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Review, October 2007

and CANON (and other) Printer Info



by Neil Slade

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My un-biased tested and compared recommendation to most people for most applications for any brand printer, with a free shipping coupon code shown here:

Inkgrabber Ink

Free Shipping on Ink & Toner

This is the ink I USE, and that I've tested to be superior to any of the dozens of available second and third party alternative inks. All inexpensive inks ARE NOT ALIKE- most others give inferior color. This includes off the shelf retail alternative cheap ink sold in places like Office Depot, Staples, etc- which is not good at all.

          It is generally  50% less expensive than the cost of regular ink refills, with as good or better color than OEM. It is even less expensive when  you but more than one cart at a time, and this is how I purchase ink.

          There are cheaper inks than this-- but I don't use them...

                    Read HERE to find out why, the alternatives, and the difference between inks including image comparisons.




Also See Ink SHOOT OUT 


Ink Test Update



Inkjet printer manufacturers make all of their money selling replacement ink. And they do so at SUBSTANTIAL mark-up to the consumer. I.e., rip-off to people who use fair amounts of ink. 

Not only is this bad for the environment- throwing out all those cartridges, but it SUCKS your green energy (money) out of you, which could be more efficiently spent. Efficient use of money translates into personal BRAIN HAPPINESS. You want THAT, don't you?

I've used and continue to use  ink from  , MIS Inkjet Supplies, "Computer Friends", Inkjet Ink and Other Related  

PLEASE FIRST READ MY DETAILS- each company offers a distinct advantage.

As far as ink goes, all of these companies sell outstanding quality ink at a truly reasonable cost-- 1/6th the price of OEM ink or manufacturers ink elsewhere. It's ink at the price IT SHOULD BE.  See details below. 

I've tested and used all of these inks, and nobody paid me to get results favorable to their ink. My conclusions are strictly based on my own observations and test results.

We tested and RECENTLY RE-TESTED this ink against Canon factory ink cartridges found that there was marginal detectable differences in color accuracy when used in an i960 printer- Canon's best inkjet printer, and likely the best quality ink jet made by anybody, September 22, 2004.  (Jan 2006- I still use this printer, 4 of them, and an ip3000- works as well if not better than the brand new models)

I no longer refill cartridges with bulk ink however, and have found it sufficiently cost effective, more convenient and faster, and way less messy to simply replace a completely used cart with a $2.79 aftermarket G&G cart that provides me with excellent color and accuracy.

For ordinary use, the G&G ink supplied by Inkgrabber  ink seems to be very good and more than sufficient. Nearly undetectable differences between this and the official Canon ink, and its even better than it was a year ago. Inkgrabber (and others) sell G&G carts for Canon ink and it has been tested by others and found to be extremely accurate color, and it is improved greatly over just a year ago and our tests. The neutral grays look perfectly fine now, and even so, you can still tweak in your printer properties, although I don't ever do this, the color is that good.

MIS ink and Computer Friends ink (for bulk refills yourself) are also spot-on for matching Canon color. I've used MIS ink in bulk for well over a year, and I've always been totally satisfied and haven't had to make any adjustments to my printer settings.

If there are any differences, they are now microscopic. We are talking SMALL SMALL differences here. Most people would not even detect the slightest difference if they tried.


The MIS bulk ink is very light fade resistant and can be used for family photos stored well. No inkjet ink print will last forever if you tack it up on your refrigerator. If you want photos to last 50 years, you need to take good care of them- please read further for details on archival quality prints elsewhere on this site.

Don't put any prints in the sunlight (this is true of color lab photos as well folks.)  Wilhelm testing does report increased problems with color fastness with the G&G ink (Inkgrabber) so don't use this for archival prints, prints you store in bright light, ie. family photos you need for 10 years. G&G will be fine for most use, throw away prints, ads, brochures, etc. MIS ink is not a problem in this regard. In any case, if you are printing for the AGES, you should be using pigment ink- not ordinary injet dye in- anyway. Do your homework.


You will never buy your ink at Office Depot again unless its an emergency. Replacing entire ink cartridges is still not as cheap as bulk ink refill of cartridges, or Continuous Flow Systems (see below), but it still beats retail price for replacing ink- which in my opinion is far too expensive for people who do a fair amount of printing. Apparently Inkgrabber makes their money on shipping, which is a bit high, but it is still far cheaper in the long run than paying standard ink refill prices. Maybe eventually the other ink manufactures will catch on.



