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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.
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. Moreover, this can be done easily, especially if you need to refill toner laser printer ink. You just need the right type of ink.
For more on ink types, you’ll want to read our guide on what is an ink cartridge.
Alternatively, you could join an ink subscription program, like the one you’ll learn about in our HP OfficeJet 3830 review.
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 for ink cartridges.
You have several options when it comes to refilling your printer cartridges. Here are just a few.
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 for 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 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 are why you keep asking why ink cartridges are so expensive. And if you are curious, you can read our page for more about inkjet printer ink. Alternatively, if you aren’t sure about the differences, you can read about them with toner vs ink cartridges.
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.
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.
If you want to do it yourself, many ink refill kits 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. However, some risks are associated with doing it yourself, so you may want to consider watching a few YouTube tutorials before getting started.
Aside from the potential issues above, an improperly seated cartridge can always be a problem. In that case, we have a guide on how to install an ink cartridge to guide you.
As a matter of fact, a standard ink cartridge will only be good for 220 to 350 prints.
When I replace it with refilled ink cartridges, my printer keeps giving me a loading error. 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)