink cartridges.

Differences Between Ink and Toner

If you’re dealing with an unfamiliar printer, you’ll first want to verify whether it uses ink at all. Laser printer ink is actually toner, which adheres to the paper using a combination of heat and electricity. Toner is incompatible with inkjet printers.

Laser printers work by using electricity to charge a drum inside the printer. This drum rotates to collect toner particles onto it, then applies them to the paper in specific ways instructed by its programming. This printing method is usually faster and cheaper over the long term because of its high efficiency.

Inkjet printers use a tiny array of nozzles attached to each ink color. The ink colors are combined to form the print head, which moves back and forth over the paper to lay down ink line by line. This process is more time-consuming and expensive than laser printing but gives fantastic color photo results.

inkjet cartridges in printer

Double-check the model number on your printer closely and see if it says laser in the name. If it says inkjet or deskjet, you should purchase traditional printer ink specifically designed for that model.

Otherwise, the procedures for changing ink in an HP inkjet instead of a laser are mostly the same. Both printers have a small door that opens to reveal the cartridge, which you then remove and replace with a fresh one. However, HP laser printers’ cartridge location can vary, while inkjet cartridges are almost always under the top cover.

General Instructions

Use either the instruction manual included with the printer or instructions built-in to the printer’s driver software on your computer. Depending on your HP printer’s age, you may also be able to use a step-by-step guide on the printer’s screen. Remember that if you can’t find the instruction manual, you can usually find a copy online on the manufacturer’s website.

Use the instructions to locate the printer cartridge cover or door. Even though this plastic door is usually on top and may be marked with a small icon, double-check the instructions first, as the direction the door swings in may vary. Pulling or pushing the cover in the wrong direction could break it.

Leave the printer plugged in and powered on so the printer can make the necessary adjustments once the cover is opened. In most cases, inkjet printers automatically move the cartridges to the middle of the printhead to make them easier to remove. In laser printers, the drum rotates in place and should be easily accessible from the door.

Press down lightly on the cartridge itself or the small lever just above it to release it. Avoid pushing or pulling hard on the cartridge, as this may damage the sensitive parts holding it in place. If the cartridge resists removal, consult the instructions to make sure you’re removing it correctly.

change hp printer ink

Insert a new printer cartridge, making sure to push it gently until it clicks or latches into place. Once you’re done replacing the necessary cartridges, close the lid, and the cartridges should slide back into place on their own as the printer checks to make sure they are installed correctly. The printer might print a test page, but if it doesn’t, you can instruct it to do so using the touchscreen or the printer software on your computer.

Cleaning the Printer

Replacing the ink or toner cartridge in your printer is the perfect opportunity to clean the inside of the printer. This important task helps clear out dust, ink, and other debris that can eventually gum up moving parts. Although you don’t need to clean the printer every time you change an ink cartridge, make sure to do it anytime you notice significant streaking or replacing the cartridges does not fix fading color.

In some cases, attempting to clean the internal parts may void your warranty. Double-check the manufacturer’s instructions for specifics on what you can and cannot clean yourself and hire a professional for cleaning if needed.

For both types of printers, make sure to remove all the cartridges before cleaning anything and turn off and unplug the printer. Cartridges that are still full enough to continue use afterward should be set aside on a paper towel. Dispose of or recycle empty cartridges immediately to avoid confusion when replacing them later.

If using an inkjet printer, gently clean the printhead contacts with a sponge swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol. Avoid using a cotton swab, as small bits of fiber may get left behind. Clean the nozzle heads gently with another wet swab, let everything dry for ten minutes, and then reassemble.

For laser printers, wait until the unit has completely cooled off, which can take up to an hour after unplugging it. Wear gloves and a dust mask as you remove the drum and set it on top of a sheet of newspaper. Remove the toner cartridge, as well, and clean it with a special toner wipe.

changing printer toner

Clean the surfaces of the drum and cartridge with isopropyl alcohol wipes. Avoid reaching into the printer itself to clean anything, as the wires inside are very sensitive and can even be dangerous if they still hold an electric charge.

Cleaning your printer should restore your print quality to its maximum clarity, especially if you also just replaced the ink cartridges. However, sometimes faulty printer connections or laser drums can continue to leave streaks even after they are cleaned and investigated with the printer’s built-in troubleshooter. You may need to get a new part for the printer or replace it entirely in these cases.

