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Inkjet Cartridge Buying Guide

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Inkjet Cartridge Buying Guide

Buying inkjet cartridges can be a difficult process. Your printer is on the fritz, the ink needs to be replaced and there are too many acronyms and technical words that become difficult to understand. It helps to keep a few key words in mind before you shell out your hard-earned money on a product you're not even sure is going to work. In order to help you wade through the sea of inkjet cartridge jargon, we have provided some key definitions to some commonly used words and acronyms:

Compatible Inkjet Cartridge

This is an inkjet cartridge that is not a name brand cartridge but is compatible with the printer you are using. Generally an inkjet cartridge listed as "compatible" is a new cartridge without the name brand price hike. Reputable retailers site use the same specifications for their inkjet cartridges as the original equipment manufacturers. Many retailers also list their remanufactured inkjet cartridges as "compatible" in order to let their customers know it will work with their computer.

Remanufactured Inkjet Cartridge

This is a rebuilt or recycled inkjet cartridge or laser toner cartridge that is compatible with the printer you are using. Most inkjet cartridges can be re-used again and again and many companies sell remanufactured inkjet cartridges at a significant discount. Instead of paying for the inkjet cartridge again, you simply pay for the ink.

OEM Inkjet Cartridge

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. This designates the inkjet cartridge as a name brand product, straight from the original manufacturer. Buying from an OEM generally means buying a more expensive inkjet cartridge, but one that does come with the reassurance of brand name.

Inkjet Cartridge Parts

If you were to take apart your inkjet cartridge, you would find a fairly complex system of parts. While they are all important, some are more important than others in ensuring that your prints come out clear and clean and that your printer functions normally. Here are a few parts you need to know…


The inkjet cartridge nozzle dispenses the ink. There can be as few as 48 nozzles in your inkjet cartridge or as many as 300. As this is what directly affects how your print will look, it is important not to touch the nozzles as they may clog.


This is the part of the inkjet cartridge that contains the nozzles. It is the most important part of the printer and must be handled delicately and maintained properly. Proper care and maintenance can extend the life of your inkjet cartridges and keep your nozzles from clogging.

Safety Clip

Some inkjet cartridges and toners come with safety clips in order to protect them during shipping. Not knowing this, many users try to install the cartridge without taking it off. Check your printing manual to see if your inkjet cartridge comes with safety clips.

Hopefully these few terms help to clear up any confusion you may have when buying a new inkjet cartridge for your printer. For greater detail on these terms and others, read more of my articles on this website.