Individual Colour Cartridges vs Tricolour Cartridges

When buying a printer you need to make sure you’re getting one that will suit your needs exactly. Printers and ink can be expensive so it’s important to ensure that you won’t be wasting any money on your printing costs.
Printers come with two different type of colour ink cartridges: tricolour cartidges or single colour cartridges. Both types of cartridges have their own advantages, however if used for the wrong application they can become expensive and ineffective.

The Difference Between Individual and Tricolour Cartridges

Tricolour cartridges have three colours of ink inside them: cyan (blue), magenta (pink), and yellow. When something is printed these colours will be mixed together to make up the colours of the image.
Individual colour cartridges work in the same way, however instead of the three ink colours being stored in one cartridge, they are stored in three different ones.

The first and most obvious difference between these two types of cartridges is the size. Tricolour cartridges tend to be smaller than individual colour ones. This also means that printers that use tricolour cartridges are generally more compact than printers that use individual cartridges.


Individual colour cartridges can have the advantage of being more cost effective in certain applications. For example, if you are going to be printing the same image often – a company logo, for example – that is mostly made up of the colour blue, the cyan cartridge will run out far quicker than the other two. Once it has run out, it can be replaced while the other two colours stay in the machine. If you had been using a tricolour cartridge for this type of printing it would have resulted in a waste of money. Though the blue is finished there may have still been a large amount of the magenta and yellow which would go to waste when the cartridge was thrown away.
Individual colour cartridges will also be of more use to those who require more precision with their colour prints – photographers and designers.

On the other hand, tricolour cartridges are better for office usage. In this environment the majority of printing done will be pages of text with perhaps a few images or graphs in between. Use of colour ink will be far lower for general office use and will also be less predictable. Because colour will be more unpredictable it could be more effective to use a tricolour cartridge.

Both types of cartridges have different uses for different environments. It’s important to know exactly what type of printing you are going to be doing before buying a printer and being locked into a certain type of cartridge.

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