Checking for Proper Installation

Even if your printer seems to think the cartridges are installed correctly, it’s possible there’s an error in installation that the system doesn’t catch. Look closely at the printer’s test page to make sure colors show up clearly and lines are crisp. If there is an issue, you should run a diagnostic program using the printer driver software on your computer.

Also, make sure to listen for unusual whirring or other sounds while the printer is printing. It’s normal for different noises to occur while the printer is testing the nozzles immediately after installation, but if they persist through several print jobs, open the printer and look for any obvious problems, such as a carriage stall or a paper jam.

Changing Multiple Cartridges at Once

Photo inkjet printers may have six separate ink colors to replace since they sometimes use additional colors for richer print results. However, most color printers only have four colors total, including black. Usually, the black cartridge is used the most, so it will be larger than the other three.

When changing multiple cartridges at once, remove only one at a time and replace it immediately with the same color. Accidentally switching the locations of two colors can cause significant problems later. Although most HP printers can sense if you’ve placed the wrong color in, you could still cause some staining and undesired alterations to colors.

changing multiple cartridges

Even if another cartridge isn’t critically low yet, take the opportunity to replace it with a fresh one. It’s easy to accidentally run out of ink in the major of a large printing project, especially if that project uses a lot of a specific color.

Instead of placing separate orders for individual colors when they run out, save time and money by stocking up in bulk. If you use a specific color more than others, you can stock up on additional cartridges for that color.

Following Software Prompts

Most modern printers now prompt you when your ink is low on specific colors. This removes the guesswork of having to open the printer and visually examine or shake ink cartridges to gauge their ink level.

Your printer may give you a notification that it’s time to change your ink sooner than expected if your ink is drying up or about to expire. Some HP printers determine expiration based on when a cartridge was installed, while some calculate it based on months past the cartridge’s warranty. The printer may even sense when the ink is no longer flowing as well as it used to, even if it’s not near the ink’s official warranty date.

Expiration times vary, but generally, ink will start to dry up within two years of opening it and sometimes much sooner depending on environmental factors. An environment that is either too cold or too hot can cause the ink to degrade faster, as can dry air or storage in direct sunlight.

Expired ink can be changed just like any other ink, so don’t hold off replacing it once your printer tells you to. Expired or dried-out ink can damage your printer nozzles if allowed to sit for too long, so take action with a fresh cartridge right away.

smiling woman using printer

Keeping Your Office Space Clean

Used ink cartridges can leak if stored improperly, even if they’re mostly empty. When removing used cartridges from a printer, make sure to set them on a paper towel or piece of newspaper immediately. You can also wear gloves if you want to protect your hands further.

New ink cartridges can also leak while they’re being inserted. If the cartridge comes with a plastic bag, tape or a small cover on it, avoid removing the cover until right before you’re ready to put it into the printer. Make sure to hold the ink carefully by its sides near the top without touching any of the connections at the bottom.

Instead of throwing away your cartridges in the trash, find a local recycling center that will take them. It may be most efficient in a large office to keep empty cartridges in a separate, clearly marked container next to your other recycling. Throwing used cartridges into general recycling can make a mess and make it more difficult for your other recyclables to be processed.

Are There Differences Between HP and Other Printers?

The overall methods for changing the ink in HP printers are the same as with other brands, so if you’ve changed other printer inks before, HP printers will likely be easy. They vary between models, but generally, inkjet printers’ ink cartridges are located under the top of the printer, and laser printers’ cartridges can be in a variety of places. Best practices for avoiding leaks and cleaning the inside of the printer are also generally the same.

However, you need to only use HP printer ink cartridges with HP printers. Even if they’re similarly sized, using Epson ink cartridges or other incorrect cartridges may void the warranty on your HP device. HP inks may also be formulated differently, especially for photo inks.

hp printer ink cartridges

Keep in mind that HP does not recommend refilling cartridges, due to a potential decline in print quality. Buying new cartridges helps ensure your print nozzles stay as clean as possible and reduces the chance of problems caused by leaks or dry ink building up. Work with a dedicated and reputable supplier to get great cartridges at a discount, and then send your old cartridges to a recycling center to help take care of our environment.

