It is a question that I get asked a lot and recently in the IT press there has been an investigation into the differences between remanufactured ink cartridges, refills and genuine ink cartridges. It seems these days it is cheaper to buy a new printer than to buy the genuine ink replacement cartridges. So on the surface switching to compatible alternatives seems like a definite money saver.

There are arguments for and against the use of these cheaper alternatives. The first is that using them will invalidate your printer’s warranty. This isn’t true unless the compatible cartridge leaks ink and causes damage. (Some remanufacturer offer a level of guarantee against damage, so it is worth reading the small print) The second is that the ink used in cheaper cartridges fades quicker. Unfortunately in tests performed on behalf of Computer Active magazine this was found to be the case. Official Epson ink prints framed under glass lasted 40 years compared with just 3.9 years for the next best alternative!

Overall the maths is clear that using refilled/compatible cartridges could save you a lot of money,  up to £100 a year for heavy printing use (20 pages a week) for a Canon printer. However the savings depend on your brand of printer, so it is worth doing a little research on to find the cheapest solution for you.

If quality and longevity of prints is your priority then you may want to stick to genuine cartridges but if you do a lot of printing and quality isn’t essential, it might be worth giving the refills a try. Shop around for the best prices but you can buy them online from shops like

What does The ‘PuterTutor household use? At the moment my aging HP printer has a compatible black ink and a genuine colour cartridge!


Happy Printing