Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Printers, especially those with inkjet-based cartridges, have become very popular and it is increasingly easy to have one at home. And to avoid headaches, it’s good to think about printer ink.

Today, at MONEDEROsmart, we’ll explain a little better about printer ink and how in some models it’s possible to refill it quickly and practically. Although there are establishments offering the refilling service, it’s very easy to carry out the process at home and many brands make their own refills available. Check out our full review for more details.




Summary

  • Refilling cartridges is almost exclusive to inkjet printers.
  • Before buying a refill, make sure it’s the same brand and compatible with your printer.
  • When refilling cartridges, remember to cover a workbench and wear gloves to reduce the risk of mess and stains on your furniture.

The Best Printer Ink: Our Picks

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Buying Guide

It used to take real paraphernalia to change printer ink, especially in times when refilling required breaching the cartridge on many printers. It wasn’t long before brands noticed the advantage of working to develop more affordable ways for the average user to refill their cartridge at home by offering their own refills. And, with so much variety, be sure to follow our Buying Guide to understand more about the processes and which are the best inks for your printer.

Imagem de pessoa reabastecendo cartucho de impressora com tinta preta

Some cartridges are already produced to facilitate the refilling of the ink. (Source: Weerapat Kiatdumrong / 123RF)

What is printer ink?

When it comes to home printers, the most famous are inkjet printers, which have refillable cartridges and make black and white and colour prints. They can use two types of inks, dyes and pigments. They are mainly composed of water, solvents, additives and dye materials, usually in black, magenta (red), cyan (blue) and yellow.

Dye inks are ideal for colour printing as they are more vivid and vibrant. They also have the advantage of being less likely to clog the cartridge head.

The pigmented inks are destined for printing in black and white, since they have less brightness, but higher fixation. So when buying your refills, be aware of this detail to ensure better quality prints.

Imagem de cartuchos de impressora colorida

Canon is one of the forerunners when it comes to inkjet printers and the brand offers its own refills. (Source: pavelkovar / Pixabay)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of printer ink?

Printer refills offer several advantages, after all, it’s cheaper to change the ink than the whole cartridge. You can choose what type of ink for your impressions and this is also an ecologically sustainable option, since it decreases the waste of materials.

However, you need to note some disadvantages. You need to buy the right ink for your printer to avoid damage, the refilling process can cause mess and dirt and, in some cartridges and refills, it is necessary to use syringes, which requires some care.

Advantages
  • It is cheaper to change the ink than the cartridge
  • You can choose the type of ink
  • It is an environmentally sustainable option
Disadvantages
  • You need to buy the right ink for your printer
  • The refilling process can be messy
  • Some cartridges and refills require the use of syringes

How do I refill my ink cartridge?

Unfortunately, printer ink is still an expensive material, so when it comes to refilling your cartridge, you can’t be too careful to avoid wasting it. Although some printers already have simpler cartridges, which facilitates the replacement, in most inkjet printers, the process requires some care.

  1. First of all, choose a workbench and cover it with a bit of paper towel, in case of accidents.
  2. Then, carefully remove the label on the top of the cartridge to find the holes that allow filling.
  3. Before doing this, remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. In most cases, the only hole that accepts ink is the one with a small sponge.
  4. Using a syringe, pierce that hole until you feel the needle hit the bottom.
  5. Then, just add the paint slowly, remembering not to fill it too much so that it doesn’t leak.
  6. Then, simply plug the holes with the label itself or a piece of adhesive tape.

It is very important not to perform the process while the cartridge is in the printer, because if there are leaks, this can damage the product.

Imagem de seringa reabastecendo o cartucho de tinta da impressora.

Unfortunately, many refills are not designed for refilling straight from the pot. (Source: Yaowalak Rahung / 123RF)

How much does printer ink cost?

The price of printer ink can vary greatly depending on its colours, the quality of the product and the net weight. The refills of black ink are usually the cheapest, ranging from £5 to £10. The coloured ones can be found in kits or individually and cost a little more, ranging from £10 to £50, with some reaching over £100, depending on their quality.

Imagem de impressora industrial colorida

Considering the price of the cartridges, it is much cheaper to make the ink change. (Source: juanjo6560 / Pixabay)

Purchase Criteria: What to consider before buying printer ink

As you’ve seen throughout our review, using printer ink is much cheaper, practical and sustainable. But, as each printer model has a type of cartridge, it’s important to make the right choice to avoid headaches. Thinking of that, separated for you some criteria that are important at the time of purchase for you to be sure you made the best choice.

  • Colours
  • Net weight
  • Compatibility
  • Ink type

Check each of the topics below carefully to understand a little more about the product and how to get professional standard prints on your inkjet printer.

Colours

Most home printers these days work with two cartridges: one for black ink and one for colour. The most important thing to note here is whether the refills are compatible with your printer. Another determining factor is quality, so if possible, opt for refills made by the printer manufacturer itself. This ensures longer life of the cartridge and a greater number of prints without giving up quality.

Did you know that the basic colours for a printer are black, yellow, cyan and magenta? From them you can get all the other colours you need

Net weight

Another determining factor for the purchase is the net weight of the package, that is, the amount of ink available per refill. Currently, most manufacturers offer jars of 100 to 500 ml, although it is possible to find some with up to 1 litre.

Imagem de tinta para impressora jato de tinta

Remember that the quality of printing not only depends on the ink, but also the paper that is being used. (Source: tookapic / Pixabay)

The size of the ink cartridge depends a lot from one printer to another, as does its capacity. Also, you don’t have to wait until the cartridge is empty to make the replacement. As it is common to have some ink left in the refills after refilling, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to store them so they last longer and don’t dry out.

Compatibility

As we said before, it is very important to check that the ink you are buying is compatible with your cartridge and your printer. In addition to maintaining quality, this can prevent damage. And it is not difficult to identify this information, since most manufacturers provide on the packaging the series of printers with which the ink is compatible.

Imagem de impressora colorida com cartuchos reabastecíveis

Before buying a printer ink kit, check the manufacturer’s specifications to avoid accidents. (Source: manuelwagner0 / Pixabay)

Ink type

Finally, it’s also worth paying attention to the type of ink. Throughout the article you saw that you can find the dyes and the pigmented, which are a little thicker. Especially in this case, it is important to check that the cartridge is suitable to receive the type of ink you want to put in. In some cartridges, the use of thicker inks can clog the printhead.

(Source of the highlighted image: Magnascan / Pixabay)

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