Printer manufacturers, such as Canon and HP, would much rather you use their printer ink in their printers. But in our survey of more than 8,000 inkjet printer owners, the highest-rated printer ink brands were all third-party suppliers.
We also asked our inkjet owners about their shopping experiences. The three top-rated ink cartridge brands also top our ink cartridge online retailer table. This is great news, as our results will make it easy for you to buy cheap, good-quality ink cartridges from a recommended retailer.
We asked more than 8,000 inkjet owners to rate their printer ink cartridges – including both original-branded and third-party brands – for print quality, ease of use, value for money and overall satisfaction. You can use our results to buy cheap ink cartridges from a brand recommended by actual users.
Only Which? members can see the ratings for each brand. If you're not yet a member, you'll see the table in alphabetical order – you can get instant access to our results and all our reviews, including our printer and laptop reviews, by .
|Brand||Print quality||Ease of use||Value for money||Customer score|
|Cartridge Discount (61)|
|Cartridge People (216)|
|Cartridge Save (71)|
|Cartridge World (100)|
Table notes: Survey conducted in April 2021 with 6,335 Connect panel members and 5,283 members of the public. Ink cartridge sample size 8,323. We needed at least 30 responses for a brand to be included. Individual sample sizes in brackets. Print quality Survey-based rating on how satisfied people are with the quality of prints. Ease of use Rating for ease of installing and using the ink. Customer score Based on satisfaction and the likelihood of recommending each retailer if asked. *Lexmark no longer produces home inkjet printers.
Colour Direct cartridges are sold through Amazon, so you'll get Amazon's customer-support options. There's a wide range, but specific cartridges can be tricky to find. So if you go to the , make sure you know exactly what model number you're looking for.
Cartridgesave sells original inks, along with its own compatible cartridges. It offers an impressive three-year warrantee on all cartridges, and will repair or replace your printer if its own-brand cartridges cause any issues. The also has free next-day delivery on all orders.
Inkredible stocks multiple cartridges online, as well as its own brand of compatible ink, in the . It also offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, with full refunds for cartridges that don't work. This extends to firmware updates that render cartridges unusable.
Stinkyink stocks original and third-party inks for a wide range of printers. The is easy to browse, and there’s a 12-month guarantee on all cartridges. It also promises to repair or replace your printer in the unlikely event that its cartridges do cause an issue.
80% of people buy their printer ink online, and it's usually the cheapest place to buy your ink cartridges. Amazon and eBay are the most popular online choices, but neither is the highest rated in our survey of thousands of Which? members.
We've rounded up the best online ink retailers below. But if you prefer to stock up from a high street shop, we've still got you covered – keep scrolling for our high street shop results.
|Brand||Customer service||Range of ink||Finding your ink||Value for money||Customer Score|
Table notes: In April 2021, we asked 6,247 Which? members and members of the public about their experiences of buying printer ink online, and 1,994 about their experience of buying ink from high street shops. We required at least 30 responses for a brand to be included. Individual sample sizes for each brand shown in brackets. The customer score is based on satisfaction and the likelihood of recommending each retailer if asked. n/a means we had too few individual responses to give a rating.
This retailer stocks original and third-party inks along with, oddly enough, kids' toys and games. It offers a three-year guarantee on faulty cartridges, as well as next-day delivery. We’ve seen discounts of up to 30% on some products when buying multiple cartridges from the at the same time.
Stinkyink stocks original and third-party inks for a wide range of printers. The is easy to browse, and there’s a 12-month guarantee on all cartridges. It also promises to repair or replace your printer in the unlikely event their cartridges to cause an issue.
Tesco and Currys are the most popular high street shops for buying ink cartridges – but neither comes in our top three retailers.
|Brand||Customer service||Range of ink||Ease of replacing faulty cartridges||Value for money||Customer Score|
|Currys/ PC World (347)|
|John Lewis (48)|
We know you can make huge savings by choosing third-party inks rather than original inks. However, many people are put off by potential complications with using them. Our survey revealed the most common concerns people had:
While it's possible that even supposedly compatible ink won’t work in your printer, major problems are rarer than you might think. In fact, of those who use third-party cartridges regularly, only 5% experienced cartridges not working in their printer, only 2% had any leakage and just 6% thought print quality was poorer than expected.
If you do have problems, though, there are often things you can try to make the ink work.
Every year, millions of ink cartridges are needlessly dumped into UK landfill. And while most of the big brands have freepost recycling schemes for their own cartridges, they often won’t accept third-party ones.
Some larger supermarkets and office supply shops have dedicated recycling bins for printer cartridges – something to keep an eye out for when you’re out shopping. If all else fails, there’s a good chance your local recycling centre will take used cartridges off your hands. For more information, visit our guide on .