The Best Third-Party Inkjet Ink

The Best Third-Party Inkjet Ink

Our pick

Costco Printer Ink Cartridge Refill Service

Costco Printer Ink Cartridge Refill Service

Solid prints and a reliable product

These refills come closest to matching original-ink quality, and they’re backed by Costco’s excellent customer service.

Buying Options

Buy from Costco
($7–$15 per cartridge)

All of the third-party inks we tested made decent prints for book reports, recipes, and event tickets, but Costco ink refills yielded the darkest black text, the cleanest lines, and the best color balance—although the results (especially in photos) skewed slightly yellow-green in comparison with first-party prints. The Costco refill ink even managed to exceed the expected number of prints (1,600) in our endurance tests, delivering 1,860 pages of color and text before the yellow ran out. Unlike with other brands, we trust that if anything goes wrong, Costco’s superior customer service will make things right: Our first set of refills didn’t work, but the store’s photo-center technicians fixed them free of charge when we told them about the issue. Finally, we like that Costco is open about where it gets its inks, giving us confidence that the service we recommend is what our readers will receive. None of the online third-party cartridge makers we tested could compete on that front.

The biggest issue with Costco’s refill service is the fact that it’s available only to Costco members and requires visiting a Costco store with a photo center. Although other chains like Sam’s Club and Fry’s use inks and refill equipment from the same provider, they can’t claim Costco’s reach or its sparkling reputation for customer service. If you find that none of those options are convenient or economically viable, you can try your luck with third-party cartridge brands. Of the off-brand cartridges we tested, Ikong ink offered the best print quality—perfectly fine for home use—but we can’t recommend it as a pick due to concerns over its long-term reliability (more on that below). If the refill services don’t work for you, and you don’t trust third-party cartridges, we suggest you stick with your printer manufacturer’s ink.

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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