Photo Printer Cartridge and Toner Buying Guide

Having a photo printer at home with cartridges and toners lets you print off all your favorite pictures without taking a trip to the store first. Photo printer cartridges and toners come in different designs to fit printers from the leading manufacturers, and some companies make compatible cartridges that will work with those printers. You may want to look at the types available and get some tips before you start shopping for ink for your printer.

Types of Photo Printer Cartridges and Toners

Standard printers either use ink cartridges that come with just black ink inside or one that features multiple shades of ink. Those colors mix and match to make all the colors needed on the printer page. Most photo printer cartridges and toners use a combination of colors that typically include black, cyan, magenta and yellow. Even though most cartridges include the same colors, there are several types that may work with your printer.

The first is original ink, which some call original equipment manufacturer ink. This type of ink comes directly from the manufacturer that made your printer. Whether you have a photo printer made by Canon, Epson, HP or some other company, you can buy ink cartridges from that company. These cartridges come with a manufacturer's guarantee but typically cost more than other types.

Refurbished ink cartridges and toner may come from either the same manufacturer who made your printer or a company that specializes in refilling ink cartridges. These companies buy cartridges that office supply stores and individuals want to recycle. They thoroughly clean out the inside to remove any dried on ink or traces of ink and fill each space with new ink. While more affordable than new cartridges, your printer may have a hard time recognizing the ink.

One of the cheapest types of photo ink cartridges is a compatible cartridge. These cartridges come from third-party companies that have no affiliation with leading manufacturers but make compatible products that work with those items. While these cartridges often cost much less, you may not get as many prints or the vibrant colors that you want.

Pay Attention to


Never buy an ink cartridge or toner unless you know that it will work with your printer. This is important when buying official products and third-party products. The cartridges should tell you right on the packaging which printers it will work in, and you can also check the manual for your printer for the item number you need.

Page amount

If you look closely at the packaging and read reviews that other customers posted, you can find out exactly how many pages you will get out of a single cartridge. The total amount depends on how many colors your pictures require and the type of paper you use too. Refurbished and third-party party cartridges and toner may last half as long as official products do.

Ink type

Most cartridges use dye or pigment inks. While dye inks often provide brighter and more brilliant colors in your printed images, ink takes longer to dry, which can make your pictures look blurry. Pigment inks dry faster and produce professional quality images faster.

Waterproof ink

Look for photo printer cartridges and toner that come with a type of waterproof or water-resistant ink inside. This type of ink is great for pictures because it won't smudge or rub off the page when exposed to water. Though the ink may take longer to dry, it often lasts longer.


Search for toner and ink cartridges that work with your budget, but keep in mind that paying a little more can get you more pictures per cartridge and higher quality prints. If you want to print off a lot of pictures and save some money, consider buying in bulk.

Combination sets

Some ink cartridge manufacturers now offer combination sets that let you buy almost everything you need to print photos from home in one simple package. These combo kits often come with toner or a cartridge that will work with your printer and glossy photo paper too.

Top Brands and Product Lines


HP is one of the leading suppliers of printer ink, cartridges and toners because the company makes dozens of different photo and standard printers. Its photo printer ink uses various colors to create prints that look just like those images. HP includes a list on all packages that shows you which printers will work with which cartridges.


When you want to save money on printer ink, you might buy from a company like JARBO that makes toners and cartridges that are compatible with printers from manufacturers like HP. Most sets come with ink in shades of black, magenta and other colors. JARBO also makes high yield cartridges that produce more prints per package.


Keep your Epson photo printer running properly with photo ink cartridges and toners manufactured by Epson. Epson makes standard ink cartridges that fit all its top printers, and it also offers sets that come with photo paper too. These sets let you print professional quality photos from almost any Epson printer.


Canon makes photo printers that work with its own line of ink to produce high quality prints from your home or work computer. You can save money and time with one of its combo packs, which come with both ink and glossy paper that mimics the look of traditional pictures. Both the packs and cartridges available only work with Canon printers.


Like JARBO, Kingway makes photo printer toners and cartridges that are compatible with printers from major companies like Epson and HP. You can easily remove your old cartridge and pop in a new one without worrying that your printer won't recognize it. Most sets come with two containers or black ink and one each of colors like cyan and magenta.