Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Welcome to our big printer cartridge test 2023. Here we present all the printer cartridges we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

With this we want to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best printer cartridge for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to when you want to buy a printer cartridge.




Summary

  • Printer cartridges are needed to operate an inkjet printer. The cartridges are filled with either food colouring or conventional printer ink.
  • A conventional printer cartridge can be used for two years when opened, whereas a cartridge filled with food colouring should only be used for one year after opening.
  • The compatibility, range and scope of delivery should be checked before purchasing a printer cartridge to avoid difficulties and incorrect purchases.

The Best Printer Cartridges: Our Picks

Past Recommendations

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a printer cartridge

How long do printer cartridges last?

If you are one of those people who print a lot, this question will probably not be of much interest to you, as your ink will probably be used up within the time limit. For the occasional printer, however, it might very well be interesting.

The manufacturer of the compatible print cartridges usually offers a 24-month guarantee from the date of purchase. This refers to the print quality, which deteriorates after two years. However, if you store your print cartridges properly and pack them, they can last much longer.

Did you know that toner can melt at 40 degrees Celsius?

If toner gets on clothes when replacing printer cartridges, wash them only with cold water. In addition, avoid swirling toner dust through the air by blowing or blowing.

Do not touch your mouth, eyes or nose with toner-contaminated hands, but wash them with soap and water.

However, there is an exception for printer cartridges with food colouring. These are marked with a date of manufacture and a date by which the ink must be used. They have a shelf life of at least 12 months and the time between the two dates is usually limited to 24 months.

What is the chip in ink cartridges for?

The chip in ink cartridges is responsible for indicating the ink level. For example, if you want to refill your ink cartridge, the chip must be reset, otherwise your printer will not recognise the cartridge.

One problem with the chip is often mentioned by customers, who complain that the fill level indicator of the printer cartridge shows that it is empty, even though it is still half-filled.

Decision: What types of printer cartridges are there and which one is right for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between three types of printer cartridges:

  • Single cartridges
  • Combination cartridges
  • Refill ink

Due to the large number of different printer manufacturers, you must pay attention to the different types of printer cartridges when buying. Depending on your printer and whether you print more in black and white or in colour, there are advantages and disadvantages that you should take into account.

If you use your printer only occasionally, you can expect the printer cartridges to last at least 24 months. (Image source: pixabay.com / tookapic)

This is why the following section introduces the different types and explains them in more detail. To make it easier for you to decide which cartridge to buy, the advantages and disadvantages of each are clearly presented.

How do single cartridges work and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Single cartridges are printer cartridges that contain individual printing colours. Both black and the common CMYK cartridges that enable colour printing can be used as individual cartridges. However, other colours that are needed for photo printing, for example, can also be purchased and used individually.

Especially if you print a lot in colour, individual cartridges can be an advantage for you. This is because not all colours are always used at the same time. Therefore, one colour will run out faster than the other. With individual cartridges, you can replace the empty ink and continue to use the others.

Advantages
  • Individually replaceable
  • No printing with empty cartridges
Disadvantages
  • Black printing dependent on colour cartridges

However, if you print more in black and white, an empty colour cartridge can be a problem for you, as printers with individual cartridges cannot print in black and white if one of the colours is empty. This is to prevent unsightly photos due to a missing colour. However, it also requires that you always have enough colour cartridges in stock.

How do combi cartridges work and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Unlike a single cartridge, a combi cartridge has more than one colour. Three colour chambers combine the colours cyan, magenta and yellow in a combi cartridge. Black is still used in the form of a single cartridge. Manufacturers often offer low-priced sets that include both black and a combination cartridge with the colours.

The advantage of a single cartridge is that you can still print black and white with an empty colour cartridge. If you only ever print in black and white, you can even save on the colour cartridge altogether.

Advantages
  • Cost savings through sets
  • black printing always possible
Disadvantages
  • Replacement only if one colour is empty

However, if you also print a lot in colour, a combi cartridge can have a negative impact in the long run. As already mentioned, the colours are not used evenly when printing in colour.

With a combi cartridge, however, you have to replace it when only one of the three colours is empty – even though the other two may still be half full. In the long run, this can be expensive.

How does a refill ink work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

An alternative to the previous options is to buy a refill ink. Here, a syringe is used to fill the ink from the supplied containers directly into the printer cartridge. However, it should be checked in advance whether the respective printer cartridge allows a subsequent refill.

Non-compatible cartridges can be prepared for refilling by drilling holes or using refill holders. However, laypersons are advised not to do this, as incorrect handling can not only damage the printer hardware, but also soil their own clothing or furniture.

