FAQ’s & Tips

What does OEM mean?

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. OEM’s, such as Epson, Canon, Hewlett-Packard and Lexmark, are the companies that produce your inkjet printer, as well as the printer cartridge that is used in it. We realize many people purchase OEM products when first buying their printer. However, spending that extra money is unnecessary!

What is a remanufactured cartridge?

A remanufactured cartridge is one that has been disassembled and its worn parts replaced. The print cartridge then receives a new print head, is refilled with printer ink, and is tested in the factory to guarantee print quality. It is basically the recycling of an empty cartridge. Remanufacturing is considered more comprehensive than refilling alone. You can purchase remanufactured toner cartridges and remanufactured inkjet cartridges. Your printer’s print head cleaning utility (described in your printer’s operating manual) SHOULD ALWAYS BE RUN 1-2 TIMES AFTER INSERTING THE REMANUFACTURED TONER CARTRIDGES OR INKJET CARTRIDGES! Although the cartridges may test print fine in our factory, they may have problems after shipping. Remember, color cartridges are the most difficult cartridge and we recommend you always buy cartridges in pairs so you always have a spare on hand. In the rare occasion you get a defective cartridge, you can still get your printing done and return the defective one to us for a full 100% purchase price credit.

What is a compatible cartridge?

Generic cartridges are specifically manufactured to meet or exceed OEM specifications and high standards of quality and reliability while offering high-quality printing results. Manufactured 100% brand new, containing only new components, they are an economical alternative to expensive name-brand cartridges and supplies.

Use of generic replacement cartridges DOES NOT VOID PRINTER WARRANTIES. The use of compatible or remanufactured cartridges/toners does NOT void your printer’s warranty, which is proven by the following U.S. Congress New Legislation: Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act – United States code annotated Title 15 Commerce and Trade Chapter 50, Consumer Product Warranties 15 Section 2302:

(c) No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied Warranty of such product on the consumers using, in connection with such Product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade or Corporate name; except that the prohibition of this subsection be waived by The commission if: 1) The warrantor satisfies the Commission that the warranted product will Function properly only if the article or service so identified is used in connection with the warranted product, and 2) the Commission finds that such a waiver is in the public interest.

This is your lifesaver for purchasing your inkjet cartridges from a wholesale supplier. Under no circumstances may any company or associate, salesperson or service technician deny you service or warranty work that would otherwise be covered under the warranty program.

What should I do if there are white streaks on my printed pages?

First check to see if the cartridge is empty. If not, place the cartridge on a soft tissue, allowing some ink to leak out. Allow the nozzle to sit for a few minutes before gently wiping it with a soft tissue or cotton swab. Reinstall the cartridge, run the print head cleaning utility (described in your printer’s manual) and attempt to print again.

Why should I buy a recharged, or remanufactured cartridge from Ink Spot?

Because you probably already have … but maybe don’t know it. Our cartridges are manufactured with a combination of new and reusable parts, MUCH LIKE HP. Most HP cartridge boxes note that the cartridge CONTAINS RECYCLED PARTS. Our cartridges carry a 100% satisfaction warranty AT A MUCH LOWER PRICE. The defect rate for HP is HIGHER than ours although we charge much less for our products. There is absolutely no risk. Why spend more of your money than is necessary to get the same results (or better)? We know you won’t be disappointed once you give us a try. Then the only problem you will have is what to do with the extra money left in your pocket.

What is an Inkjet Printhead?

Many printer manufacturers make their cartridges and printheads into one unit, however CANON printers differ in that many of their printers have separate printheads.  This is useful in that it brings the cost of cartridges (tanks) down, as they have less components in them.  The printhead is the part of the printer that controls the amount of ink that is “jetted” onto the paper.  Some EPSON printers also have replaceable printheads; however, these are designed to be replaced by an engineer rather than a home user.

How Does An Inkjet Printhead Work?

Ink from the cartridge percolates into the printhead via small tubes and is usually held via surface tension, which stops the ink from running out of the open tubes and onto your paper.  To overcome this surface tension and to deliver the exact sized drop of ink onto the page, the tubes contain heating elements that create a small bubble of air, which displaces a drop of ink out of the tube and onto the paper.

