Where To Buy Printer Ink Online [PATCHED]
Some printer brands definitely offer cheaper ink cartridges than others. A few printer brands that feature more affordable replacement ink cartridges include Canon, Hewlett-Packard, and Epson. Companies should still investigate the cost of ink for any individual model of the printer before making a purchase, and of course, generic compatible cartridges and remanufactured cartridges are always cheaper options.
where to buy printer ink online
Toner for laser printers can cost substantially more than other types of printer ink. Fortunately, multiple online print retailers also sell discount laser toners. Small businesses can check out the toner cartridge deals from 123InkJets and InkGrabber for deals on toner for their laser printers.
Black ink cartridges for printers are almost always cheaper than color printing cartridges. Not only do the cartridges cost less to replace, but they typically contain more ink than a similar color printing cartridge.
*SpencerLab Sept 2021 study of printer inks sold in North America commissioned by HP for on-average performance of 16 brands of non-HP refill, remanufactured, and imitation cartridges vs. Original HP Ink SKUs 952XL, 63XL, 902XL, 950XL, 951XL. To account for reliability-driven supplies issues, defective and failed cartridges were included in the page yield calculations. Consequently, the reported page yield numbers are not based on ISO/IEC 24711 standard methodology, as it requires defective supplies be excluded from page yield calculation. See -NA-2021.pdf
Help protect your printer and your data with Original HP cartridges: HP office-class printing systems are select Enterprise and Managed devices with FutureSmart firmware 4.5 and up, Pro devices, LaserJet models
Takeaway: "Cheapest" is a relative term when it comes to printer ink. Carrot Ink doesn't advertise a super-low price on its homepage the way other sites do, and we couldn't find any cartridges selling for less than $6.95. But in our comparison of seven replacement ink cartridges, Carrot Ink's prices for replacement toner cartridges as well as ink cartridges were almost always the cheapest by at least a buck or two (and by $5 in one instance). Selection was good too: Carrot Ink had ink in stock for all but one of the printers in our price survey. Up-to-date, professional, objective reviews of online printer ink retailers are nearly impossible to find, but in the past, Carrot Ink has earned good feedback from most customers. It also has one of the lowest price thresholds for free shipping among the retailers we surveyed. However, it also accepts the fewest forms of payment.
Takeaway: No online printer ink vendor earns more positive reviews than 4inkjets, which earns strong user reviews at both Reseller Ratings and Bizrate Surveys. Customer service is 4inkjets' strong suit: Its lifetime guarantee is the most generous among the retailers we surveyed, and the customer service phone line is open on Saturdays; some other sellers keep only Monday-to-Friday hours. We found far fewer complaints about cartridges that malfunction or leak than for other retailers, although negative reviews do exist. We also found a handful of complaints about shipments that didn't show up, were incomplete, or took a long time to arrive. To their credit, customer service representatives have responded to most negative reviews we saw. Prices aren't always the cheapest, but 4inkjets is usually within a couple dollars of the lowest-priced competitor, and most consumers seem perfectly happy to pay a little more for ink they say they can rely on.
Takeaway: 123inkjets gets generally positive reviews from consumers, but buyers are not as enthusiastic about this replacement ink vendor as they are about 4inkjets. Reviewers are more apt to complain about receiving defective cartridges, and we found more reports of poor customer service, as well. Prices vary by printer and brand, but the fact that 123inkjets tends to be a few dollars more expensive than competitors doesn't seem to be an issue with buyers. The retailer is also the only one that accepts Amazon Pay, in addition to PayPal and traditional forms of payment, a nice plus. One drawback: 123inkjets has the highest free-shipping threshold among the sites we researched.
If you opt to buy printer ink online, keep in mind that the cartridges offered by the cheapest places typically are not branded ink from the company that made your printer (known in the industry as the original equipment manufacturer).
Prices vary by brand and printer model, but generally speaking, you'll save about 25% to 40% on aftermarket printer ink compared with the brand-name version. You can find cheap, no-name printer ink on eBay and Amazon for just a few dollars per cartridge. But reviewers say you often get what you pay for with this cheap ink and recommend going with an established retailer instead.
Online printer ink companies have been around since the late 1990s, but some consumers still worry that using third-party replacement ink will void their printer warranty. Federal law and a 2017 U.S. Supreme Court ruling bar manufacturers from forcing consumers to use OEM ink and other components, but they can still refuse to honor a warranty if they can prove a malfunction was directly caused by a non-OEM cartridge.
An alternative to buying replacement printer ink cartridges is to refill the empty ones you already have. You can buy do-it-yourself kits online, but consumers who have tried them warn that they're very messy and not worth the hassle. A few years ago, you could just go to a store like Cartridge World, Costco, or Fry's to have your cartridges refilled, but Costco no longer offers that service, Fry's is no longer in business, and Cartridge World has shifted its focus to business customers. We recommend saving yourself the hassle and just buying replacement ink cartridges, rather than trying to refill your empties.
There are no serious reviews of cheap printer ink online that evaluate its quality compared with name-brand ink. Top Ten Reviews is the only reputable site that "tests" online replacement ink services, but its recommendations are based largely on price, inventory, and customer service. Consumer Reports and PC World both have excellent buying guides but focus mostly on ways to save ink. To assess how consumers feel about replacement printer ink ordered online, we consulted reviews on sites like Reseller Ratings and Bizrate Surveys, two e-commerce marketing and analytics firms. To get a sense of product quality, we also examined customer reviews of ink for a selection of popular inkjet printers on the retailers' websites.
In general, most consumers seem relatively satisfied with the quality of the replacement printer ink they buy, but users make the same complaints no matter which retailer they choose. The most common gripes include colors that aren't consistent or saturated (especially yellow and magenta), inks that clog printer heads, and cartridges that either can't be read by the printer or trigger an "out of ink" warning when still full.
All the replacement printer ink retailers that we review back their products with money-back guarantees, although warranty length varies from brand to brand. The best retailers offer a one- or two-year warranty, plus a grace period of 15 to 30 days to return unopened products for a refund. However, few of them reimburse customers for the cost of return shipping unless there is a clear defect, a sore spot for some reviewers. Most printer ink vendors deliver within a few days and offer free ground shipping on orders over a certain amount, usually between $40 and $55. Although you may be tempted to overload your cart to qualify for free shipping, experts caution against stockpiling ink cartridges. Remember, they can dry out, so any extra cartridges should be stored in an airtight container and used within a few months of purchase.
Selection was not an issue in general, although a few of the sample cartridges we searched for were not sold at all the retailers in our survey. Often, buyers have the option of buying multipacks, which tend to be cheaper than buying cartridges individually, as well as high-yield or "XL" cartridges, which typically print about twice as many pages as standard cartridges and generally are a good deal for heavy-duty printing needs. For occasional print jobs, though, users are better off with standard-size cartridges, because ink can dry out if the printer isn't used regularly.
All of the retailers that we surveyed offer phone, email, and online chat support for customers, usually five or six days a week. Complaints about customer service are infrequent, but common issues include slow delivery, incorrect orders, failure to issue refunds, charging for return shipping, slow responses to email queries, rude customer service agents, and long waits on phone lines.
We ship our printer ink cartridges and laser toner cartridges orders by USPS, UPS or FedEx. Orders placed before 2PM PT will be shipped out the same business day. Free shipping is available for all U.S. order over $50, otherwise $3.99 low flat-rate shipping cost will be added.
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