How do I Change a Printer Cartridge?

S. Gonzales

Most printer owners eventually will have to change a printer cartridge when ink dries out or runs low. The specific process to change a printer cartridge varies between printers, but there can be several similar steps taken to successfully change the cartridge. If a printer owner tires of purchasing new ink cartridges, he or she can purchase re-manufactured ink cartridges or simply re-ink the cartridges himself or herself.

An ink cartridge.
An ink cartridge.

To change a printer cartridge, printer owners first have to identify the make and model of his or her printer. Knowing what kind of printer one owns is essential in finding the appropriate printer cartridges for the printer. Installing incompatible printer cartridges can have a deleterious effect on the device.

A printer.
A printer.

Each make and model of printers is different, so how to change a printer cartridge can vary. Owners should first consult their printer manuals for instructions on how to install cartridges. Ink cartridge packages also can carry instructions on how to change a printer cartridge, although these instructions can assume that a printer owner is already familiar with his or her printer, and the instructions can be as simple as diagrams.

Despite differences in printers, there are a few universal steps needed to change a printer cartridge. These can include switching the power button on or off, flipping the printer lid open, waiting for the cartridge holder to slide out and dislodging the cartridge from its holder and pulling it out. Tape usually will have to be removed from the new cartridge, and the new cartridge will have to be inserted into the holder in the same position as the old cartridge. When a cartridge has been successfully inserted, many printers respond with a clicking sound, and the cartridge holder begins repositioning itself after the printer lid has been closed again.

If consumers are interested in saving money, they might be able to purchase re-manufactured ink cartridges. These cartridges are usually pre-owned, have been refilled by their manufacturers and typically are available at a lower cost than their new counterparts. Aside from helping consumers save money, they are also better for the environment, because the cartridges are recycled, and no resources were expended in making a brand new cartridge.

Consumers also have the option of extending the life of their ink cartridges by refilling cartridges instead of purchasing new ones. Cartridge owners will have to buy ink and refilling supplies to accomplish this. It's entirely possible for printer owners to refill their cartridges and use the same cartridge multiple times, but many printer owners find the process of refilling cartridges messy and cumbersome. Those printer owners also can remove a cartridge that is running out of ink and shake it a few times before putting it back into the printer. This can extend the life of the cartridge and delay the need to put another cartridge in the printer.

The process to change a printer cartridge varies between printers.
The process to change a printer cartridge varies between printers.

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Discussion Comments


In general, it's easy to change the cartridge on a home printer. On mine, I just lift the front to bring both carts to the center and snap the old one out. Then, I peel the film off the new cartridge and snap it in place.

Always remember to run a cartridge alignment utility when you change carts so your printed material will be properly calibrated. Every cartridge is a little different, so the settings for the printer might change just a bit.

Changing the cartridge on an office laser printer is a whole different issue, and one best left to people who know what they're doing. It's not generally something anyone in the office can do. Leave that to the tech guy or girl.

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