Toner Cartridges

You can find much better deals on toner cartridges if you shop online for them; your local suppliers has trouble keeping all possible cartridges in stock, never mind offering competitive prices, so sooner or later you'll need to shop online for printer ink, even if you support your local businesses. It's not hard at all, and has terrific benefits. Here's a basic guide, and one of my shopping experiences as an example.

How to Buy Ink Cartridges Online

1, Do a search (in google, likely) for "toner cartridge" or the exact brand name and model number. Right-click on links in the results page that look like good prospects, and then click on "open in new tab." This allows you to compare and shop around.

2. Explore the various sites. Drill down to your brand name, and model number, then the special colour or package of toner cartridges that you would like. You will be surprised at the range of prices. Sometimes with free shipping offered, sometimes a flat rate is added. Do your math and weigh your choices based on what you value most in toner cartridges.

3. When satisfied that you have found the best toner cartridge for your needs, go ahead, click the "Buy" button, and go through the Checkout steps.

My Toner Cartridge Shopping Experience

I used "toner cartridge" as my keyword search at first. Google recognized my computer as being located in Canada, so it served up the Canadian toner sites at the top. I don't hesitate to shop in the USA, but okay, I thought, then I won't need to consider currency exchange rates and over the border delays. I opened a row of tabs with the various sites in the search results, and in minutes was exploring toner cartridges. At most of the sites I chose "HP" or "Hewlett Packard" as my brand name, then drilled down the model names to "HP Color Laserjet 3600n." Before long I'd confirmed that the cartridge number for the cyan coloured cartridge is HPQ6471A. It got faster to just enter that number on the next sites.

Soon I was closing the tabs of the sites that were asking over $100 to $200 per cartridge. Out of my range! I scribbled notes to compare what the best sites offered, making sure I checked for shipping costs. By the way, I'm content to have compatible and refurbished cartridges. OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) are not necessary for good printing, in my mind.

In no time I'd narrowed my list of possible choices down to the following; (As of Sept/7/2012; and note that these sites may have changed these links by the time you try them).

First choice. I see the item I want is $63.50 (usually at $99.00). They offer free shipping on all orders over $49.


Second choice. Here it is $69.99, also with free shipping on all orders over $49. Here my toner cartridge is $88.95. Shipping is $7.95 regardless of quantity. My cyan toner cartridge is $74.95. Standard Shipping: $5.95 (Flat Rate) per order - Ground in Canada (2-7 Business Days). Express Shipping: $34.95 (Flat Rate) per order - Air in Canada and US (1-2 Business Days).

But then I got to wondering whether I'd really got the best prices available? Maybe I should go back for more results to look over? So I came up with more links; Another one where my cyan toner is $69.95. Orders over $75 Ship FREE by FEDEX! (Orders Under $75 Flat Rate Cost Option $9.50) $68.50 here with a flat rate of $5.95 for shipping to Canadians. $129.99!! Ouch! (That's those kiosks in the mall, right?)

Check for Rebates

I go back to my first choice and am about ready to place the order. I check it over more carefully to make sure I feel safe about shopping there. Then, as per usual, I stop to see whether the rebate sites I belong to have this store on their list - because that will give me some money back later! I check at, and also at

No, none of them have - but then I realize, oops! I haven't tried the bargain basement places yet, like eBay and Amazon. So I take time to go there next.

eBay has some for sale, but those toner cartridges are way-y too expensive! doesn't seem to have my cartridges, but is a jackpot! After I've entered my search term, "toner cartridge HPQ6471A" (this zeros in on the cyan cartridge I need) I see -- Ah-ha! Some are priced at $40 and some as low as $23. most are marked new, so someone must have ordered the wrong one or had it lying around a while and decided to get rid of the printer, so the cartridge wouldn't fit any more.

Now deciding where to order my toner cartridge has got harder again. The shipping costs might bring up the cost of those Amazon cartridges so high that it is not a bargain after all. I'll have to check each one out individually.

However, I'm interrupted before I place the order, and then a busy weekend fills my life.

Oops! A Lesson for Next Time

Back at the office on Monday I find my Firefox still open at the first choice site for my cyan toner cartridge. Really needing that cartridge soon, I forget about the tabs open at, and place my order at It all goes very smoothly and quickly. Minutes later I spy the amazon tabs still open too, and gasp.

Then I decide to leave it alone, and not cancel my order to make a new one. But! I will check out Amazon more carefully next time. In fact, that should be shortly as I see I will need to replace the magenta toner shortly. Sooner or later I will need the full set of four colours, and I see one seller is offering all four for $100. On second thought, could that be too good to be true? Here's a chance to weigh my options, and perhaps try out a bargain.

Some of these things we only learn through experience. As you build experience with online shopping, you will develop a special sense about where it is safe to shop, or when you have found the best price or advantages, and when to keep looking. So tread gingerly at the beginning, but know that you'll shop must faster in the future, and with greater confidence. Not only for toner cartridges, but all kind of things.

The cyan cartridge arrived at the end of the same week I'd ordered it. It was busy printing for me that same afternoon! But then right away I started getting messages on the printer that I should order the magenta cartridge.

I was busy a few days, but now have checked out the magenta toner cartridges at only to find that the shipping costs are more than twice the nice low bargain price. I cancelled that shopping cart and continued to search for other toner cartridge stores online. There were a number that I had not seen when searching for the cyan toner. Again I lined them up in browser tabs, each with a store that seemed to have a reasonable price. Guess what! With's free shipping, again, it has the best price. My second purchase took less than 3 to 5 minutes, for now I didn't feel the need to do all that research first.

I may search for and compare with others once in a while, but I think I may have found a new store favourite from which to order regularly - without going through all these steps in the future. You are likely to experience the same thing. Take your time when you feel unsure, but once you know what you are doing, you'll do your online shopping for toner cartridges - and everything else in no time flat!

Update: Experience Changed My Mind

Apr/25/2013 - and I've got to report that I've changed my mind about this company that I thought had such great deals. Then a magenta cartridge that I'd received from them last October, began to put a fuzzy pink border on the left-hand edge of each and every sheet. My printer would not recognize their cyan toner at all, so I was back to using an old one that had started to put a blue streak across about every third or sixth page.

Their website does not say anything about a return policy, so I tried to phone them and used the contact form on the site, but no reply. When I called, there was a child-like voice that gave a message about what hours they were in the office, and to leave a message, but no one ever called me back. Finally, I tried the contact form again, but used a different email then the one I'd used for my purchases, and explained that if they didn't respond I'd have to give them a "bad name" on the internet.

That brought back an email asking me to scan a sample of the pages with the ink problems and to email them as attachments. I complied, though I thought that was not a very wise business move, as an unethical person could easily subsitute something from another printer or situation. However, they sent me replacement cyan and magenta toner cartridges.

I was relieved and pleased until the magenta just plain quit in a few days. Next, the black I'd ordered from in December and put into the printer in February was suddenly empty. How could that be? Usually my toner cartridges last me about a year!

This time I didn't try to contact that company again. I ordered locally from a company that replaces the same day and guarantees all their products. It cost more, and I'm back watching for a good, reliable, economical source. Sometimes we just have to find out by experience. I've just ordered from a different company in the USA and will see how that turns out.

However, I felt I need to report honestly here in case my above research was leading you astray. Always be on your guard. No matter who recommends any product or company!

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