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Ink Cartridge Refill


Ink cartridge refills : the pros and cons

Ink cartridge refills look tantalizingly cheap but are they too good to be true? What are the real pros and cons of opting for a refilled ink cartridge?


On the positive side you'll save up to 60% of the cost of buying new ink cartridges but the best advice is to always get a refill done by a professional. Otherwise you're looking at a really false economy: botched home refills and cheap inks will ruin your prints and seriously damage your printer.


By opting for an ink cartridge refill you'll also be helping the environment. Millions of used cartridges end up in landfill each year and take up to 1000 years to degrade; by refilling your old cartridges you're saving mountains of plastic from the dump.


Some ink cartridges can't be refilled though (such as some tricolor cartridges) and the whole process can be very messy - so much so that home refill kits generally include a bleach or solvent to help you get ink off your hands, clothes and furniture. Refilling is tricky and if the air in the cartridge isn't balanced correctly the ink won't flow consistently and you'll end up with uneven prints.

Results from home refill kits are often very disappointing: you may be fine if you just print black text but color is almost always a problem. Leaks, streaky marks and clogged printer heads are common complaints. Refill ink will also fade faster.

Particularly avoid refill kits that promise to work with a large variety of machines: the inks used are specific to each brand and machine and those in a generic kit will almost certainly be of poor quality. Refilling your cartridge will also void your printer warranty in many cases.

Opting for ink cartridge refills or remanufactured ink cartridges from a professional source is a much better option. Professional refillers such as Cartridge World spend a lot of money on research and produce inks that are technically the same as the originals: offering high quality alternatives to manufacturers' own brands.

Such companies also generally offer a three-month unconditional warranty on all refilled and remanufactured cartridges and the printers they are used in, whether they are within warranty or not.

Remanufactured cartridges will have all components cleaned and checked before refilling and testing. Simple cartridges without a print head or any electronics can be refilled again and again, more complex cartridges will probably only last for two or three refills.

Whatever you choose to do your print quality will always be best when using the manufacturers' own brand inks. If you're printing photos or documents where color saturation and density are important to you, don't risk it, pay for the manufacturer's brand cartridges.