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Why Printer Ink Cartridges Are Extremely Model Specific


It's not always easy to find the right ink or printer ink cartridges. Many office supply stores have a whole wall dedicated to printer ink cartridges. Why do printer ink cartridges need to be so model specific? Can't there printer ink cartridges that work for any inkjet printers?

There are many reasons why printer ink cartridges are model specific and why finding the right ink can be difficult. One reason is when printer ink cartridges are replaced, more is being replaced than just the ink. The print heads are built into the printer cartridge, and it is these print heads that may not get replaced often enough if they were not built into the printer cartridge.

The presence of print heads in the printer ink cartridge contributes to the low cost of inkjet printers. Printing manufacturers make very little profit on actual printers. In fact, many are sold at a loss. By building print heads into ink cartridges, manufacturers reap their necessary profits. Printers need print heads to function properly, so without the printer ink cartridge an inkjet printer isn't a complete printer. It is missing an important component.

Replacing the printer head every time you replace the printer ink cartridge will also contribute to the longevity of the printer. Many printer manufacturers will void a warranty if the specific brand and model of printer ink cartridge is not used. It can be challenging to find the right printer ink for those who do not have easy access to a large office supply stores, since other retailers may have a limited selection. Many will resort to finding the right ink online in order to make the process easier and sometimes less expensive.

Often consumers will try to save money on printer ink cartridges by getting them refilled with ink rather than replacing the print heads. Most people do this by taking the cartridge back to an office supply store or similar retailer. While this can be a legitimate way to save money on printer ink, consumers should use this method sparingly and only after they are no longer concerned about their printer's warranty. Printer drivers do need to be replaced regularly, but generally not as often as the ink.

It is hard to tell if printer manufacturers will continue building print heads into printer ink cartridges or if they will raise the initial price of the printer to offset the loss that happens when consumers refill cartridges rather than buying new ones. One thing is certain: When shopping for a printer, it is important to look not only at the cost of the printer, but at the price and availability of printer ink cartridges as well.

Logos and brand names of manufacturers such as HP, Canon, Epson, Xerox, Samsung, Apple, Brother, Dell, IBM and others are registered trademarks of their respective owners. All references to brands are solely made for the purpose of illustrating compatibility of toner and ink cartridges. Their use on does not imply endorsement or association by respective owners.