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Ink Cartridges Decoded: What does XL Mean on Ink Cartridges?

Ink Cartridges Decoded: What does XL Mean on Ink Cartridges?

With the vast number of different types on the market, buying ink cartridges can feel a little like delving into a haystack looking for a needle. If you have a large-format printer, you’ll no doubt be looking to buy the most economical ink cartridge while also finding the one which will deliver the very best job. However, with confusing terminology and differing sizes, it can be hard to know which is best. Here, we’ve broken down the details so you can be more informed.

What does XL mean on printer ink

The term "XL" on ink cartridges refers to a larger size of the cartridge that contains more ink than a standard or regular cartridge. This means that XL cartridges can print more pages before needing to be replaced. XL cartridges are often more expensive than regular cartridges, but they can be more cost-effective in the long run if you do a lot of printing.

Buying the right ink size

Measure by measure ink cartridges are actually more expensive than vintage champagne! That means you need to ensure that you are buying them at the very best price. If you use a lot of ink, you should buy the biggest ink cartridge your printer can hold, as that way you will get the best value for money per print. The biggest ink cartridges we sell offer an ink volume of 3000ml.

When looking through different types of ink cartridges, be aware of the labels and always check the actual volume of ink you’ll be purchasing. For example, HP have a range labelled ‘XL’ which many people would rightly assume refers to extra-large ink cartridges. However, the XL won’t necessarily offer the highest volume available so make sure you shop around.

Importantly, if you aren’t intending to use your large format printer too often then don’t be tempted to buy a bigger ink cartridge than you need. If you won’t use the ink then buying a smaller, and therefore cheaper ink cartridge, will be best for you.

One thing to be aware of is that some printers will only allow print cartridges of a certain size to be used. Depending on whether your ink usage is heavy or light this is something to consider when deciding which printer to buy.

Other aspects to consider when buying cartridges and XL inks

When you are looking to purchase a printer and the corresponding ink cartridge, you’ll see a lot of acronyms and phrases you might not be familiar with. Here are some of the most common you’ll see and what they mean:

  • DPI stands for dot per inch. The higher the DPI, the better the quality of the printed image.
  • PPM indicates the print speed measure, and stands for prints per minute. If you expect to be printing often then you’ll want to look for something which prints quickly.
  • Original ink cartridges are those sold by the brand that manufactured your printer, such as Epson, HP or Canon. You might also see compatible ink cartridges for sale. These are made by other manufacturers but have been designed to fit into named-brand printers.
  • Chroma is a word used to describe the intensity of the pigment-based ink within a pigment ink cartridge.

Help available

If you’re still feeling confused about which type of ink cartridge is best for your needs, feel free to give us a call today and one of our team will be happy to advise you. Also, if you have an HP large-format printer, we’re delighted to say that we have an HP consumable locator which can help you to quickly and easily identify which cartridges will work with your printer.

*This post has been updated on May 2023.

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