Printer Cartridges

A regular feature in any office, business centre, school or home, printers are a vital piece of equipment. In order to achieve great printing results every time, it's important to select the right printer cartridge. Here at Cromwell, we have a wide range of printer cartridges from leading brands such as Hewlett Packard (HP)®, Q-Connect® and Lexmark™.

What are printer cartridges?

Printer cartridges is the generic, general term that refers to the vessel in which ink is stored. This ink is transferred to paper in the printing process, via several different ways depending on your printer and printer cartridge type. For example, laser printers use toner cartridges and an ink drum to transfer the powdered ink onto the paper, whilst inkjet printers use ink printer cartridges to spray the liquid ink onto paper via small nozzles. All printer cartridges are designed to be replaced when they run dry.

Why printer cartridges?

Almost as necessary as the printer itself, printer cartridges are crucial for transferring ink onto paper and providing a sharp finish on your documents. They are simple to install, cost effective and can be purchased in a variety of sizes, styles and colours to suit your printing needs. In order to achieve great printing results, it's vital to replace your printer cartridges as and when necessity.

When are printer cartridges used?

Printer cartridges are used both commercially and domestically. Whether it be a home printer or a large industrial sized printer, printer cartridges are crucial for providing a sharp and clear finish when printing out various documents. Printers can be found in offices, warehouses, in homes, libraries and business centres and therefor, so can printer cartridges.

Printer cartridges types

There are 3 main types of printer that are commonly used; Inkjet or ink printers, laser printers and thermal printers. Each type has printer cartridges that are specifically designed for use with them. Below, we have listed the most frequently used printer cartridges and their applications as well as the compatible printer type that they function in.

Ink cartridge   -   Also known as inkjet cartridges, printer ink cartridges are suited for use in inkjet printers and work by squirted the coloured liquid onto the paper via small nozzles.

Toner cartridge   -   Although the term ink and toner cartridges are often used interchangeably, they differ in the way that transfer the ink onto the paper. Toners use a powder to transfer onto paper, and are used only in laser printers.

Thermal ribbon   -   Used in thermal transfer printing, thermal ribbon cartridges work by storing the ink in a waxy or resinous form. This is then melted and applied to the paper by being squeezed between the printer's thermal head and the platen roller. This type of cartridge is only suited for use in thermal printers.

Ink drum   -   Found in laser printers, ink drums are used in conjunction with toner cartridges. The toner cartridge stores the powdered ink, whilst the ink drum is an electrically charged cylinder which works to fuse the powder in the toner cartridge to the paper.

Considerations when choosing a printer cartridge

Colour - Most inkjet printers have two printer cartridge slots. One is designed for black ink and the other is usually a tri-colour printer cartridge that encompasses cyan, magenta and yellow all in one printer cartridge. However, this isn't true of all printers. Laser printers that offer colour printing options require separate toner cartridges for each colour. Whilst tri-colour printer cartridges are more efficient on paper, they have a lower yield than individual colour cartridges. Consider which colour printer cartridge you need and how your printer utilises colour printer cartridges before purchasing.

Printer type - Not all printer cartridges are compatible with all types of printer. For example, inkjet printers require ink cartridges, whereas laser printers require a toner cartridge. Some brands and series of printer are also only compatible with their own branded printer cartridges, or are only compatible with certain series of printer cartridge. It's always best to check that your printer accepts the printer cartridge that you intend to buy to ensure your printer cartridge works.

Printer cartridges jargon buster

We want to make it easy for you to shop our range of printer cartridges, so here are some key terms that will help you understand the range and applications a little better.

What is a platen roller and do all printers have one?

A platen roller is a component in thermal printers that are designed to apply even pressure on the paper when transferring the ink to ensure crisp and sharp printing results.


How do I know which ink cartridge to buy?

The easiest way to identify which cartridge your printer accepts is to open it up and see what printer cartridge is currently in there. If the printer is supplied empty, it will usually state on either the manufacturer's website or the accompanying handbook which printer cartridges are suitable for your printer.

Can I recycle my ink cartridge?

You can, however not with your normal household recycling. Printer cartridges and toners are categorised as WEEE waste (Wasted Electrical and Electronic Equipment) and therefore can only be recycled via a local refuse centre or some companies will come and collect them or you can send them off to be recycled; companies such as these can be found online.