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What Are The Different Types Of Ink Cartridges - A Simple Guide To Buying The Right One For You


In our modern technological world, there are seemingly endless varieties of printers, cartridges and inks. The diverse array of printing materials available on the market is meant to cater to the printing needs of all types of customers. It stands to reason that a personal home printer would not require the same high quality (and, most likely, high priced) ink cartridges that a business would. That is why, before purchasing an ink cartridge for your printer, you should know more about the types of cartridges and their differing usages to save you time and money.

Types of Ink Cartridges

As per the general classifications, there are three types of ink cartridges – the original ink cartridge, remanufactured ink cartridge, and compatible ink cartridge. Each of these three cartridges has unique features and specifications:

1. Original

HP 62XL OEM Black Ink Cartridge

  • The original printer cartridges come with your printer upon purchase. These cartridges have the company’s brand attached to them and are high quality and high quantity. Generally, these cartridges are produced by the same manufacturers as the printer. Because they come stamped with the brand name, these are often quite expensive.


2. Recycled

  • Recycled (or re-manufactured) cartridges either make use of old cartridge mechanisms to build new units or are empty cartridges that are refilled with new ink for future use. This is a fantastic option for the financially and environmentally concerned buyer. Since they are using recycled parts, they're both cheaper and greener options for your printing needs. Also, such cartridges are easily available both in stores and from online retailers. 


3. Compatible

Brother LC103XL Compatible Ink Cartridge Combo

  • The third type of cartridge is the compatible ink cartridge, which is a kind of printer cartridge that suits several different types of printer models. These cartridges are manufactured by a third party vendor as opposed to the brand name printer vendors. Many large scale businesses and companies prefer compatible ink cartridges because they are cheapest option and are suitable for many types of printer models. However, using compatible cartridges can sacrifice some quality in favor of quantity.


Types of Ink

Generally, cartridges come with one of two types of ink. One is the pigment based ink and another is dye based ink.


Type of Ink



The type of pigment affects saturation, hue, and brightness of the ink

Better for printing on paper; the pigment stays on the surface

Pigments are the main component of ink

Pigment size is important for the ability to diffuse the ink solution


Tends to soak into the paper

Less efficient, but stronger than pigment-based ink

May bleed around edges of the print

Can fade when exposed to sunlight


As the pigment-based ink dries very quickly, it is used for color printing on a smaller scale. Alternatively, the dye based inks offer vibrant colors and dry within a few seconds. These inks are used at labs and photo studios that require very high quality prints.

Cartridge 101

The mechanism of printing is a very simple process. The printer ink acts on its head portion by spreading ink over paper. As the cartridge has several partitions, it interacts with the compatible printer simultaneously. When the user gives printing command through the connecting computer, the electric current flows and the heating of resistor takes place. This vaporizes the ink from the nozzle, which then falls on the paper and the printing process starts.

Storing & Replacing Ink Cartridges

Ink cartridges should be stored in their sealed packaging, away from extreme temperatures and sunlight. This will maintain the condition they are in for up to 24 months. 

When replacing the ink cartridge(s), it is best to do it before they run out completely; damage can be caused to the machine if this step is not taken. If the print heads are a part of the cartridge; avoid touching the circuits when installing. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when installing or removing to keep your printer at its best performance and to avoid damage.

To keep ink cartridges at their best, store them properly and do not damage the printheads when installing, our technicians recommend printing at least once a week in color to avoid the ink from drying. 

AbsoluteToner offers a wide range of types and color ink cartridges at competitive pricing, making it easy to find the right cartridge for you!

Have any questions or comments? Join the conversation, we love to hear from our customers!

Cut the Price, Not the Quality!

- Absolute Toner Team

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