Do Printer Ink Cartridge Numbers Really Matter?


Printer ink cartridges are usually numbered according to their suitability for certain printers. Changing them will not work, as the number is integral to the functioning of the printer.

On all printer ink cartridges you’ll find a model number this number lets you know if the ink in question is suitable for certain printers.

The issue is ink cartridges can looks so similar and in some case almost identical, can these be used interchangeably?

What does the number on ink cartridges mean?

The number on an ink cartridge allows you to identify if an ink cartridge is compatible with the printer you are trying to use them in.

For example, HP 304 inks are compatible with the HP Deskjet 2630 as well as the HP Envy 5032 Ink.

How do I find my ink cartridge number?

The best ways to find the ink cartridge number for your printer are:

Open the top of your printer and wait for the ink cartridge carriage to come in to view and see what inks are in the printer. For most cartridges model numbers are on top of the cartridge, so you’ll be able to see this without removing the inks.

If you’ve just got a new printer and the inks aren’t installed you will have some start up cartridges in the box, again you’ll find the model number for this series of inks on top of the cartridge.

Visit and type your printer’s model number in the search bar at the top of the page, you’ll be able to see what series of inks are compatible with your printer there. If you have purchase your cartridges from Internet-Ink our support team will able to tell you which printers go with your cartridges.

Can you use a different number ink in a printer?

Many ink cartridges can look identical which can be confusing. Printer ink cartridges look so similar it's often hard to tell the difference.

Can I use the same cartridge number for printers? Will it even work?

For example the Epson 603 inks and the Epson 502 inks are similar to look at, but despite this you couldn’t just go swapping inks around. This is because of the chips on the ink cartridge, each chip is programmed to allow inks to only work with certain printers.

Therefore, you are unable to use a different number ink in your printer which is not compatible with your printer. Check your printer manual to see what numbers your printer takes.

What happens if you use a different ink cartridge? Are 301 and 304 inks the same

This depends what “different” inks. If you are using third party compatible inks of the same model number. You may experience some form of error message warning you that you are not using OEM original inks. You can simply bypass this message by hitting “OK” and you’ll be free to print as usual.

If you’re trying to use HP 301 inks in a 304 printer they may fit but you will end up with an error message saying “inks not recognised” or something along those lines. This message you won’t be able to bypass. You will need to go and get the correct inks for your printer model.

Some printer cartridges have chips in them to tell the printer how much is left and so on. If these chips are not the same, to what the printer is expecting, it will either not function or won't work correctly." So, printer users: Do not swap cartridges!

Don't forget you can save 10% on your compatible ink purchases by shopping with Internet-ink! Our loyal customers get the lowest prices for printing ink, making us one of the best online!