Why Would I Need To Change A Printhead?

The printhead DOES NOT need to be replaced each time the ink cartridges are replaced, only when print quality deteriorates and running a head cleaning thru your printer’s software, does not resolve the problem.

After a while, a printhead may become blocked by paper debris or solidified/dried ink.  Also, after many hours of extensive printing, the heating elements may fail as they are switching on/off hundreds of thousands of times.  If you notice your print quality is suffering or the printer fails to print at all, it may be time to change your printhead.

No special knowledge is required to fit the printhead and full detailed instructions are included when you purchase a printhead from Canon.  Epson printheads require a technician/engineer to replace them.  You may also need to perform a head cleaning after installation of your new printhead and also a re-alignment would be suggested.  Refer to your printer’s user manual on instructions for this if you are unsure.

Can I or should I refill my laser toner cartridges?

We do NOT recommend using refill kits for toner cartridges.  We do NOT recommend taking your empty laser toner cartridges to refill stores.  The reasons are simple.  The most important part of a laser toner cartridge is the drum.  When we sell you a compatible or remanufactured toner cartridge, we always provide a NEW drum.  Sometimes other parts on the toner cartridge also need replacing for satisfactory results and you don’t get that with the “drill and fill” franchise stores popping up all over.  Trust Ink Spot with all your laser toner purchases and know you always get a new long life drum with your purchase.

Is it good to use universal or generic inks in my printer?

Simply put, the answer is no.  Different printers require different ink formulations.  There is no such thing as one ink that will work great in ALL printers.  That is why we don’t sell refill kits.  Some inks will not perform well if used in the wrong printer.  This is the main reason you don’t want to go to refill stores or drug store chains to refill your cartridges.  They fill your cartridges with the same ink, regardless of type of printer.  You will be disappointed in the results and it may clog your printer nozzles too.  Sometimes when the price of a refill is too good to be true, there’s a reason for it.  Our business is based on REPEAT CUSTOMERS.  We won’t compromise just to be the lowest price out there.

Want to get the most from your cartridges?
View our Customer Tips.

How to buy a printer

The slowest, but most affordable, types of printers are inkjet printers. These printers shoot tiny sprays of ink thru microscopic holes in a printhead onto your page, one printhead-height row at a time. Resolution is the number of dots in a square inch that a printer can spit out onto a sheet of paper. More dots give you a finer level of detail, which is especially important with graphics and photos, but not a concern with text. Most inkjet printers offer resolutions of up to 4800 by 1200 dots per inch, which makes them suitable for printing high quality graphics and photos, though typically slower than laser printers. Inkjets are inexpensive printers for the masses, designed for home users, students or anyone who isn’t too concerned about the highest text quality. However, a high price does NOT necessarily mean excellent graphics, photos or text quality. The real cost of a printer is not determined by its initial cost, but the cost of replacing the ink cartridges themselves over the life of the printer. You can save 30-40% by using compatible or remanufactured inkjets sold by Ink Spot.

Printer price does not necessarily translate into print quality or speed of printing. Shop around and check our list below of the Top 10 inkjet printers for the most recent test results. If you plan to print lots of graphics, keep an eye out for photo printers. Most color inkjets can print photos at a quality that approaches the level of a professional photo lab. If you plan to use your printer primarily for photos or graphics, look for models that specialize in that type of printing. If you plan to print digital photos ONLY, look for photo printers with features such as media card readers and an LCD panel that allows you to view and print an image WITHOUT using your PC. Also look for bundled image editing software.

Manufacturers often list faster print speed specifications on their packaging than is seen in testing results and list average text coverage at 5% per page. In all reality, it is more like 8% coverage for text. That is especially important if you print mostly data related (text) files, which are printed typically in black. If you know you will be using one color more than another, (school colors, company logo, etc), consider printers that have INDIVIDUAL color cartridges so you can just replace the color you use the most and not waste the ones you don’t. The list below is not in any particular order, but based primarily on initial cost, dependability, ease of use and cost of operation. Choose wisely before going shopping for your new printer. Don’t let a salesperson talk you into anything because “it’s on sale” or “we sell a lot of these.” Have your mind made up BEFORE going into the store.


