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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Compatible Ink

Did you know that you don’t have to buy ink from your printer’s manufacturer in order to keep your warranty? Have you ever wondered if there’s a difference in quality in compatible ink? Are you not really sure what compatible ink even is?

Here we’ve compiled a quick guide so that you can know everything you ever wanted to know about compatible ink and can make smart choices when you buy.

What Is Compatible Ink Anyway?

Compatible ink is just another way of saying generic ink. Each printer company makes its own ink cartridges for its own printers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those are the only cartridges that will work in a particular brand of printers. Third-party manufacturers also produce cartridges that will work in brand-name machines. The primary benefit of compatible ink is the difference in cost: compatible inks are significantly cheaper than top-of-the-line inks.


If you are cautious about using compatible ink, you’re not alone. It’s certainly wise to do your research and choose compatible ink that will perform just as well as your particular printer’s brand-name ink. However, you can think about it this way: do you ever buy generic medications? How about generic foods? Generic car parts? It’s the same basic idea. Generic doesn’t have to mean lower quality, but it does mean greater savings.

Is Compatible Ink the Same Thing as Re-manufactured Ink?

No, compatible ink cartridges are not the same as re-manufactured ink cartridges. Compatible ink cartridges are newly produced and have never been used before. Re-manufactured ink cartridges, on the other hand, have been recycled: they’ve been used at least once already, gone back to the manufacturer for refill and repairs, and then have been sold again. It’s possible to buy re-manufactured compatible ink cartridges, but the two terms refer to different things.

Will I Void My Warranty by Using Compatible Ink?

No, you will not void your printer’s warranty by using compatible ink. In fact, it’s illegal for printer manufacturers to require you to use their own brand of ink. You are free to use compatible inks in your printer without risking a voided warranty.

Quality Comparisons

Saving money is all well and good, but not if it comes with a hidden price: low-quality prints. This is where it’s good to do some research and to read reviews about different types of compatible ink. There are many on offer that you’ll want to steer clear of, but there are also just as many that will provide top-notch quality at unbeatable prices.

Besides reading reviews from satisfied (or unsatisfied) customers, it’s also a good idea to look for a company that tests its ink for quality assurance purposes and that has a liberal return policy just in case you run into any issues.

With that said, if you are an absolute stickler for quality or print things on a professional basis, you’d best go with the optimal quality provided by brand-name ink used concurrently with its intended printer.

Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a Compatible Ink

If you print a large volume on a regular basis, you’ll likely be satisfied with the cost benefits of quality compatible ink. They are capable of handling a large volume of prints without compromising on performance, and you’ll be pleased with the cost savings at the end of the day.

If, however, you don’t fire up the ol’ printer very often—less than every few months, for example—you may want to think twice about compatible ink. The reason is that your ink can dry out if you do not use the printer often. One of the advantages of brand-name inks is that they usually contain chemicals to slow down the drying process and to prevent the pores of the ink cartridge from clogging. Dry ink can damage your print head, so if you don’t print very often, you might as well go for the more expensive brand-name inks to get that added protection.

If you also print mostly text documents, you won’t see much difference in using a quality compatible ink. Images, however, are a different story. Although third-party manufacturers have been able to produce some exceptional inks without infringing on the patents of the brand-name suppliers, there are still some flaws in production. One of these has to do with compatible ink fading more quickly than its brand-name counterpart. With text, this isn’t usually a problem, but it can be more noticeable in images, especially if the images are exposed to the light for long periods of time rather than, for example, enclosed in a photo album.

The important thing to bear in mind when purchasing a compatible ink is quality. For your basic needs, a quality compatible ink will perform admirably and save you money in the process.

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