Discount Printer Ink Can Save You a Bundle

Is it OK to use third party inks?

Absolutely! Discount printer ink manufacturers have come a long way since all the inks were water based. In addition to the water based inks, we now have dye and pigment based inks. We also have much smaller droplet sizes.

The result has been that ink manufacturing has become much more exacting. Any third party ink company will not stay in business if they can't deliver a product that meets OEM (original equipment manufacturer) standards.

Will my printer warranty be voided if I use non OEM inks?

No! Printer manufacturers used to claim that your warranty would be voided if you didn't use their inks.

Your warranty is not affected if you use discount inks. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act passed by Congress in 1975, states, "Warrantors cannot require that only branded parts be used with the product in order to retain the warranty".

Which type of ink?

  • Water based inks are not smudge resistant and you can't paint on them.
  • Dye and pigment based inks are faster drying, smudge, water and fade resistant.
  • Pigment based inks are more color fast and will tend to give you crisper edges.

To fully enjoy all the enhancing techniques that you will learn here, you should purchase a printer that uses either pigment based or dye based inks.

What to look for when choosing an ink supplier

  • Your discount printer ink company should be ISO 9001 certified or sell products that come from an ISO 9001 certified producer. This is a very rigorous international standard that covers procedures in manufacturing and other company operations. ISO 9001 certification doesn't guarantee the quality of an end product but it does keep the guys "making it in the garage" out of the loop.

  • Look for a minimum 1 year warranty. This ensures a good shelf life. With the sales incentives to buy larger quantities, you need more than 90 days to be able to make a return. (Note: If you buy OEM cartridges from the discount merchant, the warranty is the responsibility of the manufacturer).
  • Make sure that the products you're buying, meet or exceed OEM specifications. You might have to dig through the fine print for this one.
  • Look for free shipping. This usually comes with a minimum quantity order but if you stick with a good supplier, it's sometimes thrown in without the qualifier.

Cartridges or refills?

This will depend to a certain extent on your printer model.

My experience has been that the refill process is time-consuming, messy and frustrating. There is a limit to the number of times that a cartridge can be reused but you don't know exactly when you have reached the limit until the cartridge fails. That means that you have lost a whole refill of ink and a lot of time.

If you have a choice, my advice is to use OEM, compatible or remanufactured cartridges.

Remember that buying discount printer ink cartridges doesn't lock you into buying third party inks. There is no need to pay full price for an OEM inkjet ink cartridge. Many discounters offer OEM cartridges as an option.

Recycle Ink Cartridges

Think green. Many suppliers have recycling programs and currently Staples will give you a $2.00 credit for each cartridge, so keep your eyes open for deals!


For anyone who will be making a full time business producing cards, you will want to go with a continuous ink system.  You will need to carefully check the printer manufacturer's stance and actions on this subject as they are trying to protect their ink sales.

Tips for choosing a printer

What you should know about paper

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.