Yes, you can use third party ink in your printer

Last week’s column on home printing got some good email this week.

Here is one from Mac: Your recent column about printers got on my nerves. I’d love to see you write an expanded column about the trap you fall into when you buy a Hewlett Packard printer and have to use its cartridges for the rest of your life. Without running into problems with HP, how can I avoid buying the original $125 cartridges for the set and use generic cartridges or other options? Nobody at HP will help. It’s cheaper to buy another printer.


I have to admit that I’ve been spoiled after using an Epson EcoTank printer for the past few years.

Epson says there’s two years’ worth of ink in the box, and that’s no joke.

The EcoTank uses ink bottles to fill tanks in the printer instead of small ink cartridges. The ink tanks are large and refills are cheap, although the printers are more expensive.

However, you should be able to use third-party ink cartridges in your HP printer.

HP, Canon and Epson have chips in their cartridges that communicate with the printers. While I’ve read of print shops trying to disable the use of 3rd party ink, it seems you can use them.

I’m not sure which model the reader owns, but I suggest taking a look at a company like Smart Ink ( It sells ink cartridges for many HP printers, and Smart Ink says its cartridges offer 100 percent chip detection.

For reference, Smart Ink sells replacement ink for printers that use HP564 cartridges. It sells two complete ink sets (cyan, magenta, yellow, black, and photo black) for $25.

The Windows Central website has one Articles on the best third-party replacement inks with reviews of ink from several companies.

HP even mentions the use of third-party ink on its support pages.

There are Pages referencing “non-HP” ink cartridges and even advice on what to do if you get error messages when trying to use non-HP ink.

I realize that HP, Epson and Canon want you to use their own ink. You make a heck of a lot more money selling cartridges than selling printers, which is why you can often find new printers for less than the cost of a full set of original manufacturer replacement ink.

However, there are caveats. consumer reports did a poll of people using third-party ink and 36% found the cartridges were inconsistent when it came to print quality.

Do some research and don’t be afraid to try third-party ink. And if you need a new printer and print frequently, don’t forget printers with ink tanks.

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