What Do You Do When Your Printer Runs Out Of Black Ink?

Fact Checked By:Aithley Balder

Post Updated On:



As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Running out of ink in the middle of an important printing task can be frustrating, especially when you need to print something urgently. When your printer runs out of black ink, there are several options available to you. Depending on your specific situation and needs, you can replace the ink cartridge, print in grayscale, use a color cartridge, refill the cartridge, adjust your printer settings, or even consider purchasing a new printer. In this way, there are various solutions that can help you overcome the problem of running out of black ink, and this article aims to provide you with a comprehensive list of options to choose from.

When your printer runs out of black ink, you have a few options:

  • Replace the ink cartridge: The easiest and most straightforward option is to replace the black ink cartridge with a new one. Many printers have an alert system that lets you know when ink levels are low, so you can purchase a replacement cartridge in advance. Follow the instructions provided by your printer manufacturer to replace the cartridge.
  • Print in grayscale: If you need to print something urgently and don’t have a replacement cartridge, you can print in grayscale. Most printers have a grayscale or black-and-white printing option, which can help you conserve ink. Keep in mind that the print quality may not be as good as it would be with a full black ink cartridge.
  • Use a color cartridge: Some printers allow you to use a color cartridge instead of a black one. This can be a temporary solution if you don’t have a replacement black cartridge, but keep in mind that the print quality may not be as good as it would be with a black cartridge.
  • Refill the cartridge: Refilling the ink cartridge yourself or taking it to a professional to refill can be a cost-effective solution. However, keep in mind that this can void the warranty of the cartridge and may not always produce the best quality prints.
  • Consider a new printer: If your printer is old or outdated, it may be more cost-effective to purchase a new printer than to replace the ink cartridge. Newer printers often have more efficient ink usage and higher-quality prints, which can save you money in the long run.
  • Use a toner-based printer: If you have a laser printer or a toner-based printer, you can replace the toner cartridge instead of the ink cartridge. Toner cartridges last longer than ink cartridges and can print more pages per cartridge. However, toner cartridges can be more expensive upfront.
  • Adjust your printer settings: You can adjust your printer settings to conserve ink and extend the life of your cartridge. For example, you can choose to print in draft mode, which prints at a lower quality but uses less ink. You can also adjust the print density or reduce the size of the print.
  • Contact the printer manufacturer: If you have a warranty or service agreement with the printer manufacturer, you can contact them for assistance. They may be able to provide you with a replacement cartridge or offer other solutions.
  • Use a third-party cartridge: You can purchase third-party cartridges that are compatible with your printer. These cartridges can be cheaper than the manufacturer’s cartridges, but be aware that they may not produce the same quality prints and could potentially damage your printer.
  • Plan ahead: To avoid running out of ink in the future, it’s a good idea to keep a spare cartridge on hand or to sign up for a subscription service that automatically delivers replacement cartridges when you need them. Additionally, you can reduce the amount of printing you do or consider using a digital alternative, such as email or cloud storage.
  • Use a cartridge refill kit: You can purchase a cartridge refill kit that allows you to refill your own cartridge. This can be a cost-effective solution, but be aware that it can be messy and time-consuming.
  • Shake the cartridge: Sometimes shaking the cartridge gently can redistribute the remaining ink and allow you to print a few more pages.
  • Clean the printhead: If your printer is not printing properly or producing streaky prints, the printhead may be clogged. You can clean the printhead using the printer’s built-in cleaning function or by manually cleaning it with a lint-free cloth and a cleaning solution.
  • Check for firmware updates: Occasionally, printer manufacturers release firmware updates that can improve printer performance and ink usage. Check for firmware updates on the manufacturer’s website and install them if available.
  • Go paperless: If possible, consider going paperless and reducing your printing needs. You can use digital alternatives such as email, online storage, and electronic documents to save paper and ink. This can also be a more environmentally-friendly option.


In conclusion, when your printer runs out of black ink, it can be a frustrating experience. However, there are various options available to you to help you overcome this problem. You can choose to replace the ink cartridge, print in grayscale, use a color cartridge, refill the cartridge, adjust your printer settings, or even consider purchasing a new printer. By considering these options and finding the one that works best for your specific situation, you can ensure that you are able to continue printing without any disruptions. Additionally, planning ahead by keeping a spare cartridge on hand or signing up for a subscription service can help you avoid running out of ink in the future. Ultimately, by being prepared and considering all the available options, you can keep your printer running smoothly and efficiently.

Photo of author

Aithley Balder

Hello there, my name is Aithley Balder from Texas. I am a cookware, sewing, toilet, technology enthusiast and I have been sharing my passion with my friends and likeminded folks for close to 4 years now. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via the contact page.

Leave a Comment

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.