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Despite the availability of ink cartridges, the best printer ink is the one made for your printer. Here's a comparison of the major ink cartridge brands.

Comparing Current Ink Cartridge Brands

Despite the huge availability of compatible ink cartridges for printers manufactured by independent companies, the best printer ink is the one designed for use with the make of printer you own. Printer ink is expensive to replace, but the ink cartridges designed by the printer maker offer the best printing results. They also ensure your printer remains problem-free.

Types of Cartridges

Affordable printers most usually run on two cartridges – the pigment-based black (K) ink and a three-color cartridge containing the dye-based cyan, magenta, and yellow (CMY) inks. These ink sets are excellent if you print mono-coloured and color documents but are not suitable for photo printing because of the dull results.

Cartridges like these often appear expensive to replace, but that is because these dual-cartridge printer cartridges have print heads on them instead of them being in the printer. However, good-quality photo printers have permanent print heads fed by replaceable cartridges using a simpler technique, making them cheaper to manufacture and replace.

For quite some years now, companies like Canon have been manufacturing separate cartridges, meaning you replace each cartridge as needed. Additionally, these offer excellent print quality, even for photos.

For photo printing, companies like Epson, use a six-ink system with CMYK dye-based inks combined with additional light cyan and light magenta inks. These cartridges are individually replaceable. Unfortunately, the dye-based black ink appears lighter on plain paper and can smudge if any liquid leaks on it.

Professional photo printers need additional colors to increase their color scope to perfect color and black and white printing. These use dye-based inks that can cope with even the glossiest paper, ensuring the inks are quickly absorbed and fast-drying. Some are guaranteed to last for 200 years!

Comparing Ink Cartridges

By buying printer ink from the manufacturer of your printer, you may be paying more than using a compatible brand but are guaranteed they will be trouble-free. Also, if there is a problem with the cartridge, you are more likely to be refunded.

Canon Ink Cartridges

At Canon, you have a choice of pigment-based or Chromalife dye-based ink. These are marked as “PG” or “CL”. “PG” is best for documents with text and can resist fading. “CL” is a dye-based ink that prints bright, vibrant colors ideal for photo printing. 

Canon’s range includes its black and tri-colour cartridges with their built-in printhead. These consist of a black cartridge and a tri-colour cartridge filled with cyan, magenta, and yellow. Their most popular tri-colour sets are the Canon PG-240 black / CL-241 color, the PG-245 black / CL-246 color, the PG-260 black / CL-261 color, and the PG-275 / CL-276 color.

Unfortunately, with these, when one color is low in the tri-colour cartridge you must replace it whole. A better option is to buy a Canon printer that uses individual ink cartridges. These are usually black, cyan, magenta, and yellow, and you replace each cartridge as needed. Additionally, by adding some cartridges to some printers, you get excellent photograph printing. CartridgeSave is your Canon supplier of printing ink and compatible products.

HP Ink Cartridges

HP ink cartridges are either pigment-based or dye-based ink. Pigment-based ink is best for printing text, whereas dye-based ink is best for photographs.

Once again, the Black and tri-colour cartridge features strongly. Some of their most popular HP ink cartridges are the HP 60, HP 61, HP 62, HP 63, HP 64, HP 65, and HP 67. However, these are not interchangeable, so you need to check your printer before buying.

HP ink also has a range of individual ink cartridges, including the HP 902, HP 910, HP 952, and HP 962 series. You always need to get the correct printer ink for your printer type to ensure it works.

Epson Cartridges

Epson printers use individual ink cartridges in black, cyan, magenta, and yellow. For your photo printer, you can add more colors like light cyan or light magenta.

Epson has a pigment-based ink called DURABrite, ideal for all print jobs. These include the Epson 702 series, Epson 802 series, Epson 252 series, and Epson 288 series.

For those wanting to print amateur photos, Epson has the Claria range of printer ink that is mostly dye-based. The black cartridge is pigment-based.

The more vibrant version of their pigment-based ink is the UltraChrome cartridges, ideal for high professional printers used by photographers. These include the Epson 760 series, Epson 324 series, and Epson 850 series.


No matter what printer you have, and what your printing needs are, there is an ink cartridge brand suitable for your printer. These are the most popular, but not the only ones on the market.

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