Top signs you need to replace your ink cartridge

A message that says "out of ink" on your printer's screen

is the first sign that you need new cartridges,

but you might not have to change them right away. 


There are a few easy ways to check whether or not

your cartridges are ready to be replaced. 

Here, we'll show you how and give you a few tips

on how to make your cartridge last longer,

so you can put off ordering a new one.


Check your printer's display panel to see how much ink is left.

If you are unsure, check the amount of ink in your printer cartridges!

Almost every printer has a method on the display screen

that shows how much ink or toner is left in each cartridge. 

The "maintenance" part of the screen is where you can find

most of the cartridge levels.

If one color is almost out, move on to the print test. 


Run a print quality report

The print quality report shows how each cartridge is doing.  

When you run the test, your printer writes a sample of

each color from each cartridge,

so you can see which one isn't working well.  


You can also find this test in the "Maintenance" part of the printer's display

or through the software you downloaded when you set up the printer.

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If you have an inkjet printer, clean the nozzle and try again.

Every time you get a bad test result,

that does not mean you need to go buy new refills right away.   


If you haven't printed in a while, your ink might just need to be primed,

which is generally done by cleaning the printhead.  

It only takes a couple of minutes to clean.  


Print the test page again when it's done.  

If the test design looks good, you are ready to print!

If the quality is still bad, let the printer sit for about 10 minutes

before running a second cleaning.

This lets the ink soak into the printhead.


Keep in mind that cleaning your printer will use some of the ink in the cartridge,

so don't be surprised if your ink levels drop a little after the cleaning.  


We don't suggest running a cleaning more than 1–2 times because of this.

Multiple cleanings in a row can quickly use up a cartridge,

making it time to get a new one.


If you have a laser printer, you need to prime the cartridge

and try again.

Since toner is used instead of ink, most laser printers don't have a way

to clean the display screen, but they can be set up in a different way.  


To make your toner last longer, take it out of the printer

and give it a few gentle back-and-forth shakes.  

This moves the toner powder around inside

and generally makes it work a little longer.  


We suggest doing this over a trash can because some toner powder

may fall out during the process.  

After shaking it a bit, put the cartridge back in and try printing again.

Person replacing a printer ink cartridgePerson replacing a printer ink cartridge

Still getting bad prints?  

It might be time to get a new ink cartridge!

If cleaning the inkjet or shaking the cartridge didn't work,

it's probably time to buy a new cartridge.  

Printer refills only last about two years if they are still

in their sealed packaging.

If they are not being used, they only last a lot less time.  


If you don't use an ink tank for a long time,

most of them will dry out.


Toner cartridges are a little more forgiving than ink cartridges

because they don't dry out and you can leave them

in the printer for months without using them.


But eventually, some of the parts inside will break and need to be replaced.

We suggest that you print at least once every two weeks

to keep your cartridges charged and in good shape.


If you do need new ink, has cheap printer cartridges

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