Published: June 18, 2020

Printers are one of the basic tools of our daily lives. Whether you are a student, a professional or an amateur photographer, most people have a common need: to print out work on paper. However, not a lot of people know just how important the ink for printers is and what different types of ink can produce. What do you actually know about printer ink? How important is printer ink to the overall printing process?

Ink for printers is what really drives the printing business as it generates the biggest profits. There are many types with a large range of prices available. Are you looking to buy a new printer ink cartridge but don’t know which one to buy? Don’t worry! We have prepared this article to help you learn about everything related to printer ink.

Key Facts

  • Printer ink is what allows images and text to be captured on paper when printing.
  • There are many ways to store ink. With inkjet printers, ink is stored in cartridges, which is what you buy. Usually, printers have a black ink cartridge and a seperate cartridge that contains the colours (cyan, magenta and yellow).
  • The printer ink you choose must be compatible with your printer, otherwise it may damage the printer or result in poor printing quality.
  • There are different classes of ink for printers, depending on the chemical composition, the manufacturing process, the intended use and the cartridges themselves (e.g. whether they are manufactured or not).

Ranking: The best printer ink on the Australian market

In recent years, printer prices have fallen significantly, however the price of printer cartridges not so much. Within the printing business, printer ink is big business that is worth a lot of money worldwide. The following selection has been prepared to help you choose the best printer ink on the Australian market for both quality and value for money.

No. 1: LxTek Compatible Canon 670XL

This is a cost-effective generic printer ink cartridge from LxTek that is compatible with most Canon printers. This package contains 5 printer ink cartridges (1 large black, 1 black, 1 cyan, 1 magenta, 1 yellow) all for just $17! These printer cartridges are just a fraction of the cost of the original brand but they still offer exceptional quality.

The cartridges offer a yield of up to 500 pages per black cartridge and 300 pages per colour cartridge whilst guaranteeing a high quality printing output. With a 1-year limited warranty and a shelf life of 18-24 months, this is great option for your home or business.

No. 2: Weemay Compatible Replacement for Epson

Weemay is another generic printer ink brand that offers a cheap alternative to the big printer brands. This pack of 5 printer ink cartridges (1 large black, 1 black, 1 cyan, 1 magenta, 1 yellow) is a cheap alternative to replace the ink in an Epson printer. These high performance ink cartridges have the ability to handle a wide range of home and office jobs to ensure you receive the best quality results.

With a page yield of up to 500 pages per black cartridge and 450 pages per colour cartridge, these cartridges will last you a long time and meet all your printing needs.

No. 3: GPC Image Compatible Ink Cartridge Replacement for HP

GPC ink cartridge replacements for HP printers come in a 10-pack of cartridges (4 black, 2 cyan, 2 magenta, 2 yellow & 2 photo black) to provide an extremely economical way to replace the printer ink in your HP printer. All ink cartridges have been tested to ensure they provide you with exceptional printing results every time you print.

GPC inspects every product prior to shipment to ensure that you always receive the highest quality product and their customer service team is always available to assist you with technical, warranty and general customer support.

No. 4: Topcolor 4X 70ml Compatible Refill Ink

Here is a 4 pack of ink bottles to refill and reuse your cartridges that will save you time, money and help protect the environment. This pack contains 4 bottles of black, cyan, magenta & yellow dye-based printer ink that is economical and easy to use. This printer ink is suitable for many types of paper, such as glossy inkjet photo paper or basic whiter printer paper and provides vivid colours that are fade resistant and fast drying.

Each bottle contains 70ml of ink with the black printing up to 4,000 pages and the colours up to 6,500 per bottle. This product has a 12 month manufacturer 100% money back guarantee warranty to ensure you receive a refund if you are not happy with the product.

