Before you purchased your printer, you did your research. You compared pricing and print-yield, weighed black-and-white versus color and considered other aspects. Finally, you selected the printer you thought offered the best value for your money. Now you’re about to replace your ink cartridges for the first time, and you find yourself facing another set of choices. One of the biggest choices is to decide what type of yield to select in your replacement ink cartridges: standard or high-yield. The best choice for your printer depends on the situation.
Standard-Yield vs. High-Yield
The first thing to understand is the difference between these two types of replacement cartridges. A high-yield ink cartridge allows you to make more prints before you have to replace your ink cartridge again. Because a high-yield ink cartridge contains more ink than a standard-yield cartridge, the pricing is typically higher. Both a standard and a high-yield ink cartridge should have an estimated print number on the package so you can do your own cost-to-benefit analysis. Your decision will be based on whether the price of a high-yield ink cartridge justifies the greater print output.
Printer Ink Shelf Life
While on paper a high-yield replacement cartridge may seem logical, there are other factors to consider. The more you use your printer, the more cost-effective a high-yield replacement cartridge is. Like other perishables, ink has a shelf life. Across the industry, packaged ink cartridges last for about two years with no degradation in ink quality. Factors like exposure to humidity or early removal of the air-sealed packaging can shorten its
lifespan. Once you open an ink cartridge and install it in your printer, shelf life considerably shortens. Industry recommendations state that you should use all the ink in an open cartridge in half a year for best results.
Cost vs. Usage
If you print frequently, it makes sense to select a high-yield ink cartridge since you know you will likely use it up in six months. If you print infrequently, however, it makes more sense to purchase a standard-yield ink cartridge so you get the most use out of it before the ink degrades.
Buying Multiple Replacement Cartridges
Many of today’s printers require more than one replacement cartridge. All color printers, for instance, will have at least two cartridges — one for black ink and the other for color ink. Many color printers have two or more cartridges just for color ink. You can do another cost-versus-usage analysis to see how much color printing as opposed to black-and-white printing you do. If you do more black-and-white printing, you may get greater value out of selecting a high-yield black ink replacement cartridge. If you print in color infrequently, selecting standard-yield cartridges for your color ink replacement cartridges may be best.
Where to Shop
Nearly everyone today has a printer, whether for personal use, business use or both. This makes it easier to shop for replacement cartridges. If you do a lot of online shopping, you can use the codes on your ink cartridges to shop for replacement cartridges. You can often get better discounts on replacement standard- or high-yield cartridges when you shop online. You can also visit your local home goods or office supply store and find replacement ink for the most common printers. If you have a specialty printer, ordering online from the manufacturer or a specialty company may make the most sense in terms of availability and cost.
About the Author: Carter Hayes is a certified printer technician. He owns a printer business and consults with local companies to help them select the right printing technology.