Your Bulk Ink Supplier

InkJetSuperStore has a generous bulk discount so you can stay fully stocked and ready to change your printer ink at a moment’s notice. We have a full range of inks for a variety of brands and even have ink for older models that’s hard to find elsewhere. Count on us for all your inkjet and laser printing needs.


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Which Printer Has the Cheapest Ink?

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When your printer is low on ink, it can be a sinking feeling. You have to go through the hassle of ordering more to finish the print job and make sure you don’t completely run out, and ink cartridges typically aren’t cheap. Even worse, if you have an inefficient printer, you can go through ink even faster. This means you’re stuck continually spending money on and restocking ink.

However, with the right model, you can find a printer that helps you maintain a steady ink supply and won’t break the bank when it’s time to refill. If you’re wondering which printer has the cheapest ink, these options are some of the best on the market.

The Most Ink-Efficient Printers

When you buy an ink-efficient printer, you’re ultimately paying less for ink. That’s because the more efficient your printer is with ink usage, the lower your printing costs will be and the less frequently you’ll have to replace your ink. 

While there are things you can do to extend your ink cartridges’ life, the best way to spend less on ink is to use less. By paying attention to the cost per page of your printer, you can ensure greater ink efficiency. Here are some of the best printers with a low cost per page and high ink efficiency. 

1. HP® OfficeJet Pro 9015 All-in-One Inkjet

For a great HP ink-saver, consider purchasing the HP® OfficeJet Pro 9015 All-in-One Inkjet. This ink-efficient printer accepts both standard and high yield-sized cartridges. When you opt for the high-yield cartridges, you can print as many as 2,000 pages in black ink and up to 1,600 pages in color. When you buy compatible ink cartridges, you can save even more on ink. 

With a total cost per page of $.28, this printer won’t disappoint. You can find even greater savings by shopping for cheap HP toner cartridges

Filling printer ink

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2. Brother MFC-J995DW Printer

This Brother inkjet printer features a high page yield, up to 3,000, which means you can worry less about regularly replacing ink and enjoy immediate savings. When you start to run low on ink, the printer notifies you and lets you order Brother printer ink conveniently from the control panel. With this model, you can enjoy long spurts between purchasing more ink, along with its double-sided printing, Wi-Fi, and scanning capabilities. 

3. Epson® ET-2750 EcoTank Ink Tank

Like HP and Brother, Epson has made an economical all-in-one printer that can save you hundreds on ink replacements. Thanks to The EcoTank’s high-volume ink tanks, it can yield up to 3,000 pages per color ink cartridge. When you buy Epson cartridges from InkJetSuperStore or compatible ink refills, you can save even more. 

Other Printer Features to Look For

Beyond buying an ink-efficient printer or one with sizable ink cartridges, there are other ways to save on ink costs. For instance, using compatible ink replacements that replicate major brands can help you cut costs. Because these cartridges are made by third parties, you’re not paying a top price for major brands, but you still receive quality ink. Most are compatible with name-brand printers, so you can get the ink you need for a fraction of the cost.

Another handy way to save on ink is to limit your color usage. Because black ink is cheaper than color ink, using black ink wherever you can is a great way to reserve your color cartridges. Better yet, printing in grayscale further reduces how much black ink you use. If you’re printing documents for personal or unofficial use, consider going grayscale, so you’re not wasting valuable ink on documents that don’t require high-quality prints. 

While paying less for ink can mean big savings in the long-term, you can cut costs elsewhere with the right printer. By looking for a printer that accommodates double-sided printing, you can reduce the amount you spend on paper. When you print front and back, you’ll go through less paper and further reduce your print-related costs. 

pink piggy bank with a stack of generic ink cartridges

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The Takeaway

If you currently have a printer that burns through ink or there isn’t room in your budget for continual ink replacements, consider investing in a more ink-efficient printer or one that uses larger ink cartridges to help you save in the long run. Specifically, looking for a printer that promises a low cost per page and high page yield can help you use your ink efficiently and ultimately spend less on new ink cartridges. 

Check out the InkJetSuperStore’s online selection of printer ink and get it delivered right to your door. 

Buyer’s Guide: What Are the Different Types of Printer Ink?

