If you have recently purchased an inkjet printer, you may have noticed that ink cartridges will often need to be replaced. Even having the largest or best quality printer will not spare you from this issue. As a matter of fact, a standard ink cartridge will only be good for 220 to 350 prints.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Ink cartridges will be depleted after printing anywhere from 220 to 350 pages.
  • Consumers can opt to refill depleted cartridges instead of purchasing new ones.
  • This procedure can be done at retail stores, recycling centers, or at home by using an ink refill kit.

Can You Refill Printer Cartridges?

To save a few bucks, you could opt for third-party or generic ink cartridges, or you could go for high-yield cartridges. There is, however, another option. You can, in some cases, refill these printer cartridges with ink, eliminating the need for replacement.

Insider Tip

We strongly recommend that you call ahead of time to inquire about the company’s policy, as not every retail branch will conduct ink refills to ink cartridges.

Where to Refill Printer Cartridges

You have several options when it comes to refilling your printer cartridges. Here are just a few.

Big-Box Retailers

Several office-focused big-box retail stores will conduct ink refills when asked. These stores include Office Max, Costco, and Walgreens, among others. We strongly recommend that you call ahead of time to inquire about the company’s policy, as not every retail branch will conduct ink refills to ink cartridges. The process typically entails bringing in empty ink cartridges. An employee will inspect these cartridges to ensure they can still be used, and then conduct a thorough cleaning process. Finally, they will be refilled with useable ink. The price here tends to cost half as much as buying a brand new ink cartridge. Purchasing brand new ink cartridges is why you keep asking why ink cartridges are so expensive.

Insider Tip

Even if you do not live near one of these centers, these establishments tend to have a robust presence online, with some even paying for shipping.

Dedicated Ink Recycling Centers

There are dedicated ink recycling centers that could have a location near you. Even if you do not live near one of these centers, these establishments tend to have a robust presence online, with some even paying for shipping. Be sure to research the recycling center ahead of time and call them up to ask about the turnaround time. The ink refilling process will be similar to what you would have experienced at a big-box retail store. The cost to refill an ink cartridge at a recycling center will be slightly less than at a retail store.

Ink Refill Kits

If you want to do it yourself, there are many ink refill kits available that have been purposefully designed for the average consumer. This will be your cheapest option, as a DIY ink refill will cost around a third of buying a new ink cartridge. An average cartridge-refilling kit includes a bottle of replacement ink, a syringe to inject the ink into the cartridge, and a seal to prevent leaking. Just be sure that you know what type of ink is used in inkjet printers that is if you have an inkjet printer. There are also some risks associated with doing it yourself, however, so you may want to consider watching a few YouTube tutorials before getting started.

Warning

As a matter of fact, a standard ink cartridge will only be good for 220 to 350 prints.

F.A.Q.

My printer keeps giving me a loading error when I replace it with refilled ink cartridges. What can I do?

There are many reasons why you would get a loading error when inserting a refilled ink cartridge, though it typically indicates that you need to clean the electrical contacts both on the cartridge and inside of the printer. Use a cotton swab and alcohol.


Can I refill an ink cartridge in the middle of a printing job?

Yes, you should be able to pause the printing job, dislodge the ink cartridge, and take it in to be refilled.


How can you know if your local Walgreens will refill ink cartridges?

Most Walgreens locations with a photo lab will refill ink cartridges, but you should call ahead of time to ask about availability.



STAT: In 2012, the average selling price of an ink cartridge was $34.77 U.S. dollars. (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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