The Difference in Cartridges

April 3, 2008

Everyone who has ever bought a cartridge has had this thought at least once, ‘is this the best cartridge for my printing needs’.  Okay, well something like that at least.  Let me show you the difference in some of the cartridges out there.

Photo Cartridges – Worth it or not?

A big word in the printer industry is at home photo printing.  You can sit down in your pj’s and print photos out at home, without driving across town to get them done, not to mention, get showered, dressed, if you have kids get them ready, you get the idea.  Some printers from Canon, HP, Lexmark, and Dell have an optional Photo Cartridge that can be put in to make your photos look better.

A Photo Cartridge contains Black, and Cyan and Magenta, however, the latter two are different shades than your Cyan and Magenta in your color cartridge.  Most of the time the Photo Cartridge replaces the Black cartridge.  Some cases it has it’s own space in the printer, but this is mainly on higher end HP models.  When you have a photo cartridge with a color cartridge this gives you 6 color printing, not the 4 color printing that you get with a black and a color.

So is it worth the extra couple of dollars?  Most of the time, no.  However, this depends on how keen your eyes are to tell the difference between 4 and 6 color printing.  And keep in mind that just because your print came with a photo cartridge, does not mean you need to keep buying it.

Moderate Yield & Standard Yield & High Yield

Take a look at a Lexmark 17 and Lexmark 16 cartridge, what is the difference?  Most people say about $12 and one says moderate and the other says standard.  What does moderate and standard mean?  That is a fancy way of saying low yield and standard yield.  Any cartridge that says moderate yield means it does 2 to three times fewer pages than the standard or the high yield cartridges (HP calls them the XL versions).  As for price wise, while the standard or high yield cartridges do cost more, if you look at the cost per page the standard or high yield is lower than it is with a moderate or low yield.

So what cartridges are affected by this?  Here is a brief list, remember that when you buy a printer, that usually the cartridges you get are not the full set.  The first number is the low or moderate yield/Standard yield/High yield (if applied).


17/16, 27/26, 19/20/25, 49/50/55, 60/65, 71/70/75, 32/34, 28/34, 33/35, 29/35


27/56 (on select models), 28/57 (on select models), 21/27/56 (on select models), 22/28 (on select models), 88/88XL, 74/74XL, 75/75XL, 78/78XL