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Best cheap ink cartridges

By Katie Waller

Switching to cheap ink cartridges, including third party inks, can halve the amount you spend on printer ink cartridges. We show you best ink brands.

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Just want to get a good printer that’s cheap to run on branded ink? Take a look at our Best cheap printers to run.

Ink cartridges? HP Instant Ink? Or maybe printer ink tanks that you refill with bottles? There are various different options for buying ink, so use our chooser tool to help you decide which is solution is best for you.

Best cheap ink cartridges revealed

Cheap, third-party cartridges - made by a different brand to printer makers such as Canon and HP - are available from a range of high street and online retailers. But with so many brands out there, it can be hard to decide which one to try to get great, good-value prints.

To find the best value, best quality ink cartridges money can buy, more than 8,000 Which? members rated their printer ink for print quality, value for money and satisfaction.

Samsung branded cartridges were the highest-rated cartridges from a printer brand. However, nine third-party retailers and brands outscored it, with more users who were satisfied and willing to recommend them to friends.

Which? members can log in to see the cartridge brands and retailers behind the ratings. If you're not already a member, you can take a Which? trial.
Brand or retailer Value for money Colour print quality Text print quality Customer score
Cartridge World
Picture Expert


Member Content
Table notes
Survey data from July 2016.

Should you use third-party ink cartridges?

In a survey of Which? members, 46% of those currently using branded ink/toner said that they have never used third party ink cartridge suppliers. The most pressing concerns were the quality of the prints and fears that the cartridges could damage their printer.  

However, we found that of those who have used third-party inks and toners, 93% said that they were satisfied with the product they received, compared to 86% of customers of branded inks and toners. 

Some 70% of third party customers have never experienced any problems with their cartridges and of the ones that did encounter problems, in the majority of cases the company offered a refund or a replacement. 

As you can potentially save up to 80% by using third party inks or toners, it's well worth at least considering them when you next need a top up.  

If you do encounter problems with your printer or ink, get expert troubleshooting advice over to the Which? Computing website


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