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Does Printer Ink Expire? (All Brands) 7 Things To Know

Printer ink is the biggest variable to successful printing. If your printer isn’t working correctly, it’s good to check your ink cartridge. Does printer ink expire? And how long does printer ink last?

Printer inks can remain stable for at least one year. Some brands last up to two years if stored correctly. Expired ink will give inconsistent print results. And it might even clog your printer. You can help your printer ink last longer by storing it at a consistent temperature, around 70°F (21°C).

does printer ink expire

This post will answer more about how long printer ink lasts and questions regarding the maximum shelf life of printer inks.

Does Printer Ink Expire?

Ink cartridges, and many other commodities, have expiry dates. Ink cartridges are marked with a date of manufacture and expiration date. This date is the shortest possible period that the cartridge will expire.

The life span of inks can vary depending on factors such as storage conditions, age, packaging materials, and other external factors. Does printer ink expire? And how long does printer ink last?

1. Why Do Ink Cartridges Expire?

Ink cartridges can expire over time due to the natural process of the ink drying out.

Air exposure will cause the ink inside a cartridge to dry and affect how well it works. Ink stored in an open but not tightly sealed environment such as a garage or attic is at risk of evaporating or suffering some other form of degradation.

The best way to prevent ink from drying out: store it in a cool, dark place and make sure the cartridge gets tightly sealed.

2. Can You Extend the Life of Your Ink Cartridge?

  • Avoid storing print ink in an unheated garage, basement, or storage unit.
  • Keeping it out of the sunlight will prevent the ink from drying out and keeps it from fading.
  • Keep the printer ink cartridges in the sealed package until needed. A printer cartridge must be sealed well to prevent it from evaporating. 
  • The best place to store your ink cartridge is in a cool, dark room. This helps prolong your ink cartridge’s life and maintain its performance.

3. Ideal Temperature to Store Printer Ink

The next step is storing it in the right environment. Experts recommend keeping it in a room with an ambient temperature of around 70°F (21°C). The acceptable range for ink storage is 60 to 75°F (15 to 24°C).

For most settings, this won’t be a problem – this range falls well within the common room temperature of 68 to 72°F (20 to 22°C).

4. Can I Use Expired Ink Cartridge?

Yes, but it isn’t recommended. Although many consumers think you can use expired cartridges, this is not true. Using expired cartridges may clog your printer’s internal workings.

To ensure the quality of your ink cartridges, it’s recommended you replace them whenever their expiration date reaches. When using expired cartridges, the ink may not reach the print head and will only cause problems.

Using an ink cartridge past the expiration date may not be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

5. Does Printer Ink Have an Expiration Date?

Yes, printer ink does have expiration dates, which display on the ink packaging. Printer ink often has one to two years from purchase, although some brands may have different expiration dates.

Manufacturers put expiration dates on inks, so consumers know when they’ll stop performing the best.

Printer ink cartridges will have a short shelf life regardless of brand. This is because the ink in the cartridge can dry out when stored/not used for long periods.

6. The Best Ink Cartridge Brands

For best results, it’s probably best to buy ink cartridges made by the manufacturer of your printer. These are referred to as OEM, which means original equipment manufacturer.

OEM printer ink is not cheap. In almost every case, ink cartridges from the original manufacturers will be more expensive. At least at first.

But if you’ve ever used the cheaper, “compatible” ink or toner, you’ve probably noticed that the quality can be inconsistent. We’ve tried cheaper ink and toner. And even refilling cartridges. But it was a negative experience.

If you’re buying from a quality printer brand (like the ones listed below), it’s best to also buy quality printer ink.

  • Brother
  • HP
  • Canon
  • Epson
  • Lexmark

7. Checking Warranty

Ink cartridges typically come with a one-year warranty. This warranty may be even shorter depending on the cartridge you purchase, and sometimes it’ll last up to six months.

The best way to ensure your cartridge’s warranty is valid is to purchase it from a reputable dealer.

We’ve had good success with office supply chains and Amazon.

It’s important to note the difference between printer ink and toner. Here’s more about toner expirations.

how long does printer ink last

Did you spill a little printer ink? Here’s how to get ink off your hands and the carpet.

Avoid Expiring Printer Ink

Although ink cartridges may seem straightforward, many of their uses and features are not widely known. For this reason, it is ideal to take the time to research more about your ink cartridge and determine how you can best preserve it. This will help you extend the life of your cartridge and ensure it works efficiently when needed.