Canon’s imageCLASS line of printers are popular multifunction printers (MFPs) designed for home and small office use. A common question asked by new Canon owners is whether imageCLASS printers come with ink cartridges included or if they need to be purchased separately. The quick answer is that most Canon imageCLASS models do not come with ink. The printer itself will include introductory or “starter” cartridges that contain a limited amount of ink intended to help setup the printer. Users will need to replace these starter cartridges with standard capacity or high capacity ink cartridges shortly after purchase.
Do All imageCLASS Models Come Without Ink?
The vast majority of current imageCLASS models require users to purchase ink cartridges separately. This includes popular home office models like the imageCLASS MF264dw and enterprise-focused models like the imageCLASS MF743Cdw. However, there are some exceptions. For example, the Canon imageCLASS MF244dw includes a full set of standard capacity ink cartridges in the box. This gives users enough ink to print approximately 700 pages in black and 600 pages in color. Some retailers also offer special deals where select imageCLASS models may come bundled with ink cartridges. But unless explicitly stated, most imageCLASS printers will only include starter cartridges.
Why Don’t imageCLASS Printers Include Standard Ink Cartridges?
There are a few reasons why Canon has chosen not to bundle standard ink cartridges with most imageCLASS models:
- Cost – Including starter cartridges helps keep the purchase price of the printer lower.
- Ink shelf life – Ink cartridges have a limited shelf life. Full cartridges included at purchase may expire before being needed.
- User choice – Allows buyers to choose the cartridge type (standard, high capacity, etc) based on their expected usage.
- Reduces waste – Users only need to purchase as much ink as needed rather than getting full unusable cartridges.
While convenient, the inclusion of standard cartridges would increase the upfront investment for the printer. Starter cartridges help keep the printer affordable while giving users time to get set up before needing to purchase replacement ink.
What are Starter Cartridges?
Starter cartridges, also known as introductory cartridges, are designed to provide new users just enough ink to perform initial setup activities. Page yields for starter cartridges are quite small compared to standard capacity cartridges. Here are some examples for popular Canon imageCLASS models:
|Printer Model||Starter Cartridge Page Yield|
|Canon imageCLASS MF244dw||Black: 700 pages / Color: 600 pages|
|Canon imageCLASS MF264dw||Black: 400 pages / Color: 400 pages|
|Canon imageCLASS 243dw||Black: 600 pages / Color: 600 pages|
As you can see, starter cartridge yields range from 400-700 pages for black and color depending on the model. This allows users to setup the printer, run a few test pages, install software and perform other initial tasks. But the limited ink means buyers need to replace the starter cartridges with full cartridges soon.
How Long Do Starter Cartridges Last?
How long Canon’s starter cartridges will last depends on the model and your usage. If you limit your initial printing to just a handful of pages for setup steps, the starter cartridges may last for several weeks. However, if you need to print documents or photos regularly from the beginning, your starter cartridges will likely be depleted within your first 1-2 weeks of ownership. Don’t try to stretch starter cartridges too long. Running your cartridges when ink is fully depleted can damage the print head.
When Should I Replace Starter Cartridges?
We recommend replacing starter cartridges as soon as you need to print regularly, within the first 1-2 weeks of ownership. Do not wait until the starter cartridges are fully empty. You’ll get a low ink warning when your starter cartridges get close to the end of their limited capacity. Heed this warning and have replacement standard cartridges ready to install. Waiting too long can lead to print quality issues on pages as the starter ink runs out.
What Replacement Ink Cartridges Do I Need?
The replacement ink cartridges needed depend on your specific imageCLASS model. When shopping for the right cartridges, look for the cartridge number specifically designed for your printer. The most common options are:
- Standard capacity – Typical yields of approximately 700 pages for black and 600 for color. Models with codenames like Cartridge 123.
- High capacity – Larger yields of approximately 1500 pages for black and 1300 for color. Models with codenames like Cartridge 128.
- Extra high capacity -Even higher yields designed for high volume printing. Models with codenames like Cartridge 133.
I recommend most home users opt for Canon’s standard capacity cartridges as a good balance between affordability and reasonably high yields. High capacity cartridges are a suitable choice for high volume users. Make sure to buy cartridges specifically designed for your printer model and double check the cartridge number before purchasing.
Where Can I Purchase Replacement Ink Cartridges?
Replacement imageCLASS ink cartridges can be purchased from a variety of sources including:
- Directly from Canon either on their website or via phone sales.
- Local electronics and office supply stores like Best Buy, Staples or Office Depot.
- Online retailers such as Amazon.com, Newegg.com or eBay.
- Discounted third party ink sellers.
Shop around for the best pricing, but make sure third party cartridges are designed specifically for your Canon model. Avoid universal ink cartridges that claim compatibility with many printer models. Using the wrong cartridges can lead to ink leakage, clogs or other issues.
Outside of rare exceptions, Canon imageCLASS printers do not come with ink cartridges included. Instead, starter cartridges with limited capacity will be provided to complete initial setup steps. Users should plan to purchase replacement standard or high capacity Canon cartridges within 1-2 weeks of printer purchase. Select cartridges designed specifically for your imageCLASS model for the best performance and print quality.