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Everything you need to know about Refillable Ink Cartridges

What are refillable cartridges (RIC)?
A refillable cartridge is a highly durable replica of an original manufacturer’s cartridge. Unlike an original or compatible single use cartridge, it is capable of being refilled from bulk ink bottles numerous times.

How does it work?
Ink is injected directly into the cartridge to top up its ink chamber. Like in an original or compatible cartridge this ink is used by the printer until the cartridge registers as empty. At this point the cartridge is removed, but instead of being disposed of it is refilled and placed back into the printer. The printer recognises the cartridge as full and will continue printing, saving you from having to buy a new ink cartridge

What are the benefits?
Simply purchasing a refillable cartridge starter pack can save you over £400 in ink!
As an example we will look at the Epson T18 ink cartridges that fit a range of Epson XP series printers:
Each cartridge holds on average 3.8ml of ink.
An OEM Epson T1802 cyan cartridge costs £9.95. That works out as £2.62 per millilitre of ink.
An alternative compatible T1802 cyan cartridge costs £3.95, making a millilitre of ink 99p.
A 100ml refill bottle for RICs costs £4.95. This cuts the cost of ink to 5p a millilitre!
Multiply these figures out and 100ml of ink from Epson Original cartridges costs £262, and compatible 100ml costs £99. Multiply this by 4 to get an entire cartridge set and original cartridges would have cost you £1048! Compatibles would have been £396. The cost of a full refillable ink cartridge starter pack for the T1285 series? £42!

Not only are you saving money by buying ink in its raw form, you are also saving the environment. For every bottle of ink purchased you are saving up to 15 cartridges from going into landfill. Going green has never been so appealing.

Will my print quality suffer?
The short answer to this question is no, not in the slightest.
The long answer is as follows…
Our inks are developed to match OEM inks in quality and longevity. This means you will get the same colours and life from your prints that you would were you using originals.
All of our inks are tailor made for the machines they are meant to be used in. We only sell Epson inks for Epson’s, Brother ink for Brother’s and Canon ink for Canon’s.
No universal ink will ever touch our shelves.
Not only that but we will only sell the ink made specifically for your machine. If your machine takes a dye based Epson ink, we supply a dye based Epson ink, if it takes a pigment Canon ink, then a pigment ink for Canon is what you will receive.
Special exceptions can be made if you seek a custom finish. In these situations we recommend calling our offices to discuss your needs.
The reason behind this is not only to ensure your machine operates as it was meant to, but also to ensure the quality of your prints stays high.
In the cases of high quality photography printers, ICC profiles are provided with our RICs to get the best out of the printer and its inks. For more information on ICC profiles and what they do visit out ICC explanation page here.

I’ve heard refillable cartridges can block up your print head. Is this true?
RICs are not the reason for blockages in inkjet printers. Printers that use liquid inks are susceptible to ink blockages if not used for long periods of time; whether using OEM / compatible cartridges, refillable cartridges or continuous ink systems.
After a period of 2 weeks without use, ink can start to dry on your printer head. As time goes on this ink solidifies until it eventually blocks your printer head, meaning prints come out with distorted colours, lines through the image (banding) or images simply refuse to print at all.
Your average printer head clean maintenance can usually rectify this issue; that is if the printer has not been stood for too long, but it is always recommended to never let your printer get to this point.
Ink Express recommend printing something in full colour once a week, or once every 2 weeks to ensure your printer never requires a head clean. If you can follow that simple rule you will never have a problem with blockages.

What’s the catch?
Some manufacturer’s warranties are voided by the use of 3rd party consumables (compatibles, refillables or CISS). This means they won’t honour repair or replacement agreements outlined in the warranty.
The details of this vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. For example, it is stated in Epson’s warranty that the agreement is only invalid if the body of the printer is modified, or if the 3rd party ink is proven to have caused a fault in the machine,
“We will not repair or replace products if, in our opinion, the problem is due to:

(i) externally caused damage;

(ii) use outside specification (as defined by the product manufacturer, whose decision whether a product is used outside its specification or not is final);

(iii) accessories, parts or consumables which are not Epson branded or approved; or

(iv) modifications made to the product as originally supplied by Epson;

We have yet to find a case where the supplied inks have caused a fault in the printer.
All of the refillable ink cartridges Ink Express sell have undergone strenuous testing in the machines they are built for. Before a product is even considered for selling it has to undergo a rigorous stress test to ensure the end user gets a quality product. If a product does not meet out requirements it will never be sold by us.
If ever you find that a manufacturer is unwilling to repair your printer we offer a repair service in store. Our success rate with printer repairs is above 90% so you can rest easy when buying refillable ink cartridges from ourselves.