No. 5: Canon PG645XLCL646XLCP Combo Pack XL

There is nothing like the quality and assurance of an original product, which is exactly what this genuine Canon black and colour ink cartridge package will offer you. These cartridges advertise a yield of 400 pages for the the black and colour cartridges and promise added sharpness, detail and quality to your printing. This genuine Canon product comes with a full Australian warranty that allows you to return the product in case of any product defects or faults.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about printer ink

Running out of ink cartridges for printers is like to running out of petrol in your car. It literally stops the printer from working! When it comes to replacing your printer ink, it is not always clear which is the most suitable printer ink to buy. The following section will cover the most common questions about ink for printers to ensure you are well informed before you make a purchase.

Man checking ink

It is essential that you consider the model of your printer before buying ink cartridges (Source: Auremar: 71652291/

What is printer ink exactly?

The ink used in inkjet printer cartridges is a liquid that contains various pigments or colorants with a purpose of colouring a paper surface. Ink cartridges are the replaceable containers that are inserted inside the printer to inject ink onto the printing paper.

What types of printer ink is there?

With inkjet printers, you will usually find different types of ink available, especially at the chemical composition level. Remember that the most typical colours of printer ink are cyan, magenta, yellow and black (sometimes referred to as CMYK). The table below shows the characteristics of the main types of printer ink.

Ink type Advantages and disadvantages
Pigmented ink The ink pigment remains on the paper surface when printed, which is advantageous.

It takes less ink to generate the same colour intensity as others types of printer ink.

Ink based on colorant Generally much stronger than pigmented ink and can produce more colours.

As the dye dissolves in the printing phase, the ink has a tendency to be absorbed by paper.

It is a less efficient printer ink.

UV ink Unlike the above inks, UV ink cannot evaporate from the page. UV ink dries very quickly which reduces overall print time.

The disadvantage is that it is an expensive ink and requires advanced equipment.

Dye Ink A low-cost type of ink commonly used in standard “black and white” monochrome printers.

It is not water resistant and requires time to dry.

How are printer ink cartridges installed and replaced?

The cartridges store the ink inside the printer and the printer head injects the ink onto the paper as required. The process for installing and replacing ink cartridges varies from model to model, but generally it follows a series of similar steps. The common steps can be summarised as follows.

  • Turn on the printer.
  • Hold the handles or sides of the printer and lift the ink cartridge access door.
  • Make sure the print carriage is idle and not printing before continuing.
  • Lift the cover of the first ink cartridge storage slot.
  • If ink replacement is required, remove the installed cartridge by lifting it upwards.
  • When installing the new cartridge, first remove the protective plastic tape that is around the new ink cartridge.
  • Insert the new ink cartridge, with the nozzle facing the printer.
  • Close the ink cartridge storage slot cover to secure it in place.
  • Repeat steps for other cartridges, if required.
  • Close the ink cartridge access door.

What is the difference between printer ink cartridges and toner?

Simply put, ink cartridges are used in inkjet printers and toner is used in laser printers. The main difference is the material: ink is a liquid and toner is a powder. As a general rule, toner is best for printing large text documents and ink is recommended for photos that require a higher definition.

The table below summarises the differences between ink and toner printers:

Speed Quality Capacity Price Target Consumer Group
Ink Less precise and slower than a laser printer. Prints a higher quality and better colour definition. Supports different printing capacity, depending on the brand. The ink cartridge is usually cheaper than toner, but needs to be replaced more often. Ink cartridges are more suitable for home or family use.
Toner Usually faster than ink. Prints a very high quality, except for photos. Capable of large print jobs. More expensive to replace, but provides a larger output. Laser printers with toner suit small, medium and large enterprises.

How long do printer ink cartridges last?

As we explained earlier, the life of an ink cartridge depends on the brand and model of the cartridge as well as the printer itself. It is difficult to determine an exact length of time that each cartridge will last because each printed page varies in the amount of ink used. Although there is no definitive answer, there are factors that can be taken into account to determine how long a cartridge will last, such as the following:

  • Cartridge size
  • Cartridge type (compatible or manufactured)
  • Level of care

What are manufactured ink cartridges for printers?