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When it comes to purchasing printer ink, there are several options. While some ink cartridges are manufactured for use in specific printer brands, they are primarily designed for a purpose. For example, some inks print vibrant colors on vinyl textures, while others are waterproof or UV-resistant, making them more durable for signage. 

Although many printer inks are interchangeable, some are not. Laser printers use a powder called toner to print. The printing process is entirely different from inkjet printers, meaning toner and ink are not substitutes for each other. 

Our buyer’s guide goes through the different types of printer ink, explaining the benefits of each and the crucial distinctions between them. 

Dye-Based Ink

Dye-based ink was the only choice for inkjet printers for a long time, and they are still used frequently in homes and offices because of their reliability. Dye-based inks, such as certain varieties of HP printer ink, deliver bright colors and clear images. They dry quickly, decreasing the chances of smudging when handled. 

Due to the handleability and vibrancy of color, dye-based ink is also used frequently to print photographs. It reacts well to most photo paper, particularly high gloss.

The reason for the fast drying and rich color is because of the molecular makeup of dye-based ink. It is made from coloration dissolved in a liquid, such as water. The ink can be absorbed quickly, and it reflects little light. While this is beneficial in the short-term, it makes the ink vulnerable over long periods. 

Dye inks are soluble, meaning they run when they come into contact with water or are exposed to a humid environment. These inks are also known to oxidate and fade over time. 

Pigment-Based Ink

Pigment ink increased in popularity because of its durability. Although it’s usually a little more expensive than dye-based ink, it can maintain its condition for much longer. In the right circumstances, pigment-based ink keeps its original look for several years. It is often used to develop professional photographs. 

Pigment-based ink is versatile and was developed to use on various types of paper. Photographers often combine different paper and ink to create better-looking images in terms of color, depth and sharpness. Brother printer ink comes in dye and pigment-based options, allowing people to choose either. 

One advantage of using pigment ink is that it’s resistant to moisture and UV rays. The color particles aren’t dissolved in water, giving them duller but more absorbent qualities. However, it requires more drying time and can smudge if not dried thoroughly enough. 

Technicians Refill ink cartridges

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Solvent Ink

Solvent ink is a type of pigment ink that contains dyes. It is oil-based and holds both the pigment and the resin, making it fade-resistant, water-resistant and abrasion-resistant. Solvent inks use volatile organic compounds (VOCs), meaning there should be adequate ventilation wherever they are in use. 

Solvent inks can print on a variety of materials. The pigment bonds with the surface, and the solvent then evaporates due to the printer’s heat, depositing the pigment. 

Because of its durability and use of volatile compounds, solvents inks are used mostly for outdoor advertising on banners or vinyl. It retains vibrancy for many years, even if exposed to sunlight and adverse conditions. 

Latex Ink

Latex inks are water-based and use an aqueous polymer. They don’t use potentially volatile components, making them safe to print in areas without ventilation. They dry quickly and need little waiting time before laminating, making them an excellent ink to use for the high-speed production of prints. 

Latex inks are versatile and are used in printing marketing materials, such as pop-up signs or point-of-sale graphics. They also work well printing on paper or films. 

Large printer format inkjet working

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Solid Ink

Solid inks are a more recent phenomenon. They are made from vegetable oil and come in block form before being melted down and printed on paper. Similar to pigment inks, solid inks aren’t absorbed by the paper. Instead, they are printed onto its surface, meaning they fade after a while. 

For anyone who is environmentally conscious, solid inks are a great choice. They don’t come in plastic cartridges that contribute to significant waste around the world. 

Unfortunately, solid inks can be hard to source. While you will have no problems finding Dell printer ink, some reputable, solid inks can be scarce. 

Choose Ink for Your Purpose

Dye and pigment-based inks are most popular because they are designed for regular use, such as home or office printing. Others have more industrial applications and are used to create large outdoor banners and advertisements. 

The most important aspect as a buyer is to choose an ink that best suits your needs. Consider the purpose of use, the sharpness of imagery, the vibrancy of color and durability and your printing device. 

Answering Bulk Order Questions: Can Printer Ink Go Bad?


Printer ink is a vital supply for school, office and home use, especially if you frequently handle hard copies of documents. If your office has multiple printers, one or more of them might go unused for a few weeks, but you still need printer ink on hand for fast printing.

