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Are You Paying More for Your Tri-Color Cartridge?

Are You Paying More for Your Tri-Color Cartridge?

Inkjet printers utilize individual color cartridges or one multicolor cartridge to produce colors. A tricolor cartridge will contain the colors needed for digital color imaging- cyan, magenta and yellow- in one cartridge. Individual cartridges, on the other hand, will have a single cartridge dedicated to each color. On the surface, tricolor cartridges seem like a convenient and economical alternative to single color cartridges. But a closer look reveals the limitations and disadvantages of multicolor cartridges.

Photo Quality

  • Although two-cartridge printers will do an acceptable job of producing basic documents, those who also wish to use their inkjet printer as a personal photo lab will be disappointed with the results
  • Individual color cartridges will provide richer colors, especially with printers that offer additional color cartridges such as matte black, light black and grey, among others



  • Using one cartridge to produce your color documents may seem like the most convenient option, but don’t be surprised if your printer prevents your from printing as soon as it detects one color is out
  • If your printer’s ink sensors halts output as a result of one missing color, you’re sacrificing the remaining ink in your tricolor cartridge
  • Printers with individual cartridges will enable you to substitute other colors, turn off the color if desired, and allow you to print when one color is empty



  • Tricolor cartridges typically have a lower overall yield compared to the collective yield of their individual cartridge counterparts
  • This lower yield, compounded by the necessity to replace the cartridge once one color has been emptied, will result in shelling out more cash for consumables
  • Two-cartridge inkjet printers tend to be on the cheaper side, which can be attractive to the unsuspecting consumer. However, it’s important to note that the cost of the device is insignificant compared to the running cost of low-yielding and high-priced tricolor cartridges


If you currently own a printer that uses a multicolor cartridge, you may want to consider upgrading for the reasons mentioned above. And, if you’re looking to get more for your printed photos, look for a printer like that the Canon Pixma MG8220, which offers a pigment black cartridge and gray cartridge for deeper shades and sharper images.

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