Replacement Ink Cartridges: FAQ
Will using replacement ink cartridges void my warranty?
Check the warranty that comes with your printer very carefully. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act (1975) does not allow for warranty exclusion based solely on your use of generic, remanufactured or refilled consumables. However, most manufacturers have worded their warranties very carefully to state that any problem that occurs as a result of using third-party consumables will not be covered. If you use the discount ink cartridges without a problem then your warranty will not be void. To be on the safe side however, don't take your printer in for repair with modified ink cartridges installed.
Will the print quality be the same with compatible or remanufactured ink cartridges?
If you're only printing black text you will probably not notice any difference in print quality. If you're printing text in color or planning to use graphics you may notice a shift in colors, or if you have a replacement ink cartridge with poor quality inks, a duller version of the color than you see on screen. If you're printing photographs or high resolution graphics you'll be best to pay for an Original Equipment Manufacture (OEM) cartridge to ensure the best possible reproduction of colors and density.
Do I have any come-back if something goes wrong with a third-party ink cartridge?
This depends on where you buy your replacement ink cartridge and what the supplier's terms are. If you have refilled a cartridge yourself then the answer is generally no. If you buy a refilled, compatible or refurbished cartridge from a reliable dealer you will generally have some type of guarantee but check this before you buy your cartridge. The best dealers offer three-month unconditional guarantees for both the cartridges and the printers you use them in. Others only guarantee that the cartridge will function but not the quality of your prints.
Can I keep refilling my inkjet cartridge forever?
Most inkjet cartridges contain a printer head and these do wear out. Once the printer head is worn you will not be able to use the cartridge again. The number of times you can do this before wearing out the printer head depends on the cartridge. Simple cartridges without a print head can be used more times than those with high-tech printer heads and electronic components. Laser toners with an ink tank can generally be refilled many more times than inkjet cartridges.
Will generic replacement ink cartridges damage my printer?
Cheap inks with a different chemical balance to the original manufacturers' brand can damage the nozzles on your printer head but in general inks from reliable manufacturers should not do this. Leaving a cartridge to run completely dry will cause damage quickly though, as ink clogs the nozzles and can be very difficult to remove. Some ink cartridges will not work if they have been allowed to run dry - even if they are refilled with new ink.
Any other points I should look out for?
Don't remove the cartridge any more than is necessary as this can wear out the contacts faster. Once you remove the cartridge don't touch the contact points as the oil on your fingers can ruin them. If you do touch them accidentally clean them with a cotton bud and some alcohol. Finally, don't turn your printer off before it completes its cycle as the printer heads need to stop in the correct place to prevent ink leakage and dried-out nozzles.