Many organizations and families have concerns about printer ink expiring. Although printer ink formulations have improved considerably, they will still expire even if you store them properly. If you’ve wondered, “Can printer ink go bad?” take advantage of these tips for storing printer ink to prolong its shelf life and avoiding problems with your printer.

Quality and Damage Concerns

Dye-based and pigment-based inkjet cartridges can dry up within a few years and usually have an expiration date printed on their box. This is true across all inkjet printer brands because they all use similar properties in their inks, so even quality brands like Brother ink can still dry out over time.

Your printer ink may continue to function even after your ink’s quality has degraded or after the expiration date, which can cause the print quality to drop dramatically. Printed pages may come out with streaks, blotches or colors missing.

If your print quality suffers significantly before you realize it, you may need to take advantage of tips on how to remove ink from paper to salvage your prints. For cheap and quick print jobs, just wait until the printer cartridge is replaced and re-print the document.

There is also a serious risk of damaging the print heads if the ink is dry and expired. Printer heads are precise and delicate. If the system tries to push dried-up ink through them, it can cause enough damage to require extensive repairs.

It’s always safest to replace the cartridges rather than risk the chance of damage. Remove the cartridges and recycle them, taking care to avoid any drips or smudges from the remaining ink.

Used cartridges are removed to replace new ones.

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Contributing Factors

HP ink and other brands have built-in monitors on their printers to estimate when your printer ink has expired or is about to. However, your ink can dry up before the expiration date if environmental conditions are less than optimal.

Printer ink is designed to operate at average room temperatures — typically around 68°F–75°F. It’s specifically engineered for this temperature range to avoid leaks and other problems associated with the ink being too runny.

Colder temperatures cause the ink to solidify, although it may warm back up and return to normal. Warmer temperatures may make the ink dry up completely within a few months.

Unopened ink lasts much longer than opened ink because of the special packaging manufacturers use. Avoid opening printer ink packaging until you’re ready to replace your cartridge, or the aging process will accelerate earlier than necessary.

How to Store Properly

The long- and short-term storage locations of your ink make a huge difference to its lifespan. Start by checking the temperature in any area of your office or home where a printer is located. If this area is vulnerable to drafts or is in direct sunlight, consider moving the printer to a location where the temperature is normal and consistent.  

Storage closets and cabinets are potentially a problem for long-term storage if they are not properly cooled or heated. Consider moving a small cabinet close to your desk or another area where temperatures are more consistently regulated.

If you have a printer that won’t be used for several months, remove the cartridges and store them in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel. Ensure the paper towel doesn’t touch the nozzles directly since it can make the nozzles leak.

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Can Printer Ink Go Bad? Is Ordering in Bulk a Good Idea?

Many people think of bulk ordering as only good for wholesalers or large companies, but anyone can take advantage of a bulk discount. Although the exact definition of a bulk order varies between retailers, some offer discounts for orders of three or more of the same cartridge. 

The discount adds up fast when you are buying multiple ink colors, especially if you are buying for multiple printers. Add toner for your laser printer into the same order to get everything delivered to your door for the lowest price possible.

This means bulk ordering is a smart option for you, whether you print photos at home regularly or you’re ordering for an entire corporate headquarters. You can even customize the number of cartridges you get in each color to match your current needs.

As long as you take good care of your printer ink, buying bulk ink can help you save money and avoid suddenly running out of ink. 

Your Best Source for Bulk Ink

With these tips for printer ink storage, you’ll be set to make the most of your purchases from InkJetSuperStore. We offer bulk discounts for a huge range of printers, ranging from popular brands like Epson and Canon to lesser-known brands common in older printers. 

How to Select the Right Weight of Printer Paper

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The weight of your printer paper is an important consideration for every print job. It can affect the look of the final document and impact the way your printer functions. However, with so many types available, it can be challenging to determine your publication’s correct paper weight.  Continue reading “How to Select the Right Weight of Printer Paper”

How to Check Toner Level and Replace When Low

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If you have a long document you need to print, you don’t want to leave the room and come back to an out-of-ink message and only half your pages printed. Luckily, it’s easy to check and see how much toner you have left and take action if you need to replace it.  Continue reading “How to Check Toner Level and Replace When Low”