Advantages
  • Cost savings
Disadvantages
  • Poorer print quality
  • Not compatible with all cartridges

For frequent printers, however, refill ink can lead to significant cost savings. If you are less concerned with colour fidelity and light resistance, you can refill the same cartridge over and over again. This is because in most cases you will have to accept a reduction in quality compared to the original cartridges.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate printer cartridges

In the following we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate printer cartridges. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain printer cartridge is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Multipack or single cartridge
  • Scope of delivery
  • Compatibility
  • Range

Multipack or single cartridge

The difference between these two is that the multipack contains several printer cartridges and the single cartridge, as the name suggests, contains only one printer cartridge.

The multipack is especially suitable for you if you have a printer that uses several colours and you want to save some money. Most of the time, printer cartridges are cheaper in a multipack than if you bought them individually.

The single cartridge is usually available in black colour and is especially worthwhile if you have a black and white printer or if you simply print more in black and white than in colour and therefore run out of cartridges more quickly.

Scope of delivery

The scope of delivery is the quantity of printer cartridges that come with your delivery. With a single cartridge, you will of course only receive one printer cartridge. With a multipack, on the other hand, you get everything from two cartridges upwards.

Compatibility

Compatibility is by far the most important factor when buying printer cartridges. If the cartridges are not compatible with your inkjet printer, you have made a bad purchase and can either exchange them or throw them away.

Many people tend to buy printer cartridges that are not produced by the manufacturer. This is because they are often cheaper than the original cartridges. In many cases, these also offer a very good print image and a higher number of pages. For this reason, the manufacturers of inkjet printers often equip their printer cartridges with a chip that is supposed to be recognised by the printer and prevent the use of non-original printer cartridges.

This brings with it the risk that non-original printer cartridges are not compatible with your inkjet printer. The best way to find out about the product from other suppliers is to read customer reviews. Of course, you are best served with the original cartridges for your inkjet printer from the manufacturer.

However, the printer cartridges that are not produced by the manufacturer usually offer a larger filling level of ink, so you would often save money with these. Find out whether you can use these cartridges with your printer without any problems.

Range

The range indicates the approximate number of pages you can print with a print cartridge. This is important for your printing activities, as you don’t want to run out and buy a new cartridge after a week.

MarkusMitarbeiter bei TonerPartner
Using the right font can save you a lot of money when printing.

Fonts are basically different widths and sizes, hence the difference in the number of pages printed. Garamond” has proven to be a very economical font and is particularly suitable for frequent printers in order to minimise the waste of printer ink.

It is often sufficient to select the entire text and change the font to Garamond.

(Source: blog.tonerpartner.de)

Of course, this is also important for your wallet. Because the less you can actually print with a printer cartridge, the more often you run to the seller or go online and buy new ones. This means that a printer that initially seems cheap can quickly become an expensive investment.

If you save a little on quality when printing, for example by using more greyscale instead of black, you can also save ink here.

Facts worth knowing about printer cartridges

Where can I dispose of printer cartridges?

There are three ways to dispose of your printer cartridges:

  • Recycling programmes of the printer manufacturers
  • Municipal waste collection
  • Private waste disposal companies

Printer manufacturers are required by law to take back the empties and take care of recycling. That is why they have set up their own recycling programmes.

Furthermore, municipal waste collection services accept empty ink and toner cartridges and recycle them properly. In addition, there are private waste disposal companies that specialise in cartridge recycling and in rare cases even pay money for some printer cartridges.

How can you store printer cartridges properly?

The very first step in storing printer cartridges is to keep them at a comfortable temperature. Generally, many manufacturers say that storage between -15 and 35 degrees Celsius is unproblematic. Storage at room temperature of 20 degrees Celsius is therefore possible without any problems.

Did you know that printer cartridges can dry out?

If the printer is not used for a long time, there is a risk that the cartridges will dry out. To avoid this, a test print should be made at least once a month to be on the safe side.

The printer cartridges can also be stored wrapped in foil in the fridge if you are worried about forgetting to test print. However, this is an impractical method.

Furthermore, depending on the manufacturer, you should leave the print cartridges in the original transparent film or in opaque aluminium packaging. However, if you have already opened the cartridge, it should remain in the printer if possible.

However, it is also possible to store opened printer cartridges in airtight plastic containers, but care should be taken not to touch the sensitive nozzles of the printer cartridges.

Picture source: 123rf.com / ©jirk4, 2357409

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