How to Save Money on Ink Cartridges with Steep Discounts

Like if this guide is helpful
How to Save Money on Ink Cartridges with Steep Discounts

Despite the fact that many people conduct business, photo sharing, and even personal correspondence is conducted largely online, most people still find themselves in need of a printer on occasion. There is nothing worse than having one of these occasions arise and being unable to print because the printer is out of ink. Anyone who has ever shopped for a printer ink cartridges knows that they can carry a hefty price tag, whether they are purchased at an office supply retailer or online from eBay.

Luckily, there are a few ways that the average consumer can save money on ink cartridges by taking advantage of discounts, seeking out different types of ink cartridges, and changing printing behaviour. Because ink cartridges can come at a significant cost, sometimes even more than purchasing an entirely new printer, following these tips in order to save money on ink cartridges is a good idea for anyone on a budget.

Buy Ink Cartridges Online

While there are certainly other options for purchasing ink cartridges, shopping online for ink cartridges is a great way to save money. However, it is still important to know which types of ink cartridges to look for when shopping in order to find the best discounts. In general, the most affordable ink cartridges are refilled cartridges, recycled cartridges, and third-party cartridges.

Refilling Ink Cartridges

Most people are in the habit of discarding an empty ink cartridge as soon as the printer tells them it is out of ink. However, in many cases, the cartridge itself is still completely usable, even if the ink reserve is empty. This is why some companies have begun to offer ink cartridge refill services wherein fresh ink is put into old cartridges for a fee that is much less than purchasing an entirely new cartridge.

Some of these services take place in an office supply store or other retail establishment, while others allow patrons to send their ink cartridges away and have them returned full of ink. In either case, this is a great way to save money. Keep in mind, though, that ink cartridges cannot be refilled indefinitely and eventually need to be replaced.

Ink Cartridge Refill Kits

For those who are more hands-on or who want to save even more money on ink cartridges, it is possible to buy refill kits that allow regular consumers to refill their ink cartridges at home. Those who opt to go this route should be sure to read all instructions thoroughly before proceeding so as not to ruin either the ink cartridge or the printer with an improper refill.

Common Types of Ink

The right type of ink cartridge also depends on the type of ink that a printer requires. The following chart outlines the most common types of printer ink as well as some key attributes.

Type of Ink



Dye-Based Ink

Less costly

Potential to bleed through paper because of ink composition

Pigment-Based Ink

Bonds well to paper; very opaque; does not bleed through paper

Pricier than dye-based ink

Waterproof Ink

Does not run if the printed item becomes wet

Pricier than some other options; usually unnecessary

Solid Ink

Vibrant colours and less waste

Not very common

It is important to choose the right type of ink to match the printer. Some types of ink can be used with a variety of printers, but not all are compatible with the printers' mechanisms so exercise caution when choosing.

Recycled Ink Cartridges

Another way to save money on ink cartridges, particularly for someone that does not have an empty ink cartridge to refill, is to purchase a recycled ink cartridge. Manufacturers offer recycled ink cartridges that are used and then refurbished, and finally refilled with ink, at a lower cost than brand new cartridges. Some customers also report that ultimately the printing results with a recycled ink cartridge are better than those with a refilled cartridge, which is certainly something to consider.

Compatible Ink Cartridges

It is extremely important that any ink cartridge that is purchase is compatible with the printer with which it is to be used. Usually, this means purchasing an ink cartridge that has the same manufacturer as the printer, such as using an Epson ink cartridge for an Epson printer.

Due to the demand for more affordable ink cartridges, many third-party manufacturers now offer cartridges that are compatible with a variety of printers. It is a good idea to check the product's description in order to ensure it is compatible with the printer in need of ink. Generally speaking, a compatible ink cartridge should work just as well as the brand name cartridge for a fraction of the cost.

Consider Purchasing in Bulk

As with many different types of items, purchasing ink cartridges in bulk can save money in the long run. This is certainly a good idea for small businesses or office that needs to purchase ink cartridges often. This may not be the best choice for an average household since ink cartridges can dry up and expire if they are not used in a timely manner. One should assess his or her actual printing needs before choosing the route for saving money on ink cartridges.

Behavioural Changes

It is clear that there are many ways to save money on ink cartridges by simply altering one's shopping habits. Aside from those ideas, there are also ways to change the actual print behaviours of a household or office in order to save money on ink cartridges. These tips offer ways to ensure that ink cartridges are being purchased as infrequently as possible.

Printing Frequency

Perhaps the most obvious way to save ink is by simply printing less often. Some people have the habit of printing many drafts of a report or printing out emails for filing or reading at a later date. Some of these habits can waste a tremendous amount of ink and mean that ink cartridges need to be replaced very often. Try to find ways to organise computer files, proofread without printing, and generally keeping printing to an absolute minimum in order to save on ink cartridges.

Proper Printer Care

It may surprise some people to learn that properly caring for a printer can make its ink cartridges last longer and therefore save the user money replacing them. One important tip is to shut down the printer properly by allowing it to power off however the instruction manual suggests. By shutting down the printer in this way, the print heads are in the correct position to prevent the ink cartridge from drying up while the printer is turned off.

Utilising Settings to Save Ink

Changing the default printer settings on the computer that is printing is another way to conserve ink. Do not print images when they are unnecessary, and do not print in colour when black and white would suffice. Having the computer and the printer set-up to conserve ink can save a good deal of money on ink cartridges in the long run.

Draft Settings

Most computers have a draft setting on the printer that uses far less ink than the other settings. Usually these pages are lighter, in greyscale, and not necessarily presentation quality. Still, printing a draft whenever possible can save a lot of ink. The more ink is saved, the fewer ink cartridges that need to be purchased, and the more money is saved.

How to Buy Ink Cartridges on eBay

Buying ink cartridges on eBay is another good way to save money since they are frequently available at steep discounts. In order to find the right ink cartridges for your needs, you can start by using the eBay search bar, which is located on every page of the site. Enter terms that describe the type of ink cartridge you are looking for. For example, you may need to search " HP ink cartridge " to find the right size cartridge for your HP printer. You can also use the eBay filters to narrow down search results until you find exactly what you need.

It is also a good idea to make sure that the expiration date is clearly visible in the item listing or in photos. Ink cartridges can indeed expire and degrade. If the expiration date on a listing is not clear, use the eBay interface to message the seller and ask any questions you may have. Once your questions have been answered, you should feel much more secure in completing your transaction.


Even though the world may be moving in the direction of a paperless society, there is likely a long way to go before printers become completely unnecessary. As long as there are printers and people who need to print, there is a need for ink and ink cartridges. Over the life of a printer, the cost of those cartridges can add up. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to save money on ink cartridges. By using these shopping and printing tips, anyone can ensure that they are not wasting money on printer ink.

For any expensive purchase, it is important to shop around, but even more so with ink cartridges. The variety of types and price points that are available at different retailers, sites, and from eBay can mean a huge difference in the final cost. For anyone that needs to buy an ink cartridge, no matter how infrequently, following these tips can mean saving a significant amount of money on that next ink cartridge purchase.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides