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Printer Consumables

Printer companies make most of their profits from the consumables - ink, toner etc. This is particularly true for inkjet printers, which are heavily subsidized by the manufacturers in order to attract customers to their models. Compatible inks and toners are available, but not all are of high quality, and may even cause damage to the printer.  

Additionally,  most modern inkjet printers have 'chipped' cartridges, which are harder to clone. Some manufacturers of compatible cartridges sell unchipped cartridges at very low prices, but these require the customers to engage in complex procedures to transfer the cartridges and disable ink-level checking, which in my experience are not worth the theoretical savings.

The suppliers reviewed  below are ones I have personally tested (unless otherwise noted) and found to be of of top quality in terms of the product itself and particularly good value.

Canon PGI-520 / CLI-521 Ink Cartridges

For Canon Pixma iP3600 iP4600, iP4700, MP540, MP 550, MP560, MP620, MP630, MP640, MP980, MP990, MX860 and others. 
Note: the PGI-520 is the large black cartridge, used for printing text. The CLI-521 cartridges are used for colour printing. Most of the printers use four CLI cartridges (cyan, magenta, yellow and black), but a few models have an additional grey cartridge (CLI-521G).

This is the cheapest source I've found for top quality cartridges. Chipped cartridges cost around £2.20 each (they also sell non-chipped models) and I've found them to be identical, both in fitting into the printer and in terms of print quality, to the original Canon cartridges.

The web site is not the slickest I've ever seen. You need to use the search box to find the cartridges, and registration and ordering are not as easy as they could be, but once ordered, the goods were always delivered in good time and were well packed. In short, excellent value!

I've not used this supplier myself, but it was recommended to someone I know and appears to have a wide range of compatible cartridges available, some at very keen prices. The company itself is apparently very reliable.

Continuous Ink Systems for inkjet printers

A different approach to the problem is to use a Continuous Ink Supply System, or CISS.

This is