Buying a pint of milk or a loaf of bread is the simplest thing. Just walk into any grocery shop, browse the shelves until you find what you want, and hand over the cash. Actually, most people tap these days, making it even easier.
Not so with printer ink. You have to go to a specialist store, and you don’t have much choice. You have to get the right cartridge with the right ink, or it just won’t work. That’s why we put together this blog - our buying guide to printer ink in Ireland.
How to buy printer ink online
At inkshop.ie we are an online store, so it makes sense to focus on the online buying experience. People often think that buying online involves delay, and delivery costs. But the delay is slight - we pack and post as quickly as possible after receiving your order. And as to delivery - driving miles out of your way to visit a physical store also costs. And it wastes time you could spend a lot more productively.
Buying ink online is a convenient and simple process. You start by determining the type of ink and cartridge your printer uses (your user manual will tell you if you don’t know). You then log on to a store such as ours, and check if we sell what you are looking for. Chances are we do.
It is always wise to check a few sites, and do a price comparison. But price isn’t the only consideration. Quick delivery is important, and so is quality. Once you are happy, load your cart and go to checkout. A few quick days later a package will arrive in the post. Job done.
Skip to section:
- How to buy printer ink online
- Is there a printer ink shortage in 2023?
- Printer ink cost
- Recycling printer ink cartridges
- Printer ink compatibility
- Printer ink quality
- Customer service
Is there a printer ink shortage in 2023?
Weirdly, there is. And Covid is one of the reasons. Ethanol is an important raw material in the ink manufacturing process. And what happened to all the ethanol during lockdown? It went into hand sanitizers.
Now the ethanol is available again, and manufacturers are working on the backlog. But there is also a shortage of computer chips used in the production of printers, and of inks. This was caused by political tensions between the USA and China, and will continue into next year.
Toners have also been affected, but this is due to transport difficulties. A huge number of toners are locked up in containers in ports worldwide, caught in a global log jam. The situation is improving, but there is a shortage of printer ink this year. Fortunately, we can still get our hands on supplies, though costs have gone up.
Printer ink cost
How long is a piece of string? Printer ink costs are as variable as that. Price depends on several factors, such as the brand of printer, the type of cartridge, and even the retailer you purchase from. Are you going for a proprietary printer ink brand, or a generic printer ink brand?
Generally original brand ink cartridges cost more than non-proprietary compatible cartridges. But they often give better print quality. As a rough estimate, ink can vary from a few euros to more than 50 euros per cartridge, depending on the type of printer, and the brand you go for. High capacity cartridges, or multipacks, can offer savings, and we would be happy to advise on this.
Recycling printer cartridges in Ireland
Several manufacturers offer recycling of cartridges. Just contact your manufacturer and see if they take and reuse the old cartridges. Another option is to give the empty cartridge to one of several charities who recycle them as a fundraiser. Just google to find which charities near you do this.
Printer ink compatibility
Keep in mind that not all ink cartridges are compatible with all printers - they vary widely. Some are obviously misfits - they won’t even fit into your printer. But you might find a cartridge that fits into the slot, yet is not actually compatible. This can result in poor print quality, clogging of the printhead, and even damage to the printer.
So beware - sometimes knock-offs will fit in and appear to work, but are actually shortening the life of your printer. The short term saving is offset by the long term loss. That is why it is often best to just bite the bullet and use the proprietary cartridge or our trusted generic printer ink.
And remember, some printer brands use technology that prevents third-party ink cartridges from working with their printers. This printer lock-out is designed to protect the printer’s performance and life. So if you are going to use third-party cartridges, make sure to do your homework and check they are compatible with your printer model, and won’t trigger a lock-out.
Learn more about your chosen printer ink brand on our blogs below!
Printer ink quality
The quality of the ink you use can have a big impact on the final printed page. Higher quality cartridges do produce more vibrant colours, sharper images, and longer-lasting prints. That’s not just marketing.
One thing to consider is whether to use pigment or dye-based ink. Pigment is made up of tiny particles that sit on top of the paper, producing an image that resists fading and smudging. Dye-based ink is absorbed by the paper. The result is more vibrant colours, but less durability. Which is important to you? It depends on what you typically print. If it is documents, go with pigment. For photos, use dye-based.
Another consideration is age. Cartridges can dry out over time, so it is important, especially if you don’t print all that often, to make sure your cartridge is fresh. Printer settings can also affect ink quality, so check your settings are correct for your printing needs.
But in general, if you choose a high-quality cartridge from a reputable brand, and use the correct settings, you will get the best results.
Customer service: we are a local business
If you go for a pint of milk or a loaf of bread, you will be shopping local and are almost sure of personal customer service. As a local brick and mortar store we have been front facing since 2005 and we give you the exact same personal service for online purchases. You can send us a message or pick up the phone, and we will do our best to answer your concern as swiftly and professionally as possible. We welcome that personal touch, because it help us make sure you get exactly what you want.
And we are a local business - we are based in Cork. Because we are online, we consider ourselves to be local to the entire country.
I've been dealing with this excellent Cork firm for many years now and have found them to be of the highest standard and quality. Most helpful, attentive and friendly, I can recommend them wholeheartedly and without reservation. They go out of their way to assist always, and with good humour and patience when I'm in any difficulty. Their service is always prompt, efficient and accurate. And they offer best value and best products. Well done inkshop.ie! - Google Business Places Review
Getting the right ink for your printer prolongs the life of the machine, and gets you the best results. And because of the specialised nature of ink, it is often best to shop online to get exactly what you need.
This is not like taking a punt on Ebay. You can trust reputable buyers, and you can always speak to a human. You can check our website, read our blogs, and if you still need help, just give us a call. Buying ink online is a safe and simple process with us, and often the best option in terms of cost and convenience.