Also called refillable ink cartridges, these are cartridges that have been used previously and are recycled for further use. Manufacturers check the cartridges, clean them, refill them with ink and replace other parts if necessary. Using this type of ink cartridge has its advantages and disadvantages, as explained in the table below.

  • Cheaper than new or original cartridges
  • Contribute to protecting the environment through recycling
  • Helps to control ink consumption by only refilling the cartridge according to your needs.
  • Ink quality may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer due to punching and filling methods
  • May not be compatible with the printer model you have


How long do unopened printer ink cartridges last?

As a general rule, the cooler the ink cartridge, the longer it will last as exposure to air and heat can cause the ink to harden. It is difficult to provide an exact life expectancy of an ink cartridge as there are so many brands and manufacturers, however for new ink cartridges, the period of use is usually between 2 to 5 years. Manufactured or recycled cartridges usually only last up to 1 year.

To care and conserve your ink cartridges, it is advisable to store them with the head of the cartridge face down, away from excessive light and heat. It is also recommended to avoid inserting or removing them by force from the printer.

Did you know that historically, printers were designed to work with only one type of ink? Today, innovative manufacturers have dedicated themselves to making printers that can work with multiple types of ink.

Shopping Criteria

Inkjet printers are becoming more and more useful in everyday life. However as we have learned, a good printer is not enough without the right ink. If you are still unsure about which type of printer ink to choose, pay attention to the following criteria. The following shopping criteria will help you to assess the most important aspects when buying new printer ink.

Ink compatibility

The first and most important aspect to consider before buying a new ink cartridge is compatibility with your printer. Not only because you simply won’t be able to use the ink if it isn’t compatible, but because incompatible ink cartridges are capable of causing irreversible damage to the print heads.

Print On DemandPrinting and production experts
“The growth of the digital printing industry has undoubtedly been a result of the latest technologies. With each technological improvement such as customising products or doing short runs, digital printing has moved to new markets”.

Multiple packages

If you print often, it’s better not to have to go out and buy new printer ink cartridges all the time. On the Australian market there are package options that provide several cartridges (black and color) with a single purchase. It is important to take care of the ones that you don’t use so that they don’t get damaged.


There are many ink cartridge options for printers that include recyclable cartridges that manufacturers offer to re-claim to reuse their parts. Another option to consider are the manufactured cartridges, which can be refilled whenever you need more ink. By using manufactured cartridges you will be helping contribute to the sustainability of the planet.

Security measures

One aspect that is essential to the proper functioning of printer ink cartridges is to ensure that they have the proper security measures in place. Ink cartridge security measures usually consist of plastic strips to prevent ink spills. For this aspect, try to buy ink cartridges that are original or from reliable manufacturers to avoid damaging your printer.

Ink with printer

The most typical colors are cyan, magenta, yellow and black. (Source: Vitaliy Kytayko: 13984827/

Yield per page

There are many types of ink cartridges for printers that include, in their description, the number of pages they can generate. As explained earlier, this indicator is usually inaccurate due to the difference in page sizes, the amount of text and whether you are printing photos or documents. However, with that in mind, it is still advisable to purchase ink cartridges that ensure a yield of at least 300 pages.


Ink is the most important input of inkjet printers and also the biggest expense when it comes to printing. Printer ink is stored in containers called cartridges that are very easy to install and use. Ink cartridges can be bought in various types and models depending on your printer model, intended use and budget.

Printer ink is the best option if you want to obtain high quality printing results, especially when it comes to printing photos. Ink cartridges are ideal for the family home and for those who use their printer for general printing purposes. Manufactured cartridges are an environmentally sustainable, economical and efficient printing ink option.

If you liked this article, please share it on your social networks so others know everything there is to know about printer ink. You can also leave us a comment and we’ll be happy to get back to you. Thank you very much!

(Source of featured image: Sasidis Sasisakulporn: 37666560/

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