499inks balances low prices with lots of shipping and payment options, which is why it’s our pick for the best value online ink cartridge store. Through our research, we found it has the lowest average price for remanufactured cartridges, even lower than our best overall pick, 4inkjets. It also has lower prices for Original Manufacturer Equipment (OEM) cartridges than other products we reviewed.
We searched for dozens of products on the sites we reviewed to compare prices, and 499inks carried 41 percent of them, compared to the around 60 percent we found at 4inkjets and 123inkjets, the two stores with the best inventories. While 499inks’ inventory is small compared to stores with the best stocks, it carries more products than most of the sites we reviewed. It also carries more than half the brands our top picks sell and provides a lot of the same services.
If you subscribe to 499inks’ newsletter, you periodically receive coupon codes. However, the site only offers a 5-percent discount as an incentive to sign up, compared to other sites that offer 10 percent or 15 percent off your first order when you subscribe.
At 499inks, you qualify for free shipping when you purchase $49 worth of products, which is a few dollars cheaper than some of the best stores. If you don’t meet that minimum, two- to five-day shipping only costs $4.99. If you need your ink sooner, you can pay more for two- to three-day shipping; however, 499inks can’t overnight orders.
Like most of the ink companies we compared, it only ships to the United States and Canada. Because packages have to pass through customs, shipping to Canada costs more than the standard fees listed above. This increased cost of shipping internationally is pretty typical, according to our research.
Unlike our best overall pick, 499inks doesn’t let you pay using social media or your Amazon account. However, you can pay with credit cards, money orders, checks or your PayPal account.
The cartridges you buy from 499inks have one-year warranties, which is shorter than the warranties other sites provide. You can exchange defective cartridges for up to 365 days after your initial purchase, but you can only get your money back within the first 30 days. Other online ink cartridge stores give you longer to return items for a refund, reimburse you for shipping expenses and have other flexible return options, so you don’t get stuck with an unwanted or defective cartridge.
499inks' website doesn’t say if you can set up corporate or school accounts, so we contacted customer service. Per the representative we spoke to, you can set up an account for your organization by sending an email to customer support. We found few benefits to setting up this type of account, though. It gives you access to updates on inventory and reminders about discounts, but you can’t subscribe to a monthly or weekly order. Your account also isn’t assigned to a specific account manager unless you contact customer service and request additional support.
The site is also lacking online troubleshooting options, such as a page with videos and tutorials about installing or caring for your ink cartridges and printers. This dedicated page was missing from most of the other sites we reviewed, but we appreciated the ones CompAndSave or Carrot Ink include.
If 499inks developed its help and support options, offered overnight shipping during check out, and gave more organization support for institutions like businesses and schools, it could easily be the best place to buy discount ink cartridges on the web. If you don’t need those services or price is your primary concern, 499inks is a good place to shop.