I've tried ON THE SHELF- OVER THE COUNTER (from your local office supply, Best Buy, etc) refillable inkjet kits, and reconditioned inkjet cartridges before, and they all SUCK (sluurrrrrrrp!) with the exception of recycled BLACK only Office Depot cartridges (their may be a couple others out there). Generally, either the re-conditioned cartridges don't work at all, or the color of the ink is awful. TYPICAL refill kits are messy, too expensive for all the work you have to do, and they don't work even after you go through it all (my experience with HP cartridges anyway, and these are excellent cartridges.)

All brands of ink are NOT the same, you can't use the same ink in all printers- because many of the printers work differently and handle the ink differently. Canon, for example heats their ink when printing, Epson does not. Ink is NOT generic. If you get third party ink, get the good stuff specifically formulated for your model printer.

If you decide that you need the extra savings of REFILLING your ink cartridges I have used both "Computer Friend's" and "MIS " for ink, syringes, and in the case of MIS, a permanent Continuous Flow (from big bottles) ink system. They both make specifically formulated inkjet ink for every current and older model printer, just like the manufacturers. They further supply you with syringes that work properly- unlike those cheapo accordion shaped devices with generic re-fill kits. Further, the ink is sold at an actual reasonable cost if you are willing to refill your cartridge. (You'll need cheap plastic gloves to keep your hands clean, and a few minutes of time to do this.) Their web site also explains how inkjet printers actually work-- (I always wondered this myself.) 
See: "Computer Friends", Inkjet Ink and Other Related

NOTE: For ink only I have used MIS Inkjet Supplies , in particular the 4 oz bottles and they have similar high quality ink at about half the cost of the above Computer Friends, plus many additional products. 






Several carts use a longer black ink-fill hole seal as opposed to the Canon plastic ball bearing type seal. These days I recommend DRILLING A NEW HOLE next to the original fill hole for refilling, then using the Computer Friends Blue Plugs.

I have not had much success with using a stainless steel screw and O ring, although some people will swear by this. I have also used a hot glue gun with some success. The sure fire successful method for me has always been the little expandable blue plastic plugs from Computer Friends.

You CAN reuse the G&G Inkgrabber carts this way and fill with bulk ink from MIS for example (excellent ink). Drill a hole any place EXCEPT the manufacturers fill hole in the top of the clear reservoir part of the cart (not the sponge side). Use a drill bill size that allows the screw to screw in tight and firm- if its at all loose, the cart will fail.




My experience is that Computer Friends has a better initial system for refilling at least the Canon brand cartridges, with easier to manage cartridge plugs- I recommend the first refill kit from them. Once you've gone through the ink, MIS sells the same ink at a better price. I'm NOT that crazy about the MSI own brand of Canon refillable cartridges which have teeny tiny black rubber plugs that are a bit hard to manage. Either way however, you can make do with each company. Don't let the ink cartridges go completely dry before refilling, or they will give you some trouble- monitor the levels.

The Computer friends blue tab plastic plug is far superior to the MIS rubber plug and their refillable cartridges, no doubt about it. I use my S900 and i960 for COMMERCIAL use, i.e. I have reused cartridges DOZENS of times using the Computer Friends plugs and syringes with original Canon ink tanks. I've printed THOUSANDS of 8X10s at this point.



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For details on refilling ip4200 and similar Canon Models with CHIPPED carts go here



Go to Inkgrabber and get ink for $2.79 a color as opposed to spending $12 a color at your local Office Depot.  We tested this ink and it actually looked BETTER than the official factory Canon Ink- gave what looked like more accurate flesh tones-- maybe we were hallucinating- maybe not. There ya go!  Easy and cheap.

If exact color accuracy is REALLY CRUCIAL- I SUGGEST YOU BUY YOUR CYAN AND PHOTO CYAN FROM MIS-- because these colors are more accurate than Inkgrabber. Otherwise, all the other Inkgrabber colors are just fine.

The MIS carts are $5 each.

I have found that the PHOTO CYAN and PHOTO MAGENTA colors are used up two to four times faster than any other color.

On top of this, if the cartridge goes completely empty before refilling-- nine times out of 10 you are screwed and you will never be able to get that cartridge to work properly again. Why? Air inside the sponge ink filler inside the cart will block the flow of ink, and there is NOTHING you can do to remedy this once it happens except replace the cartridge.

Regarding NEW CHIPPED CANON CARTS (update Oct. 2010)- All the problems with second party (inkgrabber) chipped carts are solved. They work great.

I use the second part carts as well as refill my original carts- all without issue. I have two Canon ip 4600 printers and they are the best printers I've ever had.

 Refill Information for Bulk Ink 


Second Option-

This is the most economical and accurate way to re-ink.

