The HP® 61 ink cartridge is one of the most popular HP cartridges on the market today due to its wide availability and its compatibility with a large number of printers. This series uses a black and tri-color ink cartridge and they are sold in both a standard and high yield size. Combo pack varieties are also available.
In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about the HP 61 series. From printer compatibility to common troubleshooting tips, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide so you can be an HP 61 expert just like us!
What size cartridge do I need?
HP 61 black and color ink cartridges are sold in two sizes: standard and high yield (XL) size. Standard cartridges are great for someone that prints occasionally. If you print a lot, you will find it’s a better deal to pay a bit extra for the high yield version. High yield cartridges are filled with almost double the amount of ink, so you will obviously get more prints out of the cartridge. A standard black cartridge prints approximately 180 pages and a standard tri-color cartridge prints 150 pages. The XL black offers a page yield of 455 pages and the XL color offers 310 pages.
What printers do HP 61 cartridges work with?
The HP 61 ink cartridge works with a wide range of Deskjet®, ENVY® and OfficeJet® printers. Some of the more popular ones are the Deskjet 2540, the Deskjet 1000 series and the HP ENVY 4500 and 5530 series.
Check out the complete list of compatible printers here:
How do I install my cartridges?
Installation for your new HP 61 ink cartridges is a snap: just center the carriage, remove the empty cartridge, and replace it with the new one. Check out the video for step by step instructions:
Please note: Most printers that use the HP 61 call for a similar installation process to the one shown in the video but be sure to reference your printer’s user guide for model specific instructions. More information on replacing HP ink cartridges can be found here:
Please note: Most printers that use the HP 61 call for a similar installation process to the one shown in the video but be sure to reference your printer’s user guide for model specific instructions. More information on replacing HP ink cartridges can be found here.
How do I refill my cartridges?
- Before you refill make sure you have some paper towels on hand, refilling a cartridge can get messy. You might also want to put on a pair of cleaning gloves to avoid ink stains on your hands. Over a trash can, peel the label from the front of the cartridge.
- On the front of the cartridge you will see three holes. For black ink cartridges, all three will be black. For color cartridges, each hole will correspond to the color well for each of the three colors. Use a toothpick or paper clip and poke the hole to determine which color it is (the top one will be yellow, but the other two may be switched depending on the age of the cartridge).
- If you are using a standard black cartridge, fill your syringe with 15 ml ink. Fill it up to 25 ml if you are using an XL. Each color for the color cartridges can be filled with 7ml of ink. In every cartridge there are sponges that soak up the ink, and once they reach capacity some may leak out the top. Be sure to cover the two color holes you are not filling during the fill process to prevent any leaks from contaminating across colors.
- Slowly push the plunger and apply the ink to the cartridge. If you go too quickly you might cause it to overflow.
- To remove any excess ink, wipe the front of the cartridge with a clean paper towel.
- Pop the refilled cartridges back in your printer and run a cleaning cycle (you may need to consult your printer manual). Print a couple test pages to draw the ink into the sponge and help even out the refill. Let the cartridge sit in your printer for six to eight hours before resuming regular printing.
How do I fix a cartridge error message?
Getting an error on your printer screen or computer that says “Incompatible Ink Cartridge” or “Ink Cartridge Error” is rare, but not uncommon. Even with a brand new cartridge, sometimes dried ink, fingerprint oil or tape residue can find itself on the gold and copper electrical contacts, causing the cartridge to not read properly in your machine. To remove any residue, gently clean the contacts with a lint free cloth or coffee filter and a dab of rubbing alcohol.
Check out this video to see how to properly clean printer contacts:
Before you put the cartridge back in the machine, power it down, unplug the power cord and let it sit for about a minute. Then turn it back on, plug it back in and reseat the cartridge. A cartridge clean and printer reset usually will clear up a compatibility message right away. If you attempt this a couple of times and still are not able to resolve the error message, you may have a faulty cartridge. Test another HP 61 cartridge and compare the outcome, if the second cartridge works as expected then the initial problem cartridge you can confirm this. Faulty cartridges are not very common but they are always a possibility. Check your supplier’s warranty on faulty products, if you’ve purchased the cartridge recently you will probably qualify for a replacement cartridge.
How do I fix a missing cartridge message?
The old ”ink cartridge missing” message usually comes up because your cartridge is not installed properly. This is easily corrected by a couple of steps. First, check to make sure your cartridge clicks securely into its designated slot. It should not be loose in the printer or forced into the machine. If it does not click in easily you might have the cartridge angled wrong or installed in the wrong slot. If it you do this and still get the missing message, take it out and clean the cartridge contacts. You can also try resetting the printer (see instructions in previous paragraph). A reset will should resolve the error message. If you still have trouble, try a second cartridge and compare results.
How do I fix an empty cartridge message?
“Empty” or “previously used” used messages are a common occurrence when you are installing a remanufactured cartridge. The chip on a remanufactured cartridge cannot be reset so an empty ink cartridge message is generally expected. This doesn’t mean your cartridge is missing ink. Since the cartridge is refurbished your printer is reading it as if it was still the original cartridge that has already been used. Even though your printer cannot tell, the cartridge is filled to capacity and should print the same amount of prints as an original. To get around the error, clean the contacts, reset the printer and accept the empty cartridge message by pressing the “OK” or “Resume” button on your machine. By accepting the error message, you should be able to print as. “Empty cartridge” messages do not typically occur with genuine brand HP cartridges. A genuine product should work in your machine right away and read the appropriate ink levels on your printer’s display.
How do I prevent streaky prints?
Poor print quality on a recently installed cartridge usually stems from an issue with the cartridge’s printhead. The printhead on an HP 61 is located on the end of the cartridge where the ink comes out and is typically a gold or copper strip. We recommend using the “paper towel” method to prime the cartridge:
- Grab a damp paper towel and a dry paper towel. Use the damp paper towel to blot the cartridge with the printhead side down on the towel. After blotting a couple of times, ink should be appearing on the paper towel. Be careful not to confuse the printhead with the gold and copper contacts or dots.
- Hold the cartridge against the dry paper towel for about 30 seconds. This will wick out any dried ink that might be causing the streak.
- Put the cartridge back in the printer and run a test print. If it doesn’t work the first time, repeat the process again. If the second time doesn’t work, try out our next tip: printhead cleaning!
If that doesn’t work, try this:
Most printers have a built in cleaning function that’s used to prime your cartridges. For most HP printers, you can find the cleaning function under the “Tools” menu. Check your user’s guide for specific instructions on your model. After running a cleaning your printer will prompt you to print a diagnostic page. Printing a test page lets you know if the cleaning worked. If the quality is still poor after the cleaning, run a second cleaning. It may take a couple of cleanings to get a cartridge working like you want it to. If you run a few cleanings and still aren’t getting what you want, you are probably dealing with a bad cartridge or printhead. If that’s the case, install a new cartridge.
Genuine cartridges are pricey. What’s a good way to cut down on my cartridge costs?
Remanufactured HP 61 cartridges are a great money saving alternative to the genuine brand. Each printer ink cartridge is rebuilt and refilled to offer comparable results to the HP brand. You can save a bundle on your ink costs! Consider buying remanufactured HP 61 cartridges, available right here!