College Students' Guide to Buying Printer Ink

Should you buy a printer for college? Considering that you have a wide range of affordable options available, the answer is a resounding - Yes. Clearly, having your own printer for college has its benefits. You can print from the comfort of your dorm room and can get your coursework done on time.

Having your own inkjet printers or laser printers for college saves you money. You do not have to wonder: "where can I go print something?" because you do not have your own printer.

And when you use a printer for schoolwork, this means that you are also using up printer supplies. Paper and most importantly - printer cartridges (or toner cartridges, depending on the type of printer you are using).

So, there will come a day when you have to go and buy printer ink. But how do you go about looking for laser toners or inkjet cartridges? Which cartridge replacements will work for the printer you have? Also, what is the difference between ink and toner?

If the time has come and you, dear reader in your dorm room right now, need to buy printer ink, we hope the following tips can help you out.

First, you need to know about different printer types

The first thing to do before buying new printer ink cartridges or toner, is to determine what type of printer you are using. There are two major types: laser printer and inkjet printers

A laser printer uses toner powder to print. The laser in the device produces electrostatic spots on a roller drum. The spots on the other hand attract the toner powder, then transfers it to the paper, fixing it in place using heat. This process is what allows a laser printer to provide crisp colors and text prints.

An inkjet printer, on the other hand, makes use of a small nozzle to spray ink onto the paper. Inkjet printers are commonly used in small offices, homes, and you guessed it - college dorm rooms. This is because inkjet printers are great for high-resolution image printing, not just text. Add the fact that they are smaller and often more affordable than a laser printer.

Second, you need to know the difference between ink and toner

Understanding the different types of ink printers use is important. The ink that inkjet printers use consist of varnish, soybean oil, linseed, or a type of petroleum distillate. Pigment is added to this combination to get basic colors. In a black ink cartridge for example, is a combination of varnish and a type of pigment similar to soot, called carbon black. Colored inks are often comprised of dyes, salts, and nitrogen compounds. The exact combinations vary by manufacturers.

Toner on the other hand, comes as a powder which is essentially additives like zinc, chromium, and finely ground plastics. There is also pigment, of course: Red 122 or Yellow 180 - again dependent on the manufacturer.

How would you know if you need ink or toner?

You already know that laser printers need toners while inkjet printers would need ink. Okay, so how can you tell the type of printer you have? Here are a few things you can do to check:

1. Open the printer dialogue box on your computer. Under "Properties", find Options or Maintenance. If there is an option that says Print Head Cleaning or Nozzle Check or Print Head Alignment - you have an inkjet printer.

2. You can check the type of printer cartridges your printer has. If there are small cartridges with black, yellow, red, and blue circles, you have an inkjet. If you see a single long cartridge (usually black in color) - you have a laser printer

Choosing printer ink cartridges

If you find that you need to buy ink cartridge replacements and not toners, you have a couple of things to do.

First is to buy compatible ink cartridges from online stores that sell them. Compatible color cartridges are typically available at much lower price points than OEM (branded) ink. So, if like most college students you want to stay within a small budget, then compatible color cartridges is a good way to get your printer ink without sacrificing quality.

Second, you need to choose between a standard yield or high yield replacement cartridge. Standard yield cartridges, as the name suggests, contain a standard amount of ink, while high yield (or also called XL cartridges) are designed to provide more ink while taking the same amount of space in your device.

Choosing printer toner cartridges

If you need to buy printer toner instead of ink, you need to determine the right toner cartridge size for your printer. Do take note though - that if your printer is monochrome (only prints black) your device will have only one toner. If you have a laser color printer, you will see four printer toner cartridges: yellow, magenta, cyan, and black.

You can remove the cartridge from your printer to check the cartridge type or number. You can also just go online and look up our printer's model number.

Although you may tend to buy toners from your printer manufacturer (and there is nothing wrong with that - if you have the budget for it), this is not the only option. As with ink cartridges, there are websites that sell compatible cartridges for laser printers, too. If you want to save money, this is a good way to get the toners you need and not break the bank.

Where can you buy affordable printer ink?

For over 20 years, has been one of the leading online destinations for imaging supplies; specializing in compatible, remanufactured and OEM ink and toner cartridges.

We know that not everyone wants to spend the money on cartridges made by their printer's manufacturer. That's why we're known for our high-quality, low cost alternatives to OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) branded ink. Our compatible and remanufactured inkjet and toner cartridges offer huge savings over the original brands!

But we also know that there are some customers who prefer to stick with original ink cartridges from their printer's manufacturer, and we respect that! That's why we also offer a large selection of original ink cartridges.

As we mentioned earlier, we love giving our customers options. That's we carry genuine HP ink cartridges that are both boxed and bagged. What's the difference? Apart from one coming in a box, and the other in a bag... There is NO DIFFERENCE.

Our brand new, unused bagged ink cartridges are exactly what you'd get if you opened up the cardboard box of a retail packaged ink cartridge. No more, no less. And we offer both!

So you can choose whichever option you prefer- retail box or not. Either way, you get the exact same product, at remarkable savings!

The decision is totally up to you!

Contact our customer experience team today and let us know how we can help you find the printer ink for your needs!