Technology Training

Are Generic ink jet cartridges OK to use?

It doesn’t take long for the running costs of your printer to outweigh the price you paid for it. Replacing ink is an expensive exercise, especially if you buy the manufacturer’s brand of cartridges, so you can definitely save a fair bit of money by buying generic, or compatible, ink cartridges. But are they worth it in the long run?

Are genuine cartridges better for your printer?

No, In my opinion there just a waste of your money!

The sky-high price of printer ink – measure for measure more expensive than vintage champagne – has been well documented. Less well-known is the fact that the amount of ink in the average cartridge has shrunk dramatically. For example, the Epson T032 colour cartridge (released in 2002) is the same size as the Epson colour T089 (released in 2008). But the T032 contains 16ml of ink and the T089 contains just 3.5ml of ink. It’s a similar story with Hewlett Packard (HP) cartridges. A decade ago, the best-selling HP cartridge had 42ml of ink and sold for about $50. Today, the standard printer cartridges made by HP may contain as little as 5ml of ink but sell for about $30.

Cut open a HP inkjet cartridge and you’ll find what is going on. The size of the sponges inside, which hold the ink, have progressively reduced over the years. The rest of the cartridge is now simply empty space. In Epson cartridges, meanwhile, the ink tank has been systematically reduced in size.

The shrinking amount of ink in cartridges has enabled manufacturers to offer a remarkable new product – called “XL” (extra large) but almost exactly the same size as the standard cartridge. For example, HP makes the HP300, which contains 5ml of black ink and sells for about $32.00. It also makes the HP300XL, which has more ink – about 16ml – and sells for around $48 -$56. But both are nearly identical in size. Indeed, some makers’ “XL” cartridges may contain less ink than standard cartridges issued a few years ago.

What are the savings between generics & genuine cartridges?

Generic cartridges are usually at least half the price of the genuine cartridges, and have more ink in them, which means they last longer. You really need to do the math:
If a Canon IP7260 printer costs you say $110.00 to purchase and it uses 5 cartridges.
1 x small black, 1 x large black, 1 x cyan, 1 x magenta, 1 x yellow
A pack of genuine cartridges would cost around $90.00, whereas generic would be $38.00 – A huge saving!
Even if your printer only last 3 years, you still have saved a lot of money.

What about the Quality?

If you need the highest possible print quality, you probably should stick with genuine ink cartridges as they tend to perform a bit better. But for general document printing, generic compatible cartridges work pretty well – and it’s hard to argue with the cost savings. The performance quality will vary, depending on your printer and the generic ink brand you buy. Some printers can handle generic inks just fine, while others might give streaky results or get clogged. There are two main quality issues that could be a problem with compatible ink cartridges:


Results from some compatible ink cartridges can at first appear to be as good as using original inks but they may be far less durable and more likely to fade over time.

Colour accuracy

Colour accuracy is usually OK with generic ink cartridges, but true-to-life colour can be critical for some people. This is definitely the case with flesh tones, where even small colour variations can be very obvious.

Will a generic cartridge damage my printer?

The jury is still out on whether a generic cartridge will damage your printer in the long term. But after testing over the past 3 years – none of the inkjet printers tested appeared to suffer any head damage.

Printer warranty issues

Although compatible cartridges will save you money on ink, you do use them at your own risk. Compatible ink cartridges may come with a warranty, but it only covers the replacement of the cartridge, not any damage that happens to the printer itself. If the printer stops working, or if it’s damaged, it may be hard to claim repairs under warranty if you’ve used a generic ink cartridge rather than the manufacturer’s brand.

Where do I buy generic printer ink cartridges?

Not all printers on the market will accept generic cartridges, especially newer models. It takes time for printers to become popular enough for alternative inks to be worth producing. It’s then up to third-party companies to either make or source compatible cartridges, often from cheap overseas markets like China. Choosing a less popular printer or relatively new model may mean you have fewer ink cartridges to choose from.

Technology Training are now selling high quality generic inkjet cartridges along with laser compatible cartridges.

Just go to and click on  “printer cartridges”

Here you can view all of the brands that we carry, and order online. Prices start at just $10.00 for inkjets and only $16.00 for laser toner cartridges. All of these have been tested on hundreds of printers over many years, and will not damage your printer. We use high quality American Ink.

Be careful when ordering printer cartridges online, especially places such as ebay. I myself  ordered some cartridges for a canon printer and after a short time it clogged the print head, which could not be un-clogged. The secret with good quality cartridges is that you must use good quality ink. I have been told from someone in the know, that American ink is best and to keep away from Chinese ink.

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