Go to Computer Friends and buy your first REFILL SET from them. You'll get good instructions, excellent ink, the worlds best cartridge refill plugs and carts, and a set of syringes.

After that, I like MIS ink, because its half as expensive, and extremely accurate color.


A couple of words of caution to those REFILLING CARTRIDGES: 

1) Fill cartridge before it goes empty- once it runs out of ink, it's not a good idea cause dried ink can clog the system, the cartridge, or the print heads. Then your life will be miserable and you will use a ton of ink, and waste your time working to get the ink jet heads unclogged. 
>>>>>>>>Refill cartridges when they are only 75% empty. ARE  YOU PAYING ATTENTION HERE????<<<<<<< 

2) Have paper towels or bathroom paper handy-- don't do it on your grandmothers antique desk. You may not spill a drop, and you probably won't once you get the hand of this. Denatured alcohol is a good clean up.

3) I can now refill a cartridge in under a minute. I simply hold a clean Kleenex over the outlet hole, remove, the plug, syringe in the new ink, replace the plug, remove the Kleenex, and wipe off the excess ink.
You may need to let the cartridge sit for a few minutes before replacing in the printer, but not if you refilled before it emptied completely. (Read all the instructions FIRST before doing anything).

You have to reseal the cartridge closed immediately after refilling, as natural air pressure will encourage the ink to drain at a faster rate then it should. This was true for the Canon cartridges, other brands may be slightly different. Once the refill plug is in, ink will not come out the outlet plug. 

4) The punch used to gain access to the cartridge broke after a few uses. Use a metal punch with a hammer or something similar like a small screwdriver instead if necessary. The broken piece which then ledges inside the cartridge doesn't hurt anything but may sometimes (usually not) interfere with the ink level monitor later and not give you accurate ink level readouts, forcing physical inspection to see remaining ink levels. 

FIRST BRAIN LESSON: READ THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY. (This is always a good idea in all things.)


FINAL COMMENTS ON THIRD PARTY INK   as sent as an email reply to a questioneer:

PS  - Another question - I've noticed that some people on eBay say
> non-Canon
>> inks ruin the print heads - true or false?  (that's what went on my Epson,
>> using their @#$@#$@!! inks.)  Thanks.


> You've got to REALLY read my article in detail.
> There is crappy third party ink-- and there is perfect third party ink.
> I've used MIS ink to print THOUSANDS of 8X10s. It is perfect stuff. Same can
> be said of inkgrabber and Colorbat and Computer Friends.
> If their ink was junk, I would know and I wouldn't recommend it to my worst
> enemy.
> As it is, at least MIS and Colorbat ink is from the same source-- just
> different labels.
> The generic inks--- this is another story. I can't vouch for any other
> companies either. I know these four are great. I have had HORRIBLE experiences trying to get
generic Office Depot off the shelf third party refilled carts to work--- they usually DON'T.  I find it impossible to believe that any off the shelf generic third party ink would work. DON"T EVEN TRY IT.

Get a custom formulated ink made SPECIFICALLY for your printer by one of the conscientious fair priced companies referred to here--- or discover your own (their may be some more out there). But I can vouch for these four companies mentioned on this page after two years experience USING their inks to print THOUSANDS of prints, without ANY printer problems of serious consequence.
> I wouldn't put it past major manufacturers to post "don't use third party
> inks or else!!!" propaganda all over the web.
> They have to figure a way to sell ink at 20 times the price of good third
> party suppliers.
> The thing with Canon printers is that you HAVE TO CLEAN THE HEADS every few
> days maintenance- even though Canon doesn't tell you to.
> Even with official Canon ink, it makes no difference.  Canon nozzles ARE
> SMALL SMALL SMALL. Plus, Canon heads HEAT the ink.
> Run a color print every day, run the normal clean maintenance a couple times
> every few days-- and you will eliminate 90% of your printer problems. I would suspect this is true of EVERY brand inkjet printer.


Ink Test Update




FIRST OPTION: DON'T REFILL AT ALL-  go to Inkgrabber and get ink for $3 a color as opposed to spending $12 a color at your local Office Depot.  We tested this ink and it actually looked BETTER than the official factory Canon Ink- gave what looked like more accurate flesh tones-- maybe we were hallucinating- maybe not. There ya go!  Easy and cheap.

I have found that the PHOTO CYAN and PHOTO MAGENTA colors are used up two to four times faster than any other color.

On top of this, if the cartridge goes completely empty before refilling-- nine times out of 10 you are screwed and you will never be able to get that cartridge to work properly again. Why? Air inside the sponge ink filler inside the cart will block the flow of ink, and there is NOTHING you can do to remedy this once it happens except replace the cartridge.



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