Ink Usage in HP Inkjet Printers

Ink is used in a number of ways throughout the inkjet printing process. In general, ink in an ink cartridge is used for printing documents, photographs and other such materials. Some ink, however, must be used to maintain the health of the print head; some ink is residual; and some ink evaporates. These uses of ink are common, in varying degrees, to printers from all inkjet printer manufacturers.

The methodologies used to measure page and photo yield do not account for all the uses of ink described above and therefore your actual yield may vary considerably from the published yield. HP designs its inkjet printer systems to deliver outstanding value in printing customer documents while using enough ink to maintain a reliable printing system that delivers outstanding print quality over the life of the printer.

In the printing process, some ink is used to prepare the printer for use (click to read more)

HP offers two general inkjet print head designs: integrated into the ink cartridge (Integrated Print Head: IPH), and a long-life print head integrated into a printer which has Individual Ink Cartridges (IIC). Both IPH and IIC printers commonly perform start up and calibration processes, which consume some ink, to ensure reliability and optimize print quality. IIC printers also may use ink to prepare the long-life print head for use by purging storage fluid from and pumping ink through the print head. IIC printers may use more ink in start-up than IPH printers as a result of these additional start-up procedures. When a replacement cartridge is installed in either IIC or IPH printers, replacement cartridge start-up routines require some ink.

Some ink is used to service the print head and prevent clogging (click to read more)

Print head nozzles get clogged over time, most commonly by microscopic dust particles or dried ink. Nozzles are kept clean by servicing, including wiping the surface with a small rubber wiper, ejecting ink through the nozzles to purge particles and to prevent drying, and pumping with ink to clean the print head. To keep the printer ready to print in either color or black, these service routines typically consume some ink from every cartridge, even if only black or color is used in the document being printed.

Tiny bubbles of air form in the ink over time and can block the flow of ink in long-life print head printers (IIC). In some IIC printers, air bubbles can be caused by an ink cartridge change. Air bubbles can be removed by pumping them out of the print head. When removing these air bubbles, some ink is also removed.On IIC systems, multiple colors may use the same print head. When a single color cartridge is changed, some ink is also consumed from the other color ink cartridges using the same print head.

Time between print jobs impacts ink available for printing (click to read more)

The amount of ink available for printing depends on several factors, including printing habits and how the printing system uses ink both to print pages and to maintain reliable performance. In general, printers used regularly will consume less ink for servicing. Compared to short times between print jobs, longer periods between print jobs require more aggressive routines to service the print head nozzles. These more aggressive routines use more ink. Service routines may also be triggered by other events, such as the amount of ink used or reinstalling an ink cartridge that has not been used for an extended period of time.

Some ink is residual

Ink cartridges must store ink without leaking when handled, but allow the printer to extract the ink when needed. When the cartridge is depleted, the majority of ink has been pulled out of the cartridge. Just as it's impossible to remove all of the toothpaste from a tube of toothpaste, it's impossible to remove all of the ink from an Ink cartridge. In addition, when a tri-color cartridge is replaced, some residual ink may remain as the colors may not have been used at the same rate.

Some ink evaporates over time

Ink cartridges lose some ink to evaporation over time. This lowers the volume of ink available, and may change the chemistry of the inks. Cartridges cannot be completely sealed due to altitude variations during shipment and temperature variations during storage and use. HP cartridges are designed to operate reliably after a long pre-sale shelf life, and throughout many months of usage once installed in the printer.

Some color ink may be used when printing black text-or-graphics

There are several circumstances when color ink may be used—primarily to improve print quality, and sometimes to improve printer reliability—even if the document appears to be only black text-and-graphics. Many HP printers utilize chemical interactions to improve the quality and permanence of plain paper black text-and-graphics by adding small amounts of color ink to certain black areas. Some dark images which look black may contain a combination of black and color inks. For black and white images and photos, a blend of colors called "composite black" may be used to achieve significantly better image quality and smoother gray tones than can be accomplished with black inks alone. Some inkjet printers utilize pigmented black ink, which is incompatible with some inkjet photo paper. In this case, dark or black areas are made up of color inks. Page yield testing is conducted with all cartridges (black and color) installed in the printer.

For users who wish to print utilizing just black ink (despite the reduced print quality), many HP printers offer options. For example, a driver color setting (by selecting "print in grayscale with the black cartridge only" in printing preferences) specifies printing using only black ink. In addition, many IPH printers can operate in "reserve mode," which allows the user to continue to print with just the black cartridge when the color cartridge is removed or not installed.In HP IIC systems, all supplies are required to be installed in the printer for the printer to function.

