You already know that printing a document is as easy as clicking a button. But inside your printer, various parts work together to create an image on the page. Ink is obviously a crucial component of the printing process. Without it, your printer will be useless. But did you know that the type of cartridge your printer uses can affect the output quality? Whether you’re already an owner of an inkjet printer, or you’re simply in the market for one, you may have noticed that printers require either a single or multi-colour ink cartridge. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between these two types of cartridges, and which one is best suited for your needs.
Many modern printers have carriages that hold separate ink cartridges for each colour. For this type of printer, you’ll need to buy the colours black, cyan (blue), magenta (pink), and yellow as individual tanks. Unlike tri-colour cartridges, the printhead is not included as single cartridges can be attached to the machine’s own printhead (the tiny nozzles that spray ink onto the paper).
With tri-colour cartridge printers, you’ll have a separate cartridge for black ink whist a single unit contains the three colours cyan, magenta pink, and yellow. When you print a colour document like a photograph, black and the CMY range are blended to make up the colour composition of the image. Tri-colour cartridges have an integrated printhead attached, which is replaced at the same time the cartridge is replaced.
Having a printer with a tri-colour cartridge means that your ink will run out at different times since you won’t print the same amount of each colour. Case in point, if you regularly print in blue for your company’s logo, it will not last as long as yellow and magenta. When you’ve depleted your blue ink, you’ll need to throw away the entire cartridge even though there are still magenta and yellow left. A single colour cartridge is therefore more economical in the long run, because, even though they cost more than tri-colour cartridges, if you’ve run out of one colour, you can just replace that instead of replacing them all.
Another area where most single colour cartridges excel is colour depth and tone. If you regularly print a large number of photographs, single units can make a huge difference in the output quality, offering superior colour reproduction than their bundled counterparts. Individual cartridges are also a smart choice for high volume printing jobs because they contain a higher amount of ink per colour.
This does not mean that tri-colour cartridges don’t have their merits. You may be a business that doesn’t require high quality printing in colour and only care about printing basic text documents. In this case, it doesn’t matter if you invest in a printer with single or multi-colour cartridge. If you mostly use black ink and the other colours in equal amounts once or twice a week, you only need replacement cartridges for the black ink, while keeping your colour reservoirs steady. Couple this with the fact that tri-colour cartridges are cheaper to replace, and you can ease the impact that printer ink costs normally have on businesses.
There are already enough factors to consider when you’re deciding what type of printer to buy including your budget, which manufacturer and model, print speed, quality, and connectivity. Thinking about individual versus multi-colour ink cartridges is usually something that falls to the bottom of the list. However, if this is important to you, this guide should help you get a clear understanding of how the differences between these two types of cartridges will make it easier to decide what you want or need from your printer. That way, you’ll be better informed to get the right printer for you.