I have a Canon MG7120 (All in one/Basic Photo Printer) which I've recently just started using to print assignments for my design classes. I tried some offbrand inks for the first time and found that the quality of the prints was seriously degraded. We use this printer a lot for just basic document printing, mostly B&W but sometimes color.

Would it be possible for me to use the cheap ink for the document printing, and then when I need to print higher quality stuff on photo paper swap in the expensive Canon inks? Is this a bad idea? Is there some sort of cleaning cycle I should run when I swap out the sets of ink to make sure the shitty ink is out of the print heads? What do you guys think. Trying to be a frugal student, can't really afford to be dropping $100 on ink every month. Thank you!

  • I would try different off brand ink first. I buy stuff from China and it works great in a similar Canon all in one.
    – dpollitt
    Mar 6, 2015 at 2:46
  • Also, see if you can calebrate it (or fiddle with the adjustments manually) to improve the appearance of "other" ink.
    – JDługosz
    Aug 20, 2015 at 9:48

1 Answer 1


Just swap out the ink cartridges as needed. Note that there will always be some remaining ink in the pipes, there is no way around it other than getting a second print head, and if you do that you may as well get a second printer.

If most of your print work is documents I suggest getting a laser printer. You can get a monochrome laser printer for well under $200 - the per-page cost is much less than inkjet. Yes, it's another cash outlay but look at the cost per term for the next couple of years.

  • 3
    Yup, I highly recommend the purchase of a B&W laser for students. Well worth it even if you use low priced ink in an inkjet.
    – dpollitt
    Mar 6, 2015 at 2:50
  • 1
    @dpollitt As a grad student, the cost benefit of pages per toner vs pages per ink pays off in less then a year. It's amazing how useful those bad boys are. My inkjet mostly sits as a backup\quick print.
    – SailorCire
    Mar 6, 2015 at 3:11
  • 3
    I second the second printer option. Swapping out ink means wasting ink as the printer will almost certainly go through a cleaning cycle each time you close the lid. That will probably use more ink than the photo you print.
    – Michael C
    Mar 6, 2015 at 5:53
  • I found a Pantum laser printer for $35 delivered. It includes a low-filled toner cartridge as a "starter" that is good for 700 pages of text.
    – JDługosz
    Aug 20, 2015 at 9:50

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