User Choice (print modes)

The user can also influence how much ink is used to print a photo or a document. By selecting different print modes in the driver, the amount of ink used to print the document can be changed. In general, all plain paper draft modes will have lower print quality and use less ink than the default plain paper normal mode.


Ink is used in a number of ways throughout the printing process, from preparing the printer to print to the actual printing of documents, photographs and other materials. HP designs its inkjet printer systems to deliver outstanding value in printing customer documents while using enough ink to maintain a reliable printing system that delivers outstanding print quality over the life of the printer.

What payment options do you provide for?

For in-store purchases we accept:

  • Cash
  • Credit cards, debit cards
  • EFT’s (electronic fund transfers). For EFT payments: please note that goods will only be released upon confirmation of cleared funds in account. (Note that payments from another bank could take up to 48 hours)
Does the Rand / Dollar exchange rate affect pricing?



What is an original or OEM cartridge?

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. OEMs, such as HP, Canon, Samsung, Brother, Epson, Xerox, OKI and Lexmark are the companies that manufacture your printers. OEM cartridges are cartridges that are branded under your OEM’s brand. We offer both OEM and less expensive non OEM products. All our products are fully compatible with OEM standards.

What is a re-manufactured cartridge?

This is a recycled cartridge that is disassembled by third parties (other than OEMs). To guarantee print quality, remanufactured cartridges are tested, cleaned internally, worn parts replaced, refilled, tested under stringent conditions and repackaged.

How does using a re-manufactured cartridge affect my printer’s warranty?

It does not affect it at all. If a problem with the printer should occur, the printer manufacturer must prove that the re-manufactured cartridge caused the damage.

My inkjet printer is not printing properly. What should I do?

Run a Head Clean. See “How can I get the most from my inkjet printer?”

What is the difference between laser and inkjet?

A laser printer uses “toner” or powder and is more cost effective in the long run. An inkjet printer uses ink in a liquid form.

What is your Returns Policy?
  • Wrong Purchase Return Policy: Please note that we have a very strict returns policy on opened items purchased in error. We do not refund these items as our suppliers will not exchange or refund opened items. If we do exchange such items; it will be subject to a handling fee (at our discretion). Therefore, please ensure that you have the correct cartridge model number for your printer before you visit the store. Ensure that you purchase the correct cartridges. Check that you have the right cartridge before opening the packaging.
  • If you return an unopened item for exchange we will gladly exchange it subject to proof of purchase. Please ensure that you have your invoice as proof of purchase.
  • Faulty Items Return Policy: Please note: Manufacturers only refund faulty cartridges if it can be proven to be faulty. The reason for this is that in many cases the machine and not the cartridge is at fault. If you are confident that the cartridge is at fault, bring the cartridge back with a test page that shows the problem. If the cartridge does not print at all, please advise us accordingly. We will send the cartridge to the manufacturer for testing. Only once they have confirmed that the cartridge is in fact faulty can we offer you a refund or exchange.
Can I use a laser cartridge in an inkjet printer


Laser cartridges are made specifically for laser printers. Inkjet printers use different technology and have their own unique cartridges.

How can I get the most from my inkjet printer?

By performing regular maintenance functions.

  1. On your computer select the Start button.
  2. Select Settings
  3. Select Control Panel
  4. Double click on Printers & Faxes
  5. Select your printer from the list by right clicking on it
  6. A menu will appear. Click on Printing Preferences / Properties
  7. Select Maintenance / Services
  8. Run Nozzle Check
  9. Run Head Cleaning
  10. Run Print Head Alignment
  11. Perform a Maintenance run at least once a month. Especially if you have not used your printer for some time. A Head Clean basically blows ink through the nozzle plates, opening any clogged nozzles.

Never touch the circuitry or nozzle plates on the cartridge as this could damage the cartridge. Never leave a cartridge in direct sunlight as this will cause the ink to expand and may lead to your cartridge leaking. Have your printer serviced regularly. Contact your printer manufacturer to find out when your printers service is due. Tip: Have your printer serviced toward the end of its warranty.

I’ve inserted my new laser cartridge but my printer won’t print. What should I do?

Did you pull off the tag on the side of the cartridge? This tag must be removed completely in order to for your printer to access the toner. If you have done this, and it is still not printing, contact us.

My inkjet printer is not printing straight lines. What should I do?

Try running an alignment function. See “How can I get the most from my inkjet printer?”