2015 Printers

REMEMBER:You buy the printer ONCE; you buy the ink/toner OVER AND OVER for years!!!

Reasons To Pick Laser Printers Over Inkjet Printers:

Laser printer costs are going down every year to the point where the difference in comparable products is now less than $100 in many cases. “But inkjet prices are going down too,” you say. Sure they are, but as the difference in initial costs becomes smaller, the next area to watch is replacing the ink/toner it takes to operate the printer.

So the printer was cheap, as many inkjet printers are these days, but now you have to replace the ink that came with that printer. How much will that cost? Inkjet cartridges aren’t cheap (especially ones with a new printhead in each cartridge like HP, Dell and Lexmark) and color cartridges are more costly than black. Even if you use the hi-yield inkjets, their page yield can’t compare to page yield on a typical laser toner. Sure the toner cartridge costs twice as much as the replacement inkjet cartridge, but offering double or triple the page yield of an inkjet requires fewer changes and creates less waste, thus saving you money in the long run. Color laser toners cost more than black toners, but with the exceptional page yield, they are still a more frugal choice than inkjets.

Laser printers offer another advantage in that the pages are printed much faster than on an inkjet printer, which is especially helpful in a networked situation where more than one person is using the same printer, or in cases where you’re just plain tired of waiting on the printer for the other job ahead of yours. And because lasers are quieter than inkjet printers, it is preferred in tight office situations where you may only have temporary walls (cubicles) dividing your space from your co-workers’ space.

Inkjet printers are improving in print quality all the time, but there’s still the inescapable fact that an inkjet functions by squirting wet ink onto a page, requiring at least some amount of drying time. In contrast, a laser printer uses heated rollers to fuse (bond) a powder to the paper, meaning there’s nothing wet to bleed or smear. It is also more common to find replacement parts or accessories for laser printers than for inkjet printers. Because of the low initial price of an inkjet printer, parts are often difficult to find for many models, making it necessary to replace the entire printer should something break or malfunction.

A laser beam is more precise than an inkjet, making it easier to get those high-precision, high-resolution text and black line graphic prints. And not relying on drops of liquid ink means less ink is wasted. When inkjet cartridges aren’t used for a while, they can sometimes dry out, leaving you without ink when you need it most, or forcing you to print several copies of the page before you get enough ink flowing to be legible for reading/copying. Laser toner, since it is actually in powder form rather than liquid, won’t dry out the same way, again causing less waste and fewer replacements.

—Courtesy of PC World Magazine


Desktop PCs
You can clean your PC’s exterior with a damp cloth, but the real mess is inside the case, where dust restricts airflow. Remove the tower’s top or side panel and use a can of compressed air to blow dust from components such as the fans, CPU heat sink and video card. Always hold the can upright and position the case so its opening is on the side, to ensure that blown dust doesn’t resettle on your components.

You can clean any printer’s exterior with a damp cloth, but interior cleaning differs for inkjet and laser printers. For inkjets, open the ink-cartridge access panel and use a dry cloth or chamois cleaning swabs to remove any dust or ink. Then run your printer’s head-cleaning software to clear the ink nozzle. For laser printers, remove the toner cartridge and wipe the toner cavity and rollers with a dry cloth, while avoiding the transfer roller that sits directly under the cartridge. Resist the urge to clean the optical mirror near the toner cavity; you’ll only distort it.

Laptops or LCD TV screens
To clean the screen of your laptop, mix 50/50 water and isopropyl alcohol in a misting bottle (empty glass cleaner bottle works fine).  Gently spray laptop screen and wipe clean with soft cotton cloth (not paper towels). Do not scrub the screen.  Easy does it! Use compressed air to dust off the keyboard, ports and fans — but first stick a toothpick in any fans so they won’t be damaged by overspinning. Your user’s guide should show how to detach the keyboard so you can use the can of compressed air on the internal components. If your keys are gunky and the user’s guide indicates that they are removable, use swabs and undiluted isopropyl alcohol to remove any residue.