How important is the ink you choose for your printer?

Are cheaper ink cartridges just as good as the branded ones? We debunk some of the myths…

26 Apr 2018

When you’re printing out your CV or cherished family photos, the last thing you want to see are smudges, blurs and streaks.

We bust some of the myths surrounding printer ink to help you produce better, more consistent results every time.

How important is the ink you choose for your printer?

Myth 1: Third-party cartridges offer better value for money

Truth: While low upfront costs are undeniably appealing, it’s a false economy if you end up with poor results. Third-party cartridges are often unreliable – printers refuse to recognise them; they release too much or too little ink; or the printer quits unexpectedly, leaving you shouting and swearing at it.

Once you’ve spent time troubleshooting failed print jobs or reprinting partially printed documents, the bargain inks don’t seem such a bargain after all. In the end you’re better off with a cartridge that’s specifically designed for your printer.


Myth 2: Cheap cartridges won’t damage your printer

Truth: You’ll see loads of websites claiming that inferior ink doesn’t harm your printer, but non-genuine inks aren’t developed and tested by printer makers for optimum performance. In independent tests, 4 out of 5 HP printers were permanently damaged by the use of non-HP cartridges in them (1).

HP LaserJet 79A

Not only that, 81% of printer technicians said that using non-HP cartridges in HP LaserJet printers shortened the life of the printer, and 92% said printers using non-HP toner cartridges required more cleaning, repairs and replacements.

Make sure to get an ink cartridge that matches your printer - check out the HP LaserJet 79A Black Toner cartridge


Myth 3: All printers guzzle ink

Truth: It’s a common complaint how quickly printers seem to go through ink, but a branded cartridge will usually print more pages than a cheaper equivalent, sometimes by as much as 50%.

There are also things you can do to save ink, such as printing in draft mode and turning on ink or toner-saving settings.

Did you know? With Epson’s XL cartridges you can print twice as many pages as standard cartridges. (2) 

Same results

Myth 4: Ultimately, all ink will produce the same results

Truth: While some third-party ink can provide good results, the reality is that most bargain inks will deliver a poorer quality print that’s more likely to fade over time and might also be incompatible with your printer model.

Branded ink will be calibrated for the printer you’ve bought. This avoids the nozzles getting clogged, so you don’t end up with missing text and streaky images.


Myth 5: Ink cartridges are just coloured water

Truth: Ink is actually the workhorse of your printer. Without getting too technical, genuine ink is a pretty complex liquid that has to be chemically and physically compatible with every part of your printer to give you the best results. This includes the print head, nozzles, cartridge components and paper.

Every time you hit ‘print’ you kick off a chain of events involving hundreds of ink nozzles. If the chain breaks down, the ink won’t fire properly.

HP Combo 304

Myth 6: Printing is harmful to the environment

Truth: You’ve probably had emails with ‘consider the environment before printing this message’ at the bottom. But thanks to advances in technology, printer manufacturers are now recycling ink and toner, and you can get high-quality printing paper that’s also recycled – which is a massive improvement on the recycled paper of a few years back.

Did you know? Some 80% of original HP ink cartridges contain recycled content, while 100% of original HP toner cartridges contain recycled content (3).

Try: HP Combo 304 Tri-colour & Black Ink cartridges


Choose a cartridge that’s compatible with your printer



(1) Buyers Laboratory Inc July 2017 study commissioned by HP compared Original HP ink cartridges with 21 brands of non-HP refilled and remanufactured ink cartridges sold in EMEA markets.


(3) 80% of Original HP ink cartridges contain between 45-70% recycled content. 100% of Original HP toner cartridges contain between 10-33% recycled content.

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