The Ink Used in Inkjet Printer Cartridges

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Updated June 27, 2022

Inkjet printers work by spraying small ink particles onto paper to create text-based and image-based reproductions. They are some of the high-quality printers on the market. Consumers may be wondering, however, the exact type of ink used in modern inkjet printers and what it is made out of.


  • Inkjet printers use ink cartridges, which are made from soybean oil, petroleum distillate, various dyes, and colorings, among other materials.
  • Before you purchase an ink cartridge, make sure it is compatible with your individual printer.
  • Ink cartridges can be purchased in a large capacity, which could help minimize the replacement hassle.

The Ink Used in Inkjet Printer Cartridges

Generally speaking, the ink used in modern inkjet printer cartridges is made from some type of oil, including soybean oil. Other popular ingredients include petroleum distillate, carbon black varnish, various dyes, and colorings.

How to Pick the Right Inkjet Printer Cartridges

Here are some helpful tips and guidelines to consider before going out and buying some replacement printer ink cartridges.

Opt for Large-capacity Cartridges

The primary disadvantage for most consumers when it comes to inkjet printers is the fact that the ink cartridges need to regularly be replaced. You can cut down on this replacement hassle by purchasing large-capacity ink cartridges. These cartridges can double or even triple the cartridges’ maximum ink capacity, which will mean much longer periods of time before cartridge replacements. Of course, large-capacity ink cartridges will be more expensive than standard-sized cartridges.

Make Sure They Integrate With Your Printer

Though all inkjet printers use ink, they cannot all use the same ink cartridges. This is due to the fact that there are several proprietary designs when it comes to these cartridges and several installation components when it comes to printers. In other words, make sure the cartridge can fit your individual printer before making a purchase. If you have an old printer then you may want to discard it as they mostly do not support the new inkjet printer cartridges. If so you can find out what to do with an old printer instead of just dumping it.

Check your printer’s instruction manual to see what size cartridges they can use and also research the cartridge itself. If you are shopping on Amazon, the manufacturer will typically include a list of compatible printers somewhere in the listing.

Insider Tip

If you are shopping on Amazon, the manufacturer will typically include a list of compatible printers somewhere in the listing.

Subscription Plans

Most of the popular printer manufacturers offer ink subscription plans. These plans can help you save money and time, as the cartridges will be delivered on a regular basis and they will have been proven to integrate nicely with your printer. This is especially great if you do not know where to refill printer cartridges. The subscription plans are extraordinarily efficient, as ink cartridges can deplete in as few as 100 pages. The downside? Even with the money saved by going with a subscription plan, ink cartridges sold by a major printer manufacturer will still be more expensive than those made by a third-party brand.


Why choose an inkjet printer?

There are many reasons to opt for an inkjet printer over a laser printer or another type of printer. Inkjet printers are relatively inexpensive and are much smaller than laser printers. Additionally, inkjet printers excel with color.

What is the cheapest printer ink?

There is no universally accepted cheapest printer ink. When shopping for budget-friendly ink, be sure to check out the maximum capacity as cheaper inks tend to run out faster than cartridges made by a major manufacturer.

How do you know what kind of ink to get for your printer?

We advise reading through your printer’s instruction manual and any other related documentation. This should let you know what type of ink to buy.

STAT: Single-ink cartridges were found to have on average 20% of their ink remaining when disposed of, though actual figures range from 9% to 64% of the cartridge’s total ink capacity, depending on the brand